LOS ANGELES - After Claire Danes claimed her second straight Emmy for best actress in a drama on Sunday night, she mused that her role as the brilliant bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison in "Homeland" was a "good gig" that she hopes "lasts a while."
The third season of "Homeland," however, has its challenges after a second season that underwhelmed critics. Notwithstanding Danes' repeat win, Sunday served up a reminder of the pressure on the Showtime counterterrorism thriller to regain its footing.
After winning six Emmys last year for its freshman season including the trifecta of top awards - best drama series, and best actor and actress in a drama - "Homeland" walked away this year with just two trophies out of 11 nominations.
The first season of "Homeland," adapted from an Israeli series, captured viewers with its complex characters and plots that resonated with the real terrorism fears among the US public. Even US President Barack Obama declared himself to be a fan.
But the second season saw a backlash against what many critics viewed as improbable plot twists around Carrie and Brody, the rescued POW turned al Qaeda agent played by British actor Damian Lewis.
As season three kicks off next Sunday, it doesn't help that many TV eyes will be fixed that day on the final episode of"Breaking Bad," the gritty AMC show that snatched the best drama Emmy and the attention from "Homeland."
Last year's season finale managed to claw back some of the credibility that was gradually lost over the 12 episodes of season two. The show ended with the bombing of CIA headquarters that killed 200 and Brody, now a congressman and double-agent for the CIA, forced to run as fingers point at him, ripping apart his plans with Carrie to begin a life together.
Season three starts with an erratic Carrie off her medication but with a zeal to get to the bottom of the bombing with her boss and confidant, acting CIA Director Saul Berenson played by Mandy Patinkin. Both are struggling in the aftermath.