Even Homeland's female American turncoats are far more presentable and persuasive than their real-life counterparts. The incompetence and flippancy of an abject fool like Coleen LaRose, the self-described, "petite, blond, blue-eyed" suburban Philadelphia house-wife turned terrorist wannabe, with the moniker, "Jihad Jane," whose half-baked plans and poor OPSEC got her several decades' incarceration in a U.S. penitentiary, stands in marked contrast to Abu Nazir's nefarious American operative, Aileen Morgan -- the monomaniacal, relentlessly driven, white-bread American terrorist, who browbeats her college professor husband into serving (and dying for) Nasir's cause.
Alas, though, there is an uncomfortable kernel of truth in another of Abu Nazir's U.S.-based minions, the television news reporter, Roya Hammad. It was two al Qaeda terrorists posing as a Belgian television news crew, of course, who effected the assassination of the Afghan warrior Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9, 2001 -- thus paving the way for the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. two days later.
But there's a lot here that doesn't register. In real life, male terrorists have to martyr themselves in a suicide bomb attack to ascend to heaven and partake of the pleasures of the houri -- the fabled, beautiful 72 dark-eyed virgins. In Homeland, however, you just have to sign on with Abu Nazir's crew, get hooked up with his bagman, Prince Farid Bin Abbud, and gain access to a yacht-full of babes pre-screened and pre-selected both for their libidinous desires and kinky inclinations. Bin Laden and crew, by comparison, had to make do with pornography downloaded onto computers in their joyless, landlocked lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The heroes in Homeland are even more ludicrous than the bad-guys. In Dick Tracy's day, the job was everything and catching criminals was a full-time vocation: true love be damned. For example, Tracy and his long-suffering girlfriend, Tess Trueheart, dated for 18 long years before they married. Tracy was just too busy chasing and catching criminals. One assumes, too, given 1930s mores, that their love for each other remained unconsummated until their wedding. Now, we're all aware that affairs do happen at the CIA, but at times Homeland resembles a James Bond romp more than it does a supposedly serious drama -- with randy sex either regularly trumping saving the country from terrorists or being conflated into one and the same thing. The audible manifestation of Carrie and Brody making it on the dresser in a cheesy motel room, with her avuncular mentor, Saul Berenson, and the creepy black-ops CIA hit man, Peter Quinn, listening in, was among the more stomach-churning scenes captured on the flat screen in recent memory. Even this year's entire run of the trashy 1970s TV series Dallas, reprised on cable rival TNT, evidenced more class and taste than that gratuitous, revoltingly voyeuristic scene.
Carrie, clearly, is no Maya -- the highly believable, equally driven, and apparently libido-less heroine of Kathryn Bigelow's masterpiece film about the hunt for bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty. And, barring the occasional helicopter shots of Langley, the CIA digs that Carrie works out of bear no resemblance to the real-life locale. The elegantly appointed Homeland depiction of the CIA -- offices with picture windows, cherry-wood desks, and imposing credenzas -- may exist on the seventh (read: director's) floor of Langley: but not in the windowless, GSA-gray cubicles that populate the crypt-like Counterterrorist Center. But it's not just the luxury office parks around Charlotte, North Carolina, where the series is filmed, that are a poor stand-in for Langley -- it's literally everything else.
Honestly, the only persons in Langley or any of the other non-descript office blocks that comprise the intelligence community's vast bureaucratic archipelago in Northern Virginia, who sport ID badges clipped to their suit lapels or silk blouses are visitors -- and most always either infrequent ones or those who do not merit special "No Escort" badges. Most visitors in fact are smart enough to know to bring their own lanyards.