National Insecurity

The thriller Homeland asks, Did 9/11 wake us up or make us crazy?

Gillian Laub for TIME

The thriller Homeland asks, Did 9/11 wake us up or make us crazy?

The post-9/11 era in TV began before 9/11. The pilot for 24 was shot months before the attacks. It debuted weeks after them, and Jack Bauer became a fantasy figure of certain, if brutal, protection. For the next decade, terrorism drove fantasies like Alias and dramas like Sleeper Cell; the Twin Towers haunted the backstories of shows from CSI: NY to Fringe.

In the same way, the post-post-9/11 era in TV began before the death of Osama bin Laden. Showtime ordered its new thriller, Homeland, well before SEAL Team 6 took out the al-Qaeda leader in May. But the questions the...

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