Why Will ‘Homeland’s’ 8th Season Be Its Last on Showtime?

When a series has critical acclaim, a loyal fanbase, and plotlines that reflect current events, it might seem like the show can go on forever. But that won’t be the case with Homeland, a series with more than its share of acclaim and strong ratings since its 2011 premiere on Showtime.

After a long break following its seventh season (early 2018), the show’s eighth and final installment kicked off on Super Bowl Sunday 2020. So once Episode 12 airs in the spring, you won’t have Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) to kick around anymore.

So how does a show like Homeland finally end after 10 years on TV? As you might have guessed, it wasn’t canceled. According to Showtime executives and showrunner Alex Gansa, the show ran to the natural end of its line.

Showtime execs and ‘Homeland’ producers called it a ‘natural conclusion’

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up” | Warrick Page/SHOWTIME.

When a show doesn’t tie a bow on its main characters’ story arcs, you can be sure producers weren’t expecting it to get canceled. That recently happened with another Showtime series, Ray Donovan. (Star Liev Schreiber has vowed to bring it back so he can finish it the right way.)

With Homeland, producers didn’t seem caught by surprise in the slightest. The highest-rated show in Showtime’s history likely could have kept getting big production budgets from the network for a few more seasons. But Gansa and co-developer David Gordon had already seen the series’ end.

After calling Homeland “the most joyful and rewarding experience” of his career, Gansa spoke about how he sees that wrap-up. “I am sad to see the journey coming to an end, but it is time,” he said in August ’18. Showtime President and CEO David Nevins also noted that it was the show’s time.

“This project, [which arrived] right at the beginning of my Showtime tenure … is now ready for its natural conclusion,” Nevins said when he announced Homeland would end. All along, reports have indicated it was a mutual decision, though Gansa had announced he wouldn’t continue.

Alex Gansa saw Season 8 as the end as early as 2016

Claire Danes in Season 8 of ‘Homeland’ | Warrick Page/SHOWTIME.

In 2016, Gansa and his team were working on Season Six when Showtime announced it had picked up the series through Season Eight. Shortly afterward, Gansa told Deadline he would write the ending for that installment. And he noted that he’d bow out even if Showtime wanted to continue.

According to reports, Nevins’ felt as enthusiastic about the show as its multi-year pickup would suggest. And the Showtime boss hinted that the show might go past eight seasons. (Apparently, Showtime couldn’t think more highly of it.)

But Showtime couldn’t conceivably do it without Gansa (and his partner Gordon). Once the showrunner said he was finished, Homeland’s countdown officially began. Homeland’s fans may be disappointed the series will depart after this season, but ending the show this way beats the alternatives.

Not knowing when to quit has always been a tricky proposition for cable’s top dramas. (Big Little Lies, for example, probably could have skipped its second season.) But in Homeland’s case we’d argue Gansa and Showtime got it exactly right.

Also see: ‘Homeland’ Season 8 Episode 2 Recap: Carrie Deals as Saul Walks the Tightrope