The fourth series of the Showtime CIA thriller 'Homeland' is due to hit British screens on Sunday evening, having premiered on October 5th in the States.

Homeland series 4
The fourth season of 'Homeland' hits UK TV screens on Sunday (12th October)

The big question on the lips of most onlookers is how the show is going to struggle on without Damian Lewis’s Brody, the centrifugal centre of all the action in ‘Homeland’ up until this point. Now, according to Entertainment Weekly among others, the new series will focus on Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in her new post in the Middle East heading up an intelligence station.

The third season, which finished in late December last year, came under a great deal of criticism for its slow pace, particularly to the hugely well-received first two seasons. It was overlooked in the nominations for Best Drama at the Emmys last time around when it had won the entire award on both previous occasions, which tells you something about how its reputation has fallen.

If the producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa get it right, though, ‘Homeland’ could be cited in the future as an example of how a show can cope in spite of the loss of a key actor.

‘Homeland’ returns to the UK on Channel 4 at 9pm on Sunday 12th October.

More: ‘Homeland’ actor James Rebhorn dies aged 65

Spoiler alert for all newcomers to the series – don’t scroll below if you don’t want to read the very brief synopsis of how we ended up in this state of affairs. For the rest of us, a little refresher on the story up until now.

Claire Danes
Claire Danes will reprise her role as Carrie Mathison for a fourth time

In the first season, after a great deal of ‘is he / isn’t he’, former prisoner of war Brody turned out to be a terrorist and hesitated at the last moment in an assassination attempt on the Vice President. In the second season, the focus was on the fallout of that attempt, where Carrie rumbles Brody and attempts to turn him into a double agent. That season climaxed with the destruction of the chief CIA building in a terrorist explosion that is blamed on Brody. The third season sees him captured, liberated and used by the CIA once more to carry out an assassination inside Iran, for which he is caught and hung.