If Carrie Mathison were a man, a single parent, and in the process of nailing Russian sabotage of the US government, no one would question his parenting performance, no one would raise an eyebrow that he hired help to care for his child, no one would insist he enter a mental hospital for 6 weeks or else forfeit custody of his child. Homeland knows this. Homeland is dramatizing this. Homeland is portraying female ambivalence about having a child and caring for a child with skillful nuance. It has done this since Carrie became pregnant. She does not care, foremost, about being a mother. She cares, foremost, about untangling puzzles and trapping spies, and she is not portrayed as a villain. She is bipolar and has exercised bad judgment along the way, but not about sabotage, not about threatening to kill the cyberstalker who came after her, not about lots of things that are separate from mental illness. On Homeland, not wanting, foremost, to care for a child is not a symptom of mental illness. Buying meds from the trunk of a dealer’s car may be.

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