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Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy make last 'Homeland' season a family affair

Hugh Dancy, playing presidential foreign policy adviser  John Zabel, made his first appearance Sunday on Showtime's 'Homeland.' His wife, Claire Danes, plays the drama's central character.

CIA super-agent Carrie Mathison is often all by herself on “Homeland,” but the Showtime series is a family affair for star Claire Danes.

Danes, who won two Emmys for her portrayal of a heroic operative who has bipolar disorder, is raising the togetherness level in the eighth and final season of the spy thriller (Sundays at 9 EDT/PDT) as her husband, Hugh Dancy, joins the cast for a multi-episode arc. 

Dancy made his first appearance in Sunday’s episode as John Zabel, a hawkish presidential adviser who advocates “an eye for an eye approach” to foreign policy in his debut. He’s an opponent of Carrie’s mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). 

Dancy’s “Homeland” presence makes sense beyond his acting résumé, which includes “Late Night,” “The Path” and “Hannibal.” It also helps with the care of the couple’s two sons, Cyrus, 7, and 17-month-old Rowan.

“Rowan was 5 months old when we started filming (the final season), so we really needed to be together. And we kind of made that promise,” Danes says in an interview before the start of the final season. “He’s an excellent actor, but the proximity didn’t hurt. (Producers) knew he would do a fantastic job with it and he’s already in our ‘Homeland’ family.”

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Danes and Dancy don’t share any scenes, but that offered a benefit during filming.

“That was fun, because when he was working, by definition, I wasn’t, so I would go and visit him on his set. It was enjoyably strange,” she says. “It was such a gift to be able to share the show with him as directly as that and to have him learn about it from the inside out.”

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