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A Graffiti Artist Snuck A Harsh Jab At Homeland In The Background Of Season 5

"Homeland" took the threat of terrorism in a much different direction than viewers were used to. Developed by Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon of "24," the series left behind the action-heavy, pro-America storytelling style of their previous show for something far more nuanced and morally grey (via LA Times). The approach turned out to be a successful one as the series ran for 8 seasons on Showtime.

Following CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), "Homeland" begins with the agent suspecting that a returned prisoner of war has been turned into a mole for the enemy, but spins out to address all manner of terrorist crises from there. The series was also unique for featuring a main character who struggles with bipolar disorder, an affliction that occasionally made other characters and the audience question Carrie's perceptions of reality.

As the show focused heavily on the terrorist threat of extremists from the Middle East, though, "Homeland" was not without its critics and some were even clever enough to sneak their critiques right into the series.

Artists snuck criticisms against Homeland into the show

When three graffiti artists were hired to spray paint slogans onto the walls of a fictional refugee camp for the fifth season of "Homeland," they saw it as an opportunity to criticize the series and how it depicts people from the Middle East (via The Guardian).

"Given the series' reputation," they wrote, "we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others' political discontent with the series. It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself."

The artists went on to spray paint slogans of their own invention in the background of the series and since they were written in Arabic they were much more subtle and easy for the cast and crew of "Homeland" to miss. Messages included phrases like "Homeland is racist," "The situation is not to be trusted," and "This show does not represent the views of the artists."

It's easy to see why the artists were so upset with "Homeland" at the time, as negative portrayals and misleading news about Muslims and other minorities had led to a rise in hate crimes and discrimination following the 9/11 attacks (via Pew Research Center). Still, "Homeland" had never been shy about covering domestic terror threats, either.

Homeland had its own criticisms of the U.S. military

Notably, the first season of "Homeland" contains three American terrorists in the form of Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), Tom Walker (Chris Chalk), and Aileen Morgan (Marin Ireland). Though they are working with Al-Qaeda, these American terrorists are actually the main threat in Season 1 of "Homeland." Furthermore, as the series went on, "Homeland" began to shift heavily from Middle Eastern threats to other points of focus.

By the time Season 6 came around, the biggest threat in the series was domestic, with home-grown extremists being fuelled by an Alex Jones-like demagogue and government interests taking an active role in subverting the rise of a progressive female politician. To make matters even murkier, by the end of the series, the biggest dangers came from Israel and Russia.

Finally, "Homeland" was never shy about criticizing the American military or the many mistakes it made in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, as in Season 4 when false intelligence leads to a drone strike on a wedding. However, it's absolutely understandable that these details might not be enough to fend off criticisms of the series, particularly by those who are most affected by the negative portrayals of Muslims and immigrants in popular media.