Washington, NC: Homeland Visits Raleigh for its Third Season Premiere

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The third season of Showtime’s award-winning series Homeland premiered on September 29. I sat down to watch the episode with Beth and about 15 minutes in I was struck by a strange sense of familiarity. No, it wasn’t the infamous Claire Danes “Cry Face” or the comforting bushiness of Saul “The Bear” Berenson’s beard. Instead, it was the scenery. For a show set in Washington, DC, one would expect the landmarks to be at least somewhat familiar. However, the monuments and locations I was seeing were not DC related. Homeland had decided to come to Raleigh.

It may not be common knowledge, but Homeland films on location in and around Charlotte, NC, which is a suitable (and less busy) stand-in for Washington, DC and the surrounding area. For the premiere, it appears the crew opted to let North Carolina’s capital stand in for the nation’s.

Since I work in downtown Raleigh, I decided to investigate the locations used by the series (I think they probably shot this episode while I was away for the summer). Below are my attempts to match up some shots from the show with the real-life sites. Obviously, this is probably way more exciting for me than it is for any of you, especially if you have never been to Raleigh, or if you have had another TV series or movie filmed in your town. This was fun, though, so back off! There are no major SPOILERS for the episode, but there are some screen shots and vague descriptions from the episode below.

When we first see Claire Danes’ character, Carrie Mathison, in the episode, she is being sworn in before a committee investigating the events of last season.

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She’s inside the North Carolina Supreme Court. Several nice pictures of the courtroom (including the one below) can be seen here, at the website for graphic designer April Rummage. All other non-Homeland shots were taken by yours truly.

Later in the episode (around the 32-minute mark), Carrie reenters the building to appear before the committee again. She and her attorney talk as they walk inside.

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They’re actually entering the Court of Appeals building, which is one block west of the Justice Building, where the Supreme Court is located.

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As they walk inside you get a view of a couple of Raleigh statues. The first is the monument to the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy (upper right corner).

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The second is the Thomas Ruffin Monument which is just inside the outer doors of the Court of Appeals building.

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Backing up a little bit in the episode (around the 11-minute mark), Carrie leaves the hearing and meets her attorney in a hallway that is ostensibly outside the chamber.

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They’ve actually been magically transported across Morgan Street into the north hall of the North Carolina Capitol Building.

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The plaque on the left edge of each image commemorates “The Revolutionary Governors of North Carolina.” If you have a keen eye (and an HD TV) you can even read “-th Carolina” on the plaque in the episode.

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As Carrie leaves the building, you can see the back of the North Carolina Veteran’s Monument through the north doors of the building.

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In a couple of shots of the attorney, after Carrie leaves, you can just barely see the foot of the George Washington statue in center of the Capitol. It’s up there in the top right corner. I mentioned this statue in one of my very first posts! Also, that security guard doesn’t stand there, she (if it’s the woman who was working when I visited) sits inside the front door.

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After Carrie leaves the building things get more exciting. She talks to Saul (Mandy Patinkin) on the phone as she walks the grounds of the Capitol.

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You can see the brick First Baptist Church (Wilmington Street) in the background.

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She walks away from the statue of Charles McIver and the Presidents North Carolina Gave the Nation statue, barely visible in the out-of-focus background.

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She passes the statue of Governor Zebulon Vance.

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Another difficult-to-spot, but telltale sign of NC is just above the planter in the center of each of the shots directly above. Can you make it out? It’s a sign for the Justice Building (where the Supreme Court actually is) that is shaped like the state of North Carolina.

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And here comes the grand finale. Carrie hangs up the phone and comes to a stop, looking down the street at the greatest symbol of the American government; a government for which she works, but also a government that is persecuting her: The United States Capitol Building.

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A little digital trickery cements the location for everyone watching. Everyone except folks familiar with Raleigh, who know that when you look south down Fayetteville Street from the Capitol Building, you don’t see another Capitol Building, you see the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

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And just for kicks, here’s the reverse view, so you can see the building they’ve been careful to leave out of the entire sequence.

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There you have it, Raleigh on Showtime, or, Washington, NC. You can bet I’ll be watching for any more glimpses of Raleigh in future episodes of Homeland, though I doubt I’ll document them as thoroughly as I did here. Let me know if you spotted anything I missed!

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2 thoughts on “Washington, NC: Homeland Visits Raleigh for its Third Season Premiere

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