Having served in the British military attached to an American Special Forces unit during the Gulf War, Alex Cary was a natural for the job of writer and co-executive producer of “Homeland,” Showtime’s new domestic terror thriller starring Claire Danes as a CIA agent who suspects a returning POW is a brainwashed Al Qaeda operative.
“In terms of subject matter, it’s my wheelhouse,” says Cary, 48, who pushed hard to get on the show after reading the pilot. “I have strong opinions about soldiers returning from war and their struggles to reintegrate into family and country.”
But while his military experience informs his writing, it was his track record at penning quirky characters, sharp dialogue and hard-edged procedurals that closed the deal. After coming to the U.S. in 1997 and trying his hand at writing ad copy and travel stories, Cary landed his first job on “The Riches” (FX) after sample scripts made their way to the series’ producers.
From there, Cary racked up credits on USA’s “In Plain Sight” and Fox’s “Lie to Me,” where in 2009 he rose from story editor to executive producer and showrunner in one season. His strong suits, Cary believes, are his dialogue (“knowing what dialogue not to write”) and his characters, including women.
“I get the most pleasure writing very tricky and complex people,” he says, “then figuring out the puzzle of a story through their moves and behaviors.”
In “Homeland,” Cary will have his share of creative twists and turns to navigate. “This is a tense psychological thriller,” he says. “It has a kind of slow burn and could make for amazing television.”
Rising writers take biggest step
Alex Cary | Whitney Cummings | Lena Dunham | John Enbom | David Hudgins | Rolin Jones | Kyle Killen | Chris Provenzano | Emily Spivey | Hilary Winston