Hundreds of thousands of copies of the premiere episode have been downloaded over various BitTorrent networks over the past 24 hours.
Showtime declined to comment.
The circulating copy resembles the screener handed to critics at July’s Television Critics Association event in Los Angeles. The version in question is missing both the opening credits and a few special effects.
The leak could cut both ways for Showtime, depending on your view of piracy. While the early sampling could conceivably eat into the audience that might otherwise subscribe to Showtime, another school of thought dictates that such a sneak peek has promotional power, spreading the word in advance of the premiere.
Last month, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes suggested he was actually glad to see “Game of Thrones” get pirated for exactly the latter reason.
“Homeland” is produced by Fox 21, a division of 20th Century Fox TV.