When New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke today about the email bomb threats against schools in the country’s two biggest cities that shut down all Los Angeles public schools, he semi-seriously described the potential suspect based on what they’d written in the email. “In reviewing it, the instigator of the threat may be a Homeland fan, basically watching Homeland episodes,” he said in dismissing the threat as a hoax that may have been influenced by the Showtime series. “It mirrors a lot of recent episodes on Homeland.”
The parallel received more context as further details emerged. According to multiple reports, the threatening email originated from Germany, which is the setting for Homeland this season. One of the show’s main topics this year had been cyber-terrorism, which was involved in today’s incident. Additionally, the threat to LA schools by “extremist Muslim jihadist” as described by California Rep. Brad Sherman — who cited possible bombs in backpacks, nerve agents and as many as 32 accomplices in the threatened attacks – was very similar to what was featured on Homeland this past week. (Another CA Congressman, Rep. Adam Schiff, later acknowledged that the threat appears to have been a hoax.)
Homeland already was singled out for its December 6 episode, in which a dialogue between Saul and Dar debating the terrorist threat by ISIS virtually mirrored what President Barack Obama said in his address to the nation that night. (One of the lines from the show, “Our only leverage is boots on the ground, and there’s no bigger proponent of an American invasion than the Islamic State.”)
The deadly Paris attacks thrust Homeland into the spotlight. Originally met with skepticism over the decision to move the focus from the Middle East and Pakistan to Western Europe in Season 5, the show’s plotline of an ISIS terror cell planning a major attack in a European capital, Berlin, by smuggling weapons from Syria through the European Union’s porous borders suddenly became incredibly relevant.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, Quinn’s speech from the season premiere about the lack of U.S. strategy against ISIS went viral, reflecting the frustration of many with the government’s hands-off approach while ISIS was growing stronger and more confident. Watch Quinn’s speec below.
Homeland was in the middle of filming its Season 5 finale in Berlin when the Paris massacre occurred. That Season 5 finale airs Sunday, capping a season that played almost like a current-events documentary.