In the Showtime television series Homeland, lead character Carrie Matheson (played by Claire Danes) is a CIA agent who is a talented and persuasive investigator, but is also self-destructive and sometimes lets her emotions get the best of her (who doesn’t?).
This dual-sided character is complex—she’s highly intelligent, yet overly emotional; passionate about her work, but over-invested in her investigative subject (especially in season one); candid and honest yet agonizingly unstable.
Her complexities are part of what make Carrie such a fascinating character. There are so many actions she’s taken throughout the series that have caused me to shake my head and give her a side-eye look; however, she does have some truly impressive characteristics many of us can learn from:
1. Carrie has an amazing mentor in Saul, a more senior member of the team. His mentorship is evoked in many ways. It’s evident that he truly cares about her well being. Saul advises her professionally (and personally, when necessary), and listens to her career frustrations. Lesson Learned: Find someone who is a great mentor. This should be someone to whom you can turn for professional guidance and who inspires you in some way.
2. Carrie is passionate, pouring her heart and soul into all her tasks, with no regrets. Lesson Learned: Give everything your all. If you’re passionate about something, the odds are in your favor that you’ll become good at it. You’ll enjoy what you’re doing and you’ll want to practice it more. Believe in your actions and fully commit to your tasks.
3. Carrie knows and trusts her gut. She fights with her boss—even all the way up the ranks to David Estes—when she feels her gut is telling her what’s right. This instinct has helped her in many ways (spoiler alert)—even to the point of finding Abu Nazir, himself. Lesson Learned: Get to know yourself well and trust your gut—it is a powerful part of you.
Carrie may be one of the most complex characters on television today—she is truly gifted and hard-working, and she so desperately wants to serve her country; at the same time, she makes some immoral decisions that cause many to question her judgment. No matter your opinion of her, I think we can all agree that there are many aspects to her character that we can all learn from.