Our new cover story investigates the TV shows that come closest to depicting the truth of Washington. But one of the most blatant offenders is Showtime's "Homeland." "Homeland" wasn't filmed in Washington. Instead, it was filmed in a shoddy simulacrum of Washington: Charlotte, North Carolina, since the latter was less expensive and logistically complicated. And partly as result, it has given us some pretty egregious distortions of the real DC.
FARRAGUT SQUARE IS NOT FARRAGUT SQUARE
A dramatic season one episode of Homeland was set in "Farragut Square," as we were told repeatedly. But it could not have looked less like Farragut Square. For one, it had a fountain. And there was no iconic statue of David Farragut in sight.
DC HAS SKYSCRAPERS
In one episode, police shut down many blocks around the State Department. As Megan McArdle wrote in the Atlantic, this is an action that would have required shutting down two bridges and a big portion of the Mall. The show also put a sniper on what seemed to be at least the 20th floor of a building in a city that has a 12-story limit for its downtown structures.
CONGRESSMEN TEXT TERRORISTS FROM THE SITUATION ROOM
Vice President Walden, with no security hurdles, ushers Brody into the situation room. Furthermore, Brody is able to bring in his BlackBerry and send an entirely unsneaky text to alert Abu Nazir of imminent danger.
THE CIA SKYPES
In a weird bit of product placement, the CIA uses Skype to communicate.
Also, Brody skypes Abu Nazir on a BlackBerry. BlackBerries don't Skype.