Claire Danes and Damian Lewis

LOS ANGELES -- Where in the world is Nicholas Brody? Fans of "Homeland," which returns Sept. 29 on Showtime, may be disappointed to learn that Emmy winner Damian Lewis doesn't appear in the first two episodes of the acclaimed series.

That's because his character, Brody, is in hiding after the horrendous explosion that wiped out much of the CIA -- and he's the number-one suspect. Producers refuse to say when he'll return, but based on clips and his presence at the TV Critics press tour on Monday, he'll clearly be a major part of the storyline.

In the meantime, Claire Danes, who plays the CIA agent/love interest, says that because her character has gone into isolation, she's missed working steadily with both Lewis and Mandy Patinkin.

"I've been feeling a little lonely as Claire the actress," Danes said.

Executive producer Alex Gansa says there may be some backlash from the lack of Brody in early episodes, but "that's out of our hands."

Due to the explosion, Mandy Patinkin's character is now director of CIA and he's not sure how to handle that, Gansa said.

"He finds himself having to make decisions he's not comfortable making," he said. "He's fearful he may end up being the last director of the CIA."

Like the cast and producers, I don't want to give too much away, but we can say that Danes' character is off her meds -- with the expected results.

"She's not great on her meds and she's even worse without them," Danes said.

On a lighter note, Danes said she was flattered by Anne Hathaway's hilarious impression of her on "Saturday Night Live."

"Being parodied means we're relevant, we're in the zeitgeist," she said. "It's cool enough to be made fun of."

Danes said Hathaway was nervous about the bit.

"I'm friendly with Anne," she said. "I was in Canada and I kept getting a series of texts from her. 'Hi, ummm. I'm hosting Saturday Night Live' I hope we can remain friends.' Then she sent me a bouquet of flowers. This was all before it even aired."


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