“Homeland” has bipartisan fans in Congress and the White House, but executive producer Gideon Raff won’t be discussing twisted terror plots or giving away spoilers when he heads to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
“We are talking with congressmen and women about supporting the end of live tissue training in the military,” Raff — the man behind the Israeli series “Prisoners of War” that “Homeland” is based on — tells ITK in an exclusive interview. “This is a very cruel practice where in order to train doctors and medics in the army, you shoot and stab and burn goats and pigs and then let them be worked on.”
The production pro calls himself an animal activist and says, as a military vet himself, he has the “utmost concern” for servicemembers such as the ones portrayed on his shows.
“There’s a way to do [the training] which will actually benefit the army,” Raff says. “There are human simulators now. There are technologies that are proven to work better than live tissue training.”
Congress is currently considering the Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act, co-sponsored by Grijalva and Lieu, which would phase out the use of animals during military medical training exercises in favor of simulation methods.
While Raff lived in Washington for five years as a kid while his father worked for the Israeli Embassy, the briefing will mark the “Homeland” head and Israel native’s first trip to the Capitol. And Raff might encounter a few “Homeland” groupies while he’s in town. Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanTwo tax issues dividing Republicans on ObamaCare Ryan tries to save tax plan Rift in GOP threatens ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ohio) has called the Showtime political drama his favorite show, while President Obama is also among its VIP admirers.
“I’d love to meet anybody who likes my work,” Raff — who’s also behind FX’s “Tyrant” and the USA Network’s “Dig” — says with a chuckle.
But don’t chat Raff up hoping to get spoilers on “Homeland’s” sixth season. While he’s still an executive producer, Raff says he’s no longer involved in the day-to-day writing on the show.
Plots on the Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin-starring drama sometimes parallel real-life global terrorism scenarios and current events. So will the rollercoaster 2016 presidential race play a part in upcoming episodes?
“I truly have no idea,” laughs Raff, though he quickly adds, “What I can tell you is that ‘Homeland’ always has the advantage of being very close to the zeitgeist, so I can only hope that the sixth season will also touch on relative subjects as well.”
When asked if he hopes the next commander in chief will be as much of a “Homeland” devotee as the current president, Raff, who’s currently working on developing another espionage thriller, replies, “I’m hoping the next president will be as big a fan of my new shows!”
And he has an idea of who he wants that next president to be. “I’m a Hillary guy,” Raff, who became an American citizen last year, says. Noting his politics are personal and separate from his role at “Homeland,” Raff calls the Democratic presidential candidate's résumé “so rich” and says, “I’ll be proud to vote for her in my first election.”
If Clinton wins, Raff is in luck in terms of having another “Homeland” fan occupy the Oval Office. In emails from her time as secretary of State released last year, Clinton asks an aide to tell her Showtime’s channel number in Washington.
In a follow-up note, Clinton said she needed the information because “I want to watch ‘Homeland.’”