Homecoming (TV series)
Title screen from the first episode
by Eli Horowitz
& Micah Bloomberg
|Directed by||Sam Esmail|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||John G. Lenic|
|Running time||24–37 minutes|
|Original network||Amazon Video|
|Original release||November 2, 2018– present|
Homecoming is an American psychological thriller web television series, based on the podcast of the same name created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, that premiered on November 2, 2018 on Amazon Video. The series was created by Horowitz and Bloomberg who also served as writers and executive produced alongside Sam Esmail, Chad Hamilton, Julia Roberts, Alex Blumberg, Matt Lieber, and Chris Gilibert. Esmail also directed every episode of the series, which stars Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, Stephan James, Shea Whigham, Alex Karpovsky, and Sissy Spacek.
Homecoming follows Heidi Bergman, a former caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a special purpose live-in facility run by the Geist Group. The purpose of the facility is ostensibly to help soldiers transition to civilian life but the reason they need this help is unclear. Years after leaving the facility, Bergman has started a new life, living with her mother and working as a waitress. When a U.S. Department of Defense auditor inquires as to why she left Homecoming, Bergman quickly realizes that she had been misled and that the true purpose of the facility had been kept from her all along.
Cast and characters
- Julia Roberts as Heidi Bergman, Walter's caseworker, who is employed at a secret government facility, the Homecoming Transitional Support Center.
- Bobby Cannavale as Colin Belfast, Heidi's supervisor.
- Stephan James as Walter Cruz, a young military veteran and client of the Homecoming facility who is eager to rejoin civilian life.
- Shea Whigham as Thomas Carrasco, a bureaucrat from the Department of Defense investigating the Homecoming Transitional Support Center.
- Alex Karpovsky as Craig, an employee at the Homecoming facility.
- Sissy Spacek as Ellen Bergman, Heidi's mother.
- Ayden Mayeri as Reina, the receptionist at the Homecoming Facility.
- Bill Stevenson as Abe
- Sam Marra as Javen
- Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Gloria Cruz, Walter's mother.
- Jeremy Allen White as Shrier, a former soldier from the same unit as Walter and now a fellow client at the Homecoming facility.
- Alden Ray as Maurice
- Henri Esteve as Abel
- Frankie Shaw as Dara
- Gwen Van Dam as Mrs. Trotter
- Brooke Bloom as Pam, Carrasco’s boss at the Department of Defense.
- Sydney Poitier Heartsong as Lydia Belfast, Colin's wife.
- Hong Chau as Audrey Temple, an assistant at Geist Emergent Group, Homecoming's parent company.
- Dermot Mulroney as Anthony, Heidi's boyfriend
- Marcus Henderson as Engel
- Jason Rogel as Cory
- Rafi Gavron as Rainey
- Jacob Pitts as AJ, who is exploring several new business ventures.
- Lewie Bartone as New Guy
- Kristof Konrad as Mr. Heidl
- Fran Kranz as Ron ("Helping"), Colin's boss at Geist Emergent Group.
- Caitlin Leahy as Kate ("Helping")
- Michael Hyatt as Evita ("Toys")
- Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as Ramon ("Protocol")
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Mandatory"||Sam Esmail||Eli Horowitz & Micah Bloomberg||November 2, 2018|
|In early 2018, Walter Cruz leaves the military after four tours of duty and volunteers for the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a new residential occupational program designed to assist ex-servicemen smoothly reintegrate into civilian life. He is introduced to his counselor, Heidi Bergman, one of the administrators at Homecoming. Colin, Heidi's demanding boss, pushes her to get the "data" on the program as soon as possible. In 2022, Heidi is living with her mother and working as a waitress when she is approached by Thomas Carrasco, an investigator from the Department of Defense, who tells her he is following up on an old complaint from an employee that Cruz was held there against his will. Heidi says she has no memory of him.|
|2||"Pineapple"||Sam Esmail||Eli Horowitz||November 2, 2018|
|Walter gamely follows the plan at Homecoming, including taking medication prescribed daily. His cynical friend Joseph Shrier, whom he served with, seems paranoid and is suspicious that they are there to get help. Since they arrived at Homecoming via a military flight that landed at a base, Shrier believes they may not even be in Florida, and he hasn't been swallowing the daily pills. Prompted by seeing a pineapple cobbler at a meal, Shrier suggests to Walter that they are being manipulated to think they are in Florida, and then gives a yelling rant in the dining room. In 2022, Thomas tracks down Walter's mother, Gloria Morisseau, who is also uncooperative but exhibits surprise when told that Heidi Bergman did not remember Walter. Thomas reports his findings to his superior.|
|3||"Optics"||Sam Esmail||David Wiener||November 2, 2018|
|In 2018, Shrier convinces Walter to wander outside the facility and then steals a van, where they drive around for hours before encountering anyone else. They stumble across a seemingly empty downtown, but they are convinced when they are told it is a retirement community. Shrier is expelled from Homecoming. Colin wants Walter gone as well, but Heidi is able to convince him it will look even better for the program if he is successful after initially experiencing disciplinary issues. In 2022, Heidi meets with her ex-boyfriend, Anthony, who reminds her how her devotion to her career — and her boss who called constantly — ended their relationship. Anthony is stunned when Heidi does not remember Colin. Despite being pressured to close the case, Thomas follows his hunch and continues to look into Homecoming. When reviewing records, he notices that Walter and Heidi left Homecoming on the same date, 15 May 2018, when Walter was expelled for violence and Heidi was hospitalized.|
|4||"Redwood"||Sam Esmail||Micah Bloomberg||November 2, 2018|
|In 2018, Walter is upset that Shrier was expelled and his belongings thrown away, including the harmonica that belonged to Lesky, who was part of their unit. Heidi retrieves the harmonica for Walter, who tells her how Lesky was killed by an IED after Walter assigned him to another vehicle. Walter speaks to his mother, who is concerned about him and how vague he is acting. In 2022, Thomas goes to Geist Group, which ran Homecoming, and talks to Colin, who says he doesn't remember Homecoming or Heidi Bergman. Heidi is shocked to learn she was hospitalized and is having significant memory gaps. She finds her old phone and sees she called Colin constantly. She calls Colin, who hangs up on her.|
|5||"Helping"||Sam Esmail||Cami Delavigne||November 2, 2018|
|In 2018, Heidi bonds with Walter through a series of mutual pranks. One involves Heidi's pens, stapler, and other items she obsessively neatly aligns parallel to each other on her desk; Walter moves them to random angles and leaves them for her to find that way. Another involves bringing into Heidi's office the loud pelican they hear outside, whose cries punctuate their sessions. Colin hears that Heidi returned the harmonica to Walter and forces her to review the purpose of Homecoming, which is to eradicate PTSD via medication "to delete the harmful responses to the traumatic memories." Colin lectures her for returning an object that will remind him of the memories they are trying to erase. In 2022, Thomas tracks down Shrier, who is exhibiting signs of mental decline. Shrier says he warned Walter about Heidi and that she knew everything. Colin goes to Tampa to try to intimidate Heidi at the diner, but is shocked and then relieved when she does not recognize him. He is alarmed when he sees Thomas' business card left in a jar on the counter.|
|6||"Toys"||Sam Esmail||Shannon Houston||November 2, 2018|
|In 2018, after not hearing from Walter for two weeks, Gloria contacts the VA, who informs her Homecoming is run by a contractor, Geist Emergent Group. Gloria is sure that Geist, which manufacturers household cleaners, has ulterior motives. She goes to Tampa and convinces him to leave. While packing, Walter confesses to Heidi he has feelings for her and decides to stay. As Gloria drives home, she calls the DOD hotline, pretending to be a Homecoming employee, and makes the anonymous complaint that Cruz is being held against his will. In 2022, Colin follows Heidi to the laundromat, where she still has no recollection of him, and flirts with her. He introduces himself as Hunter, a military contractor who just returned from Afghanistan and discovered his wife is leaving him. He takes her on a date and they sleep together. She confides that she thinks she did something wrong but doesn't know what it is.|
|7||"Test"||Sam Esmail||Eric Simonson||November 2, 2018|
|In 2018, in the fifth week of treatment, Heidi is shocked when Walter suddenly has no recollection of one of his funnier memories from service, a prank that he, Shrier and Lesky played on another serviceman. He also does not remember Lesky's death, which he detailed the previous week. Colin dismisses Heidi's alarm and lets it slip that the "success" of the medications means these soldiers will be able to be redeployed. In 2022, Thomas approaches Gloria, from whom he gets audio tapes of Walter's sessions with Heidi. Heidi is shocked to hear she sent the tapes to Gloria. She tells "Hunter" that she needs to go to Homecoming to find Colin, and he insists on accompanying her.|
|8||"Protocol"||Sam Esmail||Eli Horowitz||November 2, 2018|
|In 2022, Thomas' supervisor Pam chastises him for wasting time investigating Homecoming Protocol. Infuriated, he breaks into the Homecoming offices, which are closed for renovation. Meanwhile, Heidi and Colin explore an adjacent office building with the same layout, which she mistakes for her former place of business. Heidi realizes she has never been there before and feels even more lost. From the window of the other building, Thomas sees Heidi and Colin together. Just then Heidi hears the loud cry a pelican, bringing back her memory of Colin. She runs from him as Thomas chases them down. Colin insults and demeans Thomas, enraging Heidi, who pushes Colin into a fountain. Heidi leaves with Thomas.|
|9||"Work"||Sam Esmail||Micah Bloomberg||November 2, 2018|
|In 2022, Heidi tries to make sense of her role at Homecoming. Thomas escalates the complaint to the DOD Inspector General based upon what he has learned, but Pam calls Geist. In 2018, in week six, Heidi is upset when Walter talks excitedly about his redeployment and his hope that he will be reunited with Shrier (who was sent to a psychiatric facility), and Lesky, whose death has been erased from his memory. She takes him for another lunch at the cafeteria and joins him in eating, even though the food is loaded with the week-six high dosage of memory-erasing drugs.|
|10||"Stop"||Sam Esmail||Eli Horowitz & Micah Bloomberg||November 2, 2018|
|In 2018, Heidi takes her tapes of her sessions and leaves Homecoming after discharging Walter against Colin's wishes. Walter's extra dosage of Week 6 food leaves him incapacitated, and Heidi loses her memory. An employee at Homecoming falsifies records to claim that Walter was sent home for violent misconduct and that Heidi was hospitalized. In 2022, on being confronted about his altercation with Thomas at Homecoming and Thomas' escalation of the complaint, Colin panics, then suggests that Geist set Heidi up as a fall guy by claiming she was a rogue employee. His administrative assistant Audrey has now been appointed his new boss, and she informs Colin that he is the one who will be labeled the rogue employee. Heidi drives to Fish Camp, California, where Walter at age 17 had gone on a memorable road trip. In a diner, she sees Walter, and they speak for a few minutes. She sees he lives there happily and apparently doesn't remember her. However just after he leaves, Heidi looks down at her silverware and sees that Walter has moved her fork out of alignment with her knife and spoon, just as he used to in her office, and she looks out the window after him with a quizzical smile.|
On December 16, 2016, it was announced that Universal Cable Productions had won the rights to Gimlet Media's podcast Homecoming for producer Sam Esmail to develop as a television series. The series is set to be executive produced by Esmail, Chad Hamilton, Eli Horowitz, Micah Bloomberg, Alicia Van Couvering, Alex Blumberg, Matt Lieber, and Chris Giliberti. Production involved with the production were said to include Esmail Corp, Anonymous Content, and Gimlet Media. Universal reportedly managed to outbid other interested parties including Sony Pictures Television for Michelle MacLaren, 20th Century Fox Television for Matt Reeves and Michael De Luca, and TriStar Pictures for George Clooney and his Smoke House Pictures banner as a feature film.
On July 19, 2017, it was announced that Amazon Video had given the production a two-season straight-to-series order. It was also reported that Horowitz and Bloomberg would write the series and that Esmail would direct it. On July 20, 2018, it was announced that the series would premiere on November 2, 2018.
On June 5, 2017, it was announced that Julia Roberts was in talks for the series' female lead. On November 8, 2017, it was announced that Stephan James was cast in the series' male lead. Later that month, Bobby Cannavale joined the cast. On January 17, 2018, it was reported that Shea Whigham had been cast as a series regular. In March 2018, it was announced that Alex Karpovsky had joined the main cast, that Dermot Mulroney, Hong Chau, Jeremy Allen White, Sydney Poitier, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Brooke Bloom, Ayden Mayeri, Jacob Pitts, and Sissy Spacek had been cast in recurring roles, and that Fran Kranz would appear as a guest star.
Filming was slated to begin in Los Angeles in April 2018. Principal photography actually began in February 2018 at the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles where the production became the first project to shoot in Universal's newly constructed production facilities.
On June 29, 2018, a series of "first look" images from the series were released. On July 20, 2018, the first teaser trailer for the series debuted at San Diego Comic-Con and was subsequently released online. A promotional poster for the series was also released. On September 8, 2018, the second teaser trailer was released. On September 13, 2018, the first official trailer for the series was released. On October 22, 2018, the second official trailer for the series was released.
On September 7, 2018, the series held its world premiere during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival at the Ryerson Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The first four episodes of the series were screened as part of the festival's Primetime series of television screenings. On October 25, 2018, the series held its American premiere at the Regency Bruin Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, California. A screening of the first four episodes of the series took place during the event and those in attendance included Sam Esmail, Jennifer Salke, Julia Roberts, Stephan James, Dermot Mulroney, and Shea Whigham.
The series has been met with critical acclaim upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 99% approval rating with an average rating of 8.31 out of 10 based on 83 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "An impressive small-screen debut for Julia Roberts, Homecoming balances its haunting mystery with a frenetic sensibility that grips and doesn't let go." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 83 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."
Awards and nominations
|2019||Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||Homecoming||Pending|||
|Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Stephan James||Pending|
|Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Julia Roberts||Pending|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Drama Series||Homecoming||Pending|||
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Julia Roberts||Pending|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Shea Whigham||Pending|
|Satellite Awards||Best Miniseries||Homecoming||Pending|||
|Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Julia Roberts||Pending|
|Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Pending|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: New Series||Micah Bloomberg, Cami Delavigne, Eli Horowitz,
Shannon Houston, Eric Simonson, & David Wiener
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