For a show about the CIA, important episodes of Showtime's Homeland leak with an alarming regularity. This season the premiere and the finale both made their way online earlier than intended.
At some point over the last 24 hours, Homeland's hotly-anticipated season three finale, "The Star," hit file-sharing and torrent sites, in high-definition, no less. Impatient Mandy Patinkin fans already have downloaded the episode thousands of times, and spoiler-heavy debates have already begun in certain corners of the Internet. The episode isn't set to air on Showtime until Sunday, December 15 — so the season's most important episode appeared online at least a full day ahead of its scheduled release.
In music, albums leak all the time. In television a leak is much more rare. But Homeland, a show about spies and top secret CIA operations, can't seem to keep its episodes under wraps. The season three premiere leaked a full month ahead of its air date, and pirates downloaded that episode more than 100,000 times in its first few hours online. The leaked finale, which is expected to provide final answers about the fate of Nicholas Brody, the politician-turned-terrorist-turned-??????, can probably expect similar numbers. (A non-spoiler spoiler: Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor, who play Jessica and Dana Brody, have been downgraded to guest stars for season four.)
How this episode made its way online remains a mystery. Clues about the leaked season premiere pointed towards screeners given out at a critical junket over the summer, because the episode's editing was unfinished — it lacked proper opening credits. The leaked finale appears to be a polished final product.
Wether or not Homeland fans should rush and download the episode is unclear. Downloading TV is illegal, so there's a moral question at hand, and I am not a Homeland fan, so I can only tell you it's out there if you want it. But on a weekend when so much of North America seems to be suffering from horrendously cold weather, staying in with a warm meal, a blanket and an episode of good-to-decent-to-occasionally-great TV doesn't sound so bad. Just maybe don't tell the feds what you're watching.
If you want the episode that badly, you'll have to find it on your own, though.