'Homeland's' Navid Negahban talks Abu Nazir, backlash and 'history-making' Season 2 finale
"It will be something you have never seen before," says Negahban, whose character was killed in Sunday night's "In Memoriam."
Negahban has made history himself as one of TV's most terrifying villains -- a terrorist so formidable that he called Osama bin Laden a coward.
Although Abu Nazir's death isn't a huge surprise, that didn't make his exit any easier for the actor, who got the bad news at the Season 2 premiere.
"I sensed that everyone was kind of shying away from me and trying to avoid eye contact," he recounts with a laugh. "I knew that something was cooking there. So I [asked showrunner] Alex Gansa, 'Do I have to look for a job for next season?' [And he said], 'Who told you that?! Who talked to you?!' You could say he was pained to tell me. That was very nice. I really enjoyed working with these guys and had a great time."
"Homeland" has been criticized for a number of missteps and implausible scenarios -- with many complaining specifically about Brody's ( Damian Lewis) panicked Blackberry videoconference with Nazir. Negahban offers this rebuttal:
"I think Abu gets more involved with new technology being developed in the Middle East and brought that technology to America -- so everything's possible," he insists with a laugh.
In all seriousness, says the actor, "I don't think the videoconference or monitoring the call or tracking Brody was as important as what the message was. The question the show was raising wasn't [these issues] -- the point was to go deeper and deeper into the conflict.
"Sometimes you take creative license to tell the story and make a bigger point. I'm so happy the audience is so invested that they are picking on every detail. It means they are paying attention and you've done something."
He's particularly glad that viewers noticed the fact that only Abu Nazir refers to Brody by his first name. "The way that they connected -- the transformation of Brody to Nicholas for Abu -- was re-creating a child and raising the child, or younger brother," he muses.
"Brody was stripped down from all the emotions and the feelings and put back together. That's where 'Nicholas' comes from. Nicholas comes without any kind of title, any kind of assumptions, it's just pure Nicholas ... it's who he is."
And his intimate address made for a gasp-worthy scene when the two men reunited for the first time this season.
"When they reconnect with each other ... I was trying to reunite with somebody who disappointed me but at the same time is very precious to me. I was very happy with that scene. The connection, the look on his face, the way Damian reacts to the moment, it was very powerful."
"There are moments when I'm dissecting this character -- with so many layers, so complex -- and I'm saying, 'Wow, that was a dream role.' Abu is any actor's dream role."
"I wish there was a song for Abu like 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina': 'Don't Cry for Me America.' Abu, Abu, Abu. I'm going to miss him."
The CIA sure isn't going to miss him, right? "You never know -- let's see what's going to happen," he says coyly. "The season's not over yet. Something's going to come up."
Negahban has one last request of viewers: "Don't TiVo the season finale -- watch it [live].
"There's no way people can keep their mouths shut after the show airs," he explains. "So you're going to have spoilers all over the world -- everybody's going to be talking about it. So watch the show as it airs if you really want the impact."
Are you going to miss Abu Nazir? Any guesses about the shocking conclusion?
Season 2 of "Homeland" concludes Sunday, Dec. 16 at 10 p.m. on Showtime.