The Showtime CIA drama, which ends Sunday, has always been strongly relevant. "It was obsessed with online Russian propaganda and right-wing chaos-makers just as the nation began to see (and ignore) the strings attached to so many puppets," says Hank Stuever. He adds: "For all his scrapes, personal losses and ridiculously close calls, Jack Bauer, the gruff and personality-challenged counterterrorism agent played by Kiefer Sutherland on the Fox network hit 24, had it relatively easy compared with Carrie Mathison, the resilient but often deeply compromised (and, as it happened, bipolar) CIA agent played by Claire Danes on Showtime’s Homeland, which ends Sunday after a consistently impressive eight-season run. Jack and Carrie came to separately represent the pressing global crises of their times. 24 premiered weeks after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and the responding drums of war, at a moment where it could have been perceived as either wildly inappropriate (it opened with a woman setting off a bomb on an airliner) or topically spot-on. American viewers found they were able to project a lot of their anxieties about national security onto the show, which functioned as a one-hour, adrenaline-soaked workout, expressed in increasingly contorted (and less plausible) plot points. Catharsis was harder to come by in Homeland, but that made it a far better and more relevant show. The defeats suffered by its characters (mainly Claire Danes as Carrie and Mandy Patinkin as Carrie’s mentor, intelligence adviser Saul Berenson) made Homeland more believable, as the 21st century’s real-life war against terror dragged endlessly on." ALSO: Five lingering questions for Carrie's last mission.