Trivia Tuesday: What’s with the name Brody?


“Why does Jessica Brody call her husband by his last name?”

Believe it or not, this is one of the most commonly asked questions by Homeland as well as Damian Lewis fans.

And it’s not just that fans are curious about the reason behind Jessica calling her husband by his last name but also they are quite opinionated about it. Some find it sweet, some find it weird, some find it inexplicable and I have even seen some finding it distasteful 🙂 But whatever the reason is, it is what it is. He is Brody and not Nick for us 🙂 If you think about it, the only people in the show that call Brody as Nick are the Waldens and the only person that calls him as Nicholas is Abu Nazir. All dead.

So, yeah, why does Jessica Brody call her husband Brody rather than Nick?


I have done a bit of research and I am happy to report that this question has been repeatedly asked and answered by all relevant parties in one form or another over the years!

source: New York Times
source: New York Times

Let’s start with a fan asking “”Why would Nick Brody’s wife always call him by his last name?” to the show creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon in a written New York Times Q&A:

Howard Gordon: “It’s something that’s been in their relationship from the very beginning and speaks to the love between them. We’ve heard from many military families, and it’s not that uncommon a practice.”


Then Elle magazine asks Morena Baccarin who portrays Jessica Brody in the show: “Why does your character call her husband by his last name?”

Baccarin: “I think it’s a military thing. They get used to calling them by their last name. They get used to the sound of it.”

source: showtime
source: showtime

And, finally, Damian Lewis gets the same question in an interview with New York Times: “Why does the wife call him Brody?”

Lewis: [Laughs] “Morena’s been asking that all season. Why don’t I call him Nick? I’m a boarding-school-educated Brit so people have been calling me by my last name forever. So it doesn’t seem that weird to me. I think the writers see it as a term of endearment.”

Haha so it’s not just the fans but even a cast member has constantly been asking this question… And all answers point to two things: “a military thing” and a “term of endearment.”

At the end of the day, Brody is a pet name for my most beloved fictional character ever 🙂

Having said that, the more interesting trivia about the name Brody is how the name  got more popular as a baby name thanks to Nicholas BrodySo, I don’t know about you, but it turns out more than a few parents name their babies after Brody!

The Independent reports: “From Homeland, the name Brody was up by 40 per cent and entered the top 100 for the first time (despite actually being the surname of the lead male character played by Damian Lewis). The names of the show’s female characters also shot up, with Carrie and Dana rising by 200 per cent and 66 percent respectively.”

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Well… Well… Well… As JaniaJania blogged earlier here and here, Nicholas Brody is not a hero. Some may call him a terrorist and other may call him a victim, but at the end of the day, he’s damaged goods. We see him killing, at least, Hamid, Tom Walker, the Gettysburg tailor, and Vice President Walden… Am I missing anyone? Oh, and he wore that vest, too!

So what can explain the boost in the popularity of Brody as a baby name?

My two cents would be what Damian Lewis has recently and rightly called “the new world of TV” at New Yorker Festival: “…there is this novelistic form of storytelling in these 12 hour seasons… it’s a place where characters are now riddled with ambiguity. So everyone is an anti-hero. Every villain has a likable side to him and every hero is compromised in some way. This is what makes TV so exciting at the moment. There is no Gary Cooper anymore or you know some bald guy stroking a cat. It’s more complicated than that.”

source: Showtime

Yes, it’s much more complicated than that! And it seems to me, we, as flawed human beings, seem to identify more with flawed, vulnerable, or compromised characters who feel much more real than the super heroes… And, Brody is no exception. You know all about him, what he’s done and what he could have done in that bunker and you just can’t help like him and even root for him… It’s standing ovation for Damian Lewis whose magic touch makes Brody’s pain feel so real that  you just want to cuddle him and tell him everything will be alright — at least I do — and then go and name your kid after him 🙂

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

6 thoughts on “Trivia Tuesday: What’s with the name Brody?”

  1. I have commented on this elsewhere, several years ago. As an Army wife, I was quite accustomed to hearing men being called by their last names so that thought should ring true for Jessica and Brody…….but…. they were married before he went in the Marine Corp. So that reason doesn’t hold water.

    1. Thank you, Connie. This is very interesting. I thought one had to go to some kind of military academy before being a Marine so it would take years to become one. That’s why I thought Brody went to military school and so he was in that culture of being called by their last names even though he joined the Marines later.

      1. Brody was an enlisted man, so it is assumed he enlisted in the Marine Corp and went through boot camp. No military school necessary. I think I recall from an interview with Damian that he said Brody supposedly joined up after 9/11, but I could be wrong in that. Have also forgotten the time between him joining the Corp and being captured, but seems to me it was relatively short. I do remember thinking at the time that he made the rank of sergeant more quickly than would actually happen. Of course the writers were certainly free to use cinematic license to deviate from the usual and there are several ranks of sergeant. Perhaps someone more familiar with the Marine Corp could either verify or correct me on this. But you can see that I am more comfortable with the subject matter of “Homeland” than of “Billions”.

        1. Thank you – I did not know one could join the Marine Corp without going to military school first. I think you are also right that the time between Brody being enlisted and being captured in Iraq was quite short. I am sure they used some discretion in Brody’s promotion to sergeant, maybe to demonstrate he was an extremely good Marine, which is fine in fiction, but of course who knows about such things will raise an eyebrow. Oh yes you are very comfortable with subject matter of Homeland!

  2. Did they ever address if Brody was, perhaps, a junior? Maybe he was called Brody, starting in his family, as a way to be told apart from Nicholas senior?? Or possibly, he was an athlete and earned it that way? I dated a guy named Aaron in high school, but lots of his soccer friends called him Morgan, which was his last name.

    1. No, I don’t think we ever heard about his dad except for him being a soldier as well. And his granddad, too. That is why I am still thinking — and also because the show creators say the same thing — it should be something about growing up in a military family. But yeah, they use last names with athletes, and apparently also with British boarding school kids 🙂

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