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Homeland's Mandy Patinkin Calls Trump's Attacks on CIA 'a Contagion and Cancer'

Trump 'can't have it both ways,' the Saul Berenson actor said

Noelene Clark

Homeland star Mandy Patinkin slammed President Donald Trump's "war" on the intelligence community, calling it a "contagion and cancer" in a panel discussion hosted by Showtime on Monday.

Homeland, Showtime's spy thriller starring Claire Danes as CIA officer Carrie Mathison and Patinkin as her mentor, Saul Berenson, returns for its eighth and final season on Sunday, Feb. 9. Season 8 sees Saul, now a National Security Advisor for a newly inaugurated president, tasked with negotiating a peace deal in Afghanistan.

During the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Patinkin praised the dedication and patriotism of real-life intelligence officers, many of whom served as consultants on the show. He spoke of his "profound respect for their admissions of their mistakes and what they've done that they've been criticized for, and their global understanding that no one hears about all of the good things that they've done, how they sacrifice their lives."

Claire Danes and Andrea Deck, Homeland Season 8

Claire Danes and Andrea Deck, Homeland Season 8

Sifeddine Elamine, Showtime

Then, Patinkin went on to criticize the president for his verbal and Twitter attacks on the intelligence community.

"The irony of these past three years to watch this current administration and the contagion and cancer that affects our world globally, of going to war with the intelligence community ... and the cost of that war is just stellar, and you can't have it both ways," he said. "When you wake up in the morning, and you say in your tweet that we had imminent knowledge of an event that was going to take place, and that's why we did this, and in the same breath five minutes earlier or later, to say, 'That's from the intelligence community, but we choose to ignore intelligence about interfering with the elections in 2016.' That doesn't work."

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Patinkin also said he hoped that fans of the show would "use their minds" at the polls to vote for people who will work to end cycles of hatred and violence.

"My desire through us, our show, our storytellers, is a plea to people who watch Homeland all over the world to use not just their imaginations, an escape mechanism in watching it, but to use their minds in seeking out what they believe is the truth, as opposed to false information, so that when they go to the polls to elect their officials, they are voting for people who they believe will stop the killing, the hatred, and the violence, stop the conflicts and change the course of humanity, which is profoundly broken right now," he said.

Claire Danes as Carrie in Homeland Season 8

Claire Danes as Carrie in Homeland Season 8

Sifeddine Elamine, Showtime

It's perhaps more commentary on current events than the show itself will provide in its final season; Homeland executive producer Alex Gansa said that unlike previous seasons, Season 8 won't actively comment on today's headlines.

"We made a conscious effort this last season not to reflect and mirror what's happening in Washington, D.C.," Gansa said. "This season we really decided to focus on these two actors with these two characters and to tell the final chapter of that story."

Gansa said while he was sad to be ending the series, he was grateful for the opportunity to shape its ending.

"It was nice to control the destiny of something that feels uncontrollable right now," he said. "There's nothing that we can do to influence that, but we can make sense and order out of the story that we've told for the past eight seasons."

Homeland's final season premieres Sunday, Feb. 9 at 9/8c on Showtime.

Mandy Patinkin as Saul in Homeland Season 8

Mandy Patinkin as Saul in HomelandSeason 8

Sifeddine Elamine, Showtime

(TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)