After US drama Homeland, shown here on Channel 4, was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Drama category for its first two series, it was hard for series co-creator Alex Gansa to see it lose out this year.

And it was also hard to take the criticism directed at the spy drama’s third series, Alex told a meeting of TV critics in Beverly Hills.

“It’s hard for us to view what we’ve done objectively. I don’t know how you say it’s not among the best shows on television,” Alex said.

“The criticism hurt. The lack of an Emmy nomination hurt, but we’re going to come back strong.”

Reporters provided scant consolation as they pressed Alex and fellow producers about the last series’ plot twists, including whether the character of Brody (Damian Lewis), originally intended for a single series, overstayed his welcome with another two.

Producers wanted to focus on series four, but were careful about revealing any details. It is being filmed in South Africa, which is standing in for Pakistan for both security and production reasons.

CIA intelligence officer Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, is back in the field, with her bipolar disorder under control. She’s trying to recruit a new character played by Suraj Sharma of Life Of Pi.

Carrie’s former CIA boss, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), is doing independent contracting and gets embroiled in an “intelligence complication”, the producers said.

How the show will deal with the death earlier this year of actor James Rebhorn, 65, who played Carrie’s father and care-giver for her baby, was not disclosed.

The drama’s focus remains “the private and public costs of keeping America safe”, Alex said, and what it demands of those in intelligence who are “left to pick up the pieces” post-war after US troops withdraw.

The decision to focus on Pakistan in a world of hotspots came after talks with current and former US State Department and CIA insiders, executive producer Alexander Cary said.

How do they view the show?

“Mostly we’re told we don’t get the letter always perfect, but we get the spirit right,” Alex said.

Homeland was not entirely shut out of the nominations for the Emmys on August 25, however, with, acting nods for Claire in the Best Actress in a Drama Series field and Mandy in the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series group.

Homeland, Channel 4, returns in 2015.

Click here for details of Emmy nominations for Downton Abbey and Sherlock