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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Homeland, the spy thriller filmed in Charlotte, has been picked up for a second season, the Showtime cable network announced Wednesday.

Showtime said the series, starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin, has been given the go-ahead for a season two, consisting of 12 one-hour episodes. Homeland is Showtime's highest-rated first-year drama in the network's history, drawing 4.4 million viewers in its debut. Season two will begin production in spring 2012, the network said.

Charlotte was chosen as the site of filming because of low costs, tax breaks and its resemblance to suburban Washington, D.C., where the series is set. A house near SouthPark mall is the home of Lewis' character.

Homeland crews have also filmed in Mooresville, which doubled for a Mexican town, in Concord and Lake Norman.

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