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NEW YORK (AP) - The climactic season finale of Showtime's "Homeland" has recorded some of the drama's best viewership numbers.

The Nielsen company says 2.4 million people watched the end to the show's third season in the episode's first run Sunday night, with the total reaching 2.9 million when the night's two reruns are added in. Those are the highest-ever first night numbers for "Homeland."

Showtime will air the episode twice more this week. Between the multiple showings, time shifting and on-demand viewing, generally about 7 million people watch a new "Homeland" episode each week.

That's why Showtime's news release on the ratings didn't mention the plot twist - stop reading now if you don't want to know it - of killing off one of the lead characters, Nicholas Brody, played by Damian Lewis.

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