Mad Men won the Emmy for oustanding drama series each of its first four seasons. But not this year. Homeland nearly swept the major drama categories, winning, in addition to outstanding series, the writing, lead actress (Claire Danes), and lead actor (Damian Lewis) awards. Best director for a drama series went to Tim Van Patten for Boardwalk Empire, while best supporting actor and actress went to Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), respectively.
Homeland not only ended the run of Mad Men in Oustanding Drama Series, the show also, thanks to Damian Lewis, ended the run of Bryan Cranston, who had won the best actor award the last three times he had been eligible.
While the awards for Homeland reflected the widespread acclaim that show won in its first season, the comedy prizes once again went to Emmy favorite Modern Family, which was up against critical darlings like Louie and Girls. (Another critical darling, Parks and Recreation, was not nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series.) Modern Family won for best series, it won both the supporting acting categories, and it also won for direction. Jon Cryer won best actor for Two and a Half Men, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus won best actress for Veep. Louis C.K. did win for best writing (and he won another writing award in the variety show category, for his recent comedy special).