The Machine has rebooted, the call has gone out - and it looks like one person is going to have a "24-hour ticket to mayhem." Will it be Reese, Root, Finch or someone else?
I recently spoke with Person of Interest series creator Jonathan Nolan, along with executive producer Greg Plageman, about the end game on Person of Interest Season 2, its recurring characters,and what's in store for the finale, "God Mode."
Read on for excerpts from our Q&A…
Did you always know that the Machine shutdown and hard reset was the game plan to close out Person of Interest Season 2?
Nolan: Yeah, we've been building towards this for a long time. Because this season has spent a little more time answering questions about Harold Finch that for us it dovetailed very nicely with this idea that there's a more aggressive evolution than last season taking place here with the Machine.
Plageman: We loved kind of the mystery of the relationship not just between Reese and Finch, who know each other a little bit better than they used to but maybe there are more secrets there, but we [also loved] the mystery of the relationship with the Machine and our characters too. So, we never fully walked away from it.
How do you determine which characters to bring back like Root and Shaw in "Zero Day"? Is there a process for that?
Nolan: Yeah, they don't suck. (laughs) Yeah, you know, we plan these stories out a long way in advance. Sometimes we run into issues with actor availability, and you've got to slide some pieces around, but we've been very lucky to work with what we think is the best cast on TV, best recurring characters on TV. They have really all enjoyed making the show and they love coming back. And we love having them back, so really it's been a great experience on that front.
It's been lucky for us because a lot of these actors are in high demand all over the place, but we've been able to build these long-haul stories and build confidently in these directions and execute them, which is great.
What do you think makes bringing Sam Shaw on important to the show as well as the team?
Nolan: Sarah [Shahi's] character for us is that there's always that lethality that's great fun and the idea that this is kind of a collection of strays from Reese to Finch to all of the characters looking for a bit of a home. Sarah is someone who Greg [Plageman] and I have long admired. She has a fantastic energy. We think she's a great addition to the team, but we never come at it quite that directly. Again, like all the characters on our show, she plays pretty hard to get. She's a hard person to get to know.
What's been your favorite thing about working on season two?
Nolan: I think the most fun is where we get into these arcs over a couple episodes and just keep expanding the story. It's just the idea that we have these outstanding recurring actors that we can come back to. I mean Amy Acker [who plays Root], Annie Parisse (even though she's dead now)[who played Kara], even Ken Leung [who plays Leon] keeps coming back too. It's so much fun where you start to get that many moving pieces out there that they just become different pieces on the board you can play with. That seems to be the most fun with the show.
Will we find out more about Decima in the finale or is that something for season three?
Nolan: I think Decima was pretty stymied in "Zero Day" by Root, Reese, Finch and Shaw, all kind of working in concert as a knockout combination. Decima is down but not out. We will see some more of them in season three.
Plageman: How bout Jonah's uncle [John Nolan playing Greer from Decima], huh? He's pretty great.
What can you tease about "God Mode?"
Nolan: It's that all access pass as the title implies. Of course, as we learned in the last episode, that's a 24-hour ticket to mayhem. It's one frenetic 24-hour episode that kind of changes things in some surprising ways. I think this season compared to last season where we ended things on a cliffhanger, this season is really about ending one chapter and beginning the next.
Tune in to find out what happens to Reese, Finch and the Machine on the wild-ride Person of Interest finale this Thursday, May 9, at 9/8c on CBS.