As if the empty seats in Person of Interest's Comic-Con panel weren't enough proof that this show is criminally misunderstood by the sci-fi crowd, when I first sat down in the press room, a fellow reporter asked the rest of our group, "So, have any of you actually seen this show?" Only two of us confirmed that yes, we watched one of the best network shows on television. This happened last year, too, and it still boggles my mind. Hey geekazoids! Person of Interest should fit into your viewing schedule like pepperoni in a Hot Pocket! But on the plus side, being surrounded by mostly clueless writers meant I got to ask more questions, so let's call it a wash, and I know that a lot of you out there feel as passionate about POI as I do.

One of my favorite people in the whole TV industry is Jonah Nolan, the creator of Person of Interest and co-writer of the Batman movies. The guy is crazy smart and on top of things, so I asked him to give his spiel on the whole NSA scandal, because he's the man who essentially predicted it. "Don't get me started, how much room do you have on that thing?" he said, looking at my voice recorder. "I'd be lying if I was saying we wouldn't gloat a little bit, even in light of what are sure to be massive constitutional violations and a winnowing of individual liberties in this country, but you have to gloat a little bit because we called it a few years ago. I read more than a few reviews [of Person of Interest] that questioned the believability of the franchise of the show. It's definitely still science-fiction, but the science-fiction part is that our machine actually works." He continued, "The big challenge [the government] still has left ahead of them is they have to make sense of [all the data], sorting through it all. And that's still the big science-fiction vibe of our show, the firmware, the upgrades, the software, the machines that can sort through it all and pick out the relevant pieces." 

Later, I asked executive producer and co-showrunner Greg Plageman to clarify the cryptic ending of the excellent Season 2 finale, when The Machine made three calls, including one unexpected reach-out to crazy lady Root. "When we resume at the beginning of [Season 3]—Finch handicapped [The Machine] to a degree, but it's still going to issue a relevant number, it's still going to issue an irrelevant number, but there's a third aspect of what it's trying to do, and I think that's going to be the fun of Season 3." He also clarified that Reese and Finch will still get the "irrelevant" numbers; Penn Six, Hersh, and the other government goons will still get the "relevant" numbers; and presumably Root will get this new set of data.

And speaking of Root, having Amy Acker join our table was a treat. Like her character, she's adorable and maybe just a teeny-tiny bit crazy. And she admitted that. "To me, that scene when we were in that office building and I found out that [Finch] had released the virus and was willing to sacrifice The Machine, that scene was... I was like, 'Why am I crying about a machine?'" she said. "I just really care about this machine!" She added, "As I talk I begin to think that maybe I'm the crazy one and not Root [laughs]. I really see The Machine as a good guy. It's saving people and doing all this good stuff, and when I watch the show I'm rooting for The Machine. I know [Root] is crazy and diabolical, and I know she's killed a lot of people, but maybe it's not for all the wrong reasons." SEE? I told you Acker's crazy! But when she talks, you still can't help but say, "Awwwww." 

Acker's POI counterpart Sarah Shahi, who plays badass female operative Samantha Shaw, said she's stoked to be on the show and isn't going anywhere soon. She's signed a four-year contract with the series, assuming it runs that long and Nolan and Plageman don't decide to kill her off. But how will the rogue Shaw fit into Season 3? "As of now, the way it's situated, in the season opener, I'm a member of the team. Not really a member, but an additional hand." Getting a little more specific, she added, "I know I'm going to be going undercover a lot this year. Another reason they wanted to bring me onto the show, they wanted another strong female dynamic on the show. I'm going to be going into the places that Reese can't go."

I know some of you out there might get a little worried that Shaw will be cramping Reese and Finch's style and interrupting their boys' club, but Shahi hopes fans will give her a shot. "A lot of the reviews, the fans really enjoyed that departure episode," she said in reference to "Relevance," the Shaw-centric installment that shook up the POI formula. "But there were also some people who were like, 'We want our team, we want Taraji and Fusco.' And rightfully so. Am I worried about [fans not liking Shaw invading the format]? I mean, yeah, there's definitely that element—I want to be protective of that. I don't want people to think that I'm not representing the show in the right light. But at the end of the day, there's not much I can do about that. My job is to tell the story the best way I know how with the highest degree of truth, and to represent the character as accurately as possible." 


MORE NOTES OF INTEREST:

– BIG SCOOP! [Sorta spoiler, so read at your own risk but it's not THAT crazy] Kevin Chapman, who plays Fusco, told us that when Season 3 starts, Detective Carter will be busted down to a patrolman for her actions at the end of Season 2. You know, when she saved Fusco's ass. THAT'S kind of a big deal, and it will really change the dynamic between the two.

– You may be wondering where the quotes from Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel are... well, we didn't get to spend much time with them, since they're big stars and all. And just like with The Machine, there a lot of relevant and irrelevant questions get asked in Comic-Con press rooms. During our time with Emerson and Caviezel, the irrelevant ones won. *Sigh*

– Caviezel was his typical reserved self, but he was put on the spot and asked if he'd be willing to take the Batman role in the new Zak Snyder Superman/Batman mashup. Caviezel wouldn't say—heck, he didn't even know that project was in the works. But he did note that new Superman Henry Cavill played his character's son in The Count of Monte Cristo, so if he played Batman, Superman would be Batman's son.

– Nolan said he does know the end of the show, down to the last shot, and "a lot of points along the way."

– Chapman handed out these really sweet stickers to a select few people (I was lucky to be one of them):

And later, guess where I found one? Right here:

Chapman got you, Caviezel! 

– In case you missed it, you can also check out my coverage of Person of Interest's panel. I mean, if you want to.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 6/21/2016

Season 5 : Episode 13

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I didn't know the show was that underrated. It's one of my absoulte favourites.
I like Shaw, i think she is a great character, she is though and Sarah Salihi plays her incredible. Same with Root.
I feel this is a luxurious problem, few, but some shows had before. They just can't stop making great characters you want to see more of. But by adding cast members you change the dynamics people came to love. Right now the cast is fairly limited in size, not small, but manageable and you get to spend a lot of time each episode with Finch, Fusco, Carter and Reese. And sometimes Leon will stop by. So as much as i love Shaw and Root and the actresses portraying them, I would rather have them in recurring roles than series regulars.
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How does the show do in the ratings?

If it has decent rating then it has fans and should have a good turn out at the panel. I'm confused on why it wasn't overflowing. I have to say I am biased since it is one of my favorite shows. Seriously though, any other thoughts of why it wasn't crowded? I can't believe people haven't heard of it--it's on a major channel (CBS and not bravo or sundance....) and I thought (not sure) it had decent ratings.

I don't think of it as traditional sci fi and consider it an action/crime-stopping show (like a cop show but where people who aren't with organized law enforcement agencies take the law into their own hands). I realize the Machine is the sci fi bit of it, but it's fairly realistic (kind of like how orphan black is considered sci fi but isn't traditional sci fi). By "traditional sci fi" I am thinking star trek and battle star galactic.... just my opinion.

Person of Interest is a FANTASTIC show. I'm so happy Shaw is a permanent character.
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I was at the panel and it was 90-95% full. I was sitting near the back and people were still coming in when the montage video was playing. Great article knowing Sarah is on for the long haul. Wonderful time and got to meet the cast at the signing. Everyone was lovely and talked to each of us as we got our posters signed.
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I wished I could have met Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. Just interested in how they are personality wise, what your impressions were.
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I met them at previous events (past comic cons and paley fest) and they are polar opposites personality wise but equally generous with their fans. I shook Jim's hands every time I've seen him and he's always been gracious, if somewhat bashful. He seems to be more comfortable in the background. Michael is very outgoing and we talked of their impending move to Tuesday Night. I said its a great lineup of shows on CBS that night and he agreed. He has a very wise demeanor and you have to respect that aura he has about him. Overall they and the whole cast was very friendly, and I must say Amy and Sarah in person are as pretty as you'd imagine them to be. Jim has competition in the looks department.
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Thank you for your response. I sent a fan letter to Jim. Wouldn't have imagined him being bashful. I look forward to the new season, and may there be more to come.
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got to say Tim, yep, being a syfy buff myself, mmmm...i dont see the connection to syfy here and as we saw in the trailer, POI in 2013 is way too close to reality dont you think??
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I can't believe the POI panel had empty seats! (Well, I can, since we all don't watch the exact same thing, but still.) I would've loved to have been in one of those empty seats, to see/meet the group, and to nab one of those nifty stickers.

I can't wait until season three!
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I am so insanely jealous of your Comic Con adventures, Tim. Great to have a little taste of what we're in for during the coming season - thank you for reporting. There isn't really a whole lot of PoI love at the cons... A friend and I cosplay Reese and Finch and no one ever recognizes us. So disappointing.
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Gay gun-toting commie liberals with wicked aim can't both watch and love POI? :: Razzleberry Popsicles to YOU bud ::
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I may have to buy this show on DVD, I haven't seen it yet, but I have been constantly debating if it is worth catching up...
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We saw the first few episodes and were hooked before our provider dropped CBS. (We're in the Bahamas.) I had season 1 and 2 shipped two weeks ago and have been powering through them because we just got CBS again and season 3 is starting next week. Yes, they are most definitely worth catching on DVD without the commercials. Like many have said here, it is one of the best shows on television; smartly written, layered storylines, intricate characterizations, humor, intrique, action, pathos. The only show where I am sometimes, literally on the edge of my seat. It's fantastic.
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This show is so great, I was actually doing a marathon from season 1 but towards the end of season 2 I didn't want to watch anymore because I know I'd have to wait a long time before season 3 starts! Did it anyway. This is not only sci-fi (which I love) but the storytelling of a machine mixed in detective affairs CSI style and a little pinch of Sopranos, it all just works and comes together brilliantly. Even though sometimes you're like, yeah right no way, that's the sci-fi part again! So you don't even have to have a 'logic' answer to everything :P I absolutely adore this show.
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Why was there no news on Bear?
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Because he wasn't giving interviews. :)
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Yeah, probably too busy with his bitches
Bitches be loving them some Bear!


oooooh i went all urban there
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Woof
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I really don't understand the under-appreciation of this show at Comic-Con. I figured the connection to Jonathon Nolan would have drawn in the Batman/comic-fans. This panel and such would have been right at the top of my list, and will be next year, should they have another one. It's awesome!
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I'm just a bit curious about the reported Person of Interest anime spin-off series. Does anyone have any new information about it?

Oh, and glad Amy Acker was upped to series regular. She's awesome. <3
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Oh, who wouldn't want to, Tim? Wish I coulda been there, but we only had the one day pass--not crowded, WTF?!? Were they all over at The Following or something ridiculous? POI is steady, but it not being a blockbuster is certainly a mystery--like why Human Target wasn't one...
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I LLLOOOOOVVVVEEEEEE POI and I am a nerd/geek/sci fi/fantasy/action fan and to me this is one of the few shows that covers most if not all of those bases but that aside I love good story telling and this show will always deliver that so I really dont get why more people (especialy with the above intrest) dont try watching it they wont be disapointed and on top of great plot points, general story lines, and character building, there is some real quality acting so give it a chance people those of us that have cant get enough
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Tim, no matter what anybody says about you as a critic, at least you've seen and love Person of Interest. I can't believe there were so many people there that haven't seen it. I hope you tried showing them the error of their way, so that they can fill that void in their soul.

I'm very excited to hear that there's going to be a third thing that the machine is trying to do besides giving off the numbers for relevant and irrelevant POIs. My guess, since it's free now, it will start trying to help the team out more. And that would let us see more of their personal lives in a natural way.

That, and the news about Carter only adds to what I said in the other article about the writers having some great new dynamics to play with this season. I just love how they're willing to mix things up so much, so that the show doesn't get too stale. I love the writers, I love the show, and I can't wait to see where they go from here. Hopefully it will keep going strong for several seasons.
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Squee! Shahi's likely around for past this season? YAY! I'm not entirely sure why because I really loved "Relevance" and REALLY love Shahi, but I'm glad she's concerning herself a bit about the possibility of turning some fans away by taking away from the original four.

Hehe. I like the Count of Monte Cristo reference Jim Caviezel made in regards to Cavill.
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I can not wait for the next season
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I think the biggest point i took from this, was Shahl signing a four year contract - this means the network has a lot of faith in the actual show and there will be a few more seasons (even with its new timeslot)
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You lucky lucky bastard :)
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When the hell are you getting to Breaking Bad?
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I stopped reading at "She's signed a four-year contract with the series". I love Sarah Shahi and I'll watch her do just about anything. Hell, I already loved this show, so this was just icing on the cake. Butter frosting, not the crappy sugar frosting.
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I'm insanely jealous that u got to be so close to Sarah and Amy. It would have been worth the hassle of getting to SDCC just for that. Lol that Amy is crazy IRL.
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Yup, I was thinking the same thing. Stories tend to talk about all the crowds at Comic Con. I hadn't expected to see word of an uncrowded event with them there to see what they are like IRL.
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Thanks for the notes - it sounds like season 3 should be GREAT!
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that is surprising, that few ppl know about that show! I love this show and it is it gets better and better...
I hope that the new season is even better and if it turns to be a terminator prequel i wouldn't mind :P I'll even be more happy

"Superman would be Batman's son" hilarious!

I don't like the new site layout
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This show is awesome! Now I kinda hope they'll deal with the real life NSA thing and use the public awareness hooblah as a plot point.
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Man, I love this show :)
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