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.
AIRED ON 5/13/2014
Season 3 : Episode 23