Fall TV Preview: Person of Interest Sheds Light on the Team's 'Silent Partner' and Finch's Dark Past

While it was fun and all when Number Five came alive back in 1986, CBS’ Person of Interest will breathe life into a far more bad-ass piece of nuts and bolts when The Machine “partners up” with Reese (played by Jim Caviezel) in Season 2, premiering Thursday at 9/8c.

Also on tap for the sophomore run of last season’s most watched new drama: A peek into the mysterious past of Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) and a look at what makes Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson) tick. Here, executive producers Jonathan (“Jonah”) Nolan and Greg Plageman lay out their game plan.

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TVLINE | As you reflected on the first season, were there any adjustments that you made for Season 2? Or do you think the show pretty much nailed it by the second half of Season 1?
JONAH NOLAN | Good question. This is my first go-round on TV, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, but there’s a whole bunch of learning you do on the job. You find characters you like, you find actors you like to work with, it’s kind of a moving target. What do you think, Greg? I feel like we found our rhythm by the end of the season.
GREG PLAGEMAN | Yeah, the nice thing about working with [Jonah] is you never want to feel like you totally nailed it; you want to keep changing and evolving the show. There’s always the danger of falling into a rut and feeling formulaic, and we’ve tried to shy away from that. What we have found is a nice chemistry between our characters that works, but we always reserve the right to surprise the viewers with a twist or a killing.
NOLAN | The show has kind of a natural franchise built into it – Finch says in the pilot, “The numbers never stop coming.” But within that we love mixing it up.

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TVLINE | Speaking of the numbers, are there any new wrinkles you’ll be serving up with the POIs? In Season 1, for example, there was the baby….
NOLAN | [Laughs] I still can’t believe we got away with the baby one. People loved that. Our writers delight in coming in with fresh wrinkles — not just in terms of who constitutes a POI, but finding new ways to reinvent the entry point for a story. There’s what you think you’re looking at, and what it turns into.
PLAGEMAN | With the [Season 2] premiere, Jonah and Denise [Thé] found a very novel, interesting way to present the number in the absence of Finch. We’ve always sort of wondered how it was that Finch got the numbers, how the Machine distributed them, and what happens when he’s gone. And if the numbers never stop coming, if people are still being murdered, who does the Machine turn to? That’s answered.

TVLINE | It’s not pneumatic tubes, like at the bank teller?
PLAGEMAN | [Laughs] We thought about that!
NOLAN | One thing we love on the show is the collision of old and new technology. That’s why our two heroes hide out in an abandoned, de-funded library. So pneumatic tubes? Yeah, love that. But it turns out it has to do with payphones, which are almost the 21st-century version of pneumatic tubes. They still have them in New York, but I don’t think anyone knows who actually uses them.

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TVLINE | How much time will have passed when Season 2 picks up?
NOLAN | Milliseconds. Reese is talking to the Machine [via payphone], so we want to know how that conversation goes. We have this fifth character in the show beyond Reese, Finch, Carter and Fusco, kind of a “silent partner” with our heroes, which is the Machine. We see through its perspective and in a lot of ways the show is curated by the Machine. But through the first season the Machine is not interacting directly with Reese. So one of the big questions for the second season — and we hope the audience is as excited to go there as we are — is: What is the Machine really? What did Finch actually build? And what are the rules? How do you interact with it? It’s not a quantum shift, but the Machine is now reaching out to Reese. The question is, how is that relationship going to work, and what are the expectations? How does it communicate, and what does it want?

TVLINE | What can you say about next beats in the Root arc? Because Amy Acker will be around for a couple episodes, right?
PLAGEMAN | At least a couple episodes.
NOLAN | We ended with one of our main characters thrown into jeopardy, and we need to deal with that in an honest way. How does Reese go about getting Finch back? I think we’ve created a character in Root that is a bit of a mystery in terms of her capabilities and what she wants, and we’re going to examine that more thoroughly in the first episodes. Like any great villain, we’re going to find out that she and Finch have more in common than he might have previously believed.

TVLINE | Beyond Root, do you have any other long arcs planned for the season?
NOLAN | We strive for the balance that was perfected with The X-Files, where you can tune in and get a satisfying story with a beginning, middle and an end, but also another larger piece of the puzzle for fans watching every week. So, we’re setting up kind of a rogues gallery of villains and setting them loose. You have your municipal villains, like Elias (played by Enrico Colantino), who are local bad guys, and then you have your more federal people who are coming back from Reese’s past or Finch’s past – some who know about the Machine and some who don’t, some who have some questions they want answered and some who want payback.

TVLINE | Speaking of the boys’ pasts, what blanks will you be filling in?
PLAGEMAN | In the first season, we went quite a bit into the backstory of Reese and what transpired with the murder of Jessica, the woman he loved … how Reese wound up where he was when we met him in the pilot. The second season is more an understanding of what happened with Harold Finch and how he got where he is today. What happened with the woman he loved, Grace (played by Emerson’s real-life wife, Carrie Preston)? And his partner, Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) – how did he die? How did Finch get his limp?

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TVLINE | How do you plan to evolve Carter with regards to the guys as well as outside of them?
NOLAN | We want to find out a little more about Carter’s personal life, what makes her tick. She’s still in very many ways the conscience of the show, this rigorously upright, decent person who found through the course of the first season that she’s a little more alone than she imagined, and that her allies are a little unexpected. We love the team dynamic she’s developed with Reese and Finch, and now Fusco, but we would hate for these relationships to become static.
PLAGEMAN | Carter is read in to a certain extent on what Reese and Finch are doing, but she is a detective who probably isn’t satisfied with being on a need-to-know basis.
NOLAN | She’s got some questions she wants answered herself!

TVLINE | Some fans seem to sense a spark between Carter and Reese – is that something you would ever write to? Or, it is what it is?
NOLAN | We talked about that yesterday…. We have four really, really amazing actors and what we think are really cool characters, and the dynamic between them is really fun to explore. One of the sad things about shooting the pilot was you realized, “This was the last time that Carter and Reese, that Jim and Taraji, would be in a scene together for half a season.” You had to wait half a season to put them face-to-face again, because that was the plan. We think they have a fantastic chemistry, and the fun of a show is you get to see where that goes.

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45 Comments
  1. Jesse says:

    Now I’m confused. This is the fifth ‘most watched tv-show of 2011-2012’…

  2. Elena says:

    I’m so exited for season 2! I’ve been waiting all summer to find out what happens to Finch. And maybe I’m just an unromantic person, but I’ve never gotten ANY romantic/spark vibes from Reese and Carter. Reese and Zoe, yes, but not him and Carter. I hope they don’t take a romantic path with those characters storylines. Whatever they do though, I’m exited to see what happens this season!

    • DebDub says:

      You’re not the only one. Reese and Carter have chemistry it’s just not romantic chemistry. Reese and Zoe on the other hand…yes! Very much so!

    • I completely agree. I’m so into this show and have watched it twice back to back but I absolutely never saw ANY romantic spark between Carter and Reese. It’s Reese and Zoe who have the sparks (btw she IS back this season as well), and looking at forums and comments online in general I think there IS a minority who sees Carter and Reese as a possible couple, but a minority. Majority of people I’ve read are all into Reese and Zoe. I really wouldn’t go romantic with Carter and Reese, it would completely ruin the dynamic of the show. Plus I don’t think they fit in together. Zoe is the same type as Reese…independent, do something bad to achieve something good, you never really know what she’ll do next. Carter is just on the other “side” of the spectrum compared to Reese, and I do not believe in “opposites attract”: Plus it’s just not what the show is meant to be. Zoe would anyhow be a guest star, someone appearing every now and then, but to have a love story within two main characters like that? Tarnishes the current dynamic which is perfect, in my opinion.

    • Renee says:

      I’m right there with you. Never saw the slightest romantic spark between them. Chemistry yes, but not romantic chemistry.

      • Zai says:

        LOL its funny how the creators sort of ducked the question of Reese & Carter. Good and grounded answer though.

        Well I like both ships Reese/Zoe, Reese/Carter I think they both have chemistry, so whichever goes, will support. Reese/Jessica is what I found chemistryless, thankfully its not in the present.

        I think its a stupid excuse to say the characters cant get involved because they are main characters. It doesnt have to happen right away, hello Tiva, Caskett, Booth/Brennan, best example of all Mulder/Scully.

  3. GeekGirl13 says:

    Okay, first, thanks for covering Person Of Interest, it is without a doubt my favorite new show of last season and one of the shows I’m most looking forward to the return of.

    2nd, I absolutely love how Nolan neither confirms, or denies, an intention to ‘go there’ with Reese and Carter!

  4. Ellen says:

    Carter and Reese? No. Just…. no.

    I don’t think any of our four leads should get involved with one another.

  5. Kristina says:

    Thanks for this! This was my favorite new drama last year, very excited for it to return!

  6. miche says:

    I am looking forward to seeing this show tomorrow. The surprises they probably have in store for us. The cast seem to have great chemistry. I absolutely love the subtle chemistry between Reese and Carter. Hopefully, if they are to go the romance way between Reese and Carter it would be done slowly and in a nice, clean way and not the slam bam thank you ma’am situation.
    I have no issue with color so they can go there. Looking forward to a great season.

  7. DanielleZ says:

    Looking forward to Season 2 of Person of Interest! Love this show!

  8. nick1372 says:

    Person of Interest Sheds Light on the Team’s ‘Silent Partner’ and Finch’s Dark Past
    Me thinks their bad grammar. ;-)

  9. CC says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Fusco is the best character on the show??

  10. kel says:

    I am so excited to S2! Best thing on network TV, IMO. Love all the main characters, and the reoucrring cast is so great too. Can’t wait to see what happens with Elias, Root, the CIA agents, FBI and new villains I am sure.

    I agree with the others that Reese and Carter do have chemistry, just not all chemistry is romantic chemistry. I don’t see how making them romantically involved would be of any benefit to the show, so I think it best they just don’t go there. Ever. I could write a thesis on why that is a horrid idea.(Or maybe I am still traumatized from the debacle that was “Huddy”) By all means, give Carter a boyfriend, she still has a chance for a somewhat normal life. And I am all for Reese and Zoe hooking up, but more as an occasional fling type relationship as neither character is in a position to commit, they both know it, and that’s ok.

  11. The longer Amy Acker is around, the better. The show got real interesting once it started to explore the possibility of using the Machine’s information for evil.

  12. As a man who still watches “Veronica Mars” on TV, isn’t his name Enrico Colantoni?!

  13. mia says:

    I think Reese and Carter do have great chemistry together, but the entire cast does. That’s what makes a show where the 4 mains very rarely are in the same room together and always talk on the phone, actually work.
    .
    I really don’t want to see a romance between Reese and Carter; its unneccessary. And I like having a badass female character that isn’t involved in a romance plot line. Its refreshing.
    .
    I wouldn’t be opposed to Reese getting to know Carter’s son better. That could be a really interesting dynamic.

    • rai says:

      Exactly. I have faith that the writers won’t turn this show into an all-soapy thing. They’ve already done great in avoiding that typical predictability of procedurals. Please, leave the cheesy romance for other shows! (not that I dislike romance, just not here!)

  14. Samantha says:

    Carter and Reese have great romantic chemistry. They simply get one another while Reese often appears to be annoyed by Zoe’s neverending flirting. Romance is part of any show that wishes to mimic reality. Romance itself is not the enemey of a show. Poor writing of that romance is. I look forward to Carter and Reese.

    • pseudo says:

      I agree. I just realize why there is a 50% divorce rate in the United States, because people do not know chemistry. I think Carter and Reese have crazy chemistry and chemistry = attraction, so how not “attraction” not means romanticism. Zoe lets Reese know she is attracted to him and he’s not biting and on the other hand, Carter does the opposite and he tries to hold eye contact and brightens up on every contact with her. He asks Carter for help and the reason he’s not calling their relationship, “per se” a friendship, means that he is not ready to call it or that she is more than a friend…but he kind of calls Fusco a friend and we know he counts on Carter more. During season 2 premiere, when asked about Carter and Reese attraction, even Taraji seemed uncomfortable with the ideal and went to over explain Reese and Carter relationship to a friend-like alliance. Jim stated he thinks Reese is attracted to Carter…so does that mean that Jim is attracted to Taraji?

    • roby says:

      I totally agree with you. John looks like he is getting tired of Zoey’s advances. And i really hope that they put reese and carter together, they definitely have romantic chemistry!

  15. cha says:

    I’m so happy this show is back for the season. It is the ONLY show that leaves me breathless at the end of the episode. And thank you for doing a piece on the season opener.

  16. Hope says:

    I love this show. Thanks for covering it. The characters and storylines have been great. I like all the characters and actors on this show. They hit the jackpot with this cast. Well done POI!! Carter and Reese play off each other well, that is chemistry, but the romantic sparks go with Zoe and Reese, no doubt about it. I enjoy all the characters in this and so far all the guest stars. Looking forward to S2.

    • miche says:

      I believe chemistry is chemistry. Romance and sexual attraction are not the same. I like Zoe but her character comes over as ‘thirsty’. The character is portrayed as IMO flirtatious and ready for a one night stand. Seeing the type of commitment Reese had to Jessica and they weren’t even together, Zoe may not be the choice for him.

  17. Tyler Maltby says:

    I agree with all of you about the whole Reese/Carter thing. They do have chemistry, but it’s definitely NOT romantic chemistry. Now, for Reese and Zoe, that’s a definite yes. A big yes. I’m quite happy that Zoe is coming back for more.

  18. vanessa says:

    Zoe and Reese are ver boring. Reese looks llike hes annoyed at time with her.

    • pseudo says:

      I like Zoe. I agree with you, Reese does look annoyed with Zoe and has never asked her for help. Well the only person he has asked for help is Carter, he kind of tells Fusco to help. He went to Carter when Finch was kidnapped; He broke into her apartment and didn’t mind Carter seeing him vulnerable. He trusts Carter and says “thank you” to her often, because he understands the sacrifice she makes; he needs Carter and I can care less about who gets together as long as its done with taste…meaning do not have these women chasing out Reese so he can choose some other airhead chick–I can not see Reese hurting Carter, well only if he thinks he is helping her…or why establish a meaningful relationship with Carter and Reese so he could get hot and steamy with Zoe? If Carter is going to do all the leg work, then she should get the guy. So if she is not going to get the guy, then put Zoe butt to work so she can deserve the relationship.

  19. Scott says:

    POI was the best show last season, new or otherwise, I’m super psyched it returns tonight. I’ve rewatched Season 1 just ahead of tonight’s 2nd season premiere. Can’t wait!

  20. Kayla says:

    I like how most of the people saying that Carter and Reese have chemistry but not “romantic chemistry” are Reese/Zoe shippers. Do I smell bias bs. Also technically there is no such thing as a “romantic chemistry” it’s just chemistry. And people can take any chemistry for mutual friendship or romance. But nice try guys LOL.

  21. Yvonne says:

    This show is a breath of fresh air from all the crap that’s out there. Very well written and creative. Love the actors and the stories. Thanks for bringing this show to the small screen.

  22. Tim Groves says:

    Uh Yes as the others on this great forum have pointed out, Reese is indeed Annoyed by Zoe, but seemingly Because she is Coming on too strong: She does not hide the Fact that Yes she does indeed Wish to Knock Boots, as the saying goes I think? (Have they gotten Together Yet? Or is it just being Strongly Hinted At?) As always any Insight would be most Appreciated:

    Cheers TRX:

  23. kathy says:

    i missed the 1st episode of season 2 and can’t seem to be able to access it anywhere …any recommendations on how to catch it?

    • Tim Groves says:

      Hello Kathy: The best thing to do re Access for any stuff U may have missed is ISO Hunt, the Bit Torrent search engine etc: If U do decide to go this route, U will have to Install a Torrent Down loader/Reader etc, like U Torrent and so on: But this is the best Option or you can await for it to be Posted on a TV Channel Website etc: 4 Instance CBS does post recently aired Episodes, but you usually have to wait until the Next day etc: And also U might have access to it 4 only the Immediate week it is regarded as a New Episode, but ISO Hunt has them virtually Forever, No Ads, Commercial Breaks, etc: And the Huge Bonus, of being Totally Free as well!

      Cheers T:

    • nick1372 says:

      CBS does not make Person of Interest available online (I think that the suggestion above mine is illegal because CBS owns all the rights to it. If CBS does not post it, no one can)
      Your best bet is to keep a lookout for repeats of “The Contingency” (the TV Guide and Zap2it websites keep very good schedules, and of course there’s always the guide on your TV).

  24. j says:

    Why are they showing old episode of person of interest, they just put it back on.

  25. Freddy says:

    I’m Carter and Reese all the way especially after the interrogation scene in Prisoner’s Dilemma where the two appear to want to jump each other bones. LOL.

  26. Marlene Jasiorkowski says:

    Right by the car Finch asked Reese “Have you figured out who wants to take her out?”
    “Who wouldn’t.” said Reese

    I think he enjoys the flirting and building of sexual tension with Zoe.
    I think it is playful and fun. They are kind of like the male/ female version of each other and it would be awesome for the show.