Person of Interest: What (and Who) Is New for Season 3? And What Is The Machine Turning Into?

Person of Interest Season 3 PreviewThe Machine is on the move, but the big question as CBS’ Person of Interest returns tonight at 10/9c (new time slot alert!) is not where it’s gone to but what it’s up to. Plus, Season 3 promises a richer cast of players, now that rascally Root and steely Shaw are keepers. Executive producer Greg Plageman shared with TVLine a look at what’s newas the well-watched drama returns.

PHOTOS | Fall TV Spoiler Spectacular: Exclusive Scoop on POI and 44 Other Returning Faves

TVLINE | Is this season largely about “the search for The Machine”?
I don’t know if I’d call it the search for it so much as, “What is The Machine up to?” I’m not certain its physical location is of paramount importance, more so than, “What is the Machine evolving into? What sort of an organism is it becoming? And is it expanding beyond the parameters of what even Finch designed?”

TVLINE | Does anyone know where it now is, picking up three months later?
That’s a very good question. I will say this: The Office of Special Counsel is dead now, but Hirsch is someone who is actively looking for The Machine, and his [unseen female] boss, whom we call “Control,” Nothing To Hideis very interested in what happened to The Machine – and they consider Root instrumental in perhaps finding it.

TVLINE | Do you have a timetable for revealing this “Control” character? Maybe November sweeps…?
Hey, that sounds like a great idea!

TVLINE | Talk about promoting Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker to series regulars. What does that do for the show?
We just think they’re fun. Amy Acker is phenomenal, and pretty much anything we give her she can handle. And whenever we have fun with a villain, they’re definitely coming back.

TVLINE | Is it that Root will be in every episode, or that you wanted to guarantee Amy was available when you need her?
More so the latter. What Root represents is a diverging point of view about The Machine’s potential, someone who is just as capable as Harold Finch but has a very different philosophical opinion about how they should be treating The Machine. We think that’s the most fun, when a villain really starts to make a lot of sense. Where we start this year, there’s a third entity that The Machine is now reaching out to, and that’s where it starts to get interesting, in term of its relationship with Root.

TVLINE | And Shaw, will she be a full-time team member or will you pick and choose when she helps out?
Unlike Mr. Reese, Shaw is from “the Groucho Marx school,” where she would never become a member of any club that would have her. She obviously has a certain amount of disillusionment about what happened to her at the end of [Season 4,] Episode 16, in terms of her close ties to the people in the government that she worked for. That sense of betrayal informed her opinion about belonging to anything or giving allegiance to anyone right now. So she helps us out when she feels like it.

TVLINE | And what sort of journeys will Carter and Fusco be on?
We’ve got some fantastic material that we’re getting Nothing To Hideinto in the writers room with Carter’s character. Where we left off, she’s experiencing a certain amount of disillusionment in terms of her service to the NYPD, for obvious reasons. Her boyfriend Cal Beacher was murdered, and she was demoted. And she had to accept a demotion at the hands of HR. Where we left her, she sprung Elias from a prison transport, which is completely out of character for her. So, we’ve got Carter out there on the wing a little bit trying to figure out what her next move is. But suffice it to say shes got a big bone to pick with HR, and the fun is watching what Carter’s going to do differently to try to figure it out and get back to where she was.

TVLINE | What backstory pieces for anyone to you plan to fill in this season?
Two of the characters we would like to get a little bit more into this season are Detective Carter – what happened in her personal past, how she would up where she is. Also, we think [flashbacks are] a really good way to know a newer character like Shaw, so we think we’ve got a really fantastic Episode, 5, that deals with that. I think people are going to find that character dimensionalized in a way they hadn’t thought of.

TVLINE | Carter and Shaw, along with Zoe (returning guest star Paige Turco), are part of the “girls night out” caper that TVLine ran a fun behind-the-scenes photo of….
Yeah, [co-executive producer] Amanda Siegel pitched that and we said, “We have to see that.” We thought it’d be fun to put all of them in one story, and in that particular instance they’re operating as bait, which we thought was really fun. Warren Kole (Common Law) is the person of interest in that episode, which is presently titled “Ladykiller.” He plays a real lothario.

TVLINE | Any other guest stars to tout?
We have some phneomenal guest actors. Rey Valentin (Generation Kill) is in the opening episode, which is called “Liberty” and involves a sailor on shore leave — during Fleet Week in New York City! We’ve got a great way to get him in a fix, and how he gets out of it is a bit of a nice grace note, in that where we find out a bit about Reese’s own history and how he joined the military. And Kathleen Rose Perkins (Episodes) shot an episode for us, playing a former ADA who is captured by the police for murdering her defense attorney ex-husband.

TVLINE | Some noise was made over the spring/summer about how the NSA/Snowden thing drew parallels to your show’s premise. Though real-life tech is obviously operating on a smaller scale, do you feel any obligation to do a storyline where, say, a reporter gets wind of The Machine’s existence?
Perhaps Person of Interest is only a ruse, Matt, to distract you from the real Machine? Maybe it’s impressive what the NSA has built over in Utah, we’re not quite sure, but I don’t know if it can move itself, if it’s that smart yet. It’s a really interesting sort of parallel that’s going on in real life, but we don’t feel like our show has to dovetail completely with reality in that regard; we think that we’ve already kinda been there. What’s interesting about the revelations coming from Snowden is that there are other characters, other figures — some who work for the FBI or the NSA — who indicated years ago that this was something that was going on. Certainly Shane Harris outlined all this in his book The Watchers, going back as far as Admiral Poindexter, so what we’d like to do this year is inform people how long this has actually been going on, through drama and through fiction, but in a way that is actually quite real.

Want more scoop on POI, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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26 Comments
  1. K. says:

    Can’t wait! I would’ve liked to seen Jimmi Simpson reprise his role as Logan, I would have thought someone like him would’ve really checked into Finch and Reese! Plus his character was smart and fun.

  2. sarah says:

    I really like this show, however I am not sure how well it will do at 1000pm (900pm for those of us that are central) on a Tuesday. I think it was a great fit on Thursdays.
    It may have been the better pairing with Blue Bloods and they should have kept H50 on Mondays. We will see.

    • Aimee says:

      No way they would ship this show off to Friday. It was getting very good ratings. Shows get moved to Friday because they are not doing well. I’m not trying to diss the show but it is a fact that H50′s ratings were falling.

  3. Steven says:

    I wish we’d see Amy in every episode or at least 3 quarters of the season.

  4. Patrick says:

    I wish they would scale back Carter’s involvement. I like her and Fusco as sidekicks, and nothing but sidekicks. Shows about them probably won’t be great.

  5. Meg says:

    I love Carter her involvement should increase and increase. Without her the show is not that great!

  6. louise says:

    Person of Interest is the *only* INTELLIGENT show on T.V. THANKS. Also can’t wait.. [ I wish the show "Lie to me " was still on with NEW episodes,that was super great too.]

    • Izzy says:

      It’s really was a shame Lie to Me’s gone. I actually love to pick those facial tells and fun to apply in real life. I know it’s shocking that we can actually learn something from TV.

      Agreed POI is the only smart show around, it’s also the only procedural show that willing to have characters development rather than the same kind of relationships years in and out. I can’t think of any shows have done that without major cast leaving.

  7. A.Rae says:

    I SO wish they hadn’t moved this to Tuesday, I won’t be able to watch this live until SOA is over, and it’s one of my favorite shows… One of just a handful I look forward to watching. Fun and smart tend to be mutually exclusive on many shows, but POI isn’t one of them!

  8. Aimee says:

    Kind of weird seeing Carter in a uniform. What is poor Fusco going to do now that Carter isn’t there to watch his back?

  9. Kim R says:

    I’ve watched POI from the beginning and have always enjoyed it. That being said…I hope they don’t get too “weird” with the machine. If it gets too sci-fi….I may be out.

  10. POI has a fantastic creator in Jonah Nolan and a great Exec Producer in Greg Plageman. The writers of this show are phenomenal and the show has THE best looking & most talented cast on TV today. What I am enjoying is the full court press we are getting from Jonah, Greg, Writers & cast with tweets & pics & can’t forget Chris Fisher, director, producer who has been sharing his POI NOIR pictures on instagram. THEY have made this summer hiatus bearable. Something POI related has popped up all day long on tumblr, twitter and facebook. Links to article/interviews like this are so appreciated. Can’t WAIT until 10pm! I do worry that the 10pm hour will cause the ‘same day viewing’ #s to drop but I think the +7 day viewers will grow & more than compensate for that dip.

  11. Dee says:

    I like Fusco and Carter. They are the most relatable on the show. Just regular folk trying to live their lives, and do their jobs, not a super genius or a super soldier, or trained killer.
    I really dislike that Root character, though, bitch be crazy!!

    :)

  12. tp says:

    I don’t like the Root character. I guess that will be the episodes I ff.

  13. 38Spl says:

    “Liberty” was a disappointing season 3 premier episode. The script and story lines did not measure up to previous offerings and the characterizations were unbalanced. It seems the show has a new female lead, unfortunately.
    Hype is dangerous. Jumping the shark is dangerous.
    Person of Interest has not lived up to its hype and we can only hope it has not jumped the shark.
    Tonight was epic episode fail and next week has to be better.
    Worse would be impossible.

    • David says:

      I don’t know what you were watching but POI’s premier episode was fantastic. It’s storyline was continuing on with added new characters and delving deeper into what the machine is capable of. The only unbalance I’m seeing is you posting such nonsense–please go find your shark and let it eat you…

  14. Tenney says:

    I missed the first 10 minutes or so of the show last night and I ended up being confused for most of the episode, especially with the stuff with Root. I know they really don’t know where the machine is, but is the machine is still giving them numbers? Is the machine communicating with Root or is she just crazy?

    • David says:

      They don’t know where the machine is, but it is continuing to give them numbers. I’d say the machine is still communicating with Root, due to her having all that information on the doctor treating her, plus, I think she’s still crazy.

  15. barbara says:

    I agree with you kim. Not crazy about Root either i no its part of story line just hope it doesn’t get too off track. It was also stated the ratings were excellent. Since moving to tuesday ratings down.stuoid networks have to play the move around game the show gets poor ratings then its canceled

    • TRACEY says:

      Barbara, I SO agree. I wasn’t a fan of them adding the two cops last season, now to turn it on and they’ve added even more people…strike #1! I’ve watched 3 episodes and not enjoying it at all. I feel like the character of John is taking a back seat to Shaw’s character. Rarely do you see John, because they focus on Shaw so much. Last episode was Shaw giving herself a blood transfusion from a complete stranger….too far out for me and I will not be watching any longer. Really enjoyed Season 1.

  16. michael manning says:

    why did you change the format? It was great the first two years. Now it is just boring. Please go back to what it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Nikki says:

    I HATE THE ROOT CHARACTER . . . LOVE THE SHOW . . .TIL SHE SHOWS UP UGH UGH

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