Person of Interest Final Spoilers

Person of Interest Final Season Preview: Finch vs. Root, Samaritan's New Tricks, a Questionable Allegiance and More

The Machine is critically wounded — and at a critical juncture in Samaritan’s ascent to power — as CBS’ Person of Interest opens its 13-episode farewell run tonight at 10/9c.

In the year-ago (!) Season 4 finale, Team Machine learned that She had been eluding Samaritan by hiding in the nation’s electrical grid. With the Machine forced into the proverbial corner of a ConEd substation in Brooklyn, Finch (played by Michael Emerson) compressed person-of-interest-season-5-trailer-finch-reesethe vast amount of code into a suitcase stuffed with memory cards, as Reese and Root (Jim Caviezel and Amy Acker) fended off a brutal assault by Samaritan’s human henchmen.

The final season premiere picks up in real-time, with Finch and Reese racing to get the slowly fading Machine to a power source and Root forming a questionable alliance in the name of dodging Samaritan’s minions. Fusco (Kevin Chapman) meanwhile is mired in his own workplace dilemma, spurred by the execution of not one but two “most wanted” crime bosses, Elias and Dominic.

“Our guys are under duress,” POI co-showrunner Greg Plageman told TVLine at the series’ 100th-episode soiree. “The Machine is in a suitcase and it’s becomes a fight for survival at this point. And then they have to try to figure out whether we can reconstitute The Machine.”

Because make no mistake, person-of-interest-root-finchThe Machine will be both glitchy (watch a sneak peek) and foggy even after She is (quite inventively!) decompressed. “She’s also a bit whimsical,” says writer/co-EP Denise Thé. And as Harold and Root work their noodles to get their girl back into fighting shape, “We’re really going to see the evolution of The Machine,” Thé says. Faced with the question of “How do you defeat a superior threat?” in Samaritan, “We’re going to see our people come together to do that.”

To possibly emerge triumphant will not be easy, though, not by any stretch. For one, Harold and Root will butt brainy heads over whether to let The Machine in its new form be an “open system,” as She was when first created. (New flashbacks show Finch making the heartbreaking decision to curb that freedom.)

“What’s great about the early episodes,” says co-showrunner Jonah Nolan, “is watching the two of them argue about if they can adjust The Machine’s ‘secret formula,’ and should they. Given that time seems to be running out for them and the stakes are so much higher, what are the ethics in that situation, of changing your strategy? That’s a big part of the theme for the season.”

Indeed, the team will need every trick at their disposal as Samaritan grows ever more ruthless in launching offenses. (For example, mild-mannered civilians can be “activated” into taking action with a simple “Breaking News” alert to their cell phone.) “‘What is Samaritan up to?’ is an interesting question that we’re going to answer,” says Plageman. “What would happen if an artificial super-intelligence started to take hold, only you didn’t realize what was going on? Exploring that is the fun of this season.”

“Samaritan is not an easy adversary to defeat,” Nolan says. “But this is definitely a season where our guys are getting fed up with getting their asses handed to them. We’re going to switch that up a bit.”

Among the team’sPerson of Interest (seemingly?) replenished resources is one Sameen Shaw (played by Sarah Shahi), who resurfaces in the fourth episode after a prolonged time under Samaritan’s watch. “We have a very ‘interesting’ Shaw-centric episode, where you get to see what her life has been like living in the grip of the enemy,” Thé shares.

But what is her mindset after this stint in captivity? Has Samaritan snuffed the badass’ spirit?  “I don’t think Shaw is ever beaten into submission,” says Sarah Shahi. “She would stare a bullet straight in the eye with a smile on her face and still not feel like she’s succumbed to anything. But they’ve definitely done a number on her. She does return to the team, and the question will be whether or not she’s one of them still.”

Come June 21, when the series’ own number is up, boffo stakes plus a badder Samaritan plus a rebuilding Machine will add up to what Kevin Chapman hails as “the best season we’ve ever had on the show. The action, the performances, the content, the subject matter…. With everything, they’ve really gone above and beyond.” Adds Nolan: “I don’t think anyone’s going to leave unsatisfied.”

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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17 Comments
  1. Kevin K says:

    POI deserves to end. The final 13 episodes will be explosive and Shaw’s return could be a “game changer”.

    • Ben says:

      It does deserve to end. I’m so glad it is getting to go out with a proper ending on its own terms. It means it gets to be remembered as a great show. Too many shows end up a shell of their former selves, and I’m always glad when a show I love gets to wrap itself up before it gets to that state.

  2. Murica! says:

    I still hope that POI is saved by netflix.

  3. Morgan says:

    When POI ends, so does my viewing shows on CBS…until football season.

  4. Jason says:

    I very much hope that Root and Shaw make it out of this together at the end. I’ve had more than my fill of the lady carnage this spring. And a lesbian couple who get to walk off into the sunset would be a nice change of pace.

  5. Elhar says:

    It would be so great to see the show goes out on decent numbers, however I have no high hopes. It’s a pity, this was not only a well written show on the story level – the juggling with two-three parallel storylines in S3 and intertwine them seamlessly is something most shows should learn – but it touched deep morale questions in a fascinating way.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, I love how the parallel storylines intertwine and is so seamless. It fills in the gaps, gives us insight to the characters, helps us to really feel like we are experiencing the situations with them. This is the most fascinating show I have ever seen. I can usually see where cop shows are going in an episode. They are so flat, so 2-d compared to this show, which is so full of surprises, depth, twists and turns. Trust is so important, with each other, with the victims, with The Machine. I think it actually makes us think about ourselves, our beliefs, our morals, or loyalties. The show is very deep and so well written. I think it will do great. I think that those of us who love this show will love it to the end. I’ve told a few people about it and they really want to see it. I’ve told them watch the whole series, all 5 of them. They will really be blown away. I had to power watch it on netflix, because I was watching it on other channels, not realizing I wasn’t watching it where it was originating. So when I found out, I power watched it from season one. OMG, I will do it again when it ends, just because it was amazing to see it in order.I just wish i could have known that it was on CBS, then I could have been watching the actual series, and given it the ratings it so well deserves. I hope the ratings go through the roof. I seriously hope, from what I seen in the opening of the series premiere, that there is a new show that picks up from where its going to leave off. They could do another tv series or they could go into movies, like star trek did, I could see a future possibility coming out of this. I hope its not the end, but I’m sure they will not let us down. I’m sure they will keep us at the end of our seat until the end.

  6. taran63 says:

    I’m both happy and sad about this final season.
    .
    On the one hand I’m sad, because this show has been one of THE best shows I’ve ever watched, and I’ll be sad that there aren’t any more episodes to come.
    .
    But on the other hand, I’m really excited to watch a great ending. Whether we’re talking about books, plays, TV shows or any form of storytelling, to be considered a great story you need to have an ending. And the way this final season appears to be shaping up, POI could have an absolutely great ending. That’s hard to find in TV shows that can be cancelled at any moment. But everything I’ve heard about this show’s final season (while trying to avoid spoilers) sounds like it was able to craft a fantastic, and possibly even epic, ending. And that’s the kind of thing I would enjoy and could make me want to re-watch the series again. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story ends.

  7. Bella says:

    This has been such a fantastic show. I’m happy they were given enough advance notice that they can close the series out. I’m worried about how many of our team will survive, though. I want them all to, but I’m not counting on it.

  8. LEP says:

    Got it set to record because I have to work late. But I can envision CBS breaking in with election results. Please don’t. At least with ABC, you can go see the episode online for free. Not so on CBS.

    • Robin says:

      I totally agree with NOT breaking in with election results. I am so excited to be able to see the next season, I don’t want anything to interrupt it. I can hardly wait for the commercials to get over to see what happens next!!! I hate that it is ending, so happy we get to see a real ending instead of CBS just stopping it, and I cannot wait until all 5 seasons are on netflix. I hope there is a comeback in some future date so we can see a continuance of it. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show!!!

  9. There was an In Memory Of at the end of the show. It seemed like it was for a couple of people. Do you know who?

    • Robin says:

      I wrote down the names, I haven’t seen their names on the credits. I would like to know who they were too.

  10. Ivan Snow says:

    I will really miss POI. We finally get an interesting show with great actors and it is being cancelled prematurely. A terrible mistake.