Michael Emerson in Person of Interest Finale

Performer of the Week: Michael Emerson

THE PERFORMER | Michael Emerson

THE SHOW | Person of Interest

THE EPISODE |return 0” (June 21)

THE PERFORMANCE | A pair of selflesss, emotional moments — coupled with an episode-long heart-to-CPU with The Machine — set the stage for Michael Emerson to end his POI run on the highest of notes.

Throughout the series’ final, eventful hour, the always engaging actor showed us “Harry” hanging on The Machine’s every word, as the two longtime cohorts reflected on their noble, forever dangerous journey and prepared to say goodbye. Emerson also got to share a couple of sweet scenes with real-life wife Carrie Preston, as Harold opened up to Grace about his addled father and, in one of the closing moments, when the star-crossed duo reunited in Italy.

But it was Mr. Finch and Mr. Reese’s at-odds end games that got POI’s typically steely heart beating, first when Harold locked his partner in crimestopping inside the Federal Reserve vault, intent on sacrificing his own life in the name of taking down Samaritan once and for all. “When I hired you, I suspected you were going to be a great employee,” Harold shared through the steel bars that separated them. “What I couldn’t have anticipated… is that you would become such a great friend…. I’m afraid this is where our partnership ends.”

Reese and The Machine, however, had a preexisting arrangement to save Her creator — which Harold eventually realized, when he spied John atop the roof that would soon be a target for a guided missile. “It was supposed to be me. Alone,” Harold argued, Emerson’s eyes a mix of fear, for John’s life, and sorrow, at what was now to be. “This wasn’t supposed to be the way.” (Jim Caviezel shined in this sequence as well. How long has it been since John demonstrated love, as he did upon assuring Harold that his was the “right life“ to save?)

POI may be over, but The Machine just delivered to us a final number — “100,” as in how Emerson kept it to the very end.

POTW-HM-Iwan-RheonHONORABLE MENTION | You didn’t hate Game of Thrones‘ Ramsay Bolton because he was a murderer. You didn’t hate him because he was a rapist. You didn’t even hate him because he was a sadistic, manipulative psychopath with delusions of grandeur and a kennel full of vicious dogs. You hated him because Iwan Rheon was so damn good at playing the reprehensible bastard. Think about it: Rheon’s turn as the ultimate antagonist was a thoughtful, terrifying, at times comedic display of how simultaneously charming and chilling Roose’s son could be. Had the actor not been so skilled — right up to his final, smirking scene in Sunday’s episode — Ramsay might merely have been another Thrones baddie in need of karmic comeuppance. In Rheon’s hands, the character was an intriguing, vile monster whose fall (much like the fall of his family’s banners at Winterfell) was cause for fans to cheer.

GraceHONORABLE MENTION | Grace Zabriskie is one scary lady — and we mean that in the best possible way. We knew when she popped up as Mildred on Outcast that Cinemax’s possession drama couldn’t possibly have hired Laura Palmer’s mother just to waste her as Rome’s resident Church Lady. And in Friday’s “A Wrath Unseen,” the Twin Peaks vet gave us a spine-tingling taste of what her arc held in store. When Reverend Anderson wasn’t flashing back to Mildred’s possession — genuinely terrifying, thanks to the rabidity with which Zabriskie threw herself into the scene — the snippy senior was “playfully” daring him to doubt that the demon inside of her had really been cast out. To her credit — and our astonishment — the actress made Mildred just as creepy when she was smirking at the preacher as when she was foaming at the mouth.

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

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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44 Comments
  1. ScrubsGuy says:

    100% agree on Michael Emerson – and phenomenal work by the POI entire cast.

    • byron says:

      I wholeheartedly agree, but I would like to have seen an honorable mention nod to Jodie Comer for “Thirteen” on BBC.

  2. kirads09 says:

    Agree with Emerson. (I was wagering POTW would either be from GoT or POI given such incredible episodes and many stand out performances in them.)

    I have an Honorable Mention

    Billy Boyd (Pippin LOTR movies) – Motive If you are unfamiliar with Motive (now on USA Network – redeemed from ABC cancellation) Yes, it is a crime procedural. Been there done that right? What makes Motive different is that you are shown exactly WHO done it and it is quickly discovered HOW they done it but (as the title suggests) the kicker is in discovering WHY the murder was committed. These killers are usually ordinary types you would not consider. Often there are many twists throughout the episode as the crime is investigated the true motive is revealed – it is never what you think at first. Motive is very good at throwing some red herrings your way. That is what makes the show so enjoyable to me. There are also continuing storylines about what is going on with core characters as well of course which also keeps me hooked. Not to mention gifted acting, writing and great chemistry of the cast. Certainly as the motive of the killer is unveiled, you can always somewhat understand how they were driven to the point of what they did. HOWEVER, in 3 seasons, I have NEVER before felt 100% empathy for the killer. That changed this last episode all thanks to one Mr. Billy Boyd. Playing a man who simply loved and was caring for his terminally ill wife (husband of the year!) and the circumstances that led him to kill another man. The sheer pathos Boyd gave his character made the grief and heartbreak palpable. Then subtly powerful as he methodically checked of his “to do” list. Of course it didn’t hurt that the “victim” was well played as onerous and completely UNLIKEABLE. So much so that one can easily echo one other character’s sentiment at the news of the victim’s untimely death – simply “Thank God!” Perfect foiling there. I won’t go into further detail about the episode to avoid spoilers should you want to watch. But Boyd’s performance throughout was truly incredible. Then to tug your heartstrings just a bit more, the end song played was by Billy himself (incredible voice!) & his group Beecake – a tearjerker of a ballad called “Please Stay”.

    • KCC says:

      I completely agree. It was an amazing performance and like you said, it was made even better by Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti, Starman, The Untouchables and countless TV shows dating back to a 1971 episode of The Brady Bunch) in his role as the “victim.” A great performance of extreme passive-aggressive behavior.

  3. Melissa Peterman absolutely knocked it out of the park during this week’s Baby Daddy when Bonnie called out her mother for her behavior over the years – nearly made me cry.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Melissa Peterman absolutely blew me away with her performance during that scene from this week’s episode of Baby Daddy. It was definitely the best scene of the entire episode. :)

      • Melanie says:

        100% agree on Melissa Peterman. Very uncharacteristic of the show to be so raw. It was a great contrast. Also agree with this week’s choices of Emerson and Rheon. They were just BEYOND this week. HT to all.

        • Yeah, it really surprised me how serious and dramatic that scene between Bonnie and her mom was once it got to the part where Bonnie goes off on her mother. Like you said, it was very different from the usual tone of Baby Daddy. The conversation between Bonnie, Ben and Danny afterwards was also relatively serious. I know that Baby Daddy is a comedy, but those two somewhat dramatic scenes were the best part of this week’s episode, as far as I’m concerned. That being said, I loved how the guy in the audience’s reaction to watching Bonnie go off on her mother was to say that he needed to call his mom, lol. I thought that was a good and funny way to end that scene. :)

  4. webly3 says:

    Are streaming show actors eligible (for shows that post all episodes at once) for this? If so, OITNB actors were robbed

    • lauren says:

      I’ve for sure seen Bloodline and Jessica Jones mentioned here, they just don’t alway do it the very first week the shows come out.

    • Joey says:

      Usually for Netflix shows, they treat the episodes as if they’re released weekly, so if you thought, say, Lori Petty did a good job in her flashback episode, you’d have to wait several weeks. I, for one, expected that Laura Prepon might’ve been mentioned here for the S4 premiere, but I guess I was wrong…

  5. Michael Emerson was brilliant ! I hoped Amy Acker would get a honorable mention. She had the talent to express so much with only her voice, and then delivered a flawless performance when embodying the Machine on that rooftop.
    (Probably not quite objective with that perfect series finale of POI)

  6. Kevin K says:

    Michael Emerson truly deserves to be the POTW and what a way to end POI on a high note. Amazing work by the cast along with EPs Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman.

    • Effu says:

      Sorry, how did it end on a “high note”? One of the main characters played by the top billed actor, died. Even with that sacrifice, that wasn’t enough to warrant a POTW or an honorable mention? WTF?

  7. Effu says:

    Jim Caviezel should be equal to Emerson as PotW or at least honorable mention!
    Apparently even when a character sacrifices himself to save the world and his friend, isn’t enough these days…

  8. brooke says:

    Well deserved. The entire POI cast deserves Performers of the Season. Each of them had phenomenal performances throughout the series end run.

    • Elena says:

      This season was a total mess and by far the weakest season of all.

      • Seriously? says:

        Well, that’s your opinion, not mine….

      • Sam says:

        Your right on that ! disjointed disappointing season and then they killed Root just become a voice for the machine ? OMG what the hell we’re they thinking ?

      • Amanda says:

        Used to love this series and then we had season five

        • Patrick says:

          Honestly, the show really jumped the rails 2 years ago. What was a fun procedural about a benevolent ASI helping the little guy morphed into a dark morality play about dueling ASI’s, government surveillance, free will, and killing beloved characters seemingly for the sake of it. Taraji’s character could have been sent to the FBI still to make the occasional appearance. Other fun “numbers” could have shown up more. There was no reason to kill Root. A better path would have been for her to learn that NO ASI, no matter how benevolent it was, should be in absolute control. Instead, she became sort of this blindly loyal sycophant that was senselessly killed (she could have steered sharply left, evading the bullet completely). It seems like several of the themes and dark happenings were taken for the sake of themselves. It was like, “we’ll kill a character just to show we can.” Don’t get me wrong, the last eps were good. But they were very different from the show I started watching, which was why we got this shortened season.

      • KLS says:

        I think that you are in the minority on that one. Just because 2 main characters died (and within their characters as written from the beginning) doesn’t mean that the season was a loss. Personally, I think they finished the series pretty well. Better then most.

  9. Rob Horine says:

    I would have made it a tie, with Emerson and Caviezel. The two worked perfectly. The Honorable Mentions should also go to Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi. Their story was moving as well.

    When Harold was looking at Grace, I was screaming at the tv. “TALK TO HER! GOD D### IT! TALK TO HER!” Finch’s look of fear facing his love just sealed the deal for Emerson.

    Great cast, great show, great final episode.

    • ReeseLives says:

      Jim Caviezel should have been equal to Emerson as PotW or at least honorable mention.
      Apparently even when a character sacrifices himself to save the world and his friend, isn’t enough these days…

  10. Deanne says:

    Michael Emerson deserves the POTW but I agree that it should be a tie with Jim Caviezel. John Reese, the stoic soldier, looked at Harold with such love and friendship from that rooftop. It almost made me cry. POI ended as it began, one man saving another to save the world only the roles were reversed.

    • Bob says:

      Yes. I agree. Although I’m kinda of upset that they didn’t focus on John towards the end. I would love to see a flashback to when John made the promise to The Machine or a scene from the pilot and that Shaw and Fusco were told that Finch was alive and John was dead.

  11. Game of Thrones says:

    Agree about Iwan Rheon!! I will definitely not miss Ramsey Bolton, but I will miss Rheon’s acting. Phenomenal masterpiece of an episode of Game of Thrones.

  12. Amy says:

    Yes! He made me cry, he made me fear and, when all was said and done, he made me smile like no one could. Bravo!

  13. Shru says:

    Yes! Completely agree with Iwan. He is absolutely amazing! I will not miss Ramsay but he is a fine actor. I’d nominate him for the Emmy instead of Dinklage this year (Peter Dinklage is still amazing but Tyrion hasn’t had much of a storyline this season!) I think that Kit Harington and Sophie Turner both gave marvelous performances during the episode as well!

  14. Shaun says:

    Was hoping for some Penny Dreadful love since that was the series finale,can’t remember if Eva Green won it a few weeks ago in the Asylum ep.Anyways,Josh Hartnett did some good work and Carney had a good scene as Dorian.

    • Dr. Opossum says:

      Billie Piper got awarded a couple of weeks ago but she was really good in the finale talking to Victor about her dead daughter. But the whole cast shone.

  15. Nan says:

    I can’t even believe this show is over…one of the best on TV…but if your gonna go out they went the right way…reboot POI!!!

  16. peterwdawson says:

    I loved when Iwan Rheon went full Chris Jericho on Jon Snow, slipping in ‘bastard’ like Jericho would slip in ‘idiot’ as a verbal tic.

  17. hank ronson says:

    GIVE Emerson THE EMMY its done the man won EMMY FOR EMERSON

  18. Maxine says:

    I loved poi. You ruined it by rushing it’s exit. It deserved a full season. Shame on CBS.

  19. ernestine12 says:

    I think POI ended beautiful and I hope in the future a spin-off does accure with Shaw, Finch, Fusco, Bear and maybe another group of TM. This show was well written /produced and all the actors/actresses did exactly what they were paid to do and they did it! Kudos to the cast /crew you will all be missed. Until we meet again best of luck to all of you!

  20. Karry says:

    Person of interest was a family show for us. My boys love POI now they can’t watch it anymore because you guys have goned perverted. Why the explicit scene with root and shaw? My 7 year old,8yr old,10 year old and 12 year old is in love with this show. Now they’re mad at me because they’re not allowed to watch it anymore. Why could you guys just keep it clean and leave most of the sex scenes up to the imagination. Please fix it! It was perfect the way it was. Now I’m disappointed. Why couldn’t root and shaw just become best friends instead of lovers smh.

  21. Annie says:

    Please makers or poi person of interest please do not stop at season 5 this show is my favorite by far if people really take a chance to watch the first season an episode they would not stop watching it at all it is a very well put together show with very great actors and actresses and I would love for you to continue it on to season 6 an so on do not stop your work is beautiful an great an the world just needs to see that.