Post Mortems

Person of Interest's Amy Acker: Root's Bold, Selfless Move 'Makes Me Happy'

Person of Interest Root Dies

The following contains major spoilers from Person of Interest‘s 100th episode.

With just three episodes left to air in its fifth and final season, CBS’ Person of Interest, with its milestone 100th episode, made it painfully clear that Team Machine will need to make ultimate sacrifices in the name of battling Samaritan.

Cases in point: Not long after Episode 100 killed off Finch’s frenemy Elias (played by Enrico Colantoni), Amy Acker‘s Root Groves took one for the team — literally — by darting herself into the path of a sniper’s bullet with Harold’s name on it. For her heroism, Root would ultimately die from her wounds, yet “live on” in the form of The Machine’s long-awaited “voice.”

TVLine spoke with Acker about her number being up, Root’s “profund” effect on members of the LGBT community, that “broken tailbone” rumor and more.

TVLINE | What did you know and when did you know it, that Root wouldn’t last the season?
They actually told me over the summer, before [San Diego] Comic-Con. We had that trailer where The Machine was talking over the subway set — well, me as The Machine — so they told me what was going on and asked me to record that. So I’ve known for a while.

TVLINE | What do you think about the fact that she died taking a bullet for Harold?
I mean, that would be the way I would want to go. To me, she was never really afraid of dying. Throughout all of the storylines, especially between Root and Harold, she always made it clear that she knew he was the priority, that The Machine needed him and all of that. I’m glad that Harold made it. That makes me happy!

TVLINE | [Co-showrunner] Jonah Nolan told me he had that spectacular car chase sequence in mind for you for a while.
I’m very flattered — he obviously never saw me drive in real life! [Laughs] When I read it I was like, “That’s going to be awesome,” and when we started shooting it, it was very complicated and hard. But I’m excited to see how it all came together.

person-of-interest-episode-100-car-chase copyTVLINE | Obviously there are stunt doubles and cutaways and riggings and such, but what was trickiest part of shooting that sequence?
Well, [Michael Emerson and I] were having a pretty intense discussion all around that…. [Laughs] And there wasn’t a lot of real estate, streetwise, to shoot on, so we kept having to talk at a certain speed and get the gun out and aim the gun and get my foot on the [steering] wheel…. There’s a lot of little pieces. And it kept starting to rain, so we want back and shot that scene in pieces over three different days.

TVLINE | Even though that was your on-screen send-off, I reckon that as the voice of The Machine, you in fact got to be with the show until the very end?
Yes. Yes. It worked out that way. I was really sad and told everyone how much I was going to miss them, and then they were like, “Can you come back and do the voice on set…?” I was like, “I just gave everyone their goodbye!” We thought it would be advantageous for some of the bigger scenes to have me there, so in the next episode you’ll see Harold talking to The Machine in the car, and I’m laying down [unseen] in the back seat of the car having this conversation. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Where did the dog who plays Bear rank among the sad good-byes?
I didn’t cry at all, but he was right up there.

TVLINE | Now, did person-of-interest-root-shaw-sexSarah Shahi really “break” your tailbone during that Episode 4 sex scene, as you said in a New York Comic-Con video, or were you exaggerating for comedic effect?
I mean, there was a bruise. I’m not sure it was “broken,” but yes, damage was done. [Chuckles]

TVLINE | When last we spoke, it was the start of Season 4 and the Root/Shaw thing, you acknowledged, was pretty much just flirtations. Were you satisfied to see that, at the end of the day, the two of them went “all in”?
Yeah. I think that throughout Season 4 they definitely implied that things were happening off-screen, and that’s the way the writers were presenting it to us. I remember David Slack saying one time, “You remember that night with the zip ties…,” and I was like, “Ohhhh!” They have their own fanfic going on in the writers room. I really liked the way they did the whole relationship, that it was never something that was discussed or talked about, even amongst other characters. It was just, “This is what it is.” I think that showing the simulation the way they did was a really good tool, because Root had been the pursuer of Shaw for a majority of [the series], and we’d see Shaw kind of pushing her away. So getting to see inside Shaw’s mind — that even without Root there torturing her, she’s thinking of her on her own — made me feel good.

TVLINE | What was your favorite get-up that Root got to wear?
That’s a hard call…. Colonial Girl was pretty random, I liked that one. The bear costume is an all-time favorite. The ripped wedding dress was good…. They really didn’t let me down with any of my cover identities.

TVLINE | As you reflect on your career, how will you regard the role of Root?
This has been one of my favorite roles that I’ve ever gotten to play. I’ve been super lucky to work with such great writers and showrunners…. I feel like I always get to play the best role on the shows that I’m on. Starting out, I had no idea what I was really what my [POI] character was, because I was playing a cover identity for Root, a psychiatrist, in the episode where I was introduced, so I really didn’t know what the role was. So just to see what they went on to create, and all of the different things that have happened….

I felt really lucky to have had the relationship with Shaw. I haven’t had a character that seems to have and such a profound effect on people. In the LGBT community, I’ve met so many people who have said such amazing things about this show and the writing, so to play a character that’s had an impact on people that way, I feel very blessed. They weren’t afraid to take her in any direction, and not just in that [romantic] sense but with everything about her. There were never any boundaries for this character, and I loved that about her.

TVLINE | And you got to shoot a lot of guns.
And I got to shoot a lot of guns!

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