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Quick Takes: Creator/EP Jonathan Nolan Talks Person of Interest Season 3 [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS
Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS

Warning: Spoilers Discussed

Person of Interest is moving to a new night and time this season. As we prepare for the  show to return, we’ll be teasing some of the tidbits we learned at Comic Con this year. TV Goodness had the opportunity to talk to all the cast in attendance as well as Creator/Executive Producer Jonathan Nolan. Below, Jonathan gives us some scoop on the upcoming season.

What can you tell us about the new season?

Jonathan Nolan: “We’re hoping to expect more of the same in the sense of the balance of story-of-the-week storytelling and this larger overarching narrative that we’re pulling together. But I’m really hoping – as I hope we’ve managed to do in the last two seasons – to continue advancing the game in terms of what is the machine and now this question of the machine being free, the question for us really is if the machine has a plan, what is that plan? And what does that mean to all of our characters?”

Now that Sarah Shahi‘s Sam Shaw and Amy Acker‘s Root are regulars, how do you plan to incorporate those characters in on a regular basis while maintaining the storylines of the other series regulars?

Jonathan: “It’s what you call a good problem to have. To work with such a great group of actors…. We said from the beginning of the show we wanted to continue picking people up along the way. Both Shaw and Root were persons of interest on one episode or another when they came into our universe. Shaw gives us the ability to bring in a bit of a foil for Reese, someone who has the same skill set but an even more challenging rulebook than Reese’s. But also she’s our connection to the relevant world, the organization hidden within the US Government that’s siphoning this information and using it to prevent the terrorist acts, acts against national security. Root is a character we were long fascinated by because she’s really – in almost every way – the biggest advocate for the machine, even more so than Finch. Finch, as we learned in the second season, developed a number of restrictions to the machine, kind of hobbled it. As Michael said at the panel today there’s a poignancy in the idea of creation, kind of a Promethean Frankenstein myth of Finch creating a life but then essentially robbing it of autonomy because he was a little scared of what it might do. Root on the other hand was, and has been from the beginning, a believer in his creation and a believer in trusting it and letting it go free. So now that it is free what it intends to do is one of the bigger questions of the season.”

Any other reoccurring characters coming back in season 3?

Jonathan: “We’ve been so incredibly fortunate to work with such an incredible group  of guest stars and recurring characters. We’re very much hoping we see Paige Turco, Brett Cullen and the list kind of goes on and on…”

We love the Paige Turco character.

Jonathan: “Yeah, she’s great. She’s great fun. Paige is just tailor-made for that role. She has so much fun doing it so we’re hoping to get her out very soon.”

Are we going to learn more about Shaw through flashbacks?

Jonathan: “I sure hope so. It’s one of the fun things about the show and it’s one of the things I liked about Lost – is the ability drop you, kind of airmail you back into a moment in a character’s life so you can explore who these characters are and who they were, to see who they will be.”

What can you tell us about Carter?

Jonathan: “Carter’s in an interesting predicament. We often refer to Carter as the moral center of the show, the person who had the truest sense of good versus evil and probably the least compromised of all of our characters although we have secrets there left to reveal with Carter – who she is and her story along the way. But this decision that she’s made, this impossible decision – and as a writer it’s sort of a sadistic part where you want to take good characters and put them in impossible situations – so we try to put her in an impossible situation last season where she was the only person in a position able to save someone who in the previous season who had kidnapped her son and threatened a life and, in fact, actually tried to kill her. We thought that was too delicious to pass up. That odd relationship, how that’s gonna play out – her relationship with Elias – but now the fact that she’s back in uniform allows her simultaneously both less latitude to work with our team and more. She’s only wearing the uniform for part of the day so it gives her a little more of an opportunity to work with our guys at night. We definitely have some fun questions in terms of where her character goes.”

What kind of state of mind will Finch be in? The machine wasn’t where he thought it would be. It was his baby.

Jonathan: “It absolutely was. He simultaneously let it go in the hopes that, in trying to save it he set it free. But that’s a difficult thing. There is a parental relationship there. As Root said to him over and again, ‘You created a life.’ And on some level, his cryptic answer from episode 201 [“The Contingency”] implied that yes, he created a life but turned it back into a machine. Now that’s not the case so what form of life the machine becomes is a prime question we’re looking forward to exploring. He’s gonna be shouldering some anxiety over what’s become of his creation and some trepidation over what it might be. There’s a reason he hobbled it in the first place. He must have worried that something could go wrong.”

Season 3 of Person of Interest premieres on Tuesday, September 24th at 10/9c.

Edited for space and content

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