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Quick Takes: Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker Talk Person of Interest Season 3 [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: Frank W Ockenfels 3 /CBS
Photo Credit: Frank W Ockenfels 3 /CBS

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Only two more weeks until Person of Interest returns. Two weeks ago, we talked to EP/Creator Jonathan Nolan about what to expect this season. Last week we previewed the season 3 premiere “Liberty.” While at Comic Con this year, TV Goodness participated in roundtables and got some intel from new series regulars Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker that we’d like to share with you this week.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

Welcome to the cast.

Sarah Shahi: “Yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve had a very warm welcome so far. It feels good.”

Have they given you any indication as to where your character is going?

Sarah: “Yeah, a little bit. A little bit. One of the things that Shaw’s gonna do this year is she’s gonna go undercover a lot. She’s gonna go into those places that Reese can’t possibly go just ’cause you need a girl. ‘Cause girls do it better anyway. Sorry fellas. I’m a feminist and I’m proud. Yeah, so that’s an element that they’re definitely gonna have fun with her this year doing that. And also we’re gonna dive into Shaw’s back story a little bit, figure out who is she, where did she came from and why is she the way she is. What happened to her that turned her into this? That’s about all I know. That’s all they’ve told me.”

Sounds like a lot, actually.

Sarah: “It is a lot. It is a lot and it sounds fun. From what I understand the writers have a lot of fun writing for this character. She is such a wild card and the fact that she lives on the outskirts of everything…it’s one of those things where essentially no choice is wrong for her. You could have her dangling from a rooftop in one scene and then put her in a dress in the next scene and it all makes complete sense with Shaw.”

Do you enjoy doing the action sequences?

Sarah: “Love it. I had never done action before other than walking in six-inch heels, which definitely I would need a stunt double for that. But it was my first time doing any kind of action and having to learn choreography with a fight scene. When I first got the job there were two weeks of very intensive military training, gun training, weapon training, knife training, boxing. I’ve started boxing and it’s so fun. So fun. I keep asking for scarier things to do. I want Mission Impossible-like stunts. They’re like, ‘We don’t have money for that.'”

How was this character first pitched to you? Did you audition?

Sarah: “I didn’t audition. Jonah [Nolan] and Greg [Plageman] said they were fans of mine from back when I was on Alias and always wanted to see me do this kind of role. They thought that I would be really good in it. So I was fortunate enough to where they called me and said that I’m the only person they thought of for this. Of course, I’m sure they said that to the other four actresses that they went to. [Laughs.] I might’ve been born at night, but I was not born yesterday. The way she was pitched to me was she’s like the love child of Jason Bourne and Catwoman. She can adapt into any country that she goes into, she’s incredibly capable in all of her skills. The timing of it was very ironic because I was actually pitching my own show around LA at the time with the exact same character and was not getting any luck there. So when this came to me it was almost like it was meant to be.”

Do you think that Shaw and Reese could have-

Sarah: “Sexual chemistry? Oh wait. Was that it?”

I wasn’t going to use those words.

Sarah: “That seems to be the topic at all the tables that I’m going to today. I don’t know. I think there’s definitely chemistry between the two of them for sure. Is that a possibility? Sure I think that’s a possibility. I have no idea whether or not it’s gonna happen. It would definitely complicate things, but at the same time I’m sure it would make it very fun for the audience to watch and it would be interesting to see what would happen with their characters at that point.”

It’s an interesting push and pull with each other.

Sarah: “Absolutely.”

They complement and contrast each other.

Sarah: “Yeah, yeah. They’re very magnetic, these two characters for sure.”

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/Warner Bros.

Welcome to the cast.

Amy Acker: “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

What can you tell us now that you’re a regular on the show?

Amy: “You guys know about as much as I do. I was really excited when I read the last scene of last year when the machine decided to reach out to me. I think it’s gonna be interesting to see what that holds for this year. At the end of season one, I really hadn’t – for most of that episode – played the character of Root because I was doing the psychologist. So I had only had one scene at the very end where I shot her in the head that kind of told me what character I was gonna be playing. That summer break before I came back I really didn’t know all of the stuff that was gonna happen in season two and it kind of feels – I think that’s the great thing about doing genre television more than anything else is that you can do anything. I mean, it’s kind of like…when I was on Angel I started out in a potato sack and ended up as a blue demon goddess. I feel like Root is kind of on that same – I mean she could be anyone now. Maybe the doctors at the mental institution will cure me. I don’t know.”

What’s your favorite thing about playing Root? It’s such a complex character. The back story episode is one of my favorites.

Amy: “I love that episode too mainly because I really did actually love playing that game Oregon Trail. It was so good. It’s like the only video game I was ever good at. It’s more along what we were just talking about with the unexpected – not knowing what she’s gonna do. I get to talk in these amazing chunky paragraphs that I read and I’m like, it’s just great words that they write that you get to chew on. And you get to do so many different things with them and I think the writing is the key to the character and the show and all of it.”

Did you know this character would keep coming back or was this originally pitched as a guest star?

Amy: “The interesting thing is they had to introduce the character before I was actually on the show. So they had done ‘Root Cause,’ episode 13 of that season. They said, ‘Look, we have this character that has caught on and now we need to cast it.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ [Laughs.] And so they sent me the episode and I thought it was all computer modified and you saw the back of her head and they said, ‘This is gonna be a few episodes next year.’ So I knew there was an arc that was gonna happen, but I didn’t know what that meant and I didn’t know if that meant throughout the whole season or if it was at the beginning or what.”

Do you understand a lot of the technical stuff?

Amy: “That’s the part that I’m not as good at. I don’t know. I would like to say that I wish I liked tech and computer stuff more, but I really would be happy to move to the country and sew my own clothes and make jam. But it’s exciting because I do learn more about it every episode and I can call Jonah [Nolan] and Greg [Plageman] and Michael [Emerson] and all these people who do understand it and are so smart about it. But it’s been fun to learn about it.”

Do you find a lot of the privacy stuff and all that surveillance

Amy: “Yeah, I mean I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t feel like I have much to hide so I don’t worry. I mean, if someone’s watching me to keep me safe – I’m probably causing controversy by saying this – but I really, if it’s gonna help I would rather not be dead than have someone know that I sent an email to my English teacher or something.”

What would you like to see for your character going forward?

Amy: “For me such a fun part of being on this show is getting to work with the great cast that they have and the one scene I had with Sarah [Shahi] was really, really fun so really any chance I can have to torture one of the fellow cast mates is gonna be a fun one. That’s what I’ve learned so far.”

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

Edited for space and content.

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