Michael Emerson Talks Crazy Good Person of Interest Season Finale [Exclusive]
Warning: Spoilers for Person of Interest Season 4 finale
During last week’s Person of Interest, the Machine made an interesting move that seemed selfless (emphasis on seemed): Finch and Root spotted Shaw; Control outed a Samaritan spy; and Reese, Fusco and Elias battled the Brotherhood. One more major plot point: Root broke Martine’s neck, which becameÂ one of the most satisfying moments of the year.
The fourth season finale airs tonight. TV Goodness recently chattedÂ with Michael Emerson (Harold Finch), whose excitement for “YHWH” was infectious. To be fair, there’s a healthy dose of fear mixed in with that excitement on our part. Emerson feels this might be a painful hiatus for POI fans. Is there any other kind?
TV GOODNESS: What are your thoughts on the Machine making the decision to give up its location?
Michael Emerson: After you’ve seen the finale you will understand that the Machine did not give up as much as you might think. This is a case of the Machine is playing a very good game right now and there’s strategy at work. It’s all desperate and it’s still pretty much suicidal but they are operating intelligently — our heroes and the Machine — within the narrow confines of a very restricted plane of action. (laughter) So you haven’t seen the finale?
TV GOODNESS: I have not seen the finale yet.
Michael: Oh cool. It’s gonna knock you out. It’s so crazy good the way things develop in the finale, it’s quite exciting. And I will say quite moving also.
TV GOODNESS: Well, last year’s finale was quite powerful and devastating and game-changing. Is that something we can expect again from this one?
Michael: Yes. Now that we’ve gotten used to the show’s uber storyline of this being a war between two self-improving AIs — one of them seemingly enlisted on the side of good; and one of them seemingly enlisted on the side of evil — I think the finale takes us to the next place. I would say that…I guess all our finales are pretty good…this is a pretty great one. This is a pretty great one on Tuesday night. Everything is still as desperate and dangerous as it always has been or at least for the last season…ever since Samaritan went online. That’s still…the existential problem. But we learn a lot about our heroes. And I think we like them even more at the end of the finale.
TV GOODNESS: Right now it’s Root and Finch together and it’s Fusco and Reese in a different storyline and there’s also Control. Will we be seeing everything connect or intersect in the finale?
Michael: Yes, I think you can say that. Although the forces for good — and I use the term loosely because when you’re talking about Control, I don’t know if you’re talking about a good person — but the people that seem to be enemies of Samaritan are on different tasks now but all on the same agenda which will bring them all into the battle on the same side. But as I say, there are many grave risks and not everyone is going to survive episode 4×22.
TV GOODNESS: In “Asylum” we also saw Shaw. Is there a Shaw presence in the finale?
Michael: I think Shaw is more felt than seen in the finale. She’s sort of the ghost that hovers over our enterprise but the events of the finale requires everybody’s full attention. I hope that one of the things that happens in the fifth season is that we see Shaw again. That would be good. I miss her.
TV GOODNESS: I was going to ask you about that because we all miss her tooâ€¦
Michael: She was such a great addition to the show and she was so…for a feeling-less assassin with no loyalties; she was both fear and really, really funny. And I don’t know how they managed to make that work. She made Mr. Reese be warm and fuzzy. I just loved her dealing with her own feeling-lessness.
TV GOODNESS: What have you enjoyed most about season four?
Michael: Well, I enjoyed being teamed up with Amy [Acker] as much as I have been. Because that’s a damn good actor. So super prepared. And [Root and Finch] have a funny kind of twitchy, edgy on-again, off-again kind of relationship. It’s always kind of wonderfully prickly and…why does he even like her? I don’t know but I think he does against his will. I think he’s drawn to her passion for the Machine, which is crazy. And sometimes you don’t pick the members of your own army or whatever. So at least she’s on the right side of things. She’s cuckoo and dangerous, unpredictable, but she’s on the right side.
TV GOODNESS: I know. I’m thankful for that.
Michael: SheÂ is so resourceful andÂ so wonderfully, comically off hand about things. It’s like she’s a multitasker who doesn’t pay much attention to things like knocking people out or stealing guns or driving a hundred miles an hour or any of that stuff at all. She’s just like it’s all in a day’s work.
TV GOODNESS: If you’d have told me in season one that in season four it would come down to these two Machines, I would never have called it. What are your thoughts on that?
Michael: Joy, delight, admiration. I suppose maybe [EPs] Jonah and Greg [Nolan and Plageman] always had that in the back of their minds that they were going to take it to a more science fiction place. Although I wish it were a little more fictional and a little less plausible. It’s terrifying when you think about it. But I think that’s what those guys love to write and so they found their way there in a clever way and they sold CBS on it, apparently. It’s an unusual kind of narrative for a CBS show that once seemed to be procedural and now is this great global battle between two unleashed self-improving AIs.
TV GOODNESS: Did you watch Taraji’s [P. Henson, Det. Joss Carter] return in “Terra Incognita?” What did you think about it?
Michael: I thought it was a cool way to get…I don’t know how they convinced her to come back in the dead of winter and sit in a car out in a frozen field for…I don’t know how many days it took them to shoot that car stuff. I thought she was so game. And, of course, she’s the queen of television now. I could not be happier for her. It’s so delightful to see her get to dress up and be larger than life. We miss her, of course. What I regret is that two seasons in a row we have lost sort of our great leading ladies. It’s hard to keep finding people good enough to come on…that’ll be one of the things that we discover in season five I think…who’s new? Who’s going to come in and change the game?
TV GOODNESS: Well, you keep mentioning season five does that mean there’s been a renewal?
Michael: I would be flabbergasted if we weren’t renewed. I don’t know why it hasn’t been made official yet. I’m fully expecting to go to work on the Monday after the Fourth of July.
TV GOODNESS: Back to the finale, does it end with a big cliffhanger or is there a resolution in a certain way? Will the summer hiatus be painful for fans?
Michael: You are going to be on tenterhooks until September. Because it ends in a quite – how can I say this — a note of desperation and danger and something upbeat. It’s that kind of thing where you’re going to go, ‘Yes!’ You’re gonna go yes and then you’re gonna go, ‘how did they think of that?’ (laughter) The Machine becomes a new kind of presence in the show in the finale. There’s some wonderful scenes and you’ll see them soon enough. But it’s pretty great.
The season four finale for Person of Interest airs tonight at 10/9c on CBS.
Promo for “YHWH”
Interview edited for space and content.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…