The Comic Con 2015 Edition of TV Guide is out and one of the many features is a preview of Person of Interest season five. Among the preview is the “Burning Questions” interview with executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman. The interview takes a look at what we saw in the season four finale and has some small teasers about what can be expected for season five. The below interview is from TV Guide writer Mike Flaherty.
The TV Guide section also has a profile on Root, and a great look at what went into building the new subway station set that serves as the hideout now. It’s a 4500 square foot set that sits on a four-foot platform in Queens, New York. The show’s set decorator, Alyssa Winter, found all the set pieces at auctions and antique sales. It’s quite a fascinating look!
With Person of Interest’s intense season finale leaving malevolent supercomputer Samaritan triumphant, the Machine stuffed into a briefcase, and our heroes on the run, it was time to grill the show’s masterminds – executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman – for a post season debrief and a look at the perilous road ahead in Season 5.
First of all, what was the meaning of the title of the Season 4 finale, “YHWH”?
Plageman: It means Yahweh [the Hebrew name for God]. It’s called the tetragrammation. The ancient Israelites didn’t want to spell out the word [for religious reasons], so they often used YHWH.
Nolan: He who shall not be named.
As in recognition of the surpreme being that, as things stand, is Samaritan.
Nolan: Yes. For the moment, I would say the Machine has been vanquished. Pretty much down, though not necessarily out.
What are the challenges of keeping the Samaritan vs. the Machine story fresh going into next season?
Plageman: Well, it’s pretty fresh insofar as our guys are completely hosed right now.
Nolan: Next season will really deal with the idea of rebuilding the Machine in the face of a superior threat. And assuming they can get it back in the game, how will it fight back?
Plageman: It will explore what it means for Samaritan to have that firm a grip on things. If an artificial intelligence were actually to appear, would humanity even notice?
Did you always envision Samaritan as a multi-season storyline?
Nolan: You don’t build a god and then dispose of it conveniently in one season. A lot of fiction has treated artificial intelligence as a singularity – one mind that absorbs other minds into it. But this show presents AI proliferation as similar to nuclear proliferation – an idea that intelligence begets other intelligences. It’s an arms race that the Machine is currently losing.
This past season, Reese seemed to undergo a bit of a spiritual change. Will that continue?
Nolan: Season 4’s storyline forced our guys into hiding as normal people. And with Reese, it was like your mom telling you not to make a face too often because it might stick. So Reese is maybe starting to enjoy being a normal person and being emotionally involved with other people on a level he hasn’t been in decades.
His hallucinatory experience with Carter in “Terra Incognita” also helped that along. How did that come about?
Nolan: I reached out to Taraji last year. There’s really nobody who can engage with Reese on an emotional level like Carter can. From their first scene together in the pilot, she always had the goods on him in a way that no one else did.
Apropos of Reese’s emotional awakening: Are he and Iris definitely a thing now?
Reese clearly has strong feelings toward Iris, but given his occupation and the activities he’s engaged in, it’s always fraught with peril, so…
So they’re not a couple?
Nolan: It’s baby steps. Baby steps.
The episode “If-Then-Else,” in which Shaw was shot and abducted by the Samaritan operatives, featured a full-on kiss between Shaw and Root. Is there a mutual romantic or sexual thing going on between these characters?
Plageman: Whether it was amorous or more a platonic sense of respect for a friend, we haven’t had a chance to explore.
Nolan: I think there’s definitely an amorous streak between the two of them. Root feels it, and Shaw is maybe a little bit in denial about it.
Have you head from Shahi whether she’s going to come back? [Shahi departed midway through season four on indefinite maternity leave].
Nolan: It’s an ongoing conversation. We hope to get her back on the show sometime soon.
You introduced three new kickass female guest stars this season: Harper Rose (Annie Illonzeh), Dani Silva (Adria Arjona), and Frankie Wells (Katheryn Winnick). Was that a way of hedging your bets in the event that Shahi doesn’t return?
Plageman: Well, yeah. A couple of those ladies are certainly people we brought back because we were interested in them.
Nolan: That said, nobody replaces Sarah. We just love having firecracker women on our show.