Here we are, fellow PoI fans, the final days before Person of Interest returns from its mini break having left us emotionally spent from the cliffhanger of “Shadow Box.” During the conference call on 12/14 Jonathan and Greg spilled a few little tidbits of what is to come. Again, many of the questions and answers will be somewhat paraphrased due to some technical difficulties on my end, see Part 1 for that little explanation. Now, with the preliminaries out of the way, and the requested embargo date on Episodes 11 having been reached, here we go:
The first question here is the opening question of the call, the one I alluded to last week saying that you’d have to come back for Part 2. The questioner wasted no time and got right down to business trying to pry loose some secrets about where the team goes now that Reese has been arrested by the FBI.
Q: So, it was really interesting that John felt what he was doing was more important than escaping from the FBI. Since the FBI have him and not the CIA – and these people don’t have any idea of his real background, is it possible that Finch could create a false identity for him? Can you talk a little bit about what’s going to happen?
Jonathan Nolan: I think there’s a job in the writers room for you.
Greg Plageman: I know.
Jonathan Nolan: I think that’s a splendid idea. Do you mind if we rip that off?
Q: Totally, guys, go for it. But will his enemies be notified of his being captured so that this is actually a bit more serious than it appears even last night?
Jonathan Nolan: The thing we’re trying to do with the show as much as we can is to keep it dangerous and alive and the narrative unexpected. We’re entering into a chapter of our story here in which one of our heroes is in real jeopardy. In shows, especially when things are working and the audience is happy, you want to keep everything the same. I think part of the deal Greg and I had when we started making the show was that we always want to keep it dangerous and keep surprising people. So we can do some real jeopardy here.
Q: I’m wondering, given how the episode ended, were you playing a little bit with the Thomas Crown Affair, since the FBI is not quite sure which guy in the room is Reese?
Greg Plageman: Yeah, we did think of that movie when we were talking about it. I definitely think there is an interesting dilemma for Agent Donnelly and the FBI in terms of all four suspects that are rounded up are four men in suits. There’s a little bit of intrigue to be played with there. As Jonah said, it’s not something that will be easy to resolve. We try to be quite fair and honest with our audience in terms of Reese’s apprehension and incarceration and how long that plays out.
Q: You obviously reversed roles here. In the beginning of the season Reese was operating without Finch. Is Finch going to try to find somebody to supplant Reese in his effort to track him down?
Jonathan Nolan made it pretty clear that he thought it very unlikely that Finch would not be trying at least as hard as Reese to rescue his friend and erstwhile partner. He then reminded us that there was a full team there with Carter and Fusco that can fill in, at least in part, for Reese.
The focus then shifted a bit to Carter and her role with the FBI:
Q: And then Carter accepting this job with the FBI and this next level where she’s trying to help both sides of a big organization and the NYPD; how much is she going to be wrestling with her loyalties moving forward?
Greg Plageman: Obviously Carter being interested in the man in the suit has been a constant running theme on our show. Donnelly is well aware of Carter’s history as an interrogator in Iraq, and now he has Reese in custody, so it’s going to be very interesting to see how Carter plays both sides of the fence.
Q: I wanted to know when the episode – I know you can’t tell us a lot of the episode, but when it comes back, what kind of time will have passed? Do we pick up right where we left off to see what happens with Reese right then or will some time have gone by and we these guys sort of struggling to get him back?
Jonathan Nolan: I think it picks up – our series begins to be back on the air January 3rd, so we’re not gone too long. We get right back into it. Finch – just because Reese is locked up and that is a huge focus for them, but, as he said in the Pilot, the numbers never stop coming. Watching Finch try to spin plates in terms of, okay, I’ve got to rescue my friend but I’ve also got a backlog of people who may be in serious jeopardy, becomes sort of a focus, just as it was for Reese in the beginning of the season. I would characterize the next three episodes as completely bananas.
Greg Plageman: Not only bananas but pretty much picking up in real time from one to the next. We feel we’ve got to play these things for real when he’s incarcerated with the FBI breathing down his neck with the information that they have. We want to show the audience that Donnelly is a very formidable character in his endeavor to take down Reese. We had a lot of fun with that and a lot of big serialized content is coming into play with some cast of characters.
Jonathan Nolan: Some friendly folks are returning, there’s going to be fresh chaos – which we love. Our show has periods in which we get to concentrate on the story of the week and things are nice and developing and we sort of lull the audience into a sense of safety and security; then we smash things into pieces. That’s where we are heading into.
Q: I was curious whether or not Finch would have to try to handle numbers from the Machine on his own. So it sounds like that may happen?
Jonathan Nolan: Yeah, that is our first episode of the year. While plans are being sort of put together, while our heroes, plural, scheme what the hell they’re going to do with Reese locked up because he’s their friend, so it impacts all of them; Finch is going to have to go into a very unusual circumstance in order to protect a very special person of interest.
Jonathan and Greg kind of summed up the first couple of episodes this way:
It’s going to be an effort to cover the numbers with Reese out of commission noting that Finch will have a lot of plates to spin in his efforts without Reese. We were told that Finch was up first, with Fusco up second and that we would have to stay tuned for the third one.
One of the questions shifted the focus to Elias and we got these interesting tidbits to chew on:
Q I found it quite amusing when he (Elias) basically told HR to screw off; he’s had enough with them. The one thing I remembered when that happened was the scene with Finch in the prison where he actually liked him and they seemed to have a connection; he just wanted to play chess with him. Are we going to learn more about that possibly, maybe as Elias becoming more of an ally with the Reese and Finch team or is that something for later on?
Jonathan Nolan: I don’t know, Greg, what do you think; Elias as an ally?
Greg Plageman: I think Reese is going to be incarcerated. I think we know who runs that. So I would bet you might see the tentacles of our friend again.
Jonathan summed it up quite simply (and humorously as it was a nod to “Shadow Box”): Reese is in a bit of a pickle.
They both went on to say this about Elias as well as HR: HR is down but not out and the tensions between HR and Elias are very much at the forefront of what’s coming. There is a war looming, no question about it. Elias is still running the town, just doing it from a prison which is a dangerous proposition. (Especially with Reese in prison and not friends with either HR or Elias … sounds fantastic!)
And there you have it, folks, the call was over! Jonathan and Greg answered every question that was posed to them and they gave lengthy, sometimes humorous and always thoughtful responses.
I’ve heard them on various interviews on YouTube as well as on the DVD commentaries, but it was quite exciting to be on the phone with them and hear them firsthand extol their cast, their writers, their crew and their show. I wish them much success (yes, selfishly because that means I’ll have many more seasons of enjoying Person of Interest.)
As always, thanks for reading! Elle2