The Machine is missing and now completely self-governed when the third season of “Person of Interest” returns on its new night and time, Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c. Even so, it continues to provide Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) with numbers of those in jeopardy.
The first number that comes up is that of a U.S. Naval officer, who is celebrating Fleet Week in Manhattan. With so many men in uniform, it makes him a challenge for John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi, now a series regular) to find, but the important thing is the Machine is still in touch.
“The way [machines have] always been portrayed, whether it is Hal or the Terminator, we always assume the machine has nefarious goals or means,” executive producer Greg Plageman says. “What is interesting is Root [Amy Acker, also promoted to series regular status] refers to the machine as a ‘god’ and as a ‘she.’ We thought there was something in that. We thought, ‘What if it wasn’t out to harm you? What if it had another goal?’ We have been trained by sci-fi that if something of superior intelligence gets loose, God help us all. But there could be another avenue and that is what we are going to explore.”
So what else is happening in Season 3? xfinityTV spoke to the producers and cast of “Person of Interest” about what else they will be delving into in Season 3. Here are five things you will want to know:
1. Our anti-heroes — Reese and Finch. A lot of drama has gone down between the two men, but Reese understands that in a sense, Finch saved his life when he invited him to be the action man behind the numbers. In the past two seasons, they have forged a strong relationship, but this season is going to test their trust in each other.
“They are much more comfortable with each other than they used to be, but, I think, a complete trust is not available to people who are living on a suicide mission,” Emerson says. “Just about every time they are about to slip into something collegial, or a kind of ease with one another, than a number comes through, or a bad phone call. The long-standing suspicions are still there, and, of course, Reese would still like to know where Finch came from.”
2. The cops — Detectives Joss Carter and Lionel Fusco. Detective Carter [Taraji P. Henson] has been demoted to a patrol officer as a result of her being set up by the corrupt police crime organization HR.
“Obviously, with some of the things she did, in terms of interceding in the prison transfer of Elias [Enrico Colantoni] and the actions she took, her character is heading on a different trajectory now than we have had her on for quite some time,” says Plageman. “It will be a little bit more extreme and a little bit more perilous.”
It will also change her relationship with Fusco [Kevin Chapman], who she bailed out, so he still has his detective shield. But now, she will need to turn to him for information to which she no longer has access.
“It changes their interaction in a couple of interesting ways but it also kind of liberates it,” says Nolan, who points out that Fusco is on his third or fourth chance at this point in his police career. “She is no longer under the scrutiny she was as a detective. On the flip side, she in uniform and out there a little more high profile. At nights, she spends a little bit of time helping out our guys, which draws her closer to that team.”
3. New series regulars — Root and Shaw. When we return, Root is in an asylum, because the Machine feels she has some work to do on herself. It doesn’t want her to use so much violence. But Root has a plan she is trying to effectuate from inside that may set her free.
“We think it is a lot of fun and we want to pick up right where we left off with her,” Nolan says. “We want to preserve the serialized element of the show. Let’s pick up right where we left off and let’s take people on a ride.”
Root will also continue to hold Harold in esteem. Her feelings for him are why she felt as betrayed as she did when she discovered he was the one who infected the Machine with the virus. Whether it is admiration or something more remains to be seen.
“I think more than anything, she is hurt by him and upset by him,” Acker says. “It seems like a real emotional connection to have that sort of feelings toward someone. It is as if he specifically hurt her by [releasing the virus]. He should have known it would make Root sad.”
Shaw is now a regular part of the group, and a fairly dangerous character. She will continue to play her own rules, but she also brings with her knowledge and understanding of the other side of the equation — the government program known as Northern Lights that uses the Machine’s relevant information to combat terrorism.
“Shaw’s character helps us expand the scope of the show,” Nolan says. “The first season was in New York. The second season began to creep a little bit outside of that. The third season, we are going to start looking to the larger story: The national and international implications of this strange moment we find ourselves in with surveillance and nation’s spying on their own.”
To which Shahi adds, “Shaw is going to be going undercover a lot. One of the reasons they brought her in was they wanted her to be able to go into those areas where Reese could not go. My character is going to be very Tomb Raideresque-style, pulling a gun out from my cleavage or wherever she is going to stash it.”
4. Elias and HR. Both Elias and HR will be very much in the picture for Season 3.
“HR is, you might say, triumphant or ascendant at the end of the second season,” Nolan says. “They have rebuilt themselves.”
But if Carter, who is not happy about her demotion, has anything to do with it, they won’t be around for long. This season, she sets a plan in motion to eradicate them for good. And Fusco will have to constantly be on the lookout as his past with HR will definitely come back around to haunt him.
5. Backstory. We have seen backstory on both Reese and Finch in the past two seasons. And, for Season 3, the producers promise we will see even more of that. We are also going to be seeing more of Carter’s story, and some of Shaw’s backstory, so we will understand more of what makes her tick.
And, even though we saw his death in Season 2 in backstory, we will see more of Finch’s former partner Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) in Season 3.
“One of the fun things about this show is the opportunity to explore the characters, not just in present day, but also in the past.,” Nolan says.
And while we won’t be seeing his backstory, for those who are fans of Bear (Graubaer’s Boker), our four-legged furry hero, who is the 2012 American Working Malinois Association National Champion, he will be back, too.
“Person of Interest” returns for its third season on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 10/9c on CBS.