While Person of Interest is on hiatus until midseason, fans who gathered at the Empire Stage in the Jacob K. Javits center on Sunday afternoon were excited as ever. Writer Greg Plageman, executive producer Chris Fisher and producer Margot Lulick joined series actors Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Kevin Chapman, Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker to talk about the upcoming fifth season, get up close (and too personal) with fans and talk about the Root/Shaw reunion everyone is waiting for.
The panel opened with a fun peek at the new season in which a rebooted Machine confuses the team members. The bit required the cast to play different rones than usual and Emerson said it wasn’t without peril. “It was lots of fun, but it’s also dangerous to do impressions of your cast members,” he explained. Acker, who is the undisputed star of the clip, even called up Caviezel and asked him to channel his serious character John Reese for reference. “I know it’s bad, don’t be mad at me,” she recalled saying.
Plageman warned that the clip wasn’t just a bit of fun for fans, however. “We’re not sure that it has a heartbeat,” he said of The Machine, which was nearly destroyed by Samaritan in the finale. “What [Team Machine] do or don’t do to save it is really spectacular,” Fisher teased of the premiere, which picks up right after the events of the finale. He also said that Finch will struggle with what he did to The Machine this season. “Mr. Finch is in kind of a bad place,” Emerson said of his character, explaining that The Machine’s creator is struggling more and more with what it means that it’s approaching, “personhood.”
On a lighter note, the continuing Root/Shaw romance was a big part of the panel. “I think there was a little bit of surprise,” Shahi said of how both she and Acker reacted when they realized the writers were taking their characters in a romantic direction. “I think the audience is gonna be happy with what they see,” she teased. When pressed for details, Shahi encouraged fans to, “just let your mind run rampant,” and then pushed their imaginations along saying, “Amy and I both have bruises and it’s not from any of the fight scenes.”
The question of Reese’s love life also came up and while Caviezel said his character is still somewhat recovering from “not having a chance to have said what he wanted to say” to Taraji P. Henson’s now-deceased Carter, the actor did get up close and personal with a fan during the panel. After asking if she could hug him, the fan ran to the stage and practically tackled Caviezel. To his credit, the actor was surprisingly game, picking her up, spinning her around, giving a somewhat terrified look to the audience at her death grip around him and then sitting back in his chair with the girl still in his lap. She was eventually escorted off the stage by security, but not before Emerson joked that “the whole damn thing has been hijacked.”