On the Set With Person of Interest's Vigilante Dream Team
Person of Interest
A postcard-perfect day in lower Manhattan is shattered by mass hysteria as hordes of office workers run screaming from a building. Passersby watch with a mix of awe and trepidation when, suddenly, Jim Caviezel's John Reese emerges, receiving and relating instructions via his trusty earpiece seconds before the scene comes to an end.
Turns out the only thing occupying Wall Street today is Person of Interest's cast and crew, hard at work on Episode 4 of the CBS drama's sophomore season. With that realization, those clustered Gothamites — who are as blasé about film shoots as they are touchy about less fictional disruptions — can shrug and go on their merry ways.
Not Caviezel. Right after the evacuation scene, he's escorted a couple blocks up Broadway to a grungy alley, where he'll catch up with this episode's POI (a future crime victim or villain identified by a clandestine computer), and lay a beating on the poor schmuck in order to get his attention and save his life. By the time the scene is exhaustively rehearsed —
Caviezel pantomiming the frenetic hand-to-hand combat with his stunt double — those same desk jockeys have wrapped up their nine-to-five and are heading home.
It's only during a break before Caviezel's night shift begins that he finally has time to chat. "The things that really drive me are the things that scare me, and this still scares me," Caviezel says of his grueling gig. "People say you find a rhythm, but I haven't found that yet." Not that he's complaining. POI emerged as one of the few undisputed hits of the 2011-12 season, finishing 13th among prime-time series with an average of 14.5 million viewers.
It seems Caviezel is also scared of letting slip any plot points about this episode, in which Reese gets himself hired as the bodyguard for a POI named Sofia (Paloma Guzman), the beautiful and bratty daughter of a Brazilian diplomat whose taste for New York nightlife creates a dangerous situation. "Reese has to figure out which part of her life or her father's life the threat emanates from...unless she is the threat herself," says exec producer Jonathan Nolan.
Meanwhile, Reese's recently abducted cohort, Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), finds himself back in his natural habitat, the library/lair, but, says Nolan, "he's a little gun-shy" about engaging with the real world. Luckily, he's going to have a special new friend to help him through: Bear, the military-trained dog that Reese took from an Aryan gang in this season's premiere. "Reese winds up bringing him home, but he isn't the one who has to take care of him," says Emerson, laughing. Finch's relationship with the pooch, he adds, "is funny and it's dear, and coming together really beautifully."
The Oct. 18th episode also marks the return of a couple of Reese's former CIA colleagues,
Kara Stanton (Annie Parisse) and Agent Snow (Michael Kelly). "They have their own interesting story line this season," says Nolan. "We want to know why Kara Stanton is back in New York. Is it something to do with Reese, or something else?"
One thing's for sure: The relationships between the four principal characters have grown stronger this season. "Reese starts calling Finch his friend," says Caviezel. "He knows that without what Finch is doing, John doesn't exist anymore." Emerson agrees. "They learned that they could, in fact, depend upon the other even more than they thought," he says. "The sense of fraternity between them is stronger than ever."
There's also a solidified bond between Reese and Taraji P. Henson's Detective Carter. "The first season, there was so much tension because she didn't know if she could trust him, but now they've become really good friends," says Henson. "There's a definite respect and love for each other." For Emerson, the cohesion and closeness extends to the guys' other contact in the NYPD, Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman). Now, he explains, "It's like the Avengers — four good guys, each of them flawed and compromised in some way, but together making a reasonably efficient machine."
Chapman isn't so sure we're dealing with a solid unit of four. "More like 3.25," he says. "I see Fusco as that put-upon friend that you continuously go to for a favor, but then there are times when he's that little kid who's trying to get in the game." And there is the matter of his longtime involvement with the corrupt NYPD cabal known only as "HR," which took a few blows last season but, according to executive producer Greg Plageman, is far from dead. "They're definitely crippled," he says, "but you're talking about a slippery organization that has some very dangerous elements in it."
For more on Person of Interest, pick up this week's issue of TV Guide Magazine, on newsstands Thursday, October 11!
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