Person Of Interest: The Rewatch

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Recap: Carter’s been set up by HR for a shooting gone wrong, but unfortunately Reese and Finch have their hands too full to help out. The virus has just counted down to zero, and the Machine has reset, giving administrative powers to whoever gets its call. And tonight, that’s Reese and Root: both now equipped with full access to The Machine’s data. Root plans to use this to find the Machine once and for all. Reese plans to use it to stop her. And the government plans to take away their access by any means necessary.

A Note From…

Jonah: Ah — God Mode.  An episode I have been thinking about for longer than I have been thinking about the show.  The alt title was ‘up up down down left right left right b a select start’.  A great collaboration with the wonderful Patrick Harbinson, now kicking ass on Homeland.  And a final ‘follow this!’ performance from the amazing Richard J Lewis as producing director, who celebrated the end of his tenure with a cameo as a lunatic being escorted out of the asylum by a couple producing orderlies.   He’ll be back to the madhouse for episode 311.  The only thing I regret about this episode is that we didn’t have room for the flashbacks revealing how the machine moved itself, which were delicious.  Stay tuned.

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Behind The Scenes: Greg and Jonah on set with Jim for the finale (above). Taraji takes a moment to pack her box after Carter’s framed for a bad shooting (below).

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Fun Fact: There were multiple cameos throughout this episode from members of the POI family.  How many can you spot?

Characters Of Interest:

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  • Shaw (Sarah Shahi): Teamed up with Reese to track down Root and Finch.
  • Root (Amy Acker): Now that she has a 24 hour window of admin access, aka ‘God Mode’, she’s finally communicating with the machine, and planning to use this to find its location to fulfill her plan to set it free.
  • Hersh (Boris McGiver): Under ‘Special Counsel’s’ orders, Hersh and team go dark as they track down their former employee ‘Ms. May’.
  • 'Special Counsel' (Jay O. Sanders): With Reese and Root running around the city with admin access, ‘Special Counsel’ is losing his iron grip on The Program, and may need an assist from ‘Control’ to clean this up.

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  • Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen): In flashback, we see the moments leading up to the fatal incident that took his life, and learn who’s responsible for it.
  • Grace Hendricks (Carrie Preston): Seen in flashback after the  events that took Ingram’s life and injured Finch.
  • Detective Terney (Al Sapienza): Revealing his true colors to Detective Carter in order to stop her from taking the investigation on her ‘bad shooting’ any further and just accept her punishment. Guess he doesn’t know Carter that well…
  • Elias (Enrico Colantoni): Like Carter, he’s another obstacle in the way of HR completing its rise to power. And as they say, the enemy of my enemy…
  • Peter Yogorov (Morgan Spector): Thanks to HR’s “prisoner transfer”, Elias ends up in a dark forest where Yogorov and Terney are waiting. And since Elias was responsible for the hit on Peter’s father, he’s ready to enact some revenge.

Sighted!

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  • Control (???): This mysterious woman is heard, but never seen, calling the shots for Northern Lights.
  • Bear (Boker): Supposedly spent most of the episode with his petsitter, Leon.

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Recap: The machine has stopped sending numbers altogether, and the virus is hours away from reaching zero. If that happens, will the machine shut down for good? Reese and Finch don’t want to find out. Meanwhile, with HR back in power, they’re making sure any threats to their operation are dealt with accordingly.

The POI: Ernest Thornhill

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A Note From…

David: With Root on the loose, the Decima virus spreading, and the machine in danger, we were concerned that an ordinary POI would just get lost in the shuffle.  Then we wondered, what if the number that came up belonged to the machine itself?  And Ernest Thornhill was born.  Taking his name from Cary Grant’s character in “North by Northwest,” we gave the machine an identity, a face, a business, and a mysterious plan.

Fun Fact: This is the final episode to feature the mysterious “blue screen” glitches caused by the Decima virus.  As many fans know, all these screens hide hidden messages.  But, to our knowledge, the 38 screens featured in this episode have never been decrypted.

Behind The Scenes: The explosion of Thornhill’s car was one of our favorite stunts in Season Two, and it went off perfectly.  The car flew 100 feet through the air on its nose before finally flipping — all with our stunt coordinator Jeff Gibson in the driver’s seat.  (Jeff’s fine, by the way.)

Characters Of Interest:

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  • Root (Amy Acker): Still undercover as Ms. May in the Office of Special Counsel, but knowing the machine is in trouble, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to save it, and plans to find its location in the process.
  • Shaw (Sarah Shahi): On the heels of tracking Root, which leads her to cross paths with Reese at Thornhill’s apartment.
  • Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen): In flashback, we return to 2010; the year after Finch and Ingram packaged the machine up and gave it to the government. But Ingram is still getting the irrelevant numbers, and he’s trying to do something about it.
  • Grace Hendricks (Carrie Preston): Gets a proposal from her boyfriend of four years.

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  • Greer (John Nolan): In New York to oversee the final steps of Decima’s virus infecting the machine.
  • Special Counsel (Jay O. Sanders): In damage control mode since “research” stopped sending numbers for the program. And on top of that his secretary is giving her notice.
  • Detective Terney (Al Sapienza): With HR back in power, Terney’s given orders to make sure that Carter isn’t a problem anymore.

Sighted!

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  • Bear (Boker): On a walk with Finch when they finally get a call from the machine.

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Recap: Finch and Reese know that Decima planted the Virus to affect the machine in some way, and as the virus countdown nears Zero, they wonder if it’s affecting the Machine’s performance, giving them numbers late. Case in point: receiving Cal Beecher’s number too late to save him from the hit that his own Godfather, Alonzo Quinn, ordered on him. HR’s making big moves and Carter and Fusco are about to be caught in the middle of them.

The POI: Dr. Richard Nelson (Dennis Boutsikaris)

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A Note From…

Greg: We wanted to tell a story about two different men staring into the abyss.  The doctor realizes he’s brought his own imminent death upon himself because of his own hubris — and now has to decide what he’s going to do with the last 24 hours of his life.  At the same time, we learn how Detective Fusco went bad in flashback, and how one fateful decision he made out of loyalty may now be coming back to bury him.  Ultimately, it’s a story about forgiveness and redemption, about whether men who have made terrible mistakes are worthy of absolution.  As the story comes to it’s conclusion, only one man makes it out alive.

Tony: The snow from the blizzard was perfect for this scene where Nelson has his last moments under the stone arches after Reese gives him a final sip of scotch. Fish set up this beautiful shot where the camera pans back to reveal the arches and a snow covered meadow. And just after Nelson died, a flock of geese flew overhead squawking… so the sound you hear of geese in the background isn’t generated. You couldn’t have planned that better.

Behind The Scenes: When we first arrived to shoot the Oyster Bay scene, we were experiencing an all out blizzard. We weren’t sure if we’d even be able to get Soriano’s vehicle to drive through the snow.  But we decided against it and luckily, production kicked it into full gear. Turns out the blizzard and snow made this one of the more beautiful scenes we’ve shot and was perfect for Fusco’s reckoning.

Characters Of Interest:

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  • Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters): Delivering his godson’s eulogy, the godson that he had killed for getting too close to the truth about HR.
  • Officer Simmons (Robert John Burke): With Fusco out from under his thumb, Simmons pulls the cord: he’s tipped off IAB to Detective Stills’ disappearance.
  • Detective Stills (James Hanlon): Fusco’s old partner and leader of their dirty cop ring, we see him in Flashback during Fusco’s assimilation into the gang.
  • Detective Azarello (Louis Vanaria): Another member of Stills’ dirty gang of cops shaking down dealers, he is alive and kicking in prison, and now that HR’s no longer protecting Fusco, he’s no longer encouraged to keep his mouth shut.

Sighted!

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  • Captain Womack (John Fiore): Captain of the 8th, when Fusco is detained for questioning, he’s not far away.
  • Detective Cal Beecher (Sterling K. Brown): His shadow looms over this episode, and many more to come.
  • Bear (Boker): Helping Carter do a little tracking.  And tracking some mud through the 8th Precinct…

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Recap: Quinn’s effectively put a stop to the Yogorov trial by killing Szymanski and the ADA trying the case. And Detective Terney helped him do it! Looks like he’s not the good cop we’ve always thought he was. And as HR reascends to power, Decima’s virus continues to infect its targets, counting down to…

The POI: Monica Jacobs (Tracie Thoms)

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A Note From…

Dan & Erik: We had a great time creating the character of Monica, a high-powered executive who’s devoted her life to a tech company that’s an American success story… only to peel away the very ideas of loyalty and patriotism—and whether they can survive in a globalized economy.  As Reese and Finch investigate Monica and the tech company, they tumble down a conspiracy-filled rabbit role, uncovering a spy within the company, then multiple spies, then… well let’s just say the whole thing gets twistier than they ever imagined.  Equally twisty is Det. Cal Beecher’s journey to figure out whether he was manipulated into framing a good cop (the late Det. Szymanski).  It was also tons of fun to develop a “friend crush” between Monica and Finch—two people who share a love for technology.  What could be more enjoyable than writing scenes where those two get to geek out together (at the expense of our resident non-geek, Reese)?

Fun Fact: The name of the mysterious organization revealed at the end of the episode—Decima—comes from the Ancient Roman names of the three Fates, mythological goddesses who chart the course of each human life.  Nona spins the thread of life, Morta cuts the thread off when it’s done, and Decima measures its length.  What better name for an organization built on information and how it shapes and dictates our existence?

Behind The Scenes: We were all so sad to say goodbye to Sterling K. Brown, who so brilliantly played the role of Detective Cal Beecher. When he’d shot his final scene for us (a fantastic performance playing chess with Carl Elias), the entire crew stood and applauded him, chanting, “Flashback! Flashback!” Always a possibility on POI…

Characters Of Interest:

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  • Shaw (Sarah Shahi): Reese finds her watching over her dead partner’s family after her former employers leak a story to the press that he was a terrorist to slander his name.
  • Detective Cal Beecher (Sterling K. Brown): After the death of Szymanski, he’s beginning to question the validity of his confidential informant, his godfather, Mr. Quinn.
  • Elias (Enrico Colantoni): Knows that HR is making big moves, moves thay may impact his own criminal organization (and life).
  • Greer (John Nolan): With the virus nearing the end of its countdown, Greer is back in New York overseeing the operation.

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  • Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters): With the Russians as their new allies, HR once again has money flowing to the right places. But what will Quinn do when his godson Beecher starts digging in the wrong places for the truth?
  • Officer Simmons (Robert John Burke): Keeping tabs on Beecher per Quinn’s directive…
  • Detective Terney (Al Sapienza): Lead detective on the Szymanski and ADA Wright shooting.  Knowing now that he’s in HR, that investigation will likely be a dead end.

Sighted!

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  • Root (Amy Acker): Seen when Shaw notices the Root board. And from the looks of it, Shaw might have a new hobby.
  • Bear (Boker): Besides welcoming Shaw to the library, we get to see Bear going behind enemy lines to distract the security guards.

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Recap: Carter and Beecher have mended their relationship, but it’s still fragile. And Fusco’s uneasy now that Carter is connecting the dots between Detective Stills and Detective Davidson’s disappearance. In the meantime, HR has been quietly moving the pieces into place to strike an alliance with the Russians.

The POI: Lou Mitchell (Ron McLarty)

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A Note From…

Lucas: This was not only the first episode I had written for the show, it was also my first professional writing gig, so the stakes were as big for me as Lou’s are in the high rollers’ room.  I’d been working for Jonah since Person of Interest was just a pitch, and I finally pestered him enough that he gave me a shot at writing. This episode came out of a story I told him about a weekend I had spent in Las Vegas. Putting far too much trust in me, Jonah and Greg sent me off to New York to produce the episode; thank goodness for the incredible team on set who made sure that everything came together like clockwork. And for the episode, I learned how to play baccarat at Hustler Casino in Gardena, CA; I think I can claim the prize for most fun had doing work-related research.

Fun Fact: Leon wasn’t supposed to get a pedicure.  That scene was scripted to take place on a park bench, but it was raining the day of shooting, so we took a look around the neighborhood for a place we could shoot indoors.  When our crew found the nail salon, it was love.

Behind The Scenes: It takes a lot to make a casino.  We sent a cameraman to Atlantic City overnight to get many of the external surveillance shots we use in the episode, but the casino we feature is actually a combination of two buildings:  the Astoria World Manor and the Resorts World Casino, both in New York City.

Characters Of Interest:

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  • Leon Tao (Ken Leung): After Reese saves Leon’s life again, he helps Team Machine as they work the next number.
  • Detective Cal Beecher (Sterling K. Brown): His relationship with Carter is about to be tested when Carter learns he’s called in the tip about Szymanski being a dirty cop.
  • Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters): With the pieces in place, Quinn begins to make big moves as part of his master plan to bring HR back into power.  Even if it means getting his hands dirty.
  • Officer Simmons (Robert John Burke): In order to facilitate the alliance between HR and the Russians, Simmons is busy setting up the key witness in the Yogorov case, among other things.

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  • Detective Bill Szymanski (Michael McGlone): The key witness in the Yogorov case, he’s coincidentally detained by IAB on a tip that he was taking bribes from Elias’s men, postponing the trial.
  • Peter Yogorov (Morgan Spector): Standing trial for the events of last season, but as the de facto head of the Russian Mafiya, HR plans to offer him his freedom to secure their alliance.
  • Detective Terney (Al Sapienza): Helping Carter out with her investigation into missing cops, specifically Detective Stills.

Sighted!

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  • 'Scarface' (David Valcin): Mentioned during Szymanski’s interrogation as the guy paying Szymanski off.
  • Grace Hendricks (Carrie Preston): After the threat to the POI is neutralized, Finch takes a moment to remember the life he had.
  • Bear (Boker): Tackling one of the scammers claiming to be a “Nigerian Prince” after he threatens Leon’s life.

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Recap: With Shaw alive but on the run, Reese and Finch turn their attention back to their mission of saving the irrelevant numbers, but the virus that Stanton uploaded is slowly counting down to triggering an unknown event. And Carter’s still on the outs with Beecher after her association with him cost her a shot at being an FBI field agent.

The POI(s): Jack Rollins, Edwin Pylar, George Leary, Nathan Kramer, Roland Danvers, Henri Musset

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A Note From…

Sean: When writing a hurricane-set episode of a TV show, it’s always a good idea not to film it in New York in January. One night, filming a confrontation between Carter and Beecher in a car, the temperature outside dropped to 26° F — effectively freezing the crew, the cameras, and the water towers that provided the ever important rain ingredient to the scene. In the end, a blowtorch was used to unfreeze the water towers… but the same couldn’t be said for a brave, shivering production staff.

Fun Fact: Though we don’t go into much detail of the POIs’ lives in dialogue, Agent Fahey’s files contain very detailed accounts of the lives of each number down to a tee, including friends, family, work history, education, and accounts of last known whereabouts from witnesses. See what you can spot when the files appear on screen!

Behind The Scenes: Some of the days were quite sunny and production had to use multiple water towers and color correction to create the effect of the storm. On another day, however, production was interrupted by an actual storm fierce enough to cause those scenes to be rescheduled.

Characters Of Interest:

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  • Detective Cal Beecher (Sterling K. Brown): Carter’s been keeping him at arms length, and he doesn’t know why.
  • SAIC Brian Moss (Brian Hutchison): Even though Carter might not have made it into the FBI, the SAIC of New York City isn’t a bad friend for Carter to have when she needs a favor; in this case getting reports out of FBI headquarters.

Sighted!

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  • Bear (Boker): Besides helping Finch investigate the POI’s apartment, Bear’s also seen wearing a service vest in order to join Reese and Finch for their rainy day matinee.