PERSON OF INTEREST: Jonathan Nolan on Carter’s ‘Return,’ the Mystery of Reese, and More | Give Me My Remote

PERSON OF INTEREST: Jonathan Nolan on Carter’s ‘Return,’ the Mystery of Reese, and More

April 13, 2015 by  

Terra IncognitaThis week’s new episode of PERSON OF INTEREST is an emotional hour, as Reese sets out to solve a case Carter was never able to close before her untimely death.

“One of the fun things of our show is the opportunity to tell big stories about how technology is changing our lives, and the planet around us,” PERSON OF INTEREST creator Jonathan Nolan noted. “But now Reese is pretending to be a New York City police officer, [and] his day job pulls him into some more grounded, dark, emotional landscapes. In this case, it’s the story of a murder of a family that Carter began investigating a few years beforehand. It’s a cold case where the main suspect has fled the country. He’s now come back to the country, the Machine has given us his number, and it’s an opportunity for Reese to pick up where Carter left off in trying to solve this mystery. But the episode really is about more than the case; it’s about the mystery of who is Reese? Who is he really?”

As the show underwent its deep-dive into Reese’s mindset, the flashbacks also allowed the series to use Taraji P. Henson (Carter) — who has been having a busy year between EMPIRE and her SNL hosting gig this past weekend — for the first time since her 2013 exit.

“We said from the beginning — or rather the end of the Carter storyline and Taraji’s departure from the show — that everyone on the show lives forever in flashback,” Nolan pointed out. “We had always talked about the opportunity to have [Carter] back on the show. We reached out late last year, and said we cooked up what we thought was a killer episode for her character to return. She was thrilled to come back, and we were thrilled to have her.”

With only a handful of episodes left this season, Nolan embraced the chance to take a bit of a breather from the ongoing mythology in “Terra Incognita.”

“For us, [traditionally,] this spot, this kind of third-from-the-last episode is often a time to focus a little more emotionally; the eye of the hurricane,” Nolan said. “Knowing the last two episodes of our season are always a gigantic clusterfuck — which is I think is a technical writing term — this slot is the one we try turn a bit more emotionally, quietly, into the backstory of one of the characters.”

“For this season, we’ve been tracking Reese’s development, or lack thereof, in an emotional sense as a character,” he continued. “He’s a very reserved character, even after months and months and months of talk therapy. He succeeded in as much that his therapist has fallen for him, but he hasn’t [wholly] opened up. Carter was always the character who got him. From their first scene together in the pilot, she understands him implicitly. In part because of her own background in the military, they connect. She cuts through the nonsense, and understands what this guy is all about. Ironically, at the end of the season in which he has become a little more emotionally vulnerable and ready to talk, and the person to whom he’d be able to open up to is gone. Which is part of the cause of his emotional reserve. So we thought it was a fantastic opportunity to put these actors back together again, and for us to peer a little deeper into Reese, and his character, and what makes him tick.”

A few other things:

  • Henson is absolutely killing it on EMPIRE, but while I was watching this week’s hour, it kept hitting me how great it was to see her as Joss Carter again. The show also managed to bring some of the best Carter/Reese scenes of the series in “Terra Incognita”; Henson and Jim Caviezel are just great together.
  • Though I’ll have more for you guys from Nolan post-““Terra Incognita” airing (and before the next new episode, as well), this little tease about the final two episodes of the year was too good to hold on to: “It’s bloody as hell, and the Machine’s location is finally going to be revealed.”
  • Personally, I adore seeing the nooks and crannies of sets, and CBS has put together this really great set tour of the subway headquarters — led by POI stars Michael Emerson (Finch) and Amy Acker (Root) — which is worth you watching: YouTube Preview Image

Are you excited to see Carter back on POI? PERSON OF INTEREST airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on CBS.

Related:

PERSON OF INTEREST: ‘Terra Incognita’ Photos
PERSON OF INTEREST Exclusive Video: Reese Tracks a Software CEO in ‘Search & Destroy’
PERSON OF INTEREST: Taraji P. Henson to Return for Guest Spot
PERSON OF INTEREST: Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman Tease the Team’s Struggles Post-Shaw, the Return of the Brotherhood, and More

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