PERSON OF INTEREST Post-Mortem: Jonathan Nolan on Bringing a Bit of Closure to Carter’s Tale
April 14, 2015 by Marisa Roffman
[Warning: this post contains spoilers for the PERSON OF INTEREST episode “Terra Incognita.”]
Taraji P. Henson returned to PERSON OF INTEREST in “Terra Incognita,” but it wasn’t simply in flashbacks. Yes, Henson’s Carter was working on a case, and we did see her trying to solve it in the past, but a good portion of the Carter we got in tonight’s hour of POI was a dying Reese’s hallucination — he remembered a conversation they had during a stakeout, but instead of shutting her out (like he did in reality), this time he shared some of the things he wished he had told her before her own untimely death.
And though Carter ended up helping Reese through some of his darkest moments — and guided him when he went about trying to save himself from freezing to death in some not-so-smart ways (darn hypothermia), the hour very much felt like a final way to say goodbye to Carter. Though if PERSON OF INTEREST co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan has his way, this won’t be the last we see of Carter.
“I certainly hope not,” Nolan shared. “We love working with Taraji, and I’m hoping to work with Taraji for a very long time to come in different projects. The nice thing about flashbacks is we’ll get to dive back into those characters whenever we can.”
“But [we had] the opportunity to provide a little bit of closure here — we pride ourselves on having these twists and turns and story moves, but the reality of a character being killed off in the last few minutes of the episode means you don’t really get the chance to have closure with that character,” he continued. “So we thought, this is a wonderful opportunity in case we don’t get another one — and like I said, I’d love to have Taraji back on the show, we love working with her — but this felt like a great way to put those characters back together again, and get the opportunity for them to have a last goodbye, from their perspective.”
Before Carter’s death in season 3, she and Reese shared a kiss — a moment that was unscripted, and the writers debated leaving in to the final episode. But in tonight’s hour, the writers leaned into the connection the duo shared, potentially further blurring the lines of where the duo stood before Carter’s premature death.
“The beautiful thing about working on a television show with incredibly talented actors and writers is that over the course of four seasons and 90 episodes, you really get to play with the concept of characters and change, and you really get to invest in these relationships,” Nolan said “And the way that relationships do change, in the way that they become friendships or more than that, or they become friendships again; this is life. In the course of the time we got to tell that story, there were a lot of different aspects of the relationship between Carter and Reese.”
“When I began the show, I always imagined there might be a romantic connection there for those characters,” he continued. “If you look at the pilot, it’s very much written in that way of ‘What if Batman and Commissioner Gordon fell in love?’ I think there was always an [element] of being open to that. And then when you put the actors there, and you see where the show takes you. What we had here was a great friendship. A great friendship between two characters who got each other. And with the actors and the extremity of their last episodes together, that blossomed for us in making the episode. With this episode, we wanted to pay off all those different aspects of [their relationship], and concentrate on the friendship and connection between the characters. The writers, Erik Mountain and Melissa Scrivner Love have been with the show for a very long time and have written fantastic episodes for all of these characters. Given the format of the episode, this is not a romantic situation they’re in. It’s a frankly kind of bleak situation. And not in the way it was when Carter [died], where there was [an element] of excitement and there was [the question of] will they make out, will they not? This was a little more like we wanted to surprise the audience with this — it’s how the end for this character will eventually come. It’ll be a bit of a surprise, and out of nowhere. And when we find this episode, it’s these character’s [potential] last moments, akin to the episode in which Carter died, where Reese was holding her, first and foremost as a friend, and mourning the death of all the possibilities of what it could become. So their last moment with each other, there was the emphasis on the fullness of that connection. Paying off all of that, we hope.”
And much like the loss of Carter, now that Reese has been saved from near-death, the impact of his conversations “with” her will reverberate for the rest of the season.
“If you’re watching Reese’s character closely, you’ll see this is an experience and an episode that has left its mark on him,” Nolan teased. “We see that this is a person who is a little more aware of the people around him and their connection to him.”
What did you think of tonight’s episode of PERSON OF INTEREST?
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