PERSON OF INTEREST Post-Mortem: Greg Plageman on Season 5's 'Greatest Mystery,' Rebuilding the Machine, Exploring Backstories, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PERSON OF INTEREST Post-Mortem: Greg Plageman on Season 5’s ‘Greatest Mystery,’ Rebuilding the Machine, Exploring Backstories, and More

May 6, 2015 by  


PERSON OF INTEREST closed out its excellent fourth season with a traumatizing — and action-packed — finale, “YHWH.”

For POI co-showrunner Greg Plageman, he got to witness some of the fan reaction to the bloodshed and trauma via the POI writers’ room Twitter account.

“I think [the fans are] simultaneously horrified and engaged,” he laughed. “They know someone is going to die, they don’t know who it is, but they gotta stay engaged. It’s a lot of fun.”

With season 4 now behind us, I spoke with Plageman about what the writers have in store for season 5 — including the “greatest mystery,” if everyone we think is dead will stay dead, Martine’s unseen backstory, and much more…

How much do you have planned about season 5 at this point?
Greg Plageman: We’ve actually got a lot mapped out. It’s really kind of cool. We gathered our writers at the end of the year — and obviously we left on quite a cliffhanger in terms of Team Machine being engaged in a firefight. [Laughs] We really wanted to know where we were headed. What does it mean with the Machine being in an impenetrable case, and what that’s going to entail for the first couple of episodes, and what the larger arc of the season was. Some really great things emerged from that, and [PERSON OF INTEREST creator] Jonah [Nolan] and I both feel great about the blueprint going forward.

Will you be picking up next season in the immediate aftermath of that epic gunfight? Or will there be a time jump?
GP: We discussed a couple of options, and we feel the most honest and satisfactory way to go would be to pick up in real time. Clearly, Team Machine is carrying a pretty valuable football. The case seems pretty impenetrable; I certainly hope it can float.

Will they be able to return to their subway sanctuary? Or is that off-limits now?
GP: The subway is still okay, as well is, interestingly enough, the cover identities of the guys hasn’t been blown in terms of Samaritan’s point of view. The problem comes when members of Samaritan recognize our crew out in the street, and know who they are, or they engage in anomalous behavior that alerts Samaritan. We feel like some of the fun we had [with the cover identities] is an unexplored arena we’d like to get into a little bit more in the next season.

Do you anticipate going back into the numbers of it all as soon as possible next season? Or does the Machine being compressed give you an opportunity to step away from that for a bit?
GP: It’s going to take some doing [to get back to normal], obviously. We imagine if the Machine knew its demise was imminent, it may have also known of a number of premeditated murders and plotted — before it was compressed into a Kevlar case — to let our guys know that there are some people they should keep an eye on until the Machine is able to regain some of its faculties.

The Machine was really questioning its existence in the finale, and posed that if Finch had lost faith in it, maybe it should die. How is that self-questioning changing its “mindset” going forward?
GP: Your question is really interesting in that it almost makes it seem as if the Machine has feelings. Clearly it has an underlying sense of humanity, and a sense of responsibility to humanity, and a affinity and respect for its creator. And maybe that should be enough to ask of a machine. [Laughs]

But everything our characters did was outlined by the Machine itself. All the necessary tools to reduce and mobile, the Machine put itself out there for our guys to save. It left it up to us. Otherwise, it knew its demise was imminent. It posed the question to Harold, its father, its creator, wondering if it’s failed, and maybe it should perish. The fact that our characters, particularly Harold, were forced to act spoke volumes. “We can rebuild it.”

How will Team Machine be handling things after all they’ve been through this season?
GP: The biggest shift in mentality in terms of our character — particularly Harold Finch — that occurs after the whole of this season, is his attitude towards his creation. All season long, we saw Harold grappling with his ambivalence towards the creation of an AI, and the existential risk that presents to humanity. It’s almost as if he was Oppenheimer, or one of the architects of the Manhattan Project. He did something because it was inevitable, and he thought it might actually help the world or advance civilization. But he also understood its incredibly destructive potential in our inability to control it. Much of that was articulated this season in his sparring with Root over the subject. We’ve seen both of those characters shift in that continuum in their attitude towards the Machine.

I think next season, Harold Finch is going to have to put some tremendous thought into reviving his Machine, and whether or not it needs to be modified in some way. Particularly now that we’ve witnessed a season where we’ve been basically clobbered by an even more terrifying adversary.

Samaritan took some terrifying steps to self-correct some of the problems it saw, but those decisions were very black and white. How much will that knowledge impact the way Finch sets out to change his machine?
GP: Well, as we saw in the finale, there were a couple of instances where Root implored the Machine to get in the game. It was simultaneously dying, but at the same time, become more of an intervention [into the events that were going on] — it was something Harold never wanted it to be. It was done almost out of love for its architect and Team Machine, but perhaps understanding its own demise was [upon it] and it needed to do something desperate.  These were the only people in the world who could actually save the Machine. In itself, the fact that it acted and gave “God-mode” to various characters, and what happened in terms of the elevator and what happened with the street lights changing, those were direct interventions that we haven’t seen from the machine. Traditionally, it only acted through our characters. That’s something we’d like to explore further in the coming season; we think it’s a really cool idea.

The show lost a lot of its recurring characters in the finale, which also serves to isolate Team Machine even further. How will those deaths change the dynamics you can play with next season?
GP: We love our big bads, and we wavered on Enrico [Colantoni (Elias)], and Winston [Duke (Dominic)], and Camryn [Manheim (Control)], and all these characters. The only one we were sure we knew we could kill was Martine. [Laughs]

But our biggest regret with someone like Martine was not being able to tell her backstory before she left us. We had an elaborate backstory cooked up for her about being a former investigator with the United Nations, and she witnessed all kinds of corruptions, and war criminals getting away with all sorts of atrocities, which led to the evolution of her character and meeting up with Greer. It was really cool! We just ran out of room to tell her story.

What’s interesting about our show is we’ll introduce a big bad on the show, and we’ll find a way to gradually humanize the person. They all their reasons for why they do what they do; Camryn Manheim is a perfect example, and someone we really enjoyed working with. You feel by the end of the finale, she’s coming over to our way of thinking, she can be an ally to Team Machine — until Greer pulled the carpet out from under her.

I think it’s the same thing with Enrico and Winston, and their characters. It’s odd how our audience has come over to sympathizing with these organized criminals. In some ways, they realize there’s a greater villain out there who supersedes all of them, and is more frightening. And perhaps doesn’t have the level of humanity these villains had on our show. And I think that’s scary to people. There was almost this melancholy remembrance of Elias. And that’s great. People have come to identify with those characters in such a way. But I do think in their absence, or in their stead, often pops up new and interesting even more big bads into the vacuum.

We saw Dominic dead. We saw Elias dead. But Control was just tricked, captured, and led out to a very bad place. Is there any chance she’s alive/will pop back up?
GP: Marisa, I have no comment on that!

I had to try!
GP: We kill a lot of people, and people can always come back in flashbacks!

Greer seems very confident right now. Where does he go from here?
GP: I think the more interesting evolution of Samaritan — especially now that it’s basically won: the Machine is no longer in the grid, it’s contained, and it needs resuscitation badly — what is more interesting to Jonah and I when we talk about an artificial super-intelligence in the world is that we may not actually notice when it happens. And I think, as Greer speaks to Control in the end in Act 4, when he tells her what real control is: it’s surgical, it’s invisible, it’s almost as if you won’t know it’s here. I think that’s what makes the victory of Samaritan over the Machine even more insidious is that it doesn’t need to be showy anymore.

I think the greatest mystery of next season is what exactly is Samaritan up to? How frightening is it? And is there an element of what Samaritan is doing that is constructive? And what does that say about humanity? And larger questions of free will, and what do we want from technology, and what do we expect from these intelligences when they appear in the world. Will we even notice them?

What has you, personally, most excited about next season?
GP: You know, I’m really excited about exploring some of our characters’ backstory through flashback, in facets you haven’t seen of their personality. I think when Taraji [P. Henson (Carter)] came back, and the episode we did with her and some of the questions she put forth to Reese and she said, “You never told me these things. It’s not too late for you, John.” We realized, we have this lead on our show who has been incredibly recalcitrant about his feelings, and what he plans to do with the rest of his life. And those are larger questions that are really interesting that we can challenge John Reese’s character with next season.

At the same time, Harold Finch, we have this amazing actor in Michael Emerson, and can anthropomorphize a laptop in a way that no one can. The final scenes with him speaking with the Machine — I saw Michael last night at the wrap party, and I asked him, “I can’t remember the day on the set — did you actually have playback where the words were appearing to you on the Machine?” And he said, “It wasn’t always working, but I remembered from the script, and I felt it. I felt the moment, almost like a father and a son.” I don’t know anyone else who could do that besides Michael, really. We have this incredible actor I think we really need to challenge next year. I think Harold has to come to some conviction about what he’s created and what he wants it to do. Particularly in the sense of him grappling about his ambivalence about it in the past and going forward. Everything our characters did to make it mobile and now, what does Harold want? Is he going to be able to reconstitute the Machine? Is he going to enlist Root’s help in that? And what do they want it to do? Particularly after seeing what Samaritan did to the Machine. We can rebuild it — the question becomes, what do we want it to do?

Root really evolved, and this season we saw her taking steps for the team she probably wouldn’t have a year ago. Where does she go from here?
GP: I see her snapping lots of necks! [Laughs] What’s amazing about Amy Acker (Root) is you can have her do anything or say anything, and as preposterous as it sounds, she somehow makes it seem real, and the most important thing in that moment. There’s really nothing she can’t do. There will be some — all of the questions and arguments that were articulated this year between Harold Finch and Root about the Machine’s capability and level of trust we can actually place in a machine will be played out in the reconstitution of the Machine next year between Harold and Root. And it becomes the question of if Harold can trust Root and enlist her in this endeavor.

On a more minor note, Reese promised he would tell Iris the truth about his past if he survived the ordeal. Will he actually make good on that?
GP: That is definitely an area we want to push further.

What did you think of POI’s season finale? And are you excited for season 5?


PERSON OF INTEREST: Jonathan Nolan Teases Deaths, ‘Messy’ A.I. War in Final Season 4 Episodes
PERSON OF INTEREST Post-Mortem: Jonathan Nolan on Bringing a Bit of Closure to Carter’s Tale
PERSON OF INTEREST: Jonathan Nolan on Carter’s ‘Return,’ the Mystery of Reese, and More


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46 Responses to “PERSON OF INTEREST Post-Mortem: Greg Plageman on Season 5’s ‘Greatest Mystery,’ Rebuilding the Machine, Exploring Backstories, and More”

  1. caseym on May 6th, 2015 8:06 pm

    I’m really curious — giving the sliding ratings since Samaritan was introduced, and the series-low numbers for the finale — are the showrunners giving any consideration to that fact that a great number of their fans are simply not interested in this storyline? Is there going to be a major course correction, or are they committed to the AIs until the show dies? Jonah Nolan’s story of the two damaged men seeking redemption through helping others was fascinating. The story he’s telling now — not so much. But from every interview I’ve read, they don’t really care if anyone else is interested any more.

  2. Kyra on May 7th, 2015 7:57 am

    Looks like the showrunners still don’t care about what their audience wants.

    If Nolan wants to continue telling his f***** story, i fear he will end up talking to himself, since everyone else left!

    As for Samaritan, Iris and Detective Riley.

    I have enough of all of that anf them.

    1) Finish Samaritan once and for all. PLEASE.
    2) Get rid of Iris, she simply doesn’t fit into the show and is a waste of screentime.
    3) Kill Detective Riley and PLEASE give us BACK John Reese!

  3. Kyra on May 7th, 2015 7:59 am

    Looks like the showrunners still don’t care about what their audience wants.

    If Nolan wants to continue telling his f***** story, i fear he will end up talking to himself, since everyone else left!

    As for Samaritan, Iris and Detective Riley.

    I have enough of all of that and them.

    1) Finish Samaritan once and for all. PLEASE.
    2) Get rid of Iris, she simply doesn’t fit into the show and is a waste of screentime.
    3) Kill Detective Riley and PLEASE give us BACK John Reese!

  4. kasteelwinter on May 7th, 2015 8:17 am

    Well, this fan is very much interested in the story Nolan wants to tell! I am so glad that Samaritan is not finished and Finch and Root will continue to work together.

  5. Donna on May 7th, 2015 11:28 am

    Seriously… who watches this show for anything other than the AI war and how the team deals with that?

    It’s like listening to people watching Fringe and bitching about the alternate universes, or something…

  6. BYU on May 7th, 2015 1:42 pm

    I’ve noticed a lot of people seem to hate watch TV just so they can complain about it all day long on the internet. And it seems like since CBS is the king of episodic shows where nothing bad happens to the good guys and everything they experienced one episode is completely forgotten the next, that there are actually people who are upset that Person of Interest isn’t like that. What’s really telling is as more writers and websites are proclaiming coming around to notice this show and proclaim all the great things about its evolution to what it is now, you have those who whine about wanting them to go back to the number of the week formula or who complain that the show “jumped the shark” by killing Carter.

  7. on May 7th, 2015 2:16 pm

    It’s truly very complicated in this active life to listen news on Television, thus I just use the web for that purpose,
    and take the most up-to-date news.

  8. jay513 on May 7th, 2015 4:12 pm

    The ratings are falling. that is a fact. Remember Finch in 2piR saving Caleb Phipps and that episode’s 16.2 million viewers? When the show was all about the numbers, Reese, Finch, Carter, and Fusco. Now the show is all about Samaritan and Root. Finch and Reese taking a back seat. The numbers with the exception of a few this season are fodder in Samaritan’s wake. And the season 4 finale, the lowest rated episode…ever at 8.2. Eight million people who quite watching are the whiners wishing for a return to the numbers and are those unreasonably angered by Carter’s death. Those 8 million also are just full of it. Yes Nolan has a story to tell and he’s going to tell it, the fans leaving be damned. It amazes me how cocksure he is there will be a season 5.
    Oh if there is, please let Iris be some plant for the next human big bad. iReese has about as much onscreen sizzle as skunk spray and tomato juice.

  9. jay513 on May 7th, 2015 4:20 pm

    The ratings are falling. that is a fact. Remember Finch in 2piR saving Caleb Phipps and that episode’s 16.2 million viewers? When the show was all about the numbers, Reese, Finch, Carter, and Fusco. Now the show is all about Samaritan and Root. Finch and Reese taking a back seat. The numbers with the exception of a few this season are fodder in Samaritan’s wake. And the season 4 finale, the lowest rated episode…ever at 8.2. Eight million people who quit watching are the whiners wishing for a return to the numbers and are those unreasonably angered by Carter’s death. Those 8 million also are just full of it. Yes Nolan has a story to tell and he’s going to tell it, the fans leaving be damned. It amazes me how cocksure he is there will be a season 5.
    Oh if there is, please let Iris be some plant for the next human big bad. iReese has about as much onscreen sizzle as skunk spray and tomato juice. –
    No editing option.
    Might I add who watched POI for anything other than the AI war and how the team dealt with that? Eight million lost viewers, that’s who.

  10. jay513 on May 7th, 2015 4:26 pm

    The ratings are falling. that is a fact. Remember Finch in 2piR saving Caleb Phipps and that episode’s 16.2 million viewers? When the show was all about the numbers, Reese, Finch, Carter, and Fusco. Now the show is all about Samaritan and Root. Finch and Reese taking a back seat. The numbers with the exception of a few this season are fodder in Samaritan’s wake. And the season 4 finale, the lowest rated episode…ever at 8.2. Eight million people who quit watching are the whiners wishing for a return to the numbers and are those unreasonably angered by Carter’s death. Those 8 million also are just full of it. Yes Nolan has a story to tell and he’s going to tell it, the fans leaving be damned. It amazes me how cocksure he is there will be a season 5.
    Oh if there is, please let Iris be some plant for the next human big bad. iReese has about as much onscreen sizzle as skunk spray and tomato juice.
    There is no edit option.
    Might I add to the person who asked is there anyone who watches POI for anything except an overpowering AI and how the team (Not the original core four mind you) deal with it? Um maybe those 8 million who no onger watch POI.

  11. jay513 on May 7th, 2015 4:32 pm

    I forgot to answer that question of does anyone watch POI for anything other than an aggressive AI taking over the world and the team (Not our beloved core 4 BTW) dealing with it. I guess maybe the 8 million viewers that have left since season two when POI was the core 4, the numbers and an AI who gave them the numbers.

  12. Kira on May 7th, 2015 9:20 pm

    Thanks for a great and long interview. I can’t wait for season 5. It’s amazing how much this show has evolved. I tried watching in season 1 because I love Michael Emerson but couldn’t get past the week to week procedural element of the show so I gave up on it. I heard later how the show had morphed into something else and I’ve been totally hooked on the A.I. story line and addition of awesome characters like Root. It’s too bad many people who might also be interested still have the misconception that POI is another boring CBS procedural show for the older generation. I’ll admit it was hard for me to go back and watch that first season. They could probably pick up more viewers with some creative marketing or something. I hope they continue to have the opportunity to tell their story for years to come. It’s a really unique show with great writing, great acting and some really interesting concepts. Too bad we didn’t get to see Martine’s back story.

  13. jay513 on May 7th, 2015 10:37 pm

    Interesting. My comment was deleted.

  14. Shiro01 on May 8th, 2015 9:25 am

    Jay513 – When Finch saved Caleb the show was featured on a different day (Thursday) at a different time. CBS really crippled this show by moving it to Tuesday at a later time. The show still has really strong raw numbers but the demo index stinks now.

    Its true the ratings have fallen and the show runners are flogging a horse that is beginning to rot. But sometimes you have to struggle through it to get to something better. I just hope to God they kill/destroy Samaritan/Greer by the middle of next season. Just finish it for God’s sake.

  15. Savas on May 8th, 2015 10:41 am

    What I do not understand …


    He is a former CIA agent, there are so many relevant stories that can connect him to the larger picture. That is what people want to see.

    Re Iris. You know, there is a reason why Reese is hesitant to speak about his work and feelings. It is the same reason Finch and Root and Shaw have for not doing so. In his line of work, he can’t simply put everything out there into the open. There was one person that he opened up to in the end: Carter. And she was part of his world to a large extent. He did speak to her about his feelings, about losing someone, about having wanted to end his life at one point, about him then changing his mind (example The Crossing) and Finch (his best friend) knows his whole back story. While Terra Incognita was great, it had misrepresentations in there. In fact, Reese of all characters has actually been the one to build the most personal relationships throughout the whole show: Finch, Carter, Fusco, Elias, … He is really the one with the most human competence of them all.

    It seems truly forced to turn it into a make it or break about whether he opens up to Iris (who really is still a stranger more or less to him and the audience) or not. It seems forced and seems a way to bring him down eventually by killing him when he nearly “gets it” (the love or whatever it is that the writers want him to go for with Iris) for another unwanted dramatic purpose. I do not think that the show’s nor the many Reese fans out there want to see that. And you have given no reason thus far why Iris should be this important. There has been no true build-up between the two as there was with him and Carter for years. She more or less appeared, with one comment by Zoe Reese was suddenly made interested in her and suddenly the sense of his life depends on whether he tells her all his life’s secrets??? Not many people will be able to relate to that. What would be way more interesting is a sort of tension-loaded cat and mouse between John and Iris with finer inuendos.

    The central human story should remain the one of John Reese and Harold Finch seeking redemption through the salvation of people and each other!!

    John Reese is your Jack Bauer. The Batman. His CIA past can place him into a central role with regards to Decima Technologies and whether they can continue to do what they are doing. Samaritan can’t work if it is shut-down by political/intelligence forces. And that is what should eventually happen by mid-season. AI issues can be discussed by putting The Machine into the spotlight.

    Reese probably also has a strong opinion on what the Machine should be capable of operatively and what should better be done by humans. Do NOT exclude him from that discussion. Finch is probably somewhere inbetween Reese and Root when it comes to that. He can argue for humans, Root will argue for technology as she thinks humans are “bad code”. Eventually Root is not on the same page as Finch and Reese. She is great as a counter-player and maybe that is where she will meet Shaw again (who hasn’t really been turned).

    You put Reese into a side-story with Iris and continue to make only Finch/Root play on the larger issue with all the superficial drama and same discussion over and over … you WILL kill the show once and for all.

    Also, the “Root can do everything” is getting beyond ridiculous. To outsiders it seems as if the writers have lost themselves in their adoration for her to a point that normal viewers aren’t able to follow anymore. If Reese already had many extraordinary capabilities still explicable by his Special Forces training, she has topped that to a point that any shred of realism becomes a faint fantasy.

    What can be seen by many fan analysis is also another thing: They are NOT fond of the cover identities. It is worrisome that the writers and producers plan on keeping them! The Machine could have created another cover identity before it went into the box. One that puts Reese and FInch on the same job. Both the cover identities and the Subway should be compromised. The blind spot Samaritan has when it catches their faces on camera remains.

    I hope, writers and producers will take some time to look behind what has been happening with the audience and do not think everything should continue as in this season for the enthusiams of a group of fans that do not represent the vast majority.

    You have created tremendous characters. Please use them in a better way again! You also touch on a very important issue. But do not get swept away in the technical details when the human stories are much more appealing!

  16. CJ on May 8th, 2015 10:50 am

    Why would John Reese’s future depend on whether he opens up to Iris or not?

    What greater purpose in his life could there be than
    – doing the work he has been doing with Finch all along,
    – finding love by finding a counterpart in Carter who grounded him,
    – building connections to friends like Fusco.

    Yes, he can find love again but that does not supercede what he has been doing thus far.

  17. Savas on May 8th, 2015 11:20 am

    To add some more things that I’d place as HIGHLY important judging from many fans’ reactions to this season:

    1) If opening up to Iris becomes a central point it MUST be done in a way that does not neglect nor belittle his strong friendship and deep bond to Finch (and what he had with Carter in the past) in any form! (that was the only misgiving a lot of fans had with Terra Incognita) Instead it should be an addition.

    2) His relationship to Iris must be in character! At this point it is out of his character. Against everything he has ever done and he just uttered to Finch after the loss of Shaw (“We don’t get anyone else involved.”) he places Iris (someone outside of his world) in risk by getting involved with her (even in spaces that have cameras and thus Samaritan watching). The machine should have desturbed the camera signals when he talked to her during the finale so Samaritan doesn’t know that hecares, he should break up with her until her number comes up for matters unrelated to him and his presence is needed to actually make her safer!

    3) His opening up should not be just for the purpose of romance (POI is not that kind of show). It should be for a higher purpose of communicating to the audience (especially the many vets that like the show but also in general) that opening up can help deal with issues and enrich live. In a more technical way, this should also enrich the main storyline. If this is the role Iris is meant to have, she needs some role in the larger storyline as well (which does NOT include him getting killed for her!).

  18. CJ on May 8th, 2015 11:33 am

    Reese and Root have potential as either counter-players or closer partners. There is something there between them. That could be seen in Firewall when they were in the streets and the hotel. POI has neglected their story and relationship completely so far. It is something worth exploring especially as they along Finch are two fan favourites. After all the teasing of Root about John being a mere terminator without a mind, he should give her something of his mind as well. Shut her up a little. 😉 Of course that won’t work in the long run. But there is definitely tension there. Revisit Firewall.

  19. LION on May 8th, 2015 12:53 pm

    I am trying a recap of what Greg said above for their plans for Season 5.

    ~ The Machine has taken precaution before dying, left them with a couple of numbers that need to be looked at until it functions properly again.
    ~ The cover identities are intact, the subway station remains their base.
    ~ Samaritan exerts subtle control, might even do some constructive things, but scary things are waiting in the background.

    ~ Finch tries to rebuild The Machine.
    ~ Finch and Root will again spend a lot of time discussing how the machine should be build. She might have other designs than he has.
    ~ The question arises whether The Machine should become an active actor as it did during the finale.
    ~ Reese meanwhile is confronted with how he wants to spend his life and with his relationship with Iris.

    I am truly sorry, but I am not impressed! I am saying this because I really do care about Person of Interest and I do not want it to go down. With these plans, it will likely go down. I know they won’t probably listen but if they do have the slightest of interest in what their fans are saying, get together for some more writer meetings to rethink a couple of things. Writers do get together in these weeks. Face the following things:

    ~ What is your concept for the evolution and further exploration of Finch’s and Reese’s relationship/friendship? (the fundament of Person of Interest)
    ~ What essential role that goes beyond firing a gun can Reese play in the main plot (Samaritan at this point) that puts him back where he belongs?
    (as someone else mentioned, his CIA past might be crucial, his counter-intelligence capability, creating a network of allies, strategic planning, …, he is indeed the Jack Bauer of the show)
    ~ How can the saving of people take center stage in a meaningful way while the AI theme is being explored further? (so normal viewers are not continued to be driven away)
    ~ How will you explain to the audience why Iris matters and introduce her in a way that people care?
    ~ What role should Root really play? (she cannot be the guiding figure as a psychopath who looks down on normal people with arrogance, the very people Finch and Reese want to save)

    PLEASE, do come up with a very good answer to these point or this show will go down which none who has watched so far wants to see!!!


  20. LION on May 8th, 2015 1:16 pm

    And stop sidelining Reese. This doesn’t mean he needs more screentime, but he needs more meaningful screentime. He has been made to advice random people about nicotin-patches while everyone else of the team was involved in the main plot, he has been made to just point guns at people while other members of the team have done the talking, … And put Finch back into the saddle. It has been painful to watch how you excluded Reese at times and how Finch was often merely following Root around disoriented. For many people it has been enough to stop watching as they were offended by how these characters were treated.

  21. Jane on May 8th, 2015 2:47 pm

    The comments on here ARE HILARIOUS and clearly from the vocal angry minority of so called “fans”.

    Complaining about the AI storyline when that’s what the show has been about since season 2 is absurd. It’s like watching Lost and complaining there’s an island.

    Saying the show has lost 8 million viewers is also HILARIOUSLY NOT TRUE. Factor in LiVE +7 and DVR viewers and this show still gets 12+ million viewers. Less and less people are watching tv live nowadays, especially in targeted demos. THIS IS TRUE ACROSS ALL SHOWS NOT JUST POI. Learn how the Neilsen ratings system works before posting your ignorance.

    Also John and Reese not enough screentime? Excuse me!? LOL they have the most screen time out of all the characters and always have, Reese has more screentime than fuscro + root combined.

    The only thing I agree with is Reese needing more meaningful screentime and him and Iris being terrible. The rest is skewed nonsense.

    I, like many others, are very glad the direction this show has been going in since mid season 2. Before it was a crime procedural nobody was talking about, people and critics alike are beginning to sit up and take notice of this highly unique show now.

    The show desperately needs Shaw back, I do believe her absence is why the core demo ratings are down since the mid season. She wasn’t even my favourite character but there’s a huge gap in the show and I miss her relations with Reese and Root. She adds much needed humour.

  22. LION on May 8th, 2015 5:07 pm

    The core demo has been down for all Samaritan episodes (except for the mid-season finale) and it was already down when Shaw was still around, including for the episode “Honor Among Thieves” that had a 1.3 and which had hardly any Reese. What he did in that episode was a) sitting in a car handing Shaw the photo, b) standing behind Finch in the subway making one comment, c) non-sensically looking into a room that was already empty and d) the only fun part of the whole episode: confronting the ISA agents for a short amount of time exchanging a witty dialogue with Fusco. So, that was about his screen-time and the content of it during that episode. While it is nice just looking at Jim Caviezel and enough for some to stay around, it is a shame that Reese, the main character beside Finch, has been sidelined so often this season.

    The core demo went up when the show focused more on Finch/Reese and they were actually in the center of an episode’s plot together.

    So, some people’s perception of what the majority supposedly wants is somewhat flawed.

  23. LION on May 8th, 2015 5:13 pm

    Jane, the pilot btw was the highest rated pilot when it aired and people were talking about the show back then. Now people are leaving in droves and Variety even wrote the show wrote itself into a corner. I say, it can come out of the corner but the teases by Greg don’t yet show that it will.

  24. Jane on May 9th, 2015 6:50 am

    Name one other serialized show in it’s 4th season that still has the same ratings as it’s pilot/first season. I work in television, and your ignorance as consumers is hardly surprising but please I implore you to educate yourself.

    As for the core demos going up during episodes, the core demo was highest and most consistent when the show was airing consecutively over weeks and didn’t have CBS interruptions, it has nothing to do with any one character. The general audience do not watch for any one characters, fans watch for any one character. There is a difference between fans who comment in websites such as these and viewers/Nielsen box owners.

    “The core demo went up when the show focused more on Finch/Reese” again warped fan glasses on, this is both true and not true at all, the ratings have done well in reese-centric episodes, but also dipped on reese-centric episodes. They’ve done well in non-reese centric episodes but also dipped. It has nothing to do with the content of the show or who is in an episode more. Neilson box owners don’t tune in at 10pm then see who’s onscreen then switch the off button based on that.

    You have no idea how your own ratings system works and you’ve let your love of your favourite fictional characters cloud your judgement of reality.

    Reese still gets the most screentime out of any and all characters, so by your logic the same amount of people should still be watching. But of course not because a) it’s not true b) tv doesn’t work that way.

  25. LION on May 9th, 2015 4:01 pm

    If you work in television your ignorance is all the more astonishing and a hint at why so many shows spiral downwards when the closed-off teams doing them lose the connection to and feeling for the outside world (their viewership). Listen to the outside world from time to time.

    Since you felt the need to inform about what you do to push your supposed competence on the matter … From what I do, I have some experience analyzing stuff (qualitatively and quantitatively). 🙂 (See, we can both have an attitude.) So, if you wanna tell what has happened with the ratings in the fourth season, you gotta do your homework better. Then you’ll see that the “it’s all due to scheduling” mantra is actually quite sketchy, flawed and the opposite of a thorough analysis.

    I don’t really know why I am analyzing this but there is some time for travelling reasons so here we go:

    a) Name one classic concept (little Samaritan, Reese-centric as in he does the meaningful stuff, Reese and Finch-centric as in them being the central team) episode of Season 4 that was aired consecutively and that went down in ratings from the previous one (other than Nautilus which came after the Season Premiere and thus is a special case)

    b) Name one classic concept (definition see above) episode of Season 4 that was aired after a break and went down to a rating below 1.5

    c) List the number of new concept (Samaritan-centric, Reese sidelined as in having either little meaningful to do or as in excluding him from the main plot the majority of the time etc.) episodes in Season 4 that were aired consecutively and that went down in ratings from the previous one

    d) List the number of new concept (definition see above) episodes in Season 4 that were aired after a break and went down to a rating below 1.5

    Since it is difficult to continue without having the answers to the above, here they are:

    a) 0 classic concept episodes that aired consecutively went down in ratings

    b) 0 classic concept episodes that aired after a break went below 1.5

    c) 2 new concept episodes that aired consecutively went down in ratings

    d) 5 new concept episodes that aired after a break went down below 1.5

    So, your above statement of everything is the same is false.

    Now, you might say, maybe it was simply the trend of the night, the lead-ins might have been lower than usual. The answer is: No, to the contrary.

    4 out 5 of the new concept episodes that aired after a break and went below 1.5 had a bigger lead-in (>1.8 -> going up to 2.2) than the classic concept episodes that aired after a break and did not go below 1.5 (average lead-in of 1.7, range: 1.6-1.8).

    So, we can exclude any “trend of the night” having any role. To the contrary. The classic concept episodes that aired after a break performed stronger than the new concept episodes that aired after a break AGAINST the respective trends of the nights.

    Having that out of the way, we can examine your statement that the steady recovery of ratings during the more classic Reese/Finch episodes which were shown after the mid-season Samaritan arc up to the point of the next break was supposedly solely due to scheduling (which doesn’t only include whether an episode is being shown in a row but also at what time of the TV year, favorable or not, it is being aired). Let’s compare the course of those episodes with the course of the ratings for Person of Interest’s lead-in during the same time-span. They were subjected to the same scheduling and reflect on the general trend for CBS shows during the time-span (if that’s to be the defining factor). So, let’s see:

    Episode 14 Guilty 1.6 (lead-in 2.3)
    Episode 15 Q&A 1.6 (lead-in 2.0)
    Episode 16 Blunt 1.7 (lead-in 1.9)

    During that time-span POI’s main adversary “Chicago Fire” (NBC) for the time-slot win garnered only 1.4s. So despite this being a bad time for TV shows in general, and even though the other CBS shows were shown in a row after breaks as well and declined in ratings dramatically, Person of Interest experienced a recovery in ratings going AGAINST the general trend. Obviously, scheduling was not the defining factor.

    The very fact that the obvious differences in performance for the varies concepts can be pinpointed in this clarity contradicts your thesis that the content of the episodes supposedly has no influence on the behavior of the audience.

    As a sidenote: The classic concept episodes won the time-slot for CBS 7 times. The new concept episodes won the time-slot 3 times.

    There is much more, but I’ll cut it short at this point and move on to


    Here you gotta take time to read and actually understand what people are saying. And you need to have an instinct and the knowledge to understand how this relates to the broader audience. Here, separating fan from general viewer (which do from time to time post rare comments in the technological age and give a thumb up) and being able to attribute which comment originates out of which group comes in handy.

    This i. e. was the tenor on Facebook (the POI platform with the broadest reach also to the general viewers) when the first of the more classic Reese/Finch episodes aired after the mid-season finale:


    – Great episode. Back to its roots. Dont get me wrong, i love Shaw and Root but we are going back to the original reasons i came to love the show.
    – so good to have Zoey back, keeps John on his toes
    – It was a nice episode, one where they had to rely on problem solving and special skills more than gun play. …
    – Best episode in a long time! Back to what made the show great!
    – Loved the episode, Fusco telling John off at the end was great. I’m so happy to see how far Lionel has come since season one. I LOVED having Zoe back!!
    – I really enjoyed the back to basics aspect of this episode. Also loved Fusco telling John not to shut him out.
    – Thank God! An episode about people and not machines!
    – Last night’s show was so refreshing – reminded me why it’s my favorite!

    The message is not that hard to read. These were the reactions at the time when the ratings started to go up again — against the general TV-trend during that time as we figured out above. People that can be placed into the general viewer category also commented how they had heard/read that it was back to its premise and that they were going to give it another shot. People who have left or can be expected to leave in the near future in the majority generally comment that missing the above (what people liked about Guilty) is the reason for leaving or for considering to do so. This again contradicts your statement that the content of the episodes does not matter for the viewership behavior. I don’t know how you watch TV. But the people I know (me included) watch based on what one expects to happen based on the promo or by tuning in sometime and getting an impression. When the reaction to what is shown is negative, people won’t watch.

    Now, to make it even more clear, let’s use Facebook again and compare some things for the last three episodes before the finale (that went to a low in series ratings although it was aired consecutively), measured for the main official posts after the respective episodes aired:

    Search & Destroy (Samaritan-focused episode)
    FB reach compared in likes: 6,000
    Terra Incognita (Reese/Carter-focused episode)
    Reach compared in likes: nearly 15,000
    Asylum (Samaritan-focused episode)
    Reach compared in likes: nearly 10,500

    You know about the meaning of keywords, I suppose. We can isolate the following keywords in reaction to the respective episodes:

    a) for the classic concept episode the keywords include: Emmy, love, best, powerful, I cried, moving, delight, favorite, brilliant, heart-breaking, performance

    b) for the new concept episodes the keywords include: bullet, head, fight, awesome, kill her, witch, favorite, neck snap, hate, great, uberbitch, move on, destroy Samaritan

    Which concept do you think holds the greater potential to retain the majority of the Person of Interest audience?

    Actually, you and maybe the writer room seem to make the mistake you are accusing others of committing. You listen to a highly vocal, Samaritan-affin minority that belongs into the category of active fans. But you misunderstand the mood of the general audience that comes home after a long day of work and came to like the show for the two men that were saving people and seeking redemption. AI and the topic of surveillance has always been an important aspect of the show which people liked. But understand that it cannot come at the cost of the two main characters and the human aspects.

    So, that was it really. You may continue to think whatever you think, they will probably just continue with their plans. More of the same. The same as last season. But be aware of the potential consequences. There is still time to reconsider a few things. Best of success.

    P.S.: One (serialized) show that has the same ratings in its fourth season as it had in its first season? Not too hard even for me who isn’t that much into TV-shows. X-Files?! ( Tell you what? They were not the same but they were even higher. And its fifth season? Even higher than the fourth. You wouldn’t count The X-Files as a pure procedural now, would you?

  26. LION on May 9th, 2015 4:59 pm

    Two small clarifications:

    – The definition of new concept is meant as: Samaritan-centric OR Reese sidelined as in having either little meaningful to do OR as in excluding him from the main plot the majority of the time etc.

    – This in a way answers your statement, that ratings would still be the same if one was looking at it by considering Reese’s appearances. Of course, that is not the case if Reese’s appearances are subject to stark variation based on which concept is being followed in which episode. a) Reese in some episodes has not been getting much screen-time at all (see the example of Honor Among Thieves or the Cold War) and these were indeed episodes that had a decline in ratings (which you believe to be a coincidence). But, again, that is not the main issue. With the heavy workload they have, the actor deserves a few episodes where he can lay back a little more. b) The issue is the content of that screen-time. Again, advising on nicotin-patches, looking at an empty room, pointing or shooting a gun while others do the talking? Really? That is how you treat the main character? Add to this that the character is being completely sidelined from the main plot (and from Greg Plageman’s inteview above, I see no change in that thus far) while before he used to do the meaningful things in the main plots. Add to this that he has been kept apart from Finch a whole lot this season (so that the core and guiding team and chemistry of the show of earlier seasons has been disrupted). Add further that his (as well as Finch’s) purpose of finding redemption has been redelegated to being more or less irrelevant. The episodes that pushed such a bad treatment of Reese’s and Finch’s characters also witnessed a decline in ratings (which you believe to be a coincidence). While those that got back to showing more of Reese and Finch, putting them as the core team, treating their characters with respect, etc. produced an increase in ratings. (as was shown above) Of course, neither the amount nor the nature of Reese’s appearances is the same in the different concepts nor can you expect the ratings to be the same for these fundamentally different concepts for a variety of reasons.

  27. LION on May 9th, 2015 5:05 pm

    To make it short: In the declining ratings, the bad treatment of Reese’s and Finch’s characters is one main reason, the overdoing of the Samaritan storyline at the cost of the original premise another.

  28. Shane on May 9th, 2015 5:41 pm

    Thanks for the interview from the sound of it the Ep is talking like he knows that the show is renewed for season 5, I hope so. Reading the previous comments I can see both sides i’ve been with the show since episode 1 and while yes I do prefer the format of season 1 and 2 I still enjoy the show the good thing with this show is it keeps changing every year so it doesn’t get stale, Im bored of the Blacklist already another number of the week show now on season 2. I think if we get season 5 they need to go back to what made the show saving the numbers, the conspiracys and the flashbacks, go back to the core cast I never cared for Shaw and Root and put the AI storyline in the back ground or blow it up. If you look at the ratings they did drop due to the day and time move but it’s CBS 2nd best rated 10pm show Ncis La is just edging out in front and thats another show that’s lost half it’s viewers due to changing schedule.

  29. Root's Cavalry on May 9th, 2015 6:52 pm


  30. John on May 9th, 2015 7:37 pm

    Man some Finch/Reese fans are delusional. You think if the show went back to being just about them ala season 1 it will suddenly get 2.9 demo and 16+ million viewers? CBS skews old, serialized shows always have drop off, and a lot of people watch online now. Get with the times.

    Original premise? Two bored white rich men who do things to prolong their man pain and shoot bad guys? Millions shows like that on tv right now and millions more to come go watch them. No, this show evolved and and evolved for the better and it was obvious from the end of seasons 1 and 2 it was always going to go a sci-fi route, don’t like it? Don’t watch.

    Aint nobody got time for season 1 shit where nothing changes and every episode is the same with just another number. Fuck that it’d just be like another csi, which by the way finally got cancelled. I’d rather have 6 seasons of POI being an original show than 27 seasons of Reese and Finch saving random people we’re supposed to give a fuck about.

  31. BYU on May 9th, 2015 8:05 pm

    CBS moved the show from a prime time slot to one that is a struggle for them and the show also becomes more serialized instead of episodic. Of course the ratings are going to drop and people are going to be upset that their watch, rinse, repeat style of TV viewing won’t work with Person of Interest. It’s amazing how many people whine and complain about change and wish this show were more static and repetitive like NCIS or CSI.

    Someone on another board said his mother was complaining about how POI made her think too much. That speaks volumes.

  32. Savas on May 10th, 2015 4:07 am

    Samaritan fans just don’t get it, repeating their same ol’ prejudices. It is always the same ol’ speeches. Thinking of themselves as oh so intelligent but what they like watching so much is merely blazing gun fire, neck snaps, war, cold, steal and an stories about an evil AI.

    Ratings have been dropping even considering the special circumstances of the time slot (not just compared to previous seasons).

    None wants a mere procedural or CSI or NCIS style. Time to understand that. The show NEVER was a mere procedural. It ALWAYS had a bigger story to tell. It has become more serialized even, yes. But the problem is not that but the “how”.

    The show has not become more intelligent. It’s not intelligent to forget character-depth (few exceptions), to forget the importance of inter-human relationships (especially the show’s main one), haven’t they shaped the world so many times?
    It is also not more intelligent to exchange values (as with the men seeking redemption saving lives, as with Carter’s moral compass, …) being communicated to the viewers with a “kill them” and less caring attitude (kill this one, kill that one, you don’t have to take care of your friend as the machine will, …) being communicated instead.
    It is not more intelligent to forget about everything that is connected to the issue human-wise. You think one company could run these operations past the groups to whom doors open more easy than to high-ranking members of the U.S. government? What interest groups that run in the background have or do not have an interest in the like of Samaritan? Why? And how can they be confronted intellectually and by human resource-based operations, intelligence-based operations, …? That is where Reese would come in.

    Do you know what would be really intelligent? To tell the relevant story about the issue of AI and the surveillance state WITHOUT making everything revolve only around a machine that people can’t relate to (Samaritan) and without dropping the ball (the heart of the main characters and the value of the main premise and original message).

  33. Savas on May 10th, 2015 4:52 am

    To take the X-Files into the equation as so many have done before … If the X-Files had done what POI has done this season it would have looked like the following:

    One and the same evil alien team would have taken the main focus for the whole season. Many episodes revolving around it and the power that it could possibly exert for higher techology capability and whatnot. Scully would have gone to confront it with a psychopath who kidnapped her in the past but who would have had specialized knowledge of biochemical stuff like herself. The biochemical way would have been presented as the only way to get rid of the evil alien monster team. Scully and the psychopath would have had repetitive discussions but she would have nevertheless followed him around, herself clueless and disoriented from time to time. The psychopath not caring about Scully’s morals would have still become the guiding character with a special fondness of Scully and a romantic interest in Alex Krycek. 😉 At the same time, Scully would have been kept apart from Mulder for vast parts of the season, their bond neglected even belittled. Seeming as if they had never opened up to oneanother. Mulder would have been isolated from the alien team story with biochemical issues at the center of the main story. Instead he would have gotten involved with a therapist to whom he was sent because of his conspiracy theories, a relationship displayed as if his future depended on it to move past everything that he has become after the abduction of his sister, his work not important anymore, solely him opening up to that one person without much introduction of that person to the audience and he would have closed one or two regular FBI cases with Director Skinner.

    Do you think the X-Files would have survived this? Don’t you think it would have resulted in the same screaming and shouting by its audience as POI is witnessing?

  34. Savas on May 10th, 2015 5:39 am

    The above goes for the Samaritan-focused episodes.

    The couple of “number” or better human-focused episodes by the way had highly intelligent plots.

    Q&A dealt with the topic of how the things that are being presented to you as results in search machines and via other internet platforms can influence your mood and mind (a very short scene about Samaritan being interested in such methods was all it needed to show the dangers there). A very real thing given that Facebook just a short while ago did exactly such an experiment that it confronted different groups of users with different sorts of content (negative, positive, …) and then analyzed the influence on the mood and the nature of content the respective user groups were posting afterwards. Interesting informative lesson.
    The episode also showed how saving the woman whose number had come up meant not only saving her but also as a consequence meant that her sick sister that depended on her would have someone who’d care for her. Great moral lesson.

    Guilty dealt with the health component. How companies overdo it with the radio masts which technological stuff is increasingly based on. In this case solving the case meant spoiling the given company’s destructive plans that would have made thousands of people sick. Again an informative lesson.
    While saving the woman whose number had come up meant leading her back into her life. Empowering her to get back to what she really wanted to do, not letting herself being discouraged from teaching because of her age or something else. Important moral lesson.

    As you can see there was nothing CSI or NCSI or unimportant about the Reese/Finch episodes that had little or no Samaritan.

  35. Graham on May 10th, 2015 2:07 pm

    I’m a Reese fan, well actually a Jim fan and have been ever since I saw him in the thin red line. Firstly I think some people don’t understand there are external factors going on here, I see people complaining about John having uninteresting screentime but Jim himself asked for less action orientated stuff, that’s partly why Shahi was brought in and took on a lot of the action scenes (big fan of hers too and have been since I saw life!). Jim’s getting older and tired of doing physically demanding scenes every episode, I get that.

    We should be thankful that they didn’t kill reese off so far, because it would be easy for them to do, it would half production costs and maybe even lengthen the shows future because I know JC is the highest paid thing about this show and I know he likes movies more so personally I’m glad he’s still alive, I’m not going to moan about his screentime or what he does in his screentime.

    POI’s ratings are also meaningless now, it’s a veteran CBS show that will probably play out for 2 more seasons so honestly how it’s doing ratings wise is irrelevant (but I gotta say those associating ratings with there being more reese are being silly, c’mon now folks that’s not how ratings work or are measured, besides Reese is and always has had the most screentime and has been the main character for years, using ya’lls logic Reese is the reason for declining ratings) but nah all shows like this loose some viewers along the way, whether that be to catch up services or those who lose interest.

    “Samaritan fans” = person of interest fans

    This show was always about AI’s dude, always has been, always will be. The show didn’t suddenly change overnight, the writers didn’t sell you on a concept and then completely changed it, this is the writers story to tell not yours. I was a fan in season 1 and still a fan now and I can honestly say hadn’t the show constantly reinvented itself it would have gotten stale real fast, I would have still watched but I doubt with as much interest.

    Some of the highest rated episodes this season was 11, 12 and 13 and those only had some reese, his screentime got nothing to do with ratings, if an episode is interesting enough people will watch, if the show is promoted more, more people will watch. Stop putting this entire shows worth on one character/actor, it’s not fair and it’s not accurate and frankly pretty rude to the rest of the cast.

    Also the fact someone had to use the xfiles, a 90’s show, as the last comparison to when a tvs shows ratings didn’t fall season by season says it all. POI’s ratings are stable, not amazing, but they don’t have to be, last time I checked this season was still averaging 9 million, seems pretty good to me.

    I watch live but i know most of my friends don’t, they catch up whenever, usually DVR.

    If this show ever comes to netflix then hopefully more folks will get into it that way, right now the only way is by buying the dvd’s but not everyone can afford that.

  36. LION on May 11th, 2015 8:26 am

    I find it truly amazing how so many POI fans are saying more or less the exact same thing in all kinds of places, yet there seems to be an incredible problem understanding their message.

    Graham, to your points:

    a) What makes you think that Reese becoming a meaningful part of the main plot (doing more than pointing a gun, etc.) needs to consist of mere action scenes? Is that what Michael Emerson or Amy Acker do? No. To the contrary, people want to see him talk, share moments with Finch and other characters, create networks of allies, compile strategies, etc. Share his mind. (This man, Jim, does 500 push-ups btw. 😉 POI does nearly double as many set ups as other TV shows. So anyone would have to get some balance between action and other scenes in there.)

    b) Concerning the ratings, you still are not understanding the point people are trying to make. It is about the two different concepts Person of Interest has been following. These two different concepts have performed differently in the ratings (with the exception of the mid-season finale) as well as in the audience’s affection.

    ONE (not the only!!) reason for that has been the respective treatment of the TWO core characters in the different concepts. As for Reese, neither the amount nor the nature of Reese’s appearances is the same in the two different concepts. One concept (we can call the new concept, Samaritan-focused and other non-classic) has seen the sidelining of Reese, a part-time incapacitation of Finch and the complete neglect of the Reese/Finch friendship. It were episodes belonging to that very concept that saw the decline in ratings, while the other concept (that didn’t make the same mistakes) saw an increase in ratings. Therefore, your generalized “amount of screen-time” thing doesn’t only ignore that it is about the content of the screen-time not the amount but it is also flawed from the get-go, as in the majority the episodes that had their ratings down were specifically those that belonged to the concept that sidelined Reese completely (including in screen-time). Or did you perceive Reese to be anywhere near to being the main character in the Samaritan plot (again with the exception of the mid-season finale)?

    Again, the screen-time itself is not the main issue. As written above, with the heavy workload they have, the actor deserves a few episodes where he can lay back a little more just as the other actors/actresses do. That won’t be a problem IF his character is being included back into the main plot in a meaningful way, the core human-interaction with Finch is being restored and the issue of Samaritan is not being overdone. The show and its audience were build upon these two characters and their backstories, that’s not laying it on them, that’s just how it is. And it is certainly not meant as an offense versus any other character who enriches the show further. I don’t think any actor/actress on the X-Files would have seen it as an offense if someone would have explained the crucial role of keeping the Mulder & Scully dynamic and their purposes (based on their backstories) as well as the show’s premise intact.

    c) Your rating info is incorrect. The only Samaritan or other new concept episodes that were in the higher rated area are If-Then-Else and Control-Alt-Delete. These two happen to be the only Samaritan episodes that put the plot where it belonged into the mid-season three-story arc, that throughout featured the WHOLE team together, that had a meaningful presence of Reese/Finch and beside that were heavily pushed by means of advertising teasing “Will anyone make it out alive?”). Three classic episodes reached the same rating as the these two mid-season episodes without any advertisement push: Pretenders, The Devil You Know & Blunt. While If-Then-Else and Control-Alt-Delete were the only 2 Samaritan episodes to win the time-slot for CBS during regular competition, 6 non-Samaritan episodes focused on the more classic concept did that for CBS (plus one that aired with no regular competition). Every single episode that went below a rating of 1.5 (which were 5 in total) belonged to the new concept. Not one that belonged to the classic concept went below a 1.5.

    d) None has a problem with the topic of AI. The problem is with the overdoing of Samaritan at the cost of the human characters and the original core premise.

    e) The X-Files are the obvious first pick as they are known to most and show-makers regularly point to them themselves concerning different matters.

  37. LION on May 11th, 2015 8:33 am

    f) Ratings do still matter, don’t fool yourself. They might not have to perform as they did before reaching near-syndication. But they still need some sort of tangible performance. You really think POI and its already declining ratings would survive killing Reese? Person of Interest will be over if and when they kill Reese (or Finch).

  38. John on May 11th, 2015 2:02 pm

    I don’t think they will kill reese but it’s true that it would probably half production costs, the show could run for 5/6 seasons on cbs then go somewhere like netflix, if the writers have that much more story to tell.

  39. John on May 11th, 2015 2:07 pm

    I also just checked the ratings and by one posters logic finch/reese are the reasons the show gets a 1.5 instead of a 1.3, if that were true, and you so much claimed that honor among theives didn’t do “well” because it didn’t have finch/reese focus then why don’t the half hourly drop offs reflect that?

    By your logic the usual 1.5 + are tuning in, not seeing finch/reese and then tuning out, but that’s not true, there’s barely any drop off in the lower rated and high rater episodes. So the same amount of people that tune into the episode at the beginning of an episode watch all the way through, regardless of whether there’s lots of finch/reese.

    But don’t let facts get in the way of fank wanking.

  40. SVU on May 11th, 2015 2:23 pm

    The notion that JC brings in an audience in the core demo is laughable, I went and met the cast at Paley this year, Emerson/Acker had the younger fans (maybe because both have been in massive cult hit shows previously), however most of JC’s fans consisted of 60 year old + women and 35+ plus year old men.

    I don’t want reese or any of the characters to die, but I think losing shaw, finch or root would have a bigger dent in the core demographics than loosing reese (the show has certainly gone downhill since shaw’s departure but hey there was nothing they could do about that, they made the best of a bad situation).

    I do get what the poster above is trying to say, and I do agree the show needs to get back to it’s humanity a little, I don’t want less Samaritan arc it’s the best thing about this show and i don’t think it’s overbearing either they can take breaks at any time from it without disturbing the flow of the show, however I think root/finch had a great season character wise but sadly john and fusco did not and their screentime was redundant this season and I think it is certainly something that needs fixing.

    Reese/Finch aren’t the be all and end all of this show though, I love their relationship, but i also love Reese/Shaw (which the show BADLY needs now because there is literally zero humour now apart from the occasional quips from root or fusco). I love Reese/Fusco and Finch/Root too so no, despite how many times you say it Finch/Reese are not the heart or roots of this show. This show has produced amazing characters like carter, root, elias – to ignore all of that, and to ignore all of the success of POI that they’ve ALSO brought is just absurd.

  41. Jane on May 11th, 2015 4:34 pm

    POI renewed for a season 5. 🙂

    A show about 2 unshackled AI was never going to appeal to the masses like a show about 2 white men stopping crime. But I, like millions of others are so glad that the show is mostly about the former and will actually be rememebed in 10 years time rather than forgotten entirely.

  42. LION on May 12th, 2015 5:06 am

    John, a viewer only counts as having watched a program in the first place if he/she has a least watched 10% of it. So, those that dropped off without having watched 10% aren’t included in the first place.

    But don’t let logic or facts get into the way of your fan wanking.

  43. LION on May 12th, 2015 6:02 am

    SVU, … it is simply amazing how some replace objective facts with subjective perceptions.

    a) The show went uphill after the mid-season Samaritan arc, not downhill — until the Samaritan arc started again. After Samaritan it (starting with Guilty) went:

    -> 1.6 (wins time-slot for CBS)
    -> 1.6 (wins time-slot for CBS)
    -> 1.7 (wins time-slot for CBS)
    -> beginning of “March madness”, a time of the year in which CBS shows are down all over the place for Basketball, yet POI managed
    -> 1.5 (nearly trumping its lead-in which only was able to get a 1.6 that night)
    -> 1.5 (wins time-slot for CBS)
    -> end of “March madness”
    > Samaritan arc again
    -> 1.3
    -> Carter/Reese
    -> 1.5 (wins time-slot for CBS)
    -> we know where the final two episodes went

    b) Not only is your impression flawed (I have heard from people that were there plus seen plenty of core-demo people on video being there for Jim including the 25-30 couple that explained that their main selling point to get their friends to watch the show was that it had “Jesus kicking ass”) but you are taking subjective impressions from an event which was advertised as having only Amy Acker and Michael Emerson (actor-wise) in it for weeks as being more relevant than
    -> all the other events (Comic Con i. e. which had plenty of young women and other people in the core demo being there for Jim Caviezel),
    -> the respective ratings in the core-demos (the core demo went up when the focus was on Reese/Finch even for episodes that were without Root and Shaw, that’s the opposite of what happened when Reese/Finch were being marginalized), so your statement about is plain and simple not supported by any facts,
    -> and several other indicators including the nature of his payment (which among other things is measured by his commercial value to the show if we want to speak in economic terms).

    The fact that you see people outside the core-demo there for Jim and hardly for most of the others is due to the very fact that while he is known widely for his movie career among the general population (including families, etc) the others are less known to the general public but more to specific target audiences for their roles in certain TV shows (loved Sarah Shahi’s “Life” btw). The exception is Michael Emerson whose “Lost” was fairly well-known in general including to people of the different demos as well.

    Again, I agree that POI has created amazing characters! Carter, Fusco, Shaw, Root, Elias. They ALL have enriched the show. And really, there never was a problem with finding the right balance with the characters with the core four (Reese, Finch, Carter, Fusco). It NEVER felt wrong. Even Shaw was integrated in a way (if we ignore the killing of Carter for a second) that did not change that. Loved Shaw/Fusco. Shaw was WITH Reese and Finch (and Carter and Fusco), ALONGSIDE them. Root for seasons 1, 2 and most of 3 was the same. Where she was seemed fitting. But now they lost any resemblence of balance. One example, instead of Root being ALONGSIDE Reese and Finch, the Finch/Root scenes have come to replace the Finch/Reese scenes in the main plot. Alongside has been replaced with inbetween. That is a mistake! Reese and Finch are the heart of the show for the vast majority of the audience. You can include other characters without changing that.

  44. LION on May 12th, 2015 10:45 am

    For anyone who’s interested. These are the Top Ten episodes of Season 4 as measured by the so-called TRUE strength index which adjusts the 18-49 core demo rating performance to account for the circumstances in which an episode aired (including overall viewing levels during the day/night, timeslot competition, lead-in, etc.):

    Ranking – TRUEindex – Classification* – Name

    1 – 1.84 – (C+LS) – Nautilus
    2 – 1.77 – (C) – The Devil You Know
    3 – 1.76 – (C) – Blunt
    4 – 1.75 – (C+LS) – Panopticon
    5 – 1.68 – (N+FR) – Control-Alt-Delete
    6 – 1.66 – (C) – Terra Incognita
    7 – 1.66 – (C+S) – Q&A
    8 – 1.65 – (C) – Pretenders
    9 – 1.64 – (C) – Guilty
    10- 1.63 – (N+FR) – If-Then-Else

    C = classic concept (main focus: The Man in the Suit with “Glasses” saving people)
    N = new concept (main focus: Samaritan or other non classic concept)
    S = Samaritan
    LS = limited Samaritan
    FR = Finch/Reese

    The professional statistics and calculations show the exact same general picture as what people have been trying to explain above.

    The Top Ten more or less paint a picture of a crossing between
    + The Man In The Suit w/ “Glasses” saving humans in their very own life situations as the core and main premise
    + backstories/flashbacks (in this case Reese/Carter)
    + storylines about the other great characters (Elias seemingly a favorite, Root, Fusco is there on rank 12 as well, Shaw has many fans as well who want her to come back, Frankie’s (Winnick) episode Skip is also up there on rank 11, …)
    + limited inclusions of Samaritan from time to time (most successful if it includes a story surrounding the human aspect of Claire’s struggle and development)
    + plus a giant mid-season story arc.

  45. LION on May 12th, 2015 11:48 am

    So, yeah, the Man In The Suit (who happens to be played by Jim Caviezel) is one major element that draws in the core demo as can be seen by the Top Ten episodes (according to TRUE). Just like Taraji P. Henson draws in the core demo as can be seen by her new show (a previous miscalculation by the showrunners).

  46. Bob on October 13th, 2015 11:57 am

    What’s the old saying? You can never underestimate the intelligence of a mass audience? Too many people confuse higher ratings with quality. NCIS is still the highest rated scripted drama on tv even though it does the same thing every week and there is zero character growth. For example, Tony STILL acts like an obnoxious teenager -Abby is in her 40’s and the whole goth girl thing is just embarrassing now. NCIS ran out of steam 4 or 5 years ago. Give me an intelligent show like POI any day, rather than a paint by numbers procedural. High ratings and quality are often two different things.