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Coming off the first season’s cliffhanger ending, the cast and crew of Person of Interest are naturally a little cagey about revealing too much about the future of the CBS crime.
“It’s hard doing interviews for Person of Interest because there is much you cannot say,” co-star Taraji Henson told journalists at Comic-Con International, where she was joined by fellow cast members Michael Emerson, Jim Caviezel and Kevin Chapman, executive producer Greg Plageman and creator Jonathan Nolan.
Produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, Person of Interest centers on a mysterious billionaire named Mr. Finch (Emerson) who develops a computer program that predicts the identities of those who will be involved in a violent crime sometime in the future. However, it can’t determine whether the person will be the perpetrator, the victim or a witness, or when or where the crime will take place. So he recruits a presumed-dead former CIA agent (Caviezel) to help him top the crimes from taking place.
“If we give away secrets, Nolan holds us down and J.J. Abrams beats us,” laughed Chapman, who plays Detective Lionel Fusco. “You go to the Bad Robot dungeon.”
“There are some big things going on next season, and we don’t find him right away,” added Henson, referring to the kidnapped Finch. “I’ll just say that.”
Emerson said the second season marks a drastic departure for the series. “We are already in new territory,” the Lost alum said. “We are out of the library and in new territory.”
That new territory will include an increased focus on the relationships among the principal players.
“We have changed the relationships of the characters on the show,” Nolan said. “We want to keep that set of shifting, changing set of relationships going into the second season. But, we want to evolve the relationships between our four human characters and our fifth, non-human character, which is the Machine.” He stressed that the show is about growing the characters and telling a bigger story.
“I think there’ll be more delicious investigation of their pasts,” Emerson predicted. “The backstories are deep ones. We have kind of just scratched the surface of those.”
“Knowing what we are doing right now, what we are doing next season is going to blow your mind,” Caviezel said. “We are a race car and we are only just now starting to put our foot down on the gas.”
While the actors and producers were reluctant to reveal any story details, they were more forthcoming when it came to the series’ appeal.
“It’s different from your normal procedural,” said Henson, who plays Detective Joss Carter. She stressed that Person of Interest is darker and more action-oriented than many of the other crime dramas on television.
“It’s a very ambitious show, week in and week out,” Chapman added.
Nolan said the drama’s development differs from many other procedural shows in that there is a larger focus on a bigger story. “It’s really about evolution,” he said.
Plageman observed that the show taps into larger fears and anxieties, with the Machine being something that could actually exist. “It’s kind of amazing how immediately we adopt technology and it becomes a given,” he said.
“The idea of the Machine having a personality or personal identity is that farfetched,” Emerson said, elaborating on technology’s role in the series. He added that the mystery of the Machine and its so-called personality plays a larger part in the upcoming season.
The actors revealed they were caught off guard by the wide-spread acceptance of Person of Interest.
“The surprising moment for me was the People’s Choice Award,” Henson said. “When we got that I was like, ‘Yeah, baby, seven more years!”
Person of Interest returns Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.