Person Of Interest: What’s Next After Shocking Character Death

“Person of Interest” delivered a brutal and shocking ending earlier this week when one of the show’s main characters was gunned down.

(SPOILER ALERT: Hopefully, if you’re reading this story, you saw Tuesday night’s “POI,” but if not, watch it first, then come back.)

Detective Joss Carter, played by Taraji P. Henson, died in the arms of Jim Caviezel’s Mr. Reese, after she took down (and handed in to the FBI) the head of H.R.. And, as the series continues next Tuesday, it is her murderer, Officer Patrick Simmons (Robert John Burke), whose number is up.

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“Next week’s episode is an exploration of the question of revenge and grief and whether or not — the kind of fire of that, if you allow it to consume yourself,” Executive Producer Jonathan Nolan told “Simmons is gonna… buy it, I mean, that much is certain from his number coming up. The question next week, and it’s a unique proposition for us on the show as we try and reinvent the show every week, is what if a number came up and for the first time, Finch realizes that it may well be and probably is one of his own teammates whose gonna murder that person and what does he do about that.”

According to Nolan, the story arc that paved the way for Taraji’s character’s exit, excited the actress.

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“The interesting thing about Taraji is she only wants to do material that’s compelling and she felt like the most compelling story was to tell this undertaking, her taking on HR and understanding that that’s a real story that has to have stakes and… if they’re not capable of killing her, it doesn’t have any stakes,” Nolan said. “And to her credit, she was actually very excited about the storyline and was all in.”

Nolan said that the death of the character was dictated by “the narrative,” and all of the cast were told by he and fellow EP Greg Plageman very early on that anything could happen to any of the team.

“We told the actors from the beginning not to sign any long term leases on apartments in New York and to go month-to-month and Michael Emerson’s character actually says it in the pilot, he says, ‘Look, you keep doing this, we’ll probably wind up dead.’ And we’re not interested — Greg and I and our writers and our actors are not interested in doing a conventional procedural in which you just keep spinning out stories for 15 years. We’d love the show to run as long as the audience is still engaged and excited by it and as long as we’re still excited by it and the actors are still excited by it,” he said. “So we promised our actors from the beginning that these sorts of periodic offerings to the gods of television would take [place], and this part we began designing earlier this year. … I flew out and sat down with Taraji and you know, it was a bittersweet, but a great set of conversations because writers and actors both want juicy material. You want real stakes, you want a real journey and, truly, the only way to get there is to risk.”

“Person of Interest” airs Tuesday nights at 10 PM ET/PT on CBS.

-- Jolie Lash

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