“Person of Interest” said goodbye Tuesday (June 21) after five seasons on CBS and Zap2it has all the dirt on the series finale from creators Jonathan “Jonah” Nolan and Greg Plageman. Warning: Don’t keep reading if you haven’t watched “Return 0” yet.
In the show’s final episode, Reese (Jim Caviezel) sacrificed himself not only to save the world but to save his close friend Finch (Michael Emerson) from having to be the savior. It was an emotional goodbye, but the creators say a finale where everyone lived happily ever after wasn’t the right way to go for this show.
“It definitely wasn’t going to be a finale in which everybody made it out alive,” says Nolan. “The finale has a nice symmetry to the pilot. In the pilot, Finch saves Reese. In the finale, Reese saves Finch. It’s a simple, symmetrical bit of storytelling … one of the things we’ve loved about Reese from the beginning is the gusto with which he embraced this role of being that guy who swoops in and saves someone, so no better person for him to save than Finch.”
After being saved, Finch is shown in the episode’s final moments as seemingly going to find Grace (Carrie Preston), which the EPs confirm is indeed what happened.
“Yes,” says Nolan, then adding, “Unless that’s just taking place inside the machine’s imagination … we’re all in a simulation anyway. [laughs] No, it’s real, in terms of the show.”
They expand on the idea that in earlier drafts of the finale script, the characters’ fates were going to be “more speculative” on the part of the Machine, but when they were editing it together, it felt too subjective.
“We wanted to find a little more objectivity on that point,” says Plageman.
As far as “Person of Interest’s” legacy, the creators say they hope they’ve added to the conversation regarding Artificial Intelligence.
“I think what’s really cool is looking at the theoretical, ethical questions about building an Artificial Intelligence — the dichotomy of how it could go, in terms of Samaritan and the Machine,” says Plageman. “What’s really interesting in these last episodes is how the Machine has endeavored to understand humanity, understand these characters.”
Nolan adds, “One of the things we were trying to do and I feel like we did very, very well was explore the question of Artificial Intelligence with a little more nuance than you usually see in movies and TV … Right now this conversation is taking place. What A.I. should look like, how it should work, who should have access to it, should it be open source, should it be proprietary, should it be developed in secret, should it be developed in public, should it be made by the government, should it be made by private enterprise?
“Hopefully over five seasons we’ve provided some good entertainment and great character moments, but if nothing else, I would hope it moved the conversation along in terms of the A.I. of it all.”
Finally, when asked about the Logan-Harper-Joey spinoff Zap2it would totally watch, the creators laugh and say it wasn’t an attempt at a spinoff.
“It’s hard enough doing one show. But the idea that the Machine has created other teams, that there is more too it, that just enriches the universe,” says Nolan, adding, “Luckily, Greg and I don’t have to write that shit, the fans get to write that.”