Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman discuss Person of Interest’s mid-season return

Jonah Nolan, Person of Interest

‘Person of Interest’ returns this Thursday and picks up where “Shadow Box” left off in December. In a conference call, Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman discuss what’s on tap for ‘Person of Interest’ in the second half of its sophomore season.


I keep saying this, and I’ll keep saying this. I love talking to executive producers who are smart, knowledgeable and clearly mapped out every single inch of their show. Person of Interest‘s Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman are two such producers. If I enjoyed talking to Jonah Nolan in October at New York Comic Con, I doubly loved talking to him and his co-executive producer Greg Plageman over the phone. Both were practically mirror images of each other. They spoke softly, trying to avoid giving spoilers away, while at the same time providing tangible, content-worthy answers. I love when a producer doesn’t softball.

What I love most is they aren’t big on small talk. For the most part, when you do conference calls, even though you have an average of 5 minutes to ask your 1-3 questions, there’s always the covert need to do the same amount of small talk that you might do on a longer interview. Each writer/blogger, including myself, couldn’t stop asking/saying “how are you,” “how’s the weather treating you?”, and “thanks for joining us,” but Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman aren’t big small talkers and they aren’t people who waste words.

Person of Interest has a “tapestry” of “compelling villains” (and guest stars).
During the half hour conference call, I managed to ask a couple of questions about the second season plot and what’ll happen to our intrepid heroes. Throughout the interview, both EPs mentioned their love of the Thomas Crown Affair, analogized the show with Quantum Leap (through the gang’s continuous weekly interaction with strangers they save), and re-discussed its similarity to other shows dealing with alien conspiracies. They particularly enthused their great regard for the cast and supporting guest cast, including Paige Turco, Amy Acker, Michael Kelly and more. I love their utter awareness of contemporary pop culture and their low voices indicating contemplation.

Season one had a pretty steady plot where the pilot served as the thesis for the entire season. I assumed the same template would take place in season two where we’d follow the Machine’s growing artificial intelligence along with Root’s burgeoning presence as an anti-Finch. Instead, the most recent episodes, “C.O.D.” and “Shadow Box,” returned to HR. When I asked Jonah what happened to the plot points introduced in the season two premiere, he talked about a pretty “steady drum beat.” He and Greg view Person of Interest as occurring in chapters with more than enough room to investigate all possible storylines. The one thing he promised was multiple villains, which his writers love creating. Currently, Person of Interest has a “tapestry” of “compelling villains” (and guest stars). Sometimes he wants to give his writers the ability to follow them as far as possible, without overdoing it. And, he’s glad they returned to HR and other season one plot points.

The other thing that concerned me which happened in “Shadow Box” is the possible separation of our gang of four. Nolan and Plageman spent the end of season one and the beginning of season two bringing the three together like the original Alexandre Dumas novel, Three Musketeers (note: the novel itself included the bonding of four people, not three). So, watching them potentially sever the four-part gang scared me with Fusco returning to his squirrelly ways and Carter finally drawing the line to choose her job over a couple of guys she just met. So, I asked both what will happen to our core in season two’s return. Jonah, forwarded the question to Greg. But when I pushed for a follow-up, Jonah responded.

Regarding Fusco’s return to season one behavior, both producers love Kevin Chapman but stated they have to remind viewers every now and again that he came from bad beginnings. Greg will address why Fusco hasn’t turned to Reese in the new episodes. While Fusco’s current predicament is Reese’s fault, there is an original sin that Fusco committed. However, lest we forget our love for Fusco, they jokingly called Fusco a lady’s man. In addition to his date in “Til Death,” Fusco will deal with Karolína Kurková on the February 12th episode.

These are four very “wounded but broken” characters, Reese the most.

Concerning the potential fracturing of the core four, Jonah wants us to remember these are four very “wounded but broken” characters, Reese the most. He called Reese a “wounded animal” who is slowly “rebuilding” his “trust.” Jonah loves giving the audience a false sense of security. We have to remember the characters are always surrounded by danger. You never know what’ll happen to recurring characters. However, when the show returns on tonight, it’s a “team effort” on the cases. Each of the core will alternate as the case lead/point of contact. Finch will take point on the tonight and Carter might take point on the January 10th one.

I wanted to ask if Donnelly was wise to Carter, but Jonah and Greg provided such detailed answers to my first two questions that I didn’t follow-up. However, another reporter asked if Reese will ever learn that Finch knew about him, an idea that Jonah loved.

I’m definitely looking forward to Person of Interest‘s return. I’m impressed by the intelligence, dedication and utter knowledge Jonah/Greg demonstrate of their characters. I love when the producers/writers are fans of their own characters and actors. It makes sense, considering they hand-pick who they work with. Season one was awesome. The first half of season two rocked. Something tells me the rest of season two (which will follow episode after episode) will kick butt as well. Are you ready? I am.

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Photo Credit: An Nicholson

One Comment on “Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman discuss Person of Interest’s mid-season return

  1. Can’t wait for tonight’s Person of Interest. Hope Reese gets out soon.