Talking with Person of Interest’s Michael Emerson @ NYCC 2012

Michael Emerson is the most impeccably dressed, gently spoken man possible. He dresses like Finch in ‘Person of Interest.’ He rocks glasses like Finch. And, he’s intelligent like Finch. But, is he Finch? That’s for him to know and us to decide.


What did I learn about Michael Emerson? Michael was incredibly quiet, introspective and impeccably well dressed. In his glasses, well matched three-piece suit and highly thoughtful comments I could see where he pulled parts of himself into the Finch character. The one thing I loved about him — which I didn’t expect — was his awareness of the writing staff’s patterns, particularly when it comes to the female characters. One of my pet peeves surrounds shows that focus on the looks of its actresses over making their character believable. But, Person of Interest doesn’t pretend that a working mother would rock 3-inch heels, a mini-skirt and chunky jewelry to work. However, I’m surprised and impressed that Emerson, as a male actor, noticed and appreciates what makes Person of Interest different gender-wise.

Emerson loves POI‘s “smart, dangerous girls … I like that they’re more concerned with a dynamic woman and a thinking woman than they are with cosmetics.”

An: I love the outfit.
Michael: Thank you.
An: Last year, the cast was more machine-like, but this year the Machine is more humanized as the cast becomes more human, especially Finch. Was that a deliberate writer’s arc?
Michael: No one ever talked to me about it, but it does seem to be drifting that way. I think the writers having solved some of the mechanical problems of storytelling are now able to indulge or focus on character work and I think it’s a really smart idea to begin to humanize or personify the Machine.
An: I like how it’s going and I like your interaction with the Machine.
Michael: It’s cool seeing how Finch reared the Machine. Trained it. Sort of took it through its more elementary phases. Always getting more sophisticated.
An: We just saw a clip where you go to Elias for help. Since it hasn’t aired yet, can you can couch it in vague terms and tell us why Finch would need Elias’ help?
Michael: I’m happy to couch it vague terms.
An: Excellent.
Michael: Finch and Reese get into a situation where they need help that could only be provided by someone with clout in the criminal world.
An: In what episode does that happen?
Michael: I’m thinking the fourth.
An: I notice there’s a pattern of Finch getting kidnapped by women and now we have the same with Root. Is that a deliberate gender role reversal or to balance you more against Reese? Can you talk more to that?
Michael: I actually have it in my contract. But, it’s fun. What I like about Person of Interest is the showy roles that they write for women. I think that many of our best guest persons are women.
An: I like the gender dynamic.
Michael: I like how our show is cast. I like that they’re more concerned with a dynamic woman and a thinking woman than they are with cosmetics. Which is not to say they aren’t all beauties. The smart, dangerous girls.

Photo Credit: An Nicholson

5 Comments on “Talking with Person of Interest’s Michael Emerson @ NYCC 2012

  1. Emerson is a top notch actor which he proved week after week when he joined “LOST”. Nice ta see him play cold and calculating subtly as Finch compared to cold and calculating as Ben Linus.

  2. Who does not love Finch, ME is adorable, love him so much, and LOVE JC too, hope he arrived earlier.
    overall awesome interviews, Excellent questions An and I also love the gender dynamic in this wonderful show..

  3. Michael Emerson is an Outstanding actor. The best in my opinion of all the characters. He doesnt have to try. Loved the scenes with him and Elias. The best in that episode.

    Hey An i can’t find your reviews on masquerade and triggerman..

    • Taber,

      I combined them into the post titled ‘What I learned from Person of Interest interviews and recent episodes”.

  4. Dear POI fans
    Remember to vote, vote often, vote every day….nominations close NOv 15th.

    Vote for POI for Best TV Crime Drama

    Vote Jim Caviezel & Michael Emerson for Best TV Dramatic Actor by clicking on ‘other’ and typing their names.

    Vote for Taraji P Henson for Best TV Dramatic Actress by clicking on ‘other’ and typing her name.

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