'In order for the stakes to feel real on the show and embrace that element of life, there had to be an element of loss,' says executive producer Greg Plageman of why they killed off a major character.
"Person of Interest" bid farewell to one of its regular actors in its latest episode with a major death that left fans shocked. While some are still coming to terms with [SPOILER ALERT!] Detective Jocelyn "Joss" Carter's demise, the show's bosses quickly justify their decision to kill off the character.
Although realizing that "there would be a certain amount of trauma inflicted on our audience in terms of the loss of one of our central characters," executive producer Greg Plageman says it had to be done because "in order for the stakes to feel real on the show and embrace that element of life, there had to be an element of loss."
Series creator Jonathan Nolan adds, "When you come up with foes as formidable as those played by Robert John Burke (Simmons) and Clarke Peters (Quinn) over the course of three seasons, you don't want them to go down without a fight. We knew from the beginning that we had to punish ourselves and the audience by losing more and more castmembers."
On why it had to be Carter who became the casualty, Nolan elaborates, "We felt that Carter's connection to police corruption from the pilot onward -- this is one of the themes of our show, the enemy within... For this story -- HR, police corruption -- it was a natural boiling point that would put her first and foremost into focus."
"And frankly as writers, we've long said that Carter was the heart of the show and your perverse impulse as a writer (laughs) is to do as much damage to the audience as possible. There's nothing more dastardly than -- if Carter's the heart of the show -- breaking that heart for the audience in the middle of the season."
Carter and John Reese shared a tender moment before she died with them sharing a kiss. Asked whether it was emotions in the moment or romance, Plageman tells TVLine, "I think it was both. Carter and Reese had a very special relationship from the very beginning, from the moment he was fished out of the subway. You really felt that this was a deep relationship - that Carter cared about him on a different level, and that he came to care about her on a different level."
But it wasn't the most jaw-dropping part of the romantic twist as Plageman reveals that the kiss was unscripted. "It was just a swapping scars moment," he gushes, "So when the actors went there, it was all of their own volition, because in that moment they both felt it. And when you removed that element, the scene didn't feel quite the same."
Of how losing another important person in his life will affect Reese, Nolan simply says, "Messy." He goes on detailing when talking with The Hollywood Reporter, "They're going to have to find a new way to work with each other because Reese's concerns over what the f**k are we doing here if they can't even save their closest friend and ally."
Calling it "a pleasure" to work with Taraji P. Henson, Nolan says there's a big chance she'll return as Reese, perhaps in flashback. "Selfishly we are going to insist that she come back and hang out with us again," he reveals. "We'll be itching to get Taraji back into an episode of our show just as soon as we can. Also, we're excited to see what she does next. She's a magnificent actor."
"Person of Interest" will return with a new episode Tuesday, November 26 at 10 P.M. on CBS.