Why Person Of Interest's Big Shock Went Down, According To The Showrunners

Spoilers below for Person of Interest’s most recent episode.

Just because most of network TV’s dramas have wrapped up doesn’t mean the twists and turns are done until summer officially starts. Person of Interest entered the home stretch of its furiously focused fifth and final season with the tragic death of Amy Acker’s brilliant hacker Root. But while it was shocking, I think we can all agree that it at least made sense for the character at this point so close to the end, especially after hearing what showrunner Greg Plageman had to say about it.

Root has always implored Harold Finch to make his machine more assertive in this war, and now, faced with what they’re up against, Root ultimately is the one who makes the sacrifice to save the father of The Machine, and that’s Harold. I think it’s true to Root’s character — her first love was The Machine. She always believed people were ‘bad code,’ and more than anything she wants Harold’s machine to win this war. Her going down in this matter seemed apropos.

Exactly. If Person of Interest had forced Root’s exit through a more meaningless situation, or if she’d just been the unseen victim of an explosion, then it would be a fan’s duty to raise the pitchforks and decry the decision. But this fate has been in the cards for Root for a while now, as past gunshot wounds and other close calls have prepared us for, and she went out protecting Finch in “The Day the World Went Away.” If the show happens to make the blundered decision to kill him off in the next episode, then everything we’ve ever done in our lives will have been in vain. Not quite, but Root’s sacrifice seriously needs to be held on a pedestal and not undercut by future events.

person of interest

Can anything really undercut hearing Root’s voice coming out of the Machine? Not in a million years, but my point still stands. And co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan realizes the importance, as he told this to TVLine.

This was always the end of Root’s story, this was always where we were going. It became clear at the beginning of the season that this was the end of the ride for us… and Root’s journey has always been getting ever closer to The Machine, so the end of her story was always basically becoming The Machine. That’s another thing I thinks separates this from the pack, and this is how Root feels about it — it’s an evolutionary step. We’re not trying to sucker-punch the audience.

It also helped that she was able to go out after one of this series’ most intense and exhilarating action sequences, in which Root was able to show off her talents at using her boots to steer while taking out bad guys through a car sunroof. Not many characters get to do such a thing. Nolan also said that one guy was indeed supposed to be very clearly decapitated during that sequence, but they ran out of time during the shoot.

Sadly, the duo also said that Root definitely isn’t the only loss that Team Machine is going to deal with before Season 5 wraps up in a few weeks. (We also watched Enrico Colantoni’s Carl Elias go down in this episode, but he was not quite always a good guy.) Even with these deaths coming, though, we’re still hoping that Nolan and Plageman are setting things up so that Season 6 could exist one day in a different place.

What did you guys think of Person of Interest’s action-packed 100th episode?

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.