The new season of Person of Interest plunged us into a dystopian A.I.-monitored world. And all of a sudden, Root is the linchpin of everything, as she helps the undercover Machine Gang. We talked to Amy Acker about Root's new role, her flirtation with Shaw, and whether Root will be meeting Samaritan's right-hand woman Rousseau.
We were lucky enough to have a one-on-one phone interview with Amy Acker earlier today, and here's what she told us.
Now that Finch has stepped back a bit, is Root the new leader of the Machine gang? Is she calling the shots now?
Well, I think she's definitely the Machine's champion, so at least now while everybody's in hiding, and just starting to figure out the Machine's still aware and still has a plan, I think she's there to make sure everyone knows that we have the Machine, and we still have to fight for her.
Is her relationship with the Machine evolving? Is she still her own person, or is she just becoming an extension of the Machine?
It's interesting, because I think you can see that we've all had to lay low for a little bit, and I think that it's exciting to find out what's Root having to do without having all of the information she was once given. She's having to make decisions on her own as well, so how does that shape up?
She still has the Machine in her ear, right? She still hears it talk to her all the time.
Yes. She's still implanted with the Machine.
So obviously the Machine went too far for Finch when it said they had to kill a Congressman. Could it ever go too far for Root? Could it ask her to do something she's not willing to do?
You know how it seemed like, with the speech that I gave [Finch] at the beginning of the season... I do believe that life is worth fighting for. But also, I keep telling him that sacrifices have to be made if we're going to win this. There's really no other choice. So I think that would be an exciting thing to explore, as the season goes on — if something were to happen that made Root question that. But as of now, she's staying strong [and believing] that the Machine can do no wrong.
In fact, the Machine had to pull Root back, when it put her in the mental institution and tried to teach her that killing is wrong.
Yes. We really showed the transformation and what had happened with her last season — the journey, and everything that being faced with the Machine and learning the lessons the Machine was trying to teach her [meant]. It seems that that really came full circle, and Root... started to think about [the ethics of killing.] And it basically said the opposite of what I'd always believed. It was like, 'Oh. People do change.' She's definitely learned something from this....
There was a turning point, probably around episode 17 last year, when she has to decide between stopping Decima and saving a guy's life, and she ultimately chose to save the guy's life. And I think any time before that, that would not have been the choice she made. And I sort of was talking about [Root's past, and how she's] definitely done bad things... So I think now that [Root's] thinking about not killing, that's a big difference.
So in the season premiere, we met Martine Rousseau, the blonde woman who seems to be working for Samaritan. Is she the anti-Root? Are you guys going to meet at some point?
I hope so, yeah. From what I have gathered, especially from what she did in the pilot, it seems like she is sort of the one-man army of Samaritan right now. She is Samaritan's eyes on the ground, and the human activities of Samaritan seem, at this point, to have been passed over from Greer to her.
So you don't know if Root and she are going to meet?
It seems like they should. I hope so. [Laughs] I feel like they'd have a good conversation, unless one of them kills the other one first.
Does Root still have her own gang, like with the hacker she rescued and stuff? Are they still out there?
We haven't talked about them yet this season, but it seemed like at the end of last season, they were being sent somewhere to make sure they were safe. So if we needed them at some point, they would be available. So I hope they come back. That was really fun, having all those different characters.
Is Root going to keep going to the make-up counter to get makeovers from Shaw? Or is Shaw done with the makeup counter now that she's a criminal?
I think we have some more makeup coming. Yeah. And [Shaw]'s at work, so she can't leave when I come to get her.
It seems like it's gotten more and more flirtatious every time you guys are on screen together.
We have had a lot of fun with it. Even during that first scene where we met, where I'm like holding an iron to her, and we were like, "How did this turn into a flirty sexual thing?" I don't know — we made it happen, or it was directed that way. So then, it's been a fun thing to play with the characters... Especially for me, getting to flirt with Shaw, because I know that she hates it, or there are times when it seems like she almost wants to laugh, but she can't because she's Shaw. It's just a fun dynamic to play with.
Do you guys ever worry about going too far with the romantic/sexual tension and having to be pulled back? Do you ever get told to dial it back?
No... A lot of times, we'll do [a scene] a couple of different ways. And it seems like they usually go with the flirtatious [version]. They make that their choice.
Are you going to be back on Agents of SHIELD at some point?
I have no idea. They haven't reached out to me. But I obviously love all those people, so that would be fun.