Amy Acker’s role as Samantha “Root” Groves on CBS’s Person of Interest has been steadily evolving since season one. And as we embark on the second half of season four, the evolution continues. But in unexpected ways. Her personal loyalties, her professional loyalties, and even her lurve life are on the line.
What’s your perspective on the evolution of Root, from absolute nemesis in the early seasons of the show to a critical member of Team Machine in seasons three and four?
Root has had a huge transformation in how she views human life since she was introduced in the first season. She was a nemesis of Team Machine because she was willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in order to get closer to the Machine. I feel like she has always had the same overall objective: to protect the Machine. And through her relationships with Harold and then the Machine, Root has found out that she really cares for these people—Harold, Shaw, and even Reese and Fusco—and wants to protect them as much as she wants to protect the Machine.
Good science fiction entertains, but it also provides allegory relevant to the current life and times of mankind. How does Person of Interest live up to this kind of storytelling?
I think the writers of Person of Interest have done that exactly. So much so that is has, at times, felt like the show has crossed from fiction into reality. When the show first began and you heard Michael’s voice say over the credits, “You are being watched,” I don’t think four years ago anyone really felt that they were. As the NSA and PRISM and Internet hacks continue to be exposed, I am not sure anyone would disagree with that statement at this point. So then the writers pushed the science fiction envelope further—with these two AI gods at war, an evil AI controlling people and manipulating society. When you read the news and hear how little we actually know about computer intelligence and it’s capabilities, you just know everyone is in a race to be the first to create a super AI.
Or you may think about our show and say, “This may not be real.” But what if something like this actually happens? It scares me a little. I guess I just hope there are lots of Harolds out there developing whatever is next.
We know Root’s been busy dodging Samaritan’s agents, but what TV shows would she be into watching if she had down time?
I think Root is most excited that Westworld is going to be on HBO. That sounds like her dream show! I can’t really imagine her watching TV at all, but now I am sort of obsessed with the idea that she loves Lifetime or only watches Christmas movies—something totally out of character for her.
Tease us—what’s in store for the second half of season four?
Oh, goodness! Things are about to get real! This next episode is a game changer. Then, we actually aren’t shooting episodes too far ahead of what is about to air. From what we have seen so far, it’s going to be an exciting second half.
Who would be the better real-life bodyguard—Shaw or Reese?
I think you are gonna be safe either way. Root, of course, would choose Shaw, just to be around her. If it were me in real life, I’d probably choose Reese. Just because I am too sensitive and I think Shaw might make me cry at some point.
What’s really going on between Root and Shaw?
You aren’t supposed to kiss and tell, but the writers are not shying away from any of it. As the season has progressed, Sarah (Shahi, who plays Shaw) and I have gone from asking if they wrote what we thought they wrote, to hearing about what is going on with Shaw off-camera between episodes. Everyone has their own opinion about what exactly is happening, and it’s been fun to play it that way and let the audience determine some of it for themselves. But, yeah, I think they are in lurve.
Person of Interest airs Tuesdays, 10/9c on CBS.