PERSON OF INTEREST Exec Prods Talk About The Machine

We just discovered a new and wonderful website. New to us anyway. It’s called buddy TV, and what got us going was this awesome interview with Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman:

Jonathan Nolan Greg Plageman POIPERSON OF INTEREST Interview: When Fiction Becomes Reality
by Carla Day

When Edward Snowden leaked classified information about the extent of NSA data gathering, it was easy to draw connections to the television show, Person of Interest. On the series, “The Machine” collects data about everything from phone calls, video feeds, internet traffic, and on and on. It was designed to analyze the data and protect the nation from the worst threats.

While the information that has come out so far about the NSA snooping isn’t nearly as invasive as that on the fictional series, it opens the possibility that such a machine really exists.

I spoke with Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman, executive producers of Person of Interest, about their thoughts on the NSA scandal and how it relates to their series. Given their familiarity with surveillance, I expected they would be surprised by people’s outrage over the news, but their reaction was the exact opposite.

“I’ve honestly been surprised over the lack of outrage,” Nolan expressed. “The Pew Research poll that came out a couple days after Snowden first came forward or the story was first published in the Guardian and Washington Post suggested that more than half of Americans were not that bothered by the idea of PRISM [surveillance program] at least in theory.”

In the world of the show, they envisioned a much different reaction. Nolan continued, “We always imagined on the show that there would be a massive public outcry were the existence of the machine be discovered. It turns out that may be the only science fiction aspect of the show.”

Plageman added “The central dilemma here is always been: does privacy matter? Does it matter to people any more? And, whatever the lack of outrage or whether people have decided that the trade-off is security versus privacy is worth it to them is fun for us. It’s very fertile ground for story and I think what we’d love to explore this year is showing people ways that it could matter.”

This has provided an opportunity for Person of Interest to bring the current reality into the series. Nolan offered, “I think we have some fun, somewhat ironic ways of dealing with the collision of the real world story with the world of our show. So, yeah, we have a way of dealing with it.”

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Oh, and after you’re finished, you’ll want to read Part 2.

Hey, Carla, you’re our new writer-hero. Take a bow!