*“Person of Interest” returns for its second season on Thursday (Sept. 27) with Taraji P. Henson and company picking up right where the first season left off.
Henson – an Academy Award winner for the “Hustle and Flow” song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” and 2009 nominee for her role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – says quality roles like this, particularly for women of color, don’t just fall into one’s lap because of a few critically acclaimed performances.
“I don’t feel privileged. I don’t feel like anybody’s gonna give me anything. My grind is serious,” the DC native, 42, told EURweb in an exclusive interview. “If I’m not working, I drive my people crazy. I’m like, ‘What is next?’”
CBS launched “Person of Interest” one year ago with former CIA agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel) being recruited by reclusive billionaire Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) to prevent violent crimes in New York City. After the attacks of Sept. 11, (ironically, Taraji’s birthday), Finch built a super computer for the government that uses info gathered from Big Brother-type surveillance cameras around the city to predict future terrorist attacks. However, Finch soon realized that the computer was predicting ordinary crimes as well.
The government wasn’t trying to go after those small potatoes, but Finch wasn’t so quick to let the non-terrorist crimes go unpunished – so he tracked down and recruited Reese (knowing that he has a military and CIA background) to intervene as needed and stop the crimes from happening.
Reese and Finch are assisted by NYPD Detectives Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), a corrupt cop whom Reese blackmails into helping them, and Henson’s character Joss Carter, who had originally been investigating Reese for being a vigilante. Carter doesn’t know about the existence of Finch’s supercomputer. And during the entire first season, neither Carter nor Fusco was aware that the other was secretly working with Finch and Reese. But in the season finale, their covers were finally blown with each other – setting the stage for Season 2.
Thursday’s premiere, titled “The Contingency,” finds Finch kidnapped by his hacker nemesis Root (from last season’s cliffhanger) and Reese enlisting Carter and Fusco to help get him back.
By the way, Henson’s Joss Carter is a multi-dimensional badass – having worked in the past as an Army interrogator and also a lawyer. She passed the bar in 2004, but eventually decided to trade her power suit for a detective shield.
Besides the comfort of a steady gig, Henson says this meaty role offers her a chance to release some pent up creativity each week.
“If I don’t have an avenue to do that, a little piece of me dies. I feel like I’m suffocating,” she told us. “I have to work. I come from a family of blue collar workers, so I know how to make things happen. I don’t have time to sit still. I got time to sleep when I’m in the box.”
Below, Taraji says that as a black woman in Hollywood, she doesn’t take any opportunity for granted.
Carter and Fusco, working for Reese and Finch without knowing it throughout Season 1, was a refreshing twist on the traditional cop show. But according to the below preview of Season 2, the big reveal will all but transform the nature of their relationship.