Playing characters shrouded in mystery is becoming old hat for actor Michael Emerson, best known for his Emmy-winning turn as the inscrutable Ben Linus on Lost.
Now he’s back in Person of Interest as Finch, a shadowy computer genius who sees the future.
Emerson ain’t as lucky. Like the audience, he’s not sure what future episodes will reveal about his new character.
“Once again, just like on Lost, I’m not sure where things are going,” laughs Emerson. “I’m just winging it, which I’m happy to do. It makes you anxious to read each script.”
Emerson stars with Jim Caviezel in the fast-paced Person of Interest, which comes from the minds of writer Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and co-producer J.J. Abrams (Lost).
Part cop show/part sci-fi thriller, the series follows troubled CIA operative Reese (Caviezel) and the mysterious Finch as they attempt to solve murders — before they actually happen.
“They’re a terrible odd couple. But they have to live through this series of hair-raising adventures,” says Emerson, who sees very little of himself in Finch. So far.
“Well, I like to dress up and Finch is a smart dresser,” he laughs. “Don’t know enough about him yet.”
Making the transition from Lost’s beautiful Hawaiian backdrop to the decidedly grittier New York setting has been easy for Emerson, whose acting resumé includes stints on Broadway.
He refers to the change as switching from “my second favourite island to my favourite one.”
“It’s turned out to be fun. We’ve shot over all the five boroughs. It’s been like an obscure tour of unknown New York City.”
Emerson admits that, as much as he loved his experience on Lost, he wasn’t exactly unhappy when the show finally wrapped in 2010 after six seasons. That attitude may be changing.
“At the time, I was glad Lost was over, and glad to get back to the mainland,” he says.
“But recently I’ve been beginning to feel a little island nostalgia. I might be ready to go back.”
Person of Interest airs Thursdays on Citytv.