‘Person Of Interest’ EP Reveals Why Fan-Favorite Character Had To Die

Thu, November 21, 2013 12:21pm EST by 112 Comments
Person Of Interest Carter Death
Courtesy of CBS

With so many TV shows holding on to their main characters for dear life, ‘Person Of Interest’ fans were shocked when a fan-favorite character bit it on the Nov. 19 episode. The show’s head honcho has finally told us why, so read on for the gory details. Spoilers ahead!

CBS’ procedural drama Person Of Interest killed off one of its leads during its Nov. 19 episode, leaving viewers stunned and in need of answers. HollywoodLife‘s sister site TVLine chatted with the show’s creator Jonah Nolan to find out why they offed the fan-favorite right after that tantalizing kiss.

‘Person of Interest': Why Carter Was Killed

Taraji P. Henson‘s Detective Jocelyn Carter was shot and killed during Person of Interest‘s Nov. 19 episode, right after she finally kissed John Reese (Jim Caviezel). POI creator Jonah Nolan says that killing Carter was a difficult decision, but one that was ultimately necessary.

“The primary concern is to tell a compelling and entertaining story,” he says. “Everything else is secondary.”

Fortunately, Taraji was fully prepared for her untimely demise. Nolan wants POI to be like The X-Files and 24 in that anything can happen at any time — including, of course, a main character’s death. “The promise we made to Taraji and all of our actors is we weren’t signing them up for a show where, even if everyone was wildly successful and the ratings were great, we’d have them spin wheels for 200 episodes,” Nolan says.

Um, after all of the fake-out deaths on Vampire Diaries and American Horror Story, I think we’re officially “Team Nolan” on this one.

The thing driving us from the beginning is that mandate of “Keep it f–king entertaining,” he continues. “You’ve got to keep things moving. We have a bloodthirsty group of writers — you’ll walk into the room one day and they’ve devised a way in which Reese and Finch are killed in a fire… When they have the capacity to surprise us, we know that that will surprise the audience.”

Well render us surprised, Nolan.

Carter’s Final Kiss: ‘It Wasn’t Scripted’

Of course, one of the most devastating elements of Carter’s death was the fact that after three long years, she finally kissed Reese before she died. It was a beautiful, touching moment, and — according to Nolan — something that was completely unscripted.

“The interesting part about the kiss is that it actually wasn’t scripted,” he says. “It was just a swapping scars moment. So when the actors went there, it was all of their own volition, because in that moment they both felt it. And when you removed that element, the scene didn’t feel quite the same.”

Yikes! No wonder they’re saying the fallout from her death will be “messy.”

What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Do you admire POI for “going there” or do you wish they’d kept Carter around?

– Shaunna Murphy

More Shocking TV Deaths:

  1. ‘Person Of Interest’: Fan-Favorite Character Killed In Shocking Twist
  2. ‘Sons Of Anarchy’: Shocking Death Signals The End Of An Era
  3. ‘Vampire Diaries’ Recap: Two Lovers Are Forced To Make A Sacrifice

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Posted at 6:38 AM on February 24, 2015  

From Ireland: I refuse to watch this show ever again because of the demise of Carter. A very bad decision of the scriptwriters, in my opinion.

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Posted at 6:46 AM on January 28, 2015  

Let’s hope the writers thought about something like, the machine anticipated Joss’ death and her body had been replaced, she is alive but somewhere hiden because her condition is critical BUT… she’ll be back… It’s a show, everything can happen!!

Sorry but I couldn’t watch anymore and I LOVED the show… but without Carter… Not interesting anymore…

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Carla Jo

Posted at 3:24 PM on January 14, 2015  

I’m just catching up on the show via renting past episodes. I got to season 3, but I stopped after Carter was killed off. I’ve been trying to talk myself into watching more episodes, but I’m just so mad. I can totally understand if the ratings tanked. What if they do decide to kill off Finch? Or Fusco? Or even Bear? What if they go completely insane and kill off John?

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Posted at 10:17 PM on January 1, 2015  

They shouldn’t have killed her off. I knew when they did it, the ratings would take a sharp down-turn. She was an integral character to the team. The character that holds the redemption arc within the story (especially for Reese). When they killed her character, it was like killing off Scully or Uhura. They totally annihilated the thematic link between their characters which is why the story now feels disjointed. Carter’s death also help to tank the ratings to series lows. I can’t imagine what they were thinking when they decided to kill her off. Terrible decision all around. But high five to Taraji for doing a great job while it lasted. Reese & Carter would have been great together.

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Posted at 4:32 PM on November 17, 2014  

About time too. I never liked her in that part and always thought she was really badly cast. When a senior police officer shouts to another colleague using “yo officer” and constantly has an expression on her face like she has a lemon up her arse I don’t find her believable in the role. A terrible actor also

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Posted at 8:58 PM on December 5, 2014  

I was stunned and heartbroken when Carter was shot. It didn’t make any sense. They were too smart to let that happen. Bring her back!! She is integral to the story. They are all amazing actors and the show is packed with emotion but it WON’T be the same without Carter. I’m totally disappointed. BRING HER BACK.

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Posted at 6:09 PM on October 18, 2014  

The show would never be the same. Out of all the characters on the show, why her. Bad decision. She is also a very good actor. Sad

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Posted at 11:57 PM on August 14, 2014  

Why?? Why?? That is just so sad!! I keep wating to see her on the screen, than I remember she just died!! Horrible decision! I hope that’s the last main caracter they kill off, otherwise I’m not going to see it anymore.

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Posted at 2:21 AM on July 5, 2014  

that was unpredictable indeed big up to the writers,

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Posted at 2:58 PM on June 23, 2014  

Person of Interest’s Season 4 will take place without me as i viewer. I’m out, because this show has lost so much of its greatness it’s really unbelievable how worse this show had become. Nolan made the wrong choice as he decided to kill the beautiful Joss Carter. TPH was pure gold yet he did not appreciate her. Proves to me he really is overated! The same thing goes for his show. No one can tell me that POI has become better since Carter is gone. The hole TPH left is getting bigger and bigger, just look at the ratings!!!

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Posted at 11:54 PM on October 28, 2014  

bad bad decision, i will not continue to watch this show

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