J.J. Abrams keeps his friends close and his Lost villains even closer. Casting has begun on the Johnathan Nolan-scripted, Abrams-produced pilot, Person of Interest, and first in line for a plum role is none other than Benjamin Linus himself, Michael Emerson.
The crime drama from Warner Bros. and Abrams’ Bad Robot will tell the story of a billionaire financing a former CIA agent, who is presumed dead, as they wage war on violent crime in New York City. While the thought of Emerson playing the CIA agent warms the cockles of my heart, the role of the mysterious billionaire is likely more suited to his talents. As Ben Linus, Emerson showed a knack for playing a secretive, master manipulator replete with the worst attributes possible - and yet his character somehow managed to induce as many feelings of sympathy as flat-out rage. Here’s hoping Emerson brings that kind of depth to Person of Interest.
If my speculation on the character is correct, then the role of the ex-spook is still wide open. As Emerson isn’t exactly a household name, his casting may not be a major draw for audiences, but his talent should act as a solid starting point from which future casting choices are made. Besides, given the names filling the producer and writer slots of this show, the level of enticement probably can’t get much higher.
In a perfect world, they’d offer a role to former Lost co-star Terry O’Quinn and make up for denying us Odd Jobs, the Emerson/O’Quinn action series that Abrams had planned for NBC. While it would be completely awesome for Person of Interest to manifest into that, it seems highly unlikely. Perhaps O’Quinn can make a guest appearance, should the show be brought to series.
Will the addition of an Emmy Award-winning actor and the appeal of Nolan and Abrams be enough to draw a big name talent, or will a relative unknown be given the chance to catch the spotlight in what is expected be one of the bigger pilots this season?
With any luck, casting on the second major role won’t be too far behind, and the pilot, directed by David Semel (Heroes, No Ordinary Family) can get underway.
What do you think? How does this bit of casting news affect your level of excitement for Person of Interest?