"Person of Interest" took a major turn at the end of its third season, and when it returns for Season 4 in September it will be a very different show. The protagonists are now fugitives hiding in plain sight, and that will change the show's tone significantly.
"This season is about war," says executive producer Greg Plageman during the show's San Diego Comic-Con 2014 panel. "There's another machine in charge, and I think all of our guys will find themselves severely challenged."
The Saturday panel featured Jim Caviezel (John Reese), Kevin Chapman (Detective Fusco), Michael Emerson (Harold Finch), Sarah Shahi (Sameen Shaw), Amy Acker (Root), and executive producers Plageman and Jonathan Nolan. They shared stories about working on the show and teased its upcoming fourth season.
The panel members said working on a show about all-seeing government machines has made them more paranoid, especially since the US government's own surveillance programs surfaced in recent years, mirroring the show's plot.
"I was able to fire my therapist," jokes Nolan. "It encouraged us to get even further out there. It felt to us like a challenge. OK, the world has caught up to us. Let's get out and find out what the next five years have in store for us."
"Before the show I lived in my very happy pink bubble, which consisted of frozen yogurt and babies," Shahi adds. "Now I'm just all screwy in the head. Yeah, it's really done a number on me."
The producers of "Person of Interest" have shown more than once that they're not scared to kill off characters, and one fan asked about the chances of some of those characters returning. Regarding Paige Turco's character Zoe Morgan, Nolan says they "will definitely be looking for chances to get her back into our story."
When the conversation turned to the more recent (and hard-hitting) death of Taraji P. Henson's Joss Carter, though, he kept his cards closer, refusing to give any hints about the possibility of her return.
Asked whether he'd like to continue working with his real-life wife -- "True Blood" star Carrie Preston, who has appeared in six episodes -- Emerson replies that it presents unique challenges.
"I like working with my spouse on the show, although it's strange, and it is an added layer of acting difficulty," he says. "But I love the flashback stuff, and it's the only role I've ever played where I had a romantic life." He adds that it's a bit of a shame that the only woman he's ever kissed on camera is his actual wife.
But the highlight of the panel came when a young fan asked Caviezel whether working on "Person of Interest" is more or less fun than starring in "Passion of the Christ" was.
"This one is a little more funner, by this much, because we get to shoot guns a lot," Caveziel jokes in response, asking the fan's age. "You're the same age as my daughter, and you're beautiful," he tells her, hopping over the tablet to give her a hug. She promptly burst into joyous tears.
"Person of Interest" Season 4 premieres Tuesday, Sept. 23 on CBS. Watch the Season 3 refresher and Season 4 teaser footage below.