For the show's producers, Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman, the NSA scandal has been a great promotional gift.
"We remember being at TCA a couple years ago, and we did receive a few comments to the effect that the show was farfetched, that it was a little fantastical," Nolan said. "And so we gloated for about five minutes, and then, of course, we're panicked and horrified by our nation's descent into an Orwellian nightmare. But it's just been fantastic marketing all year long giving us that third‑season boost."
Nolan said the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden also prompted producers to consider what it means for the show as they push the story forward.
"It has been somewhat horrifying and has propelled us to try to figure out, you know, what's going to happen two years from now," he said. "So if you want to know what happens two years from now, stay tuned for the second half of our show."
As for the decision to kill off the character of Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson), CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said, "I almost killed myself," when Nolan proposed killing off Carter last year.
"And we talk about how things change. Years ago, you would never, ever kill a major character. And the rule was if it ain't broken, don't fix it," Tassler said. "But Jonathan, to his credit, came in and said, 'Look, I love my cast. Taraji is an extraordinary actress. But sort of the role that she plays in terms of the relationship between Reese and Finch has changed.' And he said something so clever. He said, 'I need my Catwoman.' He said, 'I need to bring Catwoman into the mix of this relationship between these two guys.' And he talked about the Shaw character. He talked about the Shaw character and we all got very excited. And for those of you who watch 'Person of Interest,' I mean, this show is so much a part of pop culture and obviously very much in the zeitgeist. We take everything these guys say quite seriously. And they mapped out a plan for the Carter character introducing the Shaw character."