Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The third-year CBS hit crime drama Person Of Interest introduced its two newest regulars, Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker, tonight during the second of the Paley Center’s five-night PaleyFest: Made in NY celebration honoring TV shows that shoot in New York. Both actresses had been recurring on the show before getting upped – Acker for two seasons, Shahi for just one. “It was one of those when I first got the job where, if the audience took to me, if the storylines worked, maybe they’d make me a regular,” Shahi said. “So even when I had the job I felt like I was auditioning for the job.” But clearly, the audition went well, as Shahi is now a full-timer in portraying government assassin Samantha Shaw on the series. It worked out nicely for Acker, too, as her character root (a highly intelligent computer hacker and contract killer) received her promotion to regular cast status for the third season. Yet she admitted during the fairly subdued session that getting comfortable in the character’s skin has taken some getting used to since she’s “not a computer person.” She added, “I can barely check my email. So sometimes I’ll get lines and say, ‘What the heck am I talking about here?’” Showrunner Jonathan Nolan was also asked early on what the point was to add regulars to an already successful show. He explained that he and his fellow producers (including J.J. Abrams) simply couldn’t pass up the chance to work with actresses the caliber of Acker and Shahi. “Plus, when you add a few new characters, that actually winds up adding five or six new relationships,” Nolan said. “It gives us that much more of a challenge, which is great fun.”