Dec 9, 2013 09:34 AM ET
Question: With the death of Detective Carter on Person of Interest and the replacement of the Ziva character with Bishop on NCIS, there have been a lot of messages in your in-box about a lack of diversity among the stars of major TV shows. Maybe it’s just me, but I have never once thought about the racial make-up of a cast so long as I find the acting and writing enjoyable. Do the casts accurately reflect society as a whole? Probably not, but then again I also don’t believe that there are rogue former special forces soldiers stalking New York City rescuing people as directed by an all-seeing machine or that there is a super-secret government agency investigating alien technology and super-humans.
Racial makeup, whether it’s all white, African-American, glow-in-the-dark Martian, just doesn’t (and shouldn’t) factor into the decisions producers and writers make. If the intent in killing Carter was to take John to the dark place he was in when the show began, then they accomplished their goal. And the subsequent episode reminded us that behind the wisecracking laid-back exterior was a brutal killer struggling to maintain control. So while people may malign the death of Carter from a racial perspective I think that, objectively, it did more to develop the main character than any other plot twist could have done. — Chip
TV GUIDE’s Matt responds
Matt Roush: I appreciate this perspective, because while it’s important for networks and show-runners to strive for diversity, I also agree that these concerns shouldn’t hamstring producers from telling the stories they want to tell with the greatest impact possible. Which is why Carter’s death on Person of Interest in particular, while dismaying to the character’s fans, was an important turning point for the show — and for the character of Reese to be sure. Regarding the bigger picture, though, TV is strengthened as a medium if those pulling the creative (and purse) strings cast their shows with an eye toward inclusion — in the best case, spreading the wealth when it comes to creating heroes, villains and victims of all shapes, colors and types.