Don’t Miss This New York Times Article of Michael Emerson and Carrie Preston. GREAT PICS!

A Farmer’s Breakfast, and Then a Wander


When the actor Michael Emerson, 59, walks around Manhattan, it’s not unusual for people to stop him and ask if he’ll pose for a picture. The television shows “Lost” and, currently, “Person of Interest” have made his spiky hair, thick-rimmed glasses and long sideburns a giveaway. He takes it in stride, even on Sunday, which he designates a day of leisure, reserved for meandering, cultural events and time with his wife, the actress Carrie Preston, 46 — who herself is recognized for her roles in “True Blood” and “The Good Wife” — and her extended family. The couple live with their rescue dog, Chumley, 4, near Columbus Circle.

02ROUTINE1-master675The actor Michael Emerson, 59, of “Person of Interest,” and his wife, the actress Carrie Preston, 46, of “True Blood” and “The Good Wife.” Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

HELLO, SUNSHINE Sunday is the most domestic day of the week. It’s the day when I feel the least pressure to get anything done. We get up fairly late, I suppose, around 9 o’clock. We throw open the shades that make the room dark and we make the bed. We’re like a synchronized team. We each have a shade to raise.

Mr. Emerson and Ms. Preston are often recognized by fans of their shows. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

MAN ABOUT TOWN If the weather’s fair, I like to take Chumley to Central Park and just walk around, do a bit of promenading with him. I dress more formally than a lot of the other boys do. If I’m going to be out and about on the town, I will generally wear a tie and a vest. Not necessarily a jacket.

FANS APPROACH I get recognized. It happens regularly, by two sets of fans: younger people who are fans of “Lost” and older people, oftentimes their parents, who are fans of “Person of Interest.” But now, I think the balance has shifted. Carrie’s so present on so many shows, with her vivid red hair, that people pick her out. Now I’m the one that people, they say, “Excuse me, could you take our picture?”

Mr. Emerson exploring the “Out of Hand” exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

POSSIBLE DETOUR My default mode is to wander. But if I see an interesting little show or some kind of artwork or some kind of play, I may go to see that as well. I went recently to see a show of Czechoslovakian pop-up books. It was at the Grolier Club. There’s all kinds of funny little exhibition and gallery spaces around this town.

VISITING Sunday is, more often than not, family dinner night. So we go to the in-laws, who have kids, and we’ll either order in or somebody will cook. We pick up the peripheral goods on our stroll down Ninth Avenue. You know, baguettes and beer and red wine, and whatever is required.

WHO’S ON TV? We’ll watch some TV event. It could be a show that either Carrie or I have a role in that everyone hasn’t seen already. Often it’ll be “The Good Wife,” which is on Sunday nights anyway. If Carrie’s on, we definitely make time for that. Or everybody will watch that week’s “Person of Interest.” There’s a lot of hooting and laughing and snide comments. And we get to do the behind-the-scenes commentary.

FIRST TO BED It grieves me on Sundays to have to cut family night short, because it’s one of the chief pleasures of the week. But I have just never adjusted to the early mornings of the TV world. If I have to be in bed at 9, that’s just too grim. It’s too grim to go down and have a bite to eat and then go to bed before the schoolchildren.

SUNDAY NIGHT BLUES I still get the old, childhood, Sunday night feeling. The end of playtime and the beginning of responsibility comes over you. The Sunday night blues. It never goes away. I’ll take a Benadryl maybe. A Benadryl and a dull book.

Source: New York Times

Michael Emerson on Cover of Back Stage Mag.

Read Article below:

By Daniel Holloway

Photo by Sebastian Piras
Michael Emersonis sitting in Trattoria Dopo Teatro, an Italian joint tucked between Broadway and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on 44th Street, nursing a glass of water while his manager and two—two!—publicists eat a schmancy pizza a few tables away. It took him a long time to get here. Not to “here” as in the restaurant but “here” in the metaphysical sense—big city, big career, big group of 10 percenters structuring their days around his interviews and photo shoots. For an actor who waited until he was nearly 40 to go to conservatory, it’s not a bad place to be.Not that he didn’t want to get here sooner. Emerson has been feted on the New York stage, has become recognizable to millions as a fan-favorite villain on “Lost,” and is now the co-lead in his own new show, CBS’s “Person of Interest.” But decades ago he was a 21-year-old kid from small-town Iowa who came to New York wanting to be an actor. Things went badly. “The city just knocked the wind out of me,” he says, his voice eerily, inevitably calling to mind Benjamin Linus, the character he played for five seasons on “Lost.” “I didn’t know where the auditions were or how you got into them or anything like that. So I lost track of my dream, which is a bad thing to do.”It certainly is. And if you’ve ever been to Jacksonville, Fla., you know that moving there is usually a bad thing to do, too. Emerson did it anyway, and it turned out to be the first step on a long road to success. Not that it seemed like it at the time. Emerson was working as a magazine illustrator until “that career sort of went up in flames, and I thought, ‘Well, here I am. There’s nowhere to go but up, and I might as well do what I please, since I was at the bottom of things.’ ” He started doing community theater—not just acting but also designing scenery, building sets, and directing. He was able to make “half of a sensible person’s living” as a jack-of-all-trades in the local scene. If there was a role he wanted to play, he would mount the production. “A lot of times I would sleep in the theater at night, just trying to keep body and soul together,” he says. “But it was a good apprenticeship in the theater. I found out I had a knack for it, and I grew in confidence.”

Eventually he branched out, working a circuit of regional theaters in the Southeast. He played the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock and New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss. He traveled to Montgomery, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Savannah, Ga. And he grew as an actor. “I reached a point where I thought, ‘I’m too good at this now to keep doing obscure plays in obscure towns,’ ” he says. “I either needed to go back to New York or I needed to get into a conservatory program. I chose the latter.”

Roll Tide

Emerson enrolled in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s MFA program at the University of Alabama. He was 39 and looking to check out of the world for a couple of years, lead “a sort of monastic experience,” and focus on acting. “I guess I would have said then that I meant to commit my life to playing the classics, which isn’t a bad commitment to make,” he says. “It’s taken me a lot of different places.”

The Alabama program focused, unsurprisingly, on Shakespeare and classical verse. In the mornings, Emerson and his classmates would study movement, voice, and text. In the afternoons, they had rehearsals. Occasionally students would be cast in small parts on ASF’s main stage.

Emerson was something of an anomaly, being middle-aged and having years of experience under his belt. The same qualities that made him stick out from his peers also made him a commodity for the main-stage productions. “I was useful,” he says.

Alabama proved useful to him as well—and not just for the training he received. He met his wife, the actor Carrie Preston, while working in an ASF production of “Hamlet.” After he graduated, he followed her back to New York. His second run in New York didn’t start off much more auspiciously than his first. His training had sharpened his skills, and he had a wealth of experience performing in some of the greatest plays ever written. But his résumé was filled with names that no one in the city had ever heard of—Southern names.

“I thought surely, for the love of God, someone wants a grown man who can speak the verse, just to carry a spear, or deliver a message, or something,” Emerson says. “But it’s not as easy as that. I still had some illusions about that kind of thing.” Preston, in contrast, was working steadily, having already established herself in New York. (She has, like her husband, built a strong on-camera career; she is now best known for playing the high-strung waitress Arlene on HBO’s “True Blood.”) Emerson knew that if she continued to book work while he foundered, they would feel the resulting pressure. He gave himself two years to catch traction in New York, after which he would return to the South, where he still had contacts in the theater community. He and Preston would manage a long-distance relationship.

Then, shortly before the two years were up, Emerson became involved in playwright Moisés Kaufman’s “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde,” then still nascent. The play draws on the three real-life courtroom trials concerning Wilde’s relationship with his lover Lord Alfred Douglas. In readings and workshops, Emerson played Wilde’s attorney. But just before the play was set to open Off-Off-Broadway, Kaufman fired the lead actor. Emerson asked if he could audition for the role—and won it. He had fewer than three weeks to prepare.

Emerson drew on his training at Alabama, where instructors had drilled into him the importance of making not just psychological choices but also choices about the carriage of the body, the quality of the voice that a character lives in. He felt he had watched the previous Wilde make choices that were logical but ultimately incorrect. Emerson knew he could make better ones.

In his review of “Gross Indecency” for the New York Times, Ben Brantley, who called the play “the must-see sleeper of the Off Off Broadway season,” wrote, “[T]he Wilde of Mr. Emerson, making his New York debut, is stunning as he progresses from epigrammatic assurance to a public role for which he is no longer writing the script. By the production’s end, he is majestically pathetic, a man who is still unable to understand completely what happened to him.”

The play was a hit and enjoyed an Off-Broadway run and stints in San Francisco and Los Angeles—all with Emerson in the lead. “We got a good review in the New York Times, and we were off to the races,” Emerson said. “I guess I have made my living as an actor since that time.”

Act 2

Over the next few years, Emerson appeared in enough impressive plays to make him a bona fide New York theater actor—including Broadway productions of “The Iceman Cometh” and “Hedda Gabler,” as well as “Le Misanthrope” and “Give Me Your Answer, Do!” Off-Broadway. In 2000, he booked a part on ABC’s “The Practice,” playing a man who confesses to being a serial killer but whose guilt is in doubt. The role recurred, and Emerson won an Emmy for outstanding guest actor.

When Emerson’s life-changing job came, it didn’t at first look like that kind of role. He was not a loyal viewer of “Lost,” but his wife was. “We always had it on,” he says. “Sometimes I’d be doing the dishes or something, and I’d look over and go, ‘Oh, that’s preposterous.’ ”

The part of Benjamin Linus—the villain who became one of the series’ definitive characters—came to Emerson as an offer. It was initially a guest spot. The story line called for a meek-tempered man to be captured and held prisoner by the suspicious island castaways around whom the show was centered. Eventually, the character was revealed to be the leader of the Others, the mysterious group that terrorized the show’s heroes for most of its run. Between filming sessions in those earlier days, Emerson would cool his heels in a hotel in Hawaii, where the series was shot, missing Preston and New York, and waiting to find out whether his character would survive to the next episode. Around the time of his fourth episode, Emerson realized something big might be happening.

“One day a director came to me and said, ‘When you talk about the leader of the Others, he must be terrifying to you,’ ” Emerson says. “I said, ‘Okay, that’s cool. I can play that. But wouldn’t it be a gas if it turned out that I was the leader of the Others?’ And he said, ‘I can’t talk about that.’ I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? Is that where we’re going to go? Because that could be fun.’ ”

For “Lost” fans, it certainly was, and Emerson’s career reaped the benefits. He won a second Emmy in 2009, this time for outstanding supporting actor. But he always kept one eye eastward.

“I never stopped being the gypsy actor in my mind,” he says. “I would never buy property in Hawaii or get settled too comfortably, because that just seems to invite the theater gods to pull it out from under you. I always thought of it as temporary. It was never home to me.”

Home was still New York, and Emerson settled back there after “Lost” ended in 2010. His first thought was to lay low for a time, knowing that whatever his next project was, it would be overscrutinized, thanks to the hype generated by his last job. He figured that a theater project would arise and spark his interest, and he tinkered with a pilot idea that he and “Lost” co-star Terry O’Quinn had developed. But the right play never came, and the pilot never matured into script form.

Emerson spent close to a year out of work. With pilot season nearing, he approached Bad Robot, the company that had produced “Lost,” and asked if there was anything he might be suited for. “They had this nice script at Bad Robot that I liked for a lot of reasons—not least of which was that it was set in and had to shoot in New York City,” he says. “If you start looking around at pilots, you dig deep and you find that not very many of them will be shot in New York or L.A. I had already done my time on the other side of the earth. It was important to me to have a family life again.”

The script was for “Person of Interest,” in which Emerson stars as Harold Finch, an eccentric billionaire and tech genius who has developed a machine that anticipates terrorist acts. Jim Caviezel co-stars as an ex–CIA agent who, with Finch’s voice in his ear, tries to stop those events before they happen. The character has been compared to Benjamin Linus, and Emerson admits that there are similarities. But the actor is comfortable with the overlap—which is good, because the show has proved a solid ratings draw and recently received a full-season commitment from CBS.

“Maybe Ben Linus worked so well for me because it tapped into some core aesthetic I have as an actor,” Emerson says. “I prefer mystery over obviousness. I prefer ambiguity to definition. And the only way I’m ever going to be able to put that aside is to do a completely different kind of material, probably on the stage.”

What type of material? He would love to do Shakespeare in the Park—which would bring him back to his roots in the classics at Alabama. Or maybe a comedy. “I was always a funny guy,” he says, “before I got these frightening roles.” And you know what? Emerson is a funny guy, because after talking to him for an hour, you forget that he sounds exactly like Benjamin Linus.

Source: Backstage

Michael Emerson Once ‘Lost,’ Now Found


Michael Emerson doesn’t do any social media, but he does have a smartphone with GPS, so he can be found at anytime if the need arises, he said recently, reflecting on the theme of his new TV series, “Person of Interest.”

The Emmy-winning actor is best known for his portrayal of cult leader Ben Linus on “Lost.” In “Person of Interest,” which like “Lost” is produced by J.J. Abrams, Mr. Emerson plays Mr. Finch, a mysterious billionaire and computer genius who invents a pattern-recognition program that can identify people who are about to be involved in a violent crime. He and an ex-CIA officer, played by Jim Caviezel, undertake a vigilante mission to stop these crimes from happening.

A native of Iowa, Mr. Emerson now divides his time between Los Angeles and Manhattan. The 57-year-old actor got his break acting on the New York stage when he played Oscar Wilde in the off-Broadway play “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde,” to critical acclaim. “Lost” took him to Hawaii for a few years, so he was drawn to “Person of Interest” in part so he could work in New York again. “I could work and sleep in my own bed and have more of the life I had before ‘Lost,'” he said.

Mr. Emerson spoke with the Journal about his new show, the end of “Lost,” and filming in unexpected places in New York.

How does filming in so many locations in New York shape the show and your character?

I think it helps me to know how vast and in a certain sense, uncharted, the city is. There are so many lonely backstreets, so many boarded-up buildings, so many spaces that you don’t even think about. Like high-rise office buildings—there’s not necessarily an office on every floor. Some floors are just big, open, empty spaces, and it’s eerie, and it’s a great place to set a scene from a vigilante thriller like ours. It’s interesting to film amongst the throng of people on a New York street. Sometimes Jim and I will be doing a scene on Fifth Avenue in the middle of the day, and people are streaming around us but they don’t know the cameras are rolling because the cameras are far away or hidden in a van. It helps you feel like a mole or someone who is on a secret mission, since the work has a privacy about it.

Has it been a challenge to break out of your well-known “Lost” role and become Mr. Finch?

I wrestled with it before we started shooting. I still think about it but I decided I was making myself crazy by setting an unrealistic standard of differentiation. It often didn’t serve the scene or the moment or the piece of writing. So I thought, I need to go back to the way I’m most accustomed to working, which is not thinking about a description of my character. I’m just going to play the scenes. Some bit of Benjamin is a bit of me. It’s undiscardable, I think. It’s just something about the way I talk, or maybe the way I think about scenes, that can’t altogether be let go of.

What is it like to be in “the J.J. Abrams family”?

I think you do have the feeling that you’ve signed on and become part of an enterprise that is keen on storytelling that will have some qualities of amazement about it and some mystery as well. Those are the things I like best. When you say you’re part of J.J.’s family, I guess what you’re saying is, I like the stuff he chooses to produce and the way he does it. I like that whole black-box concept that he has. It’s just a sort of way of proclaiming an artistic fellowship with someone that has a very high profile.

Sourc: Wall Streat Journal

How Much Does Michael Emerson Get Paid to do ‘Person of Interest’?

Once again, TV Guide managed to list some of the highest paid actors on TV. Obviously, plenty of actors are missing (it’s not like they all go to the press to tell them how much they earn, TV Guide had to have a hard time getting this sort of information) but it gives an idea. It may sometimes be approximative.


1. Hugh Laurie (House season 8) : $700,000/episode.
2. Mark Harmon (NCIS season 10) : $500,000/episode.

3. Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order SVU season 13) : $395,000/episode.
4. David Caruso (CSI Miami season 10) : $375,000/episode.
4. Marg Helgenberger (CSI season 12) : $375,000/episode.
4. Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives season 8) : $375,000/episode.
7. Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer season 7) : $350,000/episode.

8. Simon Baker (The Mentalist season 4) : $300,000/episode.
9. Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy season 8) : $275,000/episode.
9. Kate Walsh (Private Practice season 5) : $275,000/episode.
11. Kiefer Sutherland (Touch season 1) : $225 000/episode.
11. Ted Danson (CSI season 12) : $225,000/episode.

13. Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife season 3) : $180,000/episode.
14. Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law season 2) : $175,000/episode.
14. Jon Hamm (Mad Men season 5) : $175,000/episode.
16. Dana Delany (Body of Proof season 2) : $150,000/episode.

17. Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods season 2) : $130,000/episode.
17. Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds season 7) : $130,000/episode.
19. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad season 4) : $125,000/episode.
19. William H. Macy (Shameless season 2) : $125,000/episode.
19. Maria Bello (Prime Suspect season 1) : $125,000/episode.
19. Christina Ricci (Pan Am season 1) : $125,000/episode.
19. Jared Padalecki (Supernatural season 7) : $125,000/episode.

24. Cote De Pablo (NCIS season 9) : $120,000/episode.
24. Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds season 7) : $120,000/episode.
26. Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0 season 2) : $115,000/episode.
27. Michael Emerson (Person of Interest season 1) : $100,000/episode.
27. Eddie Cibrian (The Playboy Club season 1) : $100,000/episode.
27. Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer season 1) : $100,000/episode.
27. Nathan Fillion (Castle season 4) : $100,000/episode.

31. Poppy Montgomery (Unforgettable season 1) : $85,000/episode.
32. Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles season 2) : $80,000/episode.
33. Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire season 2) : $75,000/episode.
33. Danny Pino (Law & Order SVU season 12) : $75,000/episode.
33. Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova season 1) : $75,000/episode.
36. Blake Lively (Gossip Girl season 5) : $60,000/episode.
37. Minka Kelly (Charlie’s Angels season 1) : $50,000/episode.
38. Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle season 1) : $30,000/episode.

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Reasons Michael Emerson Should Be Proud of Benjamin Linus Legacy

The man who portrayed the creepy Benjamin Linus in “Lost,” has spoken about his feelings on being best known for playing the legendary character. Michael Emerson says he is “at peace” with the fact that people will always see him as Ben, in spite of his numerous other roles. Emerson is set to star in the new CBS drama, “Person of Interest” as Mr Finch, a rich man who attempts to prevent crimes which may happen in the future. It seems that the two roles are worlds apart, but there is no doubt that Benjamin Linus will always be remembered. Here are the top reasons why Michael Emerson should embrace the love for his “Lost” character.

It was an award-winning role

Michael Emerson was such an outstanding member of the “Lost” cast, that he was nominated for numerous Emmy Awards. He was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama series award four times, and won in 2009. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 2010. Although he didn’t win every time, his talent was such that he was continuously recognized as an excellent actor. Many feel he was “robbed” of the Emmy in 2010 for his acting in the final season of “Lost.”

Ben Linus scared viewers

Anyone who saw Ben Linus manipulating other characters on the show will understand just how frightening he could be. One of his most creepy moments was when he convinced Sawyer (Josh Holloway) that he had fitted him with a pacemaker! It was really only a heart rate monitor, but the shock factor was incredible! Ben Linus did many awful things to try to achieve his own goals, and in doing so, often gave viewers the chills. As an actor, this is something Emerson should be incredibly proud of.

It showed his versatility

Ben Linus was not evil through and through. It seemed that way for a long time, but as his story progressed, viewers gained a better understanding of who he really was. Flashbacks showed that his father belittled him when he was a child, causing him to seek the respect he lacked while he was growing up. As an adult, he sought the respect of Jacob (Mark Pellegrino). He followed every instruction he was given, but it wasn’t until Jacob was summoned by “Locke” (Terry O’ Quinn) that Ben got to meet him. His frustration, and Jacob’s lack of interest in him led to him killing Jacob. The differing sides to the character of Ben is not something every actor could easily manage to portray. Any jobs Emerson has been, and will be offered, will be as a direct result of the skill he showed in “Lost.”

Lost” was an iconic show

No matter whether the role was big or small, every actor who starred in the drama was a part of something special. Michael Emerson was one of the biggest and most complex characters in the story, and for that reason, it is impossible to forget what he did. If he has to be remembered for one thing, it may as well be the biggest TV show the world has ever seen!

Michael Emerson should definitely feel good about everything he accomplished as Benjamin Linus. If he never worked again, it would be a great way for him to be remembered. Thankfully, he will not have to face that problem. In the future, people will remember him for every single fantastic character he brought to life. There is no doubt there are many more to come.

Source: associated content


Carrie Preston and Michael Emerson are Little Dog People

When Michael Emerson (along with millions of fans) said goodbye to Lost, he also said aloha to Hawaii, the island he called home for the five seasons he was on the hit show.

That meant that he and wife Carrie Preston could say a different kind of aloha — to a dog! They were finally able to adopt a pup without worrying about Hawaii’s strict quarantine restrictions, and they did, a poodle-Maltese mix they named Chumley.

Preston, one of the stars of True Blood, adopted Chumley, now almost 2, through A Dog’s Life rescue in Los Angeles about a year ago.

“I’m very, very in love with my dog,” she told at the Human Society of the United States’ 25th Genesis Awards last week. “He’s very serious. He’s a snuggler.”

Preston, Emerson and Chumley, who was named after an old New York City speakeasy, now split their time between New York and L.A., and Chumley’s petite frame is good for when they’re in the big city.

“He’s only 7 lbs.,” she said. “We live in an apartment in New York, and you really don’t want a big dog in New York. But I always wanted a little dog, anyway.”

Thanks to his size, Chumley gets toted around with the family when they go on location for work. He might be adopted, but he’s got a bit of the couple’s performing genes.

“We call him a circus dog because he gets up on his hind legs whenever he wants a treat,” she said. “We didn’t teach him that —it’s like it’s innate.”



Michael Emerson Explores the Meaning of Lost

By Kabir Sawhney

Juxtaposing intellectualism and popular culture, actor Michael Emerson discussed the philosophy behind the hit TV show “Lost” on Saturday evening in Cubberley Auditorium. Philosophy professors Joshua Landy and R. Lanier Anderson interviewed Emerson on stage in a conversation that spanned from the show’s philosophical roots to the driving forces behind the show’s characters and relationships.

The discussion was part of the “Film and Philosophy II” lecture series sponsored by the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages.

Emerson’s character in “Lost,” Benjamin Linus, enters the series as an antagonist, but evolves into a hero by the show’s end.

“We tend to judge our perceived enemies in a really flat way,” he said. “We make them two-dimensional ‘boogeymen.’ It’s easy and somehow satisfying and comforting to perceive others that way. So it robs us of a little of our steam when they’re humanized.”

The discussion focused on some of the philosophical aspects of “Lost,” including the central theme of good and evil on the Island, the show’s mystical main setting. The panelists explored the conflict between the Christian ideal of good trumping evil and the Eastern philosophy of balance between the two forces. Both have a strong presence in “Lost.”

“I think sometimes those symbologies are local rather than general in the telling of the story,” Emerson said.

“I think overall the writers are interested in a pan-religious message,” he continued. “They’re interested in integration. I think they’re attracted to the idea that a lot of religious systems pose a cosmogony of opposites, and we see it played out time after time in the drama of the series.”

Emerson often circled back to the writers of “Lost,” giving a rare glimpse into the thought process of the show’s creative minds.

“The writers are mowing through material intellectually,” he said. “They’ll use whatever they can lay hands on, and enjoy doing it and enjoy mixing it up for the audience’s delectation.”

Landy and Anderson focused on the importance of the “Lost” characters’ backgrounds and the way in which events and relationships in each character’s past play a large role in his or her actions and personalities throughout the series. Emerson touched on the theme of the past and its impact on character Ben Linus.

“Their history humanizes each of them for us, and draws us into the story of their development or transformation,” he said. “I think that interests people everywhere — this idea that regardless of our past, we are perfectible or changeable. We are as good as the present test, and everyone on ‘Lost’ fares better and better with the present testing.”

Some of that narrative, however, does not apply to Linus. Whereas some characters’ pasts determine the tests they have to endure to change, Linus’ past has a more permanent effect on his character.

“Part of him was frozen at the time of his life-saving baptism,” he said. “Your maturity is often frozen at the age of your great success.”

The panelists dissected the series’ final scenes at length. The final episode ends with Ben separated from the rest of show’s characters, sitting alone on a bench.

“Ben doesn’t have a partner,” he explained. “My interpretation of the ending was that people got to enter the hereafter once they had been matched up with their mirror redeemer or their soul counterpart, the one in whose eyes they could find forgiveness…I thought Ben still needs that.”

Despite all his insights, Emerson said that the show’s actors were often just as in the dark as its audience about the meaning of “Lost,” particularly the meaning of some of the show’s more obscure references.

When the interviewers told Emerson that Dogen, one of the characters introduced late in the series, was named for a type of Eastern philosophy, Emerson remarked, “That’s great! We don’t get footnotes with the script.”