Taraji P. Henson is opening up about her exit from CBS’ “Person of Interest,” and it nearly six years after her character, NYPD Detective Joss Carter, was fatally shot.
During Variety‘s annual Actor on Actor conversations the “Empire” star said, “I had to leave a show before, and it was the most money I’d ever seen in my life, and I was so miserable. It was stealing my joy. I just remember praying to God: ‘God, I’m not happy creatively.’
“[T]he next day, I called the producer. He got it. And I walked away, not even knowing where I was going,” she continued. “I ended up doing a play in Pasadena.”
Henson went on to perform at the Pasadena Playhouse’s world premiere of the play “Above the Fold.”
“I didn’t care about who was coming to the theater, executives or casting directors. It was about Taraji falling back in love with this craft,” she said during the Variety chat. “Fox had to woo me to do Empire]. I wouldn’t read the script. I was done with television.”
Back in November 2013 Henson dished about her shocking exit from POI to TVLine: “We always knew it was going to happen, so it wasn’t a surprise. It was just about when. But, yeah, I found out on Valentine’s Day .”
And she wasn’t as heartbroken over her character’s demise as the audience was.
“I don’t think I’m there in my career yet, where I ride out a show until the wheels fall off. I’m still getting calls by big-time movie directors and I still have a lot of movies I want to do. So that was always the plan. I don’t want people to think that we had some kind of argument, or there was a falling out. No, no, no. We’re all on the same page and it’s all good.”
Series EP Jonah Nolan also spoke of the decision to kill off Carter to TVLine, “I flew out early in the year to sit down with Taraji and say, ‘OK, here’s where we’re going,’ and she knew [it had been a possibility]. It was a wonderful but bittersweet conversation.”
He added, “the promise we made to Taraji and all of our actors is we weren’t signing them up for a show where, even if everyone was wildly successful and the ratings were great, we’d have them spin wheels for 200 episodes.”