Giovanni Rufino/CBS
September 24, 2013 at 06:11 PM EDT

Tonight’s season 3 premiere of Person of Interest (10 p.m. ET on CBS) starts off with a bang, according to Sarah Shahi, whose ex-assassin Shaw, like Amy Acker’s asylum-housed hacker Root, has been upped to a series regular: “Shaw kills, like, 10 people in the first 30 seconds, all while doing it in, like, a little tight dress,” Shahi says. “At the moment, she’s the TV version of Salt.”

What can we expect as the season progresses? “There’s just gonna be a lot more killing,” Shahi says, with a laugh. “Another interesting thing is we’re gonna go a bit deeper into the characters’ personal lives, and specifically with Shaw, we get to see why she is the way she is.”

While episode 5 focuses on her character’s backstory, the season premiere delves into Reese’s (Jim Caviezel’s) as the Machine — now completely self-governed with its whereabouts unknown — resumes giving Finch (Michael Emerson) its “irrelevant” numbers for people in danger and Reese and Shaw have to find a U.S. naval officer in New York City during Fleet Week. (Good luck! Check Times Square!)

There will also be plenty more surveillance-based shenanigans. As Emerson told EW in our Fall TV preview issue on newsstands now, recent revelations about the NSA make POI feel as though it’s “no longer a science-fiction show.” Creator Jonathan Nolan takes things one step further: “[Exec producer] Greg [Plageman] and I are both insufferable at this point, because we keep crowing about how we predicted our nation’s descent into an Orwellian nightmare.”

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