Earlier this week I got myself caught up on the show ‘Person of Interest‘. I had the last four episodes of the season waiting for me and had saved them up intentionally for a good afternoon’s viewing in a stint one day.
I must say, I’ve gone and fallen a little in love with this show. ‘Person of Interest’ has proven to be quite a pleasant little surprise for me and will definitely be must-see essential viewing for me from now on.
Initially, although I think Jonathan Nolan is an outstanding writer, I was a little skeptical because of the J.J. Abrams production credit. A bit controversial, I know, but I’m really underwhelmed by the guy’s TV output. Felicity was never my cup of tea, Alias jumped the shark at season 2, Lost turned out to be an abomination, I can’t warm to Fringe at all, and Alcatraz turned me off by the third episode. I just don’t like the way he makes telly; it feels to me like he’s more than happy to set a room of writers off on a concept with a large mysterious element with no actual idea of what that mystery’s conclusion should be, subsequently producing wild and ridiculous plot twists as each season requires one thing bigger and better, that leaves the audience eventually unsatisfied when twists turn into red herrings or unexplained grand ideas. However, despite my Abrams reservations, I still checked out Person Of Interest (you’ve got to give things a try at least before dismissing them) and I am glad I did.
The basic premise is as follows; the government possesses a machine, created by programming super-whiz Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), designed monitor our every move through surveillance and communication technology like CCTV and mobile phones. It’s aim; to source intel on potential terrorist activity and allow for it’s prevention. Finch soon realises that the machine is generating domestic intel of potential ‘Persons of Interest’ who may be involved in a crime too, and that this intel is going largely ignored by the government. Driven by a sense of duty to prevent the potential domestic crimes identified by the machine (considered ‘irrelevant’ by the machine under it’s remit of terrorism prevention) Finch goes underground and secures the help of John Reese (Jim Caviezel), an ex-CIA black ops man who is himself underground, to investigate the Persons of Interest and prevent the potential crimes identified.
I know, all a bit silly, right? A machine that can predict crimes by listening to our phone calls and watching us on traffic cameras? Phhfftt! Don’t be put off though. The machine and it’s ‘powers’ are just the MacGuffin. What makes ‘Person of Interest’ such an enjoyable experience is the excellent character driven writing and performances.
Both Emerson and Caviezel as the main protagonists are nothing short of outstanding. Both character portrayals are 100% spot on. Both men of secrets and paranoia, the developing relationship between them really powers the show and, as the levels of trust increase through the season between them and they rely on each other more and more, their working relationship starts to forge a strong friendship that is warm and immensely watchable as it grows.
As a quick side note – Jim Caviezel would make a great Batman for a Justice League movie or the next re-boot. Just saying.
The support cast of allies, reccuring villains and Person of Interest from the title are also worth a mention; with some real stand out performances. I’ll avoid going into too much detail as I wish to keep this post spoiler free, but wish to highlight Enrico Colantoni as Elias, a character who develops a very interesting relationship with John Reese, Taraji Henson as Det. Carter, the police detective who begins to investigate the secret pair’s operation, and Michael Kelly as a suitably slimy CIA handler from Reese’s past now out to track him down.
The “story of the week” element to the show has been pretty standard fare, however, a number have had curious little twists that make the, a little different and the gradually unravelling overarching plot lines have had a good, satisfying pace. There has so far been no ridiculous red herrings or crack-head writers room twists (I’m looking at you Lost) and no real weak link episode in the season.
I’m also quite an action fan; and Person of Interest has had some great set pieces with explosions, gun fights and brutal hand-to-hand combat to satisfy my action cravings. Jim Caveziel’s John Reese is a badass ex-CIA operative so really knows how to handle himself in a pinch and shows no fear whatsoever in facing down hardened criminals and nasty corrupt cops. What especially appeals to me is that it’s nicely balanced; he’s in no way indestructable and takes a few wounds hinself in the course of saving/defeating the ‘Persons of Interest’, he may be fearless and driven, but not immortal.
So let me recommend that you go check it out. I’ve really enjoyed the first season of this show and am extremely pleased about the announcement of it’s renewal, especially with the exciting and intriguing finish of Season One’s finale. Watch it – and let me know what you think…
- ‘Person of Interest’: Jonathan Nolan on slow burns, full circles (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Michael Emerson on the Person of Interest Finale: “The Circle Must Be Broken” (seattlepi.com)
- Person of Interest – Why the Violence? (mylittlereviewcorner.wordpress.com)
- Life after ‘Lost:’ Emerson has another hit with ‘Person of Interest’ (upi.com)
- My Spin – Person of Interest (evesgreenleaf.com)
- Person of Interest: Watch Your Back (tv.com)