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Friday, September 23, 2011

Person of Interest: Somebody's Watching Me, Can't Get No Privacy.

Person of Interest
Episode 101

Person of Interest is a fairly straight forward show. Its about getting knowledge of "to be committed" crimes and trying to prevent them.  A serialized Minority Report?  It dips into a couple of different genre wells and executes them all fairly well. A show helmed by Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams and starring Michael "Ben Linus" and Jim "Jesus" Caviezel is a show with a lot going for it.  And I was very happy with its pilot.  Check out the overview below (dealing with the shows overall premise and pilot episode case of the week).  the full blow by blow will be up in a couple of days.

Jim Caviezel plays a former special forces ranger/former CIA operative turned homeless train wanderer, named John Reese.  Its possible I'll refer to him as Caviesus from time to time.  Michael Emerson plays a quintillionaire named Mr. Finch. I'll definitely be referring to him as Ben Linus from time to time.  Following the events of September 11, 2001, Mr. Finch was contracted by the US government to create a massive surveillance program which would allow the government to predict future terrorist activity before it happened.  As a by-product, the machine also generates the social security numbers of persons about to be involved in a major crime of some sort, either as the victim or perp (I am sure Mr. Finch will acknowledge that some more specificity would have been helpful).  This by-product info is deemed irrelevant by the computer program since its not about terrorist activity and is dumped from the computer's servers every night at midnight. Mr. Finch, who has ceased involvement with the government, indeed, they believe him dead (Mysterious background #1 established), wrote himself a backdoor to the computer program, which he accesses daily to pull down the SS# numbers.  However, being Ben Linus-like in size and stature, he needs a former trained killer to utilize the information the numbers represent.  Enter Caviesus, with his homeless-fu moves and weapons mastery. Caviesus is mysterious background number 2 with his having had a "friend " named Jessica who died under shady circumstances and about whom, the government lied to Caviesus while he was away on assignment.  Finch goes all Dr. Phil on Caviesus and determines he needs to help people, he needs a purpose, he needs a job.  After tricky demonstration by Finch, Caviesus agrees to join forces.

The pilot episode focuses on a woman named Diane Hanson; a woman suspected of being the victim of some gang-related crime since she is currently prosecuting a gang banging drug dealer.  TWIST! Diane turns out to be the leader of a gang of her own, made up of corrupt cops, which are working with some larger group of killers and who have framed the gang banger and his brother.  After being captured by one of the corrupt cops and subsequently using is homeless-fu on him and a bunch of the other corrupt cops, Caviesus saves the day.  Taraji P. Henson is also in the episode as a detective named Carter, who questions Caviesus after an opening scene ass kicking on a subway when some gun-dealers try to steal Caviesus's hooch.  We'll be seeing more of her but she didn't have much impact tonight.

The shows is solid and has some elements that really attract me; it makes good use of Matrix-influenced tech scenes hammering home how every facet of our life is caught on a camera or other surveillance equipment (a popular post-9/11 theme); it uses Michael Weston-like voiceovers to teach us how to properly dispense weapons and other tactical maneuvers in warfare and it has a dry wit by both Emerson and Caviezel and particularly together. They have a good tension-tacit friendship chemistry going; and it has a natural procedural element to it -- a necessary evil for a show with this kind of theme and outlay.  I like that the procedural is non-traditional; its aggressive and breaks the rules of what "cops" normally do. Honestly, its more like the "client of the week" storytelling device you are likely to see on a USA show than the CBS-like procedural.  Last, but maybe most importantly for the nerds and geeks out there, the show has a mythology to be explored. granted, its not of LOST proportions (no smoke monsters eating airline pilots in this episode) but there are 2 interesting backstories to be dredged and worked over in the Finch and Reese characters.


  1. TV Watcher, is there bromance in the air or just two guys working together?

  2. Right now, just 2 guys working together. Michael Emerson is fairly a-sexual so its hard for him to be emotionally invested in anyone. From a character standpoint, these guys are drawn from 2 VERY different paths and so it'll be awhile before they have bro-manceable intimacy ... they are really just giving the other a means to their life purpose right now.