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Person of Interest: Season 1
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Person of Interest: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line), Michael Emerson (Lost) and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) team up in this thought-provoking crime action drama from The Dark Knight's Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions (Fringe, Lost, Alias). Set in New York City, this procedural centers on an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who partners with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes.]]>
A high-concept show that isn't afraid to get down and dirty, this latest exercise in paranoid worldbuilding from producer J.J. Abrams provides an addictive combination of action and future tech. Series creator Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher) lays out the premise at a furious clip: an eccentric tech genius (Lost's Michael Emerson) enlists a shadowy soldier-of-fortune (Jim Caviezel) to help with his pet project--a machine with seemingly endless surveillance capabilities. Utilizing the device's ability to identify threats before they happen, they set out to right future wrongs, attracting the attention of a dogged New York cop (Taraji P. Henson) in the process. Were Person of Interest content to remain at the level of weekly procedural, it would be a very good one, with every installment boasting well-choreographed fight scenes, Emerson's impeccably weird comedy timing, and a thorny morality that keeps the methods of the protagonists edging into the black. (A standout early episode, featuring Linda Cardinelli as a doctor with a hidden past, boasts an open-ended resolution that would do Elmore Leonard proud.) Thankfully, however, Nolan and co. also show an ability to play the long game, cannily inserting flashbacks that hint at a bigger mystery, introducing a strangely empathetic recurring supervillain, and laying out minor plot elements that pay off big further down the line. The show's impressive planning also extends to the supporting cast, with Henson given a character arc that many leading characters would envy. (Kudos as well to Kevin Chapman, as a former dirty cop whose slowly growing conscience provides many of the best moments.) The best element of the show, however, may well be The Machine itself, an initially implausible gimmick that quickly becomes a character in its own right; an omnipresent asset that--pay close attention to the evolving graphics overlays--may not be quite as passive an observer as its creator insists. By the time the final cliffhanger episode of the season rolls around, it's apparent that the show's mythology still has plenty of unexplored depths to delve. Extras include a lengthier cut of the pilot, a fascinating/scary look at the current state of surveillance tech, and a brief gag reel showcasing Caviezel's ability to do a killer Christopher Walken. --Andrew Wright
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JUST EDITED this review to add that I would LOVE to see "Person of Interest" added to the Amazon Instant Video Library. I would purchase the entire season AND also the DVD when it becomes available. This show is worth every penny, trust me.
Meet John Reese, a seemingly innocent homeless man. But John has a secret, he's actually a burned Government agent who was thought to be dead.
John meets Harold Finch a brilliant and wealthy computer engineer. In 2002 Harold started working on a machine, this Machine was a unique artificial intelligence that sifted through E-mail, phone calls and CCTV camera footage crunching the data looking for the next 9/11. The Machine worked better than they could have hoped, supplying data in the form of Social Security numbers on suspected terrorists. But it also saw evidence of upcoming acts of violence and warned of that as well.
Years pass and Harold has changed. He seeks out Reese and gives him a new mission, to seek out the numbers and help whosoever's number comes up.
Then comes "Person of Interest", a refreshing show in which the actors actually have storyline to flesh out, and what a storyline it is. The tension gets ratcheted up with every episode and none more so than the season finale. I can't remember when I've seen a season finale with more engrossing tension, with barely a pause until the end. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed such a well crafted show. Kudos to the show writers, producers and directors for striking a great balance of involvement between the main characters, as well as introducing additional characters who enhance the already great acting and storyline. There is so much packed into each episode I often wonder how this show will last beyond a single season. It just seems sometimes as if all the plot twists and character discoveries will be used up before the show has a lasting run, but to their credit the creativity of the writers and producers keeps surprising. All this not to mention the skillful acting of Michael Emerson, Jim Caviezel, Taraji Henson and Kevin Chapman who make it entirely believable. Well done.
All 23 episodes of "Person of Interest's" first season very quickly established this as a series very different from every other drama on network TV. The show's main characters are Harold Finch (Emerson) and John Reese (Caviezel), two men who live in the shadows. Finch is a multi-billionaire computer designer and software developer who created a super-computer for the government; Reese is a former CIA agent and Special Forces soldier, now working for Finch as a "fixer" and enforcer.
Finch's super-computer, which he calls "The Machine," can sift through trillions of megabytes of data and then predict terrorist crimes against the United States. But Finch's "machine" not only can predict all future terrorist threats; it can also foretell every other future crime as well - felonies the government considers "too insignificant" to do anything about.
Finch, suffering from a severe permanent physical injury, feels honor-bound to do something to help stop those "insignificant" crimes before they happen. He enlists the assistance of a down-and-out, homeless, alcoholic Reese, who reluctantly agrees to be Finch's agent in the field.
Complicating matters for both Finch and Reese is the fact that Reese is being hunted by both the CIA and the FBI, who consider him a major threat to national security; and by the NYPD, who suspects him of committing a series of unsolved murders.
"Person of Interest" is a terrific show on many levels. The acting is superb. Emerson and Caviezel maintain a quiet, reserved demeanor, a characteristic that adds tremendous credibility to each character's persona. Supporting actors, especially Taraji P. Henson who plays NYPD Detective Carter, and Kevin Chapman, who plays Detective Fusco, are equally good in their roles.
But what sets "Person of Interest" apart from other new shows (most of which try to bring something "fresh" and "different" to their story lines) is that this show actually does that. Each episode creates a chilling, almost paranoid atmosphere from beginning to end.
All of this adds up to a show that quietly and poses a question we all must grapple with: is vigilante justice ever an acceptable means of preventing or solving crimes? It's a question the show's creators and producers have wisely left unanswered, for even though viewers can see the positive results of Reese's and Finch's efforts, they should carefully consider the means used to achieve their desired ends. Highly recommended.
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