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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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.
It is one of the best drama series I have watched on TV for a very long time (Breaking Bad excluded though!!).
The concept of the series is very good and innovative. I love the acting of the guy who played John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). The supporting cast particularly Joslyn Carter (played by Taraji P. Henson) and Lionel Fusco (played by Kevin Chapman) have also done a commendable job. My favorite though is the duo of Reese and Finch !!!!
The best thing about this is it has a new story line in every episode. And yet there is an overall story developing over the episodes. In a way, you get the best of both the worlds. The premise of getting a SSN number from "The Machine" and using it to save an innocent life seems to be interesting.
Another interesting thing about this series is the way they show parts of the past life of all the characters which makes sense in the bigger picture and helps the viewer understand the overall story.
I am so hooked to this drama series that I gave a pass to Game of Thrones (Season 5, Episode 5) last week to watch the second season of Person of Interest.
The only bad thing: its not free on any of the services like Amazon Instant video, Netflix, CBS etc. !!!!
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.
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To the show however, the basic concept is a feel good factor of a duo, the brains and the brawn, working together to stop various bad deeds from occurring. This is done through the transmission of a social security number (national insurance number for the USA) from a mysterious source (I won't spoil with details). They then need to figure out if the person this matches to is either the potential victim or perpetrator of a crime.
These characters are supported by a few other regulars who provide necessary roles in hindering/helping certain plot lines which keeps the story lines at a pace that may otherwise risked flagging.
The quality of the picture and sound is excellent with an extended pilot and other extras included. I wouldn't recommend this for the under 12s but for families without kids that young I think this could be shared. Violence is rarely regularly occurring and it's usually, due to the skills of the main character, over quickly!
The other reviews on here flesh out the story but basically a computer genius (Michael Emerson) built, after 9/11, a machine capable of predicting terrorist attacks.
Attached to all the data inputs in NY it can see connections between apparently random events and link them.
However it also finds connections that have no relevance to terrorist attacks but to ordinary people.
Since these are treated as irrelevant it's creator (Emerson) has the machine delete them at midnight each night but not before it informs him of a possible attack on ordinary people.
He has recruited Jim Caviezel to help him in this task.
Basically it is the old buddy kind of movie brought up to date - find the bad people and bring them down.
However it works well on several levels with quite a few sub-plots to keep it moving along.
And especially these days with what we have found out about the NSA spying techniques it may not be so far off the mark!
"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me!"
The two main characters work so well just because they are so different and I must admit I really enjoy the performance of Michael Emerson as the genius Finch who built the machine.
And Jim Cavaziel as Reese, the tortured black ops former killer who speaks very quietly seems almost to be a machine himself, in the Arnold Schwarzeneggar model, showing little emotion but usually ruthlessly efficient in hunting down the baddies.
It may be hi-tech hokum but it is very watchable hokum and I'm definitely enjoying it!
The DVD box set gave the chance to do just that; it is excellent and at 6 full discs is frankly great value. Having now watched the full series all the way through from the Pilot (both versions of which are included on discs 1 and 6) to episode 23 the series picks up quickly from the pilot, carving out strong character development through really strong writing. The overall surveillance principles are very much in line with the film Enemy of the State and none the worse for that, though it will be interesting to look back at this series in a few years to see how the technology in our daily lives has moved on.
One note on the product contents - the listing says that sets purchased after the initial release may not have a UV (digital copy) version included. At the time of purchase (April 2014) a flyer is included that lets you register a digital copy via a UV/Flixster account link and a serial number. The flyer says that the serial number will expire on 18 March 2015, so if you have not registered by then it would not work.
At the time of writing the second series is already available in the US, but will not be released in the UK until June. I will be waiting for the UK release with almost baited breath.
As Finch and Reese, Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel make a great team. Emerson is superb, as enigmatic (and a bit creepy) as he was in "Lost". No Superman or Batman garb for Caviezel - he an invigilante in suit and brilliant white open neck shirt, adept at martial arts, not to mention leaving behind him kneecapped villains for police to arrest.
Both stars are masters of the "less is more" style of acting, it here working a treat - especially with the sly, throwaway humour which lightens the mood. Ably abetting (with considerable reservations) are cops Carter (straight) and Fusco (dodgy), played by Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Chapman.
23 episodes, many of them very exciting indeed. Tension and surprises abound, Ep.7 ending with one of the season's biggest shocks.
Modest extras include an extended pilot with commentary, a gag reel, a chilling feature on how much of the apparently far-fetched surveillance depicted here in fact already exists. As actor Caviezel himself indicates at one point, it is like Big Brother on steroids.
Moral implications are throughout explored and cause for concern. The MACHINE was created to do good. What if it becomes a monster, out of control!
Thought provoking, thrilling and thoroughly enjoyed.
Like so many good actors over the last few years he's now been given the chance in a role that he can expand and flesh out in a top quality TV series: POI is just that.
The scripts are interesting, the supporting actors are excellent in every episode and as the story line moves on we see no flagging in each separate instalment.
In fact the last few episodes were outstanding drama and full of intrigue and of course action: there's no chance of falling asleep when you watch this series.
Special mention for Michael Emerson, Taraji Henson and the subtly brilliant Kevin Chapman (playing 'Fiasco'?) who made themselves indispensable to this opening season.
I've heard from other reviewers (who have access to Sky channels) that Season 2 is even better. Looking forward to buying the future seasons if the standard is as high as this.
Please note: skip the pilot episode on disc 1; watch the extended(by about 10 minutes)pilot episode on disc 6 which also has a commentary should you choose that option. My fault, I didn't spot this until I slotted in disc 6 and looked at the extras.
I'd started watching it, when it was on TV and at first, it was just something to watch to pass the time.
Then I really started to get invested in the characters and events as I learned more about them and suddenly, this became my new favourite TV Show.
Each episode is based around a stand-alone self-contained storyline... But around each episode is the season-wide and show-wide arcs that gradually pick up pace and tension quite fantastically.
Learning about the factions and forces at play.
The character of Finch (Michael Emerson) is great.
Intelligent, Charismatic and intensely kind-hearted and capable.
Jim Caviezel's John Reese has epic levels of ability.
Highly trained in tactics and combat. He doesn't mess about, he just does things spectacularly well and to great success (aided expertly by Finch).
The development of the other two main characters (who I won't mention to avoid any spoilers) is great too.
I really like all these people. I want them to succeed. I don't want them to get hurt.
It's a great team and a great family.
From watching subsequent series.... I can see why the show is still being renewed season after season.
It doesn't stick to the same format. Each episode is an interesting expression of the varying stories of conflict that can come about within The Human Condition... And the Show-Wide story arcs really keep stepping up a gear - like a race car.
This concept is served with intelligence, as Reese and Finch don't initially know if the 'Persons of Interest' are potential victims or perpetrators until their real purpose is revealed - a situation that puts Reese, and sometimes Finch, in mortal danger. Jim Cazeviel and Michael Emerson interact great together and Taraji P. Henson portrays a wonderful character who is a dedicated mother, true ally and incorruptible cop. With all the dangers looming above the heads of that trio, it will be hard to wait for Season 2!
Person of Interest focuses on an ex CIA operative (John) and a very clever programmer (Harold) which battle to save peoples lives from threats made against them. They are alerted to the threats against these individuals because of a highly intelligent "machine" that Harold created for the US government to fight the war on terrorism. The "machine" learns about these threats all through CCTV, monitored phone calls and other surveillance placed on citizens across the world every day.
However, due to the vast amount of data the machine has to crunch through, threats are placed into two categories - Relevant and non-relevant. The machine focuses only on relevant threats - those that affect the wider population (i.e such as a terrorist attack). The non-relevant information includes threats made against individuals such as murder and violent crime - is discarded every night (at midnight) by the machine and does not bear importance to the government because it is not in the interest of the "greater good".
Due to building a machine which actively discards information on threats which could have been used to save a persons life and prevent them from harm, Harold develops a guilty conscience and seeks someone with experience to help him right his wrong. Harold finds and employs John to help him turn the non-relevant information back to relevant by using a backdoor he created in the system to log in and seek out those that require saving. With John's background skills in being a sleeper assassin, he is the right man for the job, paired with Harolds immense ability to crack anything that uses binary code.
The thing I love most about this show compared to most is that it never forgets to wrap things up and every episode is sequential and follows the previous smoothly. The writers have clearly thought very hard about this and the directing, producing and acting are all stellar. John plays a very subtle, calm and understated ex-assassin without ever losing his credibility of being dangerous. Harold also lives up to his credentials and exemplifies vast knowledge of cracking and code. This is demonstrated in the real terms used in the series.
In this day and age with great shows being axed constantly because of insufficient ratings (such as Boss) it speaks volumes about the show that this remained consistently high with incredible ratings. This has been proven with CBS moving a primetime CSI slot just to make way for this show. It's just been renewed for a third season and I cannot wait after nearly finishing the second (which won't appear for a few months in the UK as we are so far behind USA).
Support the show and buy it now - You won't regret it.
The storyline is cool with its own innovative twists and turns. It is a smart, taught, action thriller brimming with excitement and dangerous, tense intrigue, and nail-biting suspense.
What I like most about this series is its exploration of the post-911 world of NYC and the everyday surveillance used by the authorities.
Good writing by Jonathan Nolan and a must for all fans of Action | Drama | Mystery.
Very much looking froward now to season two but I at least have this t tide me over.