Person of Interest or DISinterest?

The parallels between this photo and the one from my 2 Broke Girls post are uncanny!


CBS is known for its procedural dramas like CSI, Cold Case, or The Mentalist, each with their own little variation within theformula. Person of Interest fitsright in on CBS with its mystery-of-the-week formula, ass-kicking protagonist,and crime-solving ways. Oh, and get this, it was created by J.J Abrams (Lost, Alias, Fringe Cloverfield, andevery mystery in the world.)  What doesJ.J. Abrams love more than mysteries? Trick question. Nothing. Mysteries are toJ.J. Abrams what suits are to Barney Stinson ala How I Met Your Mother: EVERYTHING. That’s why I can’t figure outhow I didn’t realize from the first ten minutes of the show that Mr. Abramshimself was responsible for Person ofInterest. All the mysterious mysteries of Mysteria Lane should have cluedme in. In fact, mysterious music just started playing behind me as thisrealization dawned.

At the heart of the show is a machine created by theenigmatic Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson also of Lost fame. Think Ben Linus, the man who played those brilliant andtwisted mind games with everyone on The Island.) This machine was created by Finchfor the government in order to find terrorists by invading every single part ofour personal lives (it sees and hears everything.) The machine then separatesrelevant threats from irrelevant threats. Finch, however, is unable to get the“irrelevant” threats out of his head. He enlists Reese (Jim Caviezel) as themuscle to stop these crimes before they happen. Unsurprisingly, Reese’s past isshrouded in mystery, but it seems he used to work for the government and killlots of people. His fighting skills are insane—this man is a bona fide ninja,Special Forces, Batman fighting master. The machine gives Finch a socialsecurity number and then Reese begins spying to figure out if their target isthe victim or the perp. The show is by no stretch a groundbreaking incrediblepiece of television, but it is an enjoyable addition to the genre, and if youlike formulaic procedural dramas, you’ll probably enjoy Person of Interest.
Both lead actors carry their weight, and as the partnershipdevelops, the characters strike up a dry, witty banter that’s enjoyable towatch. It provides some subtle comic relief, but there aren’t a lot of laughsto be had. Emerson is, as usual, a treat to watch. It’s thrilling to see him inthe role of a good guy instead of the confusing, manipulative mess that was BenLinus from Lost.  Caviezel is pitch-perfect, equal-parts tough,compassionate, quietly threatening, confident, and broken. We’ve all seen thischaracter before, but the man does it well. However, Taraji P. Henson asDetective Carter is rather lackluster. Her role is to hunt down Reese andvaguely threaten him about his vigilante ways. I’ve never felt any real worryabout her actually catching Reese, and I often wonder why she’s even in theshow when she’s so easily dismissed. More Reese and Finch being quietly snarkytogether and less Detective Carter being useless, please. If only MariskaHargitay (Law and Order: SVU) couldhave played her, then we’d have some spark!
Though I find the show pretty enjoyable, it is impossiblefor me not to mock both the Dr. Phil aspect of the show and the insanely creepyways in which Reese stalks his weekly “person of interest” in order to save orstop them. Every episode features scenes where Reese, on the phone with Finch,analyzes every aspect of the target’s life and emotions. He frequently tries tocure people of their wrongfully guilty conscious or their traumatic pasts.Because of his intense and disturbing stalking (wire-tapping, reading texts ande-mails, hiding behind nearby bushes, taking pictures, etc) he is easily ableto lead the conversation until the target spills his or her guts to Reese.Reese is like a guardian angel that moonlights as a stalker. It reminds me abit of Dexter—you know he’s gettingthe bad guys, but his methods are extremely questionable and creepy. Seriously,in episode four he follows a woman home in an empty parking lot, and you knowhe’s making sure she’s okay, but it’s still terrifying!
Like many crime-dramas, I find Person of Interest to be thought-provoking at times, but it’s not ashow that requires intense and loyal viewership or even your undivided attention.While I love shows like Lost or Arrested Development that require yourpatience and your dedication, I also love a show that I can miss sometimes,tune in when it’s convenient. It seems the show plays a little too much off ofAmerica’s post-9/11 anxieties, which strikes me as a little manipulative, butoverall, the mysteries of the week have been done well by the writers, and I’veseen no evidence of unsolvable Lost-like mysteries popping up anywhere. So giveit a watch—it occupies CSI’s oldtimeslot Thursday’s at 9 on CBS.
This is the face Reese makes for 99% of the show, but we forgive him because he’s a badass!

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