With all the new shows out this season, there aren’t many that I’m looking forward to. Person of Interest’s initial description didn’t really catch me in the past few months, but the cast of Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel, along with J.J. Abrams behind the curtain, intrigued me. When I finally read in the TV Guide that it was a vigilante show, I knew I just HAD to watch it. And boy, am I glad I did!!!
It’s sort of hard to describe, but the basic premise is this: Jim Caviezel (most notably known for “The Passion of the Christ” and The Prisoner remake series for AMC) plays John Reese, a man with a mysterious past who has been despondent for a long time because he was unable to save the love of his life. Reese is basically a homeless guy who is accosted on the subway, but manages to easily dispatch his assailants. This does not go unnoticed by the police, as well as Mr. Finch, played by Michael Emerson (Lost’s Benjamin Linus). Finch developed a computer system for the government that scans all forms of communications and CCT video for patterns that might involve terrorism. Patterns that don’t involve terrorism are ignored by the government, but not Finch. These patterns predict when certain people may be involved in a crime, either the victim or the perpetrator – neither of which can be determined at the onset. Finch recruits Reese to help him follow up on these patterns to prevent crimes, giving Reese a new purpose in life.
Much like in the original Prisoner TV series, where Patrick McGoohan’s superspy “Number 6” may have been the same character from the Secret Agent series, Caviezel’s Reese is also a former government agent who may have been one of the world’s greatest assassins/spies. He manages to subdue most of his opponents by incapacitating them, only resorting to killing when necessary. Reese is driven by the fact that he could not save the woman he loves, but may have a chance to save other people in ways that he never could have done before. Finch is also a mysterious character with a dubious past that has a former loss driving him as well.
Caviezel and Emerson’s onscreen chemistry is brilliant and the two convincingly hit things off almost right away. The fight scenes are the standouts of the show as you’re on the edge of your seat in much the same way it was on 24 and Alias. Just like Kiefer Sutherland, Mel Gibson or Harrison Ford, there’s nothing more satisfying that watching Caviezel beat the living crap out of someone with his bare hands; particularly someone who deserves it!
One nice touch (Spoiler Alert!!!) that is very reminiscent of “The Shadow” or even the short lived series Viper, is that Reese manages to maneuver a corrupt cop into working for him. I would imagine that, like “The Shadow”, he’ll start to build up a network of people who owe him (or whom he has the goods on) that will come back every so often, when he needs a particular person’s help or skills.
The storyline is so intriguing and different than anything else on TV, that I hope this series gets a chance to find an audience. I think the credentials are enough to draw people in, and hopefully the show will be episodic enough (while maintaining a subtle, longer story arc) to hold today’s viewers, who seem to have an increasingly shorter attention span as the years go on. With J.J. Abrams behind the scenes, I have great hopes for this show. I highly recommend Person of Interest, whether you are a fan of Abrams and the cast or not, because it uses a combination of technology and gut instinct to offer a glimmer of hope to victims of crime.