Jessa Phillips offers her opinions on the new television series Person of Interest, which asks what a former CIA operative would do if he had knowledge that could help prevent crimes from happening.
Photo Credit: CBS Interactive
Person Of Interest airs Thursdays at 9/8pm C
For exclusive content, visit the official show page at CBS.com.
“Big Brother is watching.” That’s a phrase we have all become familiar with in a post-9/11 world where the government is monitoring the population, in hopes of preventing a similar attack. But what happens to the massive amounts of data collected? Surely, it is sifted, dissected and prioritized. And what about the information that doesn’t relate to a large scale attack? What if that information could be used to prevent crime? That’s the premise of the new television series, Person of Interest.
A former CIA operative, John Reese (Jim Caviezel), who cannot cope with the loss of a loved one is drinking himself to death. Until he meets a mysterious man, Finch (Michael Emerson), who claims to be the brains behind Big Brother’s database systems. Finch has realized the monitoring systems can predict not only information related to large scale attacks, but various kinds of violent crimes. The system provides the social security numbers of people it determines to be involved in a violent crime. What the system cannot determine is what will happen and how the person is involved in the crime . . . they could be the victim, or the perpetrator. Finch calls upon John Reese’s expert skills and desire to protect to help prevent these crimes from happening.
The pilot episode aired tonight at 9/8C on CBS. Opening with a narrative by Jim Caviezel’s character, we see a John Reese that is happily in love, rolling around with his “friend” Jessica. The narrative foreshadows the doomed relationship and later we will learn Jessica was killed. Despite being half a world away, Reese blames himself for being unable to save her. Cut to Reese, disheveled and disgruntled, on a subway train drinking himself into oblivion. A tussle with a group of young men finds Reese in a police station questioned by a curious detective, Carter (Taraji P. Henson), who immediately recognizes Reese is more than the average homeless man. When a lawyer appears to secure Reese’s release from police custody, we discover he is on his way to meeting Finch. While Reese is being released, Carter makes a chilling discovery about Reese. Undoubtedly, Carter will be searching for Reese in every crime that passes through her precinct.
Reese is delivered to a remote spot down by the river where he meets Finch, because all clandestine meetings are destined to take place down by the river. Finch offers Reese the opportunity to help him stop crimes before they happen, but Reese is not ready to listen. When Reese drinks himself to sleep in a low budget motel, Finch moves Reese to a hotel room. When Reese awakens, he finds himself tied to the bed and is forces to listen to a recording of a woman being killed. Finch tries to appeal to Reese’s compassion and reminds him that not every one can be saved, but they have the opportunity to save some. Finally Reese agrees and they pursue the person who appears at the top of Finch’s list, a prosecutor in the midst of a big case. As Reese and Finch follow the prosecutor to suss out her involvement in the anticipated crime and how to keep her safe, they discover she may not be the one in trouble.
LOST fans will be excited to see Michael Emerson. One cannot help but note the similarity between the character Finch he portrays in Person Of Interest and the seemingly omniscient Linus character from LOST. That is not a bad thing. Emerson is compelling as the mysterious benefactor who knows more than he is letting on. He did win an Emmy after all. Many have been waiting for Jim Caviezel’s next big role. While Caviezel did find success in the television mini-series, The Prisoner, his role in the movie The Passion of the Christ is arguably his most well-known. His portrayal as John Reese may be the role that thrusts him back into mass appeal. His portrayal of a man who has lost everything and has distanced himself from attachments is spot on. There is a disassociation that is necessary for this role, but Caviezel also needs to embody an intense compassion, which he does effortlessly.
Person Of Interest is not exactly based on a new idea. While I am personally not keen on the use of the 9/11 attacks for the plot’s sake (it is implied we will learn more about the characters’ experiences during the attacks later in the series), I am still intrigued by this story. The technological aspect does create an interesting backdrop for the story and makes the show current. Person Of Interest has set itself up to be a show that will tackle a story per episode, which feeds into the formulaic format networks love, but it could be what keeps audiences interested week after week. The partnership between the characters Reese and Finch is unlikely and I look forward to seeing how their differing senses of morality will clash. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Person Of Interest is that it does not shy away from gunplay or violence. There is plenty of both in this series. Caviezel gets to put the hurt on a large number of bad guys, whether in hand to hand combat or with an impressive selection of firearms.
Did you watch the series premier? What did you think? Will Person Of Interest last? Be sure to share you thoughts in the comments below.