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Person of Interest, Season One (2011)

Taking on a role – for all the right reasons, that blacklists you from Hollywood’s “good side” is enough to earn any actor admirations from me. Before that, Jim Caviezel enamored me with his dashing portrayal of Edmund Dantes and now, despite some roles in direct-to-DVD films, he has finally found a niche in this CBS drama that may come across as a repetitive scenario of things already seen but is really a fascinating – and very clever concept. 
Losing someone you love will change you. When you feel like you are to blame for the loss, it changes you into a person you no longer recognize. That is where John Reese (Caviezel) is right now. Riding the train, looking like a homeless man, he is the perfect target for cocky teens to hassle. What they don’t know is that he was once an elite soldier. The beating he gives the teens is caught on surveillance tapes drawing the attention of NY police detective, Carter (Taraji P. Henson). Running his prints, she finds, suspiciously, nothing and before she can fully question her suspect, a high-paid lawyer makes bail for him and whisks Reese away in a black limo.  

A billionaire software genius, Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) is about to recruit Reese. He developed a super computer that analyzes everything. Created as a means of protecting America post 9/11, the computer technology was meant to be in the hands of the government to identify threats to the U.S. but as insurance, there is a back door that Finch can access and the computer has randomly given Finch social security numbers of people who are about to be involved in violent crimes. That catch is, he doesn’t know if the name is that of the killer or victim but that is where Reese comes in. Drawn into one crime after another, the pair of underground do-gooders prevent crimes from happening all while staying one step ahead of the determined Detective Carter.  

About ten minutes into the first episode, I was enthralled with Person of Interest. It had style, acting that I knew suited the character and scripts that would turn everything inside out and upside down, what was left up in the air was how I’d feel about the characters and the deeper intricacies of the show. Unlike most crime dramas, this one is a preventative one. The plots are insanely unique because of that – even those that are easier to predict shift attentions to the back-stories of our in-the-shadows heroes and leave us with more to think about than we may have expected. That doesn’t erase that anyone who is tired of crime dramas will immediately like this premise. There is cleverness in its outline but the filming may be enough to turn people off as it wavers between conversations over the telephone lines and a point of view through security cameras to the usual film work that is crystal clear and focused. For me, I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t occasionally grate on my nerves but I liked the perspectives it also offered. (It also uses a time stamp and time lines to show when it goes back in time.) Depending on your tolerance, it may be a catch-22.

Nothing is ever black-and-white here. Both Finch and Reese are given a generic back-story but even in that, there are a few twists. J.J. Abrams is a fabulous name to back any show and I am impressed beyond my expectations for this show. Finch is a character that fans cannot help but love – don’t underestimate his studious appearance, he is no dummy and will probably peg what you are doing before even you know. Reese is a trained CIA operative who gave up everything to protect his country. He has great skills but also a boatload of guilt – he’s a character that you waver on the edge of trusting to do the right thing with men who have done very bad things but are rewarded with time and patience. Guest stars include Paige Turcco, Amy Acker and in an unexpected but pleasing turn, Dagmara Dominczyk.

Adding quality to an already unique series – and a neat parallel, an episode or two draws inspiration from the role that gave Cavizel his billable name in The Count of Monte Cristo. Favorite episodes include “Cura Te Ipsum,” “The Fix,” “Get Carter,” “Many Happy Returns” and forcing our “tough” guys into a more vulnerable position, “Baby Blue,” a delightful, touching episode. Leading right up to the fast-paced, interesting finale, the writer’s keep pace with the vision this show emits. It has class that matches its memorable cases and character’s in equal parts, and pleasantly is one show that shouldn’t offend conservative sensibilities. In my television experience, it’s one that has probably bumped a few other shows further down my favorites list. It’s that good. If there are any two people I’d want watching my back, Finch and Resse are the guys. 

(What to know: There is some mild profanity but never does it become frequent. A scene or two flashbacks to a couple in bed [clothed] and a scene shows a man’s abuse leading to his wife’s death. There is some talk about an illegitimate child. Violence is the biggest offender with dozens of hand-to-hand combat scenes, explosions and gunfire battles – many of which turn deadly. The show is rated TV14.)
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  1. Oh, I loved him in Monte Cristo!! We chose to bypass this show, simply because in my mom's eyes "we watch too much already". *shrug* It's always held an intriguing plot to me however.

    Great review! :)

    1. Wasn't he the most dashing Edmund... like, ever!? :D I can remember watching that as a teen and being completely besotted by the story and romanticism in it. Not long ago I tried reading the book because I wrote about Edmund in a Femnista issue but, oh my word! It's loooong! Needless to say, the movie was more to my liking. ;D

      If your family ever does decide to try something new (believe me I get what your mom is saying!), keep this show in mind because it's BRILLIANT. It's clever compared to its compatible shows, and unless you detest crime shows, this one is a keeper. :)

  2. He, of course, is gorgeous! But so far I haven't watched too much of this show....too many other shows keeping me busy! Great post though! Keep up the good work!

    1. Too true - he definitely has the "dark, good looks." :D

      Oh, gosh, I know just what you mean, Micah... but, this show is worth adding to all those other ones. It's just awesome. :)

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Love, love, love Person of Interest!

    1. You and me both, Natalie! Love it's cleverness.

  4. I'm considering watching this. I like shows along this theme idea.

    1. So do I, Jack - I hope you enjoy if you decide to watch it! It's pretty great. :)

  5. My husband is determined to get me to watch POI, but it's been one of those "I'll get around to it" shows. sounds like I'd better get a move on! Is the first season already on DVD? If so, I'll have to see about getting it from Netflix.

    And oh, let me not leave without saying how much I adored Jim Caviezel in Monte Cristo. Oh. My. Gosh. Even to this day, I can watch that movie over and over again...on the same day. Be still my heart. :o)

    1. Oh. My. Gosh. Christy, your husband is so right in trying to get you to try this - it's one of the BEST crime shows on TV. It's different than the "average" series and that's what makes it so good.

      Jim Caviezel was fabulous in 'Monte Cristo.' I was a young teen when I first saw it and I can still remember loving the dashing swashbuckler movie - including the hero himself. Needless to say, I am delighted that he's finally found his "niche." This role is perfect for him! ;D (Plus his female co-star from that 2002 film guest stars in one episode and it was so great to see them interact in new surroundings.)

      Yes, the S1 DVD set is out and is likely on Netflix. So... enjoy!

  6. i love POI!!! finch and reese are so funny and awesome as a teacm :) plus it is hard to go wrong with rooting for the good guys to win over the bad...and jim c is quite sexy :)

    1. As do I, Victoria. It's probably the most clever criminal shows currently on television. It's got class and yes, the characters are fabulous as a team. Jim is a great actor and is good looking to boot. That seems a win-win. ;)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Victoria. Hope you enjoyed your visit - come back anytime. :)


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