Lunchtable TV Talk: Person of Interest revisited


“You need to move fast.” “And here I was planning to move at a slothlike pace and get captured.” – season one, Person of Interest

I wrote about Person of Interest the other day – I started watching it as a filler while working, but it hit its stride early even if the first season felt a little bit more like what it appeared to be on the surface. At first, it looks and feels like a standard CBS-style procedural, but then its prescience about technology and the absence of privacy made it unusual. But the characters and actors who embody them differentiate the whole thing.

The reclusive billionaire character, Harold (Michael Emerson) who drives “The Machine” is quirky, honorable, lovable. The loner “Man in a Suit”, John (Jim Caviezel, who improbably keeps mentioning Puyallup and Sumner, Washington – not exactly household-name towns in America – perhaps to him since his family’s from there), could be a cliche – the loner/hero who loses everyone and everything repeatedly. And it would be impossible not to fall in love with Taraji P. Henson‘s Detective Jocelyn Carter in this show (and that love and respect grows throughout). This happened before her powerhouse performance as Cookie in TV’s runaway hit, Empire (she is one of the only reasons I watch that show). And the characters who join later, from the sociopath Root to the hitwoman Shaw (Sarah Shahi – someone I also love even though I have only ever seen her in a few things), or even the villain played by Clarke Peters (I love him in everything, too, particularly as Lester in The Wire, but he is very effective as a villain-in-hiding).

Everyone is in the right place, right time. It comes together almost perfectly, if slowly sometimes – which I enjoy – and I am as surprised as anyone to find the show as addictive as I do. Its fifth and likely final season is starting up soon, and if it is indeed the end, it will probably be going out on top, not having exhausted all its avenues and goodwill. I’ll never be able to explain why the show is just right, but someone (at Indiewire) took the trouble to pinpoint the details. And the article explains it exactly the way I would, even if I can’t make the time or find the words to give it all the attributes it deserves.

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