Monday, September 12, 2011
Review - Person of Interest
I was excited to have the opportunity to see the pilot for Person of Interest before its premiere. Another brainchild of master-of-intrigue J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost), you know it has to have kick right from the start.
**some slight pilot details ahead, fyi**
The cast is strong, with Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) as John Reese, a former CIA hitman who lives an anonymous existence on the streets of New York. After he is attacked on a subway - a fight he easily wins - Reese is approached by a billionaire scientist (Lost's Michael Emerson), known only as Mr. Finch, who says he's been watching him for a while and has an intriguing proposition for him: the chance to stop crime before it happens by tracking down the man or woman - i.e. "person of interest" - who tops a list compiled randomly by a machine Finch created, the only input being the person's social security number. They could be the victim, they could be the perpetrator ... it's initially unknown. Finch's offer to Reese includes unlimited resources, a slew of identities and most of all, a renewed purpose in life.
It's a lot to lay out in the debut episode, and Reese's acceptance of the job, which he jumps heartily into, happens a little too easily in my book, but the series does grab you from the jump with an intriguing premise: fighting crime in a post-9/11 world where "10,000 eyes and a million ears" keep tabs on everything and everyone (scenes transition cleverly by teasing you with snippets of urban surveillance footage). The pilot also introduces the series' first (of many more to come, no doubt) raw, hard-hitting action sequence - Reese takes out a gang of thugs to acquire a small gun arsenal - leaving one crony to ask the penultimate question: "Who the hell was that?"
Throughout the episode, watching the interaction between Reese and Finch, one comparison kept jumping into my head, that of Morpheus and Neo in The Matrix. Finch introducing Reese to his New York and its eyes-on-all underworld likens to that of Neo's introduction to the Matrix post red pill-ingestion. Reese definitely seems to be "The One" in Finch's eyes.
There is also, for me, a little similarity to the Clark Kent-Chloe Sullivan relationship on the now-retired Smallville: Reese taking action out in the city while Finch guides and advises from a command center is liken to Clark fighting the good fight as Chloe guided and assisted him from "Watchtower."
Threads to watch for throughout the season for me will be the reveal of Finch's personal agenda - why he's in on this fight - as well as his physical ailments, including a severe limp and what appears to be a spinal injury; what happened to Reese's girlfriend Jessica, who we learn was killed while Reese was "half a world away;" and Reese's own journey - how far he's willing to go in this fight. After all, as he says quite matter-of-factly, "I don't particularly like killing people, but I'm very good at it."
Bottom line: worth keeping eyes on ...
Person of Interest premieres on CBS Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m.