Person of Interest is one of the smartest and most action packed shows currently on air and, in my opinion, the most underappreciated. If you enjoyed The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises but wanted more, then Person of Interest is the show for you. It is created by Jonathan Nolan, co-writer of the two aforementioned films as well as Interstellar and Memento. Alongside Nolan are a team of producers and writers, most notably Greg Plageman and JJ Abrams. Although there have been a few cast changes over the years, the main cast has included Jim Caviezel (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Passion of the Christ) as John Reese, Michael Emerson (Lost) as Harold Finch, Kevin Chapman (Brotherhood) as Lionel Fusco, Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse) as Samantha Groves AKA Root, Sarah Shahi (Life, The L Word) as Sameen Shaw, and Taraji P. Henson (Empire) as Joss Carter.
The premise of the story centres around a machine created by Finch that analyses all electronic data that is connected to the internet ora database which can be accessed. This machine gives the social security numbers of a person who is either about to commit a violent crime or is about to be the victim of one. The ‘numbers’ that the main characters are given are deemed ‘irrelevant’ as they are not ‘relevant’ to national security. The ‘relevant’ numbers are given to government agencies. The team investigates the ‘number’ to find out if they are the victim or perpetrator which often means both protecting them and treating them as a suspect. This plotline is used as a basis for some truly excellent stories not just around the lives of ordinary people but also on the grand concept of ASIs (Artificial Superintelligences).
One of the difficulties of maintaining the quality of any show is coming up with new ways to excite the audience and keep them interested. Not only does Person of Interest keep my interest through the development of interesting themes, but also through character. It is one of the rare shows where I often think they can never top an episode and then I am proven wrong.
Many of the episodes feel like films in that they hold a sense of thrill and anticipation tied together with fascinatingly intricate ideas. The show differs from film in that it has the added advantage of being given more time to develop across episodes so that the audience is more emotionally invested in the storyline and the writers are able to expand on certain aspects. Also, the short length of each individual episode leads to episodes that are just full of excitement throughout. Although the show is shot in a standard format, it conveys the perspective of the machine which itself is a character processing information and calculating danger whilst also showing flashbacks and scene changes and maintaining a science fiction energy. The use of sophisticated and complex references is often very fitting and further energises the story.
The eerie but exciting music by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones) is excellent, giving the odd sensation of thrilling and haunting at the same time. The songs that have been used throughout the series have also been excellent, both in terms of timing and in perfectly capturing the mood of the moment. Artists whose songs have been used, to name just a few, include: Radiohead, Portishead, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd and Nina Simone.
The show is a true masterclass in character development. The superb writing of these characters is met by some truly excellent performances by this very strong cast. The depth of engagement that these actors have with their character is clearly evident in their performances as well as in interviews. Finch is a mysterious genius who holds his ability as a sense of responsibility which has led him to sacrifice multiple aspects of his life. He funds many of the operations with his insurmountable wealth which is also reflected in his impeccable fashion. Reese is a former special ops soldier whose tragic life has led to deep periods of darkness for which he seeks redemption through his ‘work’ with Finch. Detective Fusco is probably the most relatable and down to earth character to the audience. Although normally in the periphery of the main storyline, he proves integral to many of the team’s operations and an emotional connection is established as he seeks redemption for previous deeds with an unwavering drive to do good.
Root is a fascinating and complex individual. Underlying her sometimes shockingly extreme character is a sense of humour that leads to hilarious and playful interactions. As a hacker she finds the machine and forms an extreme devotion and incredibly strong connection. Although intended to be a short term character, credit goes to both the writers, for creating such a great character, and Amy Acker for playing her with all the perfect character traits. Shaw is a reserved killer who is using her talents to work on the ‘relevant’ list, stopping national attacks. Her cold demeanour gives a combination of suaveness and roughness that is always exciting. Detective Carter, who also has a military background, maintains a high esteem for her job as an investigator for the public. However, when confronted with direct decisions of right and wrong, she always acts with heroism.
Over the years there have also been some excellent recurring characters, each complex and interesting, including but certainly not limited to: Carl Elias, Peter Collier (Leslie Odom Jr. ofHamilton: An American Musical fame) and John Greer (The Batman Trilogy).
Person of Interest has just finished airing its fourth season on Channel 5 and is wrapping up its fifth and final season on 21st June on CBS in America. The first 3 seasons of the show are also available on Netflix.
With some excellent reviews being given for the fifth and final season, and with a strong international following, this show is truly unmissable. If you are already in love with the show and want to find out ways to support it for its renewal, there is a petition at https://www.change.org/p/save-person-of-interest and you can also rewatch it on Netflix as well as share and tweet your love on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PersonOfInterestCBS) and Twitter (@PersonInterest). As a sci-fi show its chance of survival is low, but producers have stated there are more stories to be told.