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Review: Person of Interest starring Jim Caviezel
Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson in Person of Interest. Channel 5
A rich man (actor Michael Emerson as billionaire, Finch) has a machine which tells him when someone's going to be involved in a violent crime. The rich man hires an ex-army and ex-CIA dude (Jim Caviezel as Reese) to use the information to fight injustice. The ex-army dude fights injustice by beating up villains. But what is this machine? Twisty-turny mystery series ahoy!
There's some cracking action in this show which has been renewed for a second season. Fortunately, getting into this 23-part first season shouldn't be time wasted. Unless it turns out to be rubbish of course. It could go either way at this stage..
Despite some nifty moves (Reese beats up the same group of five blokes on two separate occasions in this pilot) Jim Caviezel's protagonist is pretty dull. Not that the writers have helped him much.
For the last couple of years, more TV shows than you can shake a remote control at have been billed as 'the new Lost'.
"With Lost co-creator J.J Abrams on production duties, this new US drama was immediately ahead of its rivals."
Most of them begin at the end, contain more government conspiracies than a season of The X-Files and are then promptly axed pretty sharpish (The Event, Flash Forward etc).
I was a bit concerned when a publicity bod mentioned the L-word 14 times in an email about Person of Interest.
Simply ditching the cast in a jungle is usually enough to attract comparison, but with Lost co-creator J.J Abrams on production duties, this new US drama was immediately ahead of its rivals.
To make things even more interesting, the series came from the brain of Jonathan Nolan who had a hand in The Dark Knight.
I'd just finished doing the maths (Dark Knight + Lost = tellygasm) and then I found out that Person of Interest is going to be a procedural drama. Or to be more accurate, ANOTHER procedural drama.
To make things even more arbitrary, we viewers were then introduced to a lead character with a troubled past. If it was possible to die of cliché, I would have been flat-lining.
Person of Interest ramps up the interest
But thankfully Person of Interest isn't just another procedural show. For a start, Reese (Jim Caviezel) isn't a cop. Conveniently enough he's an ex-Special ops SWAT type bloke who knows how to handle himself and scrubs up quite nicely.
"Person of Interest isn't just another procedural show"
He's a vagrant when we meet him, well on his way to "drinking himself to death" after a terrible personal loss.
While it's never actually confirmed, through a series of generic flashbacks marked 'Happier Times', it's inferred that Reese lost his sexy lady at some point, yet at this stage it's all rather vague. More on that later...
These glimpses of his former life also coincide with the New York terror attacks, leading to the next part of this story: Mr Finch (Michael Emerson, who will certainly be familiar to Lost fans).
It turns out that in the wake of 9/11, this millionaire invented a machine which pinpoints individuals who are soon to be linked (either as victim or villain) to a violent crime. It was intended as a means to prevent another terrorist attack, but Finch soon discovered that it was predicting incidents which the FBI deemed beneath them.
So armed with a wish to clean up the streets, Finch asks Reese to be the one-man army which makes use of the information The Machine produces - and voilá!
It may sound like a mix of Minority Report, Homeland, Quantum Leap and a few other shows, but the concept here is an intriguing one.
By playing on the paranoia of post 9/11 America and concerns of over-surveillance, the writers have started down a well-trodden path, yet where they head afterwards will determine Person of Interest's pulling power.
Things are very vague at the minute, but in the hands of Abrams, this could turn out to be a great strength.
What's the story with Reese's lady? What skeletons has Finch (who ironically enough, admits that he's a "very private man") got in his closet? Oh and by the way, I'm also going to need more of a sentence of explanation for 'The Machine'...
If Person of Interest can turn these questions into a cohesive plot-arc that transcends an episodic format, then its American network CBS (and by extenstion, Channel 5) could be in business.
- Verdict: Person of Interest has a preposterous premise, but it's fairly engaging
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