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'Person of Interest' Makes Fall TV Interesting
August 10, 2011  | By Alan Pergament

From StillTalkinTV.com

TV critics and bloggers across the nation just gathered at the semi-annual Television Critics Association tour looking for the next great thing. I couldn't go this year -- after 27 years in my previous life as the Buffalo News television critic -- but the networks were kind enough to send me all the DVDs available of the new shows.

I've watched several already and imagine that one of the series bound to get the most attention is CBS' new drama Thursday at 9 ET, Person of Interest.

There are plenty of reasons for it to get extra buzz. It stars Michael Emerson, who played Ben Linus, one of the most intriguing characters on ABC's Lost. The co-star is Jim Caviezel, best known for playing Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. It is produced by J.J. Abrams, who added the summer movie hit Super 8 to a resume that includes TV's Lost, Alias and Fringe.

But the biggest reason comes courtesy of Rupert Murdoch, whose media company News Corp is in serious jeopardy because of a hacking scandal.

You can't help but think of the News Corp. saga while watching Person of Interest because the main characters hack into cell phones to get information about possible victims and perpetrators of crimes in New York City.


They invade privacy in the post-9/11 world for good reason -- to save someone. But the ease with which they do it with the help of red-light cameras and hacking devices still is pretty scary stuff.

I'm not saying I loved the pilot. It reminded me a bit of a combination of the Francis Ford Coppola movie The Conversation, Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, and Edward Woodward's old CBS series The Equalizer.

Caviezel plays John Reese, a former CIA type who becomes a vigilante after being pressed into service by Emerson's wealthy character, Mr. Finch. Except for a Ratso Rizzo limp when he walks, Mr. Finch isn't much different than Ben Linus. He is mysterious, a bit of a weasel, and says things that are supposed to be profound. Caviezel's Reese is the strong silent type of character that Eastwood can do in his sleep.

The opener is what is referred to as a premise pilot, which means Reese and Mr. Finch have several "walk and talks" in which they explain why Mr. Finch has enlisted the formerly homeless Reese to shoot anyone he needs to shoot in order to solve crimes in the name of justice.

The walk-and-talks also allow the viewer to understand the similar government and personal experiences that made these two very different men eventually see eye to eye.

It is an incredibly violent show that requires a viewer to suspend disbelief often -- especially when Reese is able to escape multiple armed villains and when a female district attorney enters a violent criminal's cell by herself without concern for her safety.

I didn't exactly understand everything behind the technology because it is explained so fast. But at least it is more understandable than Lost ever was.

If it becomes a hit -- and CBS moved CSI because it saw the possibilities -- I'm thinking Abrams, Emerson and Caviezel will have Rupert and his scandal to thank.





karen said:

What a ridiculous show! Senseless violence and an ununderstandable premise. We should watch this because we liked Lost?

Comment posted on September 23, 2011 12:42 PM
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