When it comes to procedurals there’s no doubt that CBS is king. From the boys in Hawaii to the profilers in the F.B.I., over the last decade CBS has successfully taken the reigns of crime-of-the-week king from NBC. But this season they decided to have a little fun with the genre they know all too well. And that fun comes in the form of the latest program from the camp of J.J. Abrams, Person of Interest.
The show follows former military man John Reese (Jim Caviezel) who is recruited by a very strange rich guy known only as Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) who, through a machine he built for the government, is able to predict crime before it happens… Sort of… The machine can’t give out details without exposing Finch’s back door to the machine, so all he gets is the social security number of the titular person of interest, and that person could be the victim…or the culprit.The premise at face value is the stuff of science fiction, which is why it was nice to see that the pilot got the exposition out of the way very quickly and allowed the show to get into the world of what we’ll see every week.
This show is Batman with no masks and a lot of awesome guns. Reese is nothing more than a vigilante at the end of the day, which is probably what makes the show so appealing. The writers, actors, directors, they all know exactly what they are making and have no disillusions of its range.
Sure, there are some clear over-arching seeds being planted like what exactly the pre-cog-esque machine is and where it’s hidden, or the cop in the beginning of the pilot who clearly suspects something bigger is a foot. I expect this from most procedurals, but Person of Interest doesn’t go over the top with it, and that’s the key.
After we’ve gone through the annoying but necessary exposition we get into the meat of the series and while the crime-of-the-week that takes place in the pilot is a bit lack luster, it has more to do with the fact that it’s forced to be compressed into two acts instead of the usual four it would capitalize on.
That said, it didn’t stop the episode from allowing Caviezel some truly bad-ass moments that include taking out an entire room of gangsters at a gun buy, a stand-off between two gunman and a stellar scene involving him, a grenade launcher and an SUV.
I’m not saying that based on the pilot, Caviezel is one of the best action stars to be put to screen, but if the series is given time to grow (and based on initial ratings that shouldn’t be a problem) then perhaps one day he will be.
Some might be quick to judge Person of Interest as being manufactured to be widely received across many demographics. But, I would argue that it’s just a case of Jonathan Nolan‘s really kick ass idea for a show having the right producer in the form of J.J. Abrams to back him up, and a cast that gets it from the start.
That’s why Person of Interest did indeed live up to the hype and will most likely become this season’s Hawaii Five-0.
To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.