Person of Interest Season 1: Review

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Person of Interest Season 1 is available to own from March 18th on DVD and Blu-ray

CBS’s Person of Interest first popped up in September 2011 and was immediately euthanised. Well, not euthanised, exactly, but chundered into the sweaty murk and questionable odour of Channel 5’s schedules, the place where average crime dramas aimed at idiots go to die.

“From producer JJ Abrams!â€? parped its barely audible bugle-snort of fanfare, “From Dark Knight writer Jonathan Nolan!â€? squeaked another, to no-one at all. Even this behind-camera pedigree, coupled with the involvement of semi-pro Jesus, Jim Caviezel, failed to elicit the nationwide attention courted by other high-concept TV premieres; viewers’ bottoms possibly still sore from the aimless and amateurish fondling of Flash Forward and Heroes.

All of which is a shame, because there’s something very likeable about Person of Interest, despite its most valiant efforts to convince you otherwise.

Caviezel plays John Reese, an ex–Government operative now, ostensibly, pursuing a career as a bum, dedicated to drinking himself to death, beard cultivation, and challenging traditional hygienic norms. A ding-dong with a gaggle of subway hoodlums – and the expediency with which he reduces them to quivering, whimpering stacks of wobbly joints – reluctantly brings him to the attention of the Law, and to the mysterious Mr Finch (Cornetto-eyed Lost alumnus Michael Emerson).

Finch – a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by a sharp suit and hogtied with an unconvincing limp – tells Reese he’s responsible for building the Government a machine which uses surveillance, data-snoopery and whatnot to predict terrorist attacks in the wake of 9/11. Only, the machine also predicts smaller crimes, ones the Government deems ‘irrelevant’, and Finch needs Reese’s help to prevent these.

If it all sounds a bit credulity–stretching then that’s because you can read. It’s also cornier than the corniest part of Corn Mountain in Cornwall* (* fictional): both our good guys have “lost someone… (said while pining mournfully into the distance – or ‘acting’)â€?; there’s lots of quick-phone-chatter about “finding these KILLERSâ€? and “RUNNING OUT OF TIMEâ€?; and there’s a fair bit of chinwag about Trust. It also seems to take itself really rather seriously for what is, essentially, Castle in clown shoes with a very tiny, very secret boner.

Nevertheless, the first two episodes zip by more effortlessly than perhaps they should; the first a wriggling and diverting yarn concerning a threat to a state prosecutor, the other concerning a murdered family. There is the impression of a very loose arc, peeling back the shrouded pasts of our guys, but, for the most part it’s Monster of the Week stuff, each individual case bringing with it a tad more personal exposition, and Trust.

This will put a lot of people off – those who kept watching Lost despite the fact it got very shit, perhaps – but it does mark Person of Interest out as something a little different than the current swathe of American genre TV. Much less good perhaps, but certainly different. And, in a guilty pleasure sort of way, it’s all the better for it.

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