Person of Interest: Review: Season 1 Ep 1

CBS, 22 September

Ex-Special Forces operative Reese (Jim Caviezel)—now fallen on hard times—is recruited by the mysterious Mr Finch (Michael Emerson) to act as a vigilante, stopping crimes (identified by a super surveillance computer) before they happen.

Created by Jonathan Nolan (co-writer with his brother Christopher of the recent Batman blockbusters) and produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost), Person of Interest gets off to a cracking start.

Nolan has essentially deconstructed Batman and re-invented it for the modern surveillance age. Michael Emerson’s Finch is Batman’s helpful butler Alfred, crossed with the wealthy Bruce Wayne, while Caviezel’s Reese is the mindless muscle. Cleverly, Nolan has revived the idea of Batman/Bruce Wayne as the ‘world’s greatest detective’, an aspect of the character often ignored in recent re-inventions.

Finch is a wealthy computer geek who—in the wake of 9/11—built a super computer for the purposes of surveillance and intelligence gathering. A side effect of identifying terrorists from their characteristic patterns of action is the identification of those likely to be involved in crime, either as perpetrators or victims. Finch has access to his now-confiscated technology, but only gets social security numbers (resulting in much talk of Lost-style ‘numbers’), with no other information. It’s up to him and Reese to figure it out from there…

This is a great premise, ably presented in this opening episode. There’s a dash of Minority Report’s ‘pre-crime’ and The Conversation’s surveillance paranoia in the mix. It’ll be interesting to see how long the series can resist turning up the social security number of Finch or Reese themselves for investigation…

Verdict: A good start, with much promise.

Episode 1 ‘Pilot’: 8/10

Brian J. Robb

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