Person of Interest is a smart, layered action drama about a reclusive billionaire who joins forces with an former CIA agent to prevent crimes before they happen.
Using a mixture of surveillance-style footage and regular cameras Person of Interest builds on your paranoia about being watched by Big Brother.
In the wake of 9/11, Harold Finch, a software developer and very rich man, creates a machine for the government to determine potential threats to national security. But as the Machine processes all data - from CCTV footage, internet activity and wiretaps, it also sees threats to ordinary people.
Since the government is more interested in stopping terrorist attacks, other threats are considered irrelevant. Though Finch has no way of knowing whether an individual (gleaned from the social security number the Machine sends him) is to be the victim or the perpetrator, he must find a way to stop a murder before it can happen.
Finch works with John Reese, a former CIA agent who wants to atone for the sins of his past while trying to keep one step ahead of the police and the government who have pegged him as the "Man in a Suit" vigilante.
What Person of Interest does well is to take the tropes we are familiar with, such as procedurals, secret identities and vigilante justice and spin them into directions that are unexpected and thrilling.
I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the show's hat-tip to Batman as Jonathan Nolan, the creator of Person of Interest also helped to write the more recent Batman saga. The comparison of Finch as Bruce Wayne and Reese as Batman is easy to see. But Person of Interest plays down the comic book aspect and roots the show in reality.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the show simply for how it goes about resolving the threat to the "number-of-the-week". And this always handled in intriguing and kick-ass ways. But from time-to-time, the show uses flashbacks to delve into the past of our two broken heroes.
What I like about Person of Interest is that it isn't afraid to take risks - story arcs that would normally stretch through a season are resolved pretty quickly.
But Person of Interest is always posing new questions. Is the Machine sentient? How was Finch injured? What exactly do the events in China have to do with Reese, Finch and the Machine? What lengths will the government go to to keep the Machine a secret? Will Carter catch up to Reese? What would happen if she does?
Even episodes that seem to have no lasting consequence can reveal aspects about the characters that I hadn't previously realized.
And in tandem with the story it is the character development that makes everything work. Kudos to the actors - Michael Emerson as the serious, dry witted Finch, Jim Caviezel as Reese who is a coiled spring ready to act at the right time. Taraji P. Henson as the dogged Det. Joss Carter who goes beyond the call of duty to get the job done and Kevin Chapman as Det. Lionel Fusco for showing his heart of gold beneath the slimy exterior.
A definite "MUST WATCH!!!". Yes, with capital letters and exclamation points.