Review: Person of Interest

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When this show began, it was sort of a detective show — one of many on CBS — where Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) and Mr. Reese (Jim Caviezel) fought crime in New York with the help of a surveillance program with access to all the city’s cameras. It is now Season 3, and the show has plunged straight up into cyberpunk thriller territory. The machine is sentient, and recent plot developments have sent the characters into interesting new directions. I watched the show on and off in Seasons 1 and 2, but Season 3 is so different — and so sci-fi — that it’s a totally new show. I have a feeling it’s alienating long time fans. However, as someone who found early Person of Interest to be kinda boring, I love the new cyberpunk twist.

Now Mr. Finch is wondering if he’s created a Frankenstein’s monster. Mr. Reese is wondering if his life’s been manipulated by a cold, unfeeling computer. And newcomer Root (the super-expressive Amy Acker) —- who was originally a villain but is probably now “chaotic neutral” — has an interesting new role. It turns out that the machine speaks to her without Finch or Reese’s knowledge, and she views this all-knowing, all-seeing, and presumably all-powerful machine as sort of a god. There’s also Shaw, who’s a robotic sociopath who actually has the show’s best one-liners (you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Sarah Shahi say “It’s Hammertime” in a monotone voice), and Lionel, a blue-collar cop who sorta become the team’s heart after the death of a major character.

What sets this show apart from both the typical crime procedurals and a lot of modern sci-fi shows are the mart details. Two episodes ago, the show name-checked actual government espionage programs as predecessors of The Machine.

And just last episode, the show pulled what was possibly the neatest trick I’ve ever witnessed on TV: Root reveals that the machine communicates to her through a high-pitched morse code on a cell phone in an audio range that can’t be heard by people over 40. What was neat about this? The show actually did it. They actually played the high-pitched Morse code. I didn’t hear it, because I think my own hearing can receive signals of that frequency. Check around online, though, and some younger viewers apparently did hear it. Even better, someone managed to decode the messages, which were fun easter eggs that showed what the machine was saying to Root (which were methods on how to disarm her captors).

Seriously, that’s amazing.

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