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Person of Interest (2011)
It's a show that honestly wants to be good...and succeeds at it
So I don't have too many TV shows that I would say that I'm hooked on. I had LOST while it was on the air, and that was enough for me. Since that show ended, I've had a couple of shows that I've paid attention to, but none have ever really replicated the intensity and addictiveness of LOST. In fact, in those years, there have been shows that I have thought might have the "potential," but they all flopped and didn't get renewed. For this reason, I have a hard time when someone tells me a show is "the new LOST" or something to that effect.
The show that I'm writing about is not it.
Person of Interest is a new CBS crime drama that started airing last week. I didn't know much about it, but I saw that it had received some good reviews. I did some research and found it had some promise.
First off, it was created by two men named Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams. If you do not know who these men are, let me explain. JJ Abrams is the man behind LOST. That should be enough, but if you weren't a fan of that show (gasp!), then he also directed the recent Star Trek movie as well as this summer's Super 8. The other man is Jonathon Nolan. His brother is Christopher Nolan, who directed the last two Batman movies and is working on the third. Christopher directed them, but Jonathan Nolan wrote the screenplays. And he wrote the screenplay for Person of Interest.
Secondly, I noticed the cast. As I mentioned, one of the principal characters is played by Michael Emerson. I am of the opinion that Michael Emerson is one of the greatest actors on television. Benjamin Linus was such a complex, mysterious character and Emerson's acting really brought a lot to the show. The main character, however, is played by Jim Caviezel. I've liked this actor ever since he starred in 2002's The Count of Monte Cristo, but many people know him for playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. He's a phenomenal actor that is able to bring out the humanity in a character while at the same time portraying the raw nature of man. In other words, he can play a tough guy with a heart.
That being said, let's talk about the plot. The first thing that came to mind was "Minority Report." Both that movie and this television show are about preventing homicides before they happen. However, as the episode progressed, I thought nothing of that movie, as while the premise is not an original idea, here it is presented in a way that does not seek to imitate. Whereas "Minority Report" was about a futuristic "utopian" society in which crime is prevented through precognition, "Person of Interest" is more realistic and less science fiction. It takes place in present day New York City, a city still living in paranoia after the attacks of 9/11. Without spoiling much of the pilot, the premise is based off the massive security and surveillance undertaken by the government, and what would happen if that system were able to identify potential murderers and murder victims before a situation occurred.
It's obviously inspired by several other films and television shows. However, it doesn't seem like it, and from the direction to the acting to the writing, it's clear that this is a show that wants to stand on its own. It's not trying to be the next LOST; it's trying to be a good show. And personally, I think it'll succeed. It has the action, it has the plot twists, it has the suspense, and all the other things we expect out of a show like this these days. But beyond that, it has a passion behind it—which is what I think drew so many people to LOST, as well as other shows like Firefly and Arrested Development—that this is something that the people behind it want to see succeed and to be good.