Setting the Hook

I’ve been gulping down the first season of PERSON OF INTEREST.  I discovered the show over the summer between seasons one and two, got hooked and watched all of season two.  Then I had to go back and see how it all started.  How did Harold and Mr. Reese become partners?  How did they start to construct their Scooby Gang?  What is it with The Machine?  I had expected the usual straightforward Hollywood approach, but no, this show is so clever and so brilliant.

Warning:  There Will Be SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


They build complexity in the most intriguing ways, and they time it perfectly.  They took their time revealing bits and pieces about the two men increasing your fascination and desire to know more so you just have to tune in next week.  Or in my case watch an entire disk from Netflix in one sitting.

At first you think this is your standard case-of-the-week show.  Our secretive good guys, working with a super computer that can predict crimes sends them off to “help” people.  They do tweak the Fugitive, Have Gun Will Travel model in that you never know if the person is the victim or the perp and the situations are far from standard.  The creators provide police help through the use of a very corrupt cop and then they confuse the issue by have a straight arrow cop begin to hunt one of our leads because he is after all a vigilante.

There are forces at work in the city as well.  A powerful mob boss who is moving in and seems to be in league with a circle of highly placed corrupt police officers.  More and more hints about these connections are feathered through the episodes.

Then around episode eleven or twelve Reese’s past as a C.I.A. operative starts to impact all their lives and nearly costs Reese his.  The next hint is about Harold and his partner with whom he built The Machine.  The good cop is also slowly seduced into “helping” or at least not capturing the illusive pair while the corrupt cop is slowly inspired by working with the straight arrow, Carter.

The way in which the characters grow and change is terrific.  Reese goes from a burnt out shell of a man to someone with a whimsical sense of humor.  Harold learns he can do more than just hide behind a computer, Cater’s rigid sense of right and wrong is tested, Fusco begins to believe that there are decent people in the world.

I haven’t finished watching all of season one yet, but I can report that in season two the mystery surrounding The Machine and its capabilities deepens.  We learn more about our two leads and the events that molded them.

The timing of how these nuggets are dispensed to the audience are just freaking brilliant.  It’s almost novelistic in the pacing and way the plot is carefully unspooled, deepening the audience’s involvement and fascination with the characters.

I so want to meet Jonathan Nolan, the creator of the show, and do a fan girl squee on him.  I wish he were a huge secret fan of mine the way Stephen Moffit is apparently a fan.  This is a show I would give much to work on.

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