Even before “Person of Interest” hits the air, it’s facing a lot of pressure. It has a high profile cast in Michael Emerson (“Lost“) and Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ“). It’s produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. And if that wasn’t enough, it moved right into the Thursday time slot long occupied by “CSI.”
So is it up to the challenge?
Before answering that, here’s a quick summary of the show.
Mr. Finch (Emerson) plays a mysterious billionaire who was contracted by the U.S. government to build a computer system to root out terrorist attacks before they happened. However the program wasn’t entirely precise. In addition to finding terror activities, it found other violent crime plots, but on a smaller scale. Unfortunately, the feds weren’t interested in this information. As a result, this data was disposed of, essentially sealing the victim’s fate.
Finch ultimately decided that he could no longer stomach this disregard for human life. So he decides to do something about it. And that brings us to John Reese (Caviezel).
Reese is a former Army Ranger who is now homeless, wandering the streets of New York and slowly drinking himself to death. Following his arrest, Finch bails Reese out of jail and offers him a job to help him stop crime before it happens. Reese reluctantly accepts.
The rest of the episode follows the two as they attempt to prevent a crime involving an assistant DA and some crooked NYPD cops. Reese and Finch ultimately stop the crime through a lot of gun play, high-tech gadgets and fight scenes straight out of a recent James Bond film.
While it’s just the first episode, the show offers little to grab on to. The characters aren’t terribly deep and the dialog doesn’t take advantage of Emerson’s and Caviezel’s acting chops. The show could easily fall into the rut of a mid-tier procedural cop show, when it should be much more.
The Thursday time slot will certainly carry “Person of Interest” for a while, but it needs to quickly amp up the intrigue. The Fox series “Human Target” was a better, albeit campier, version of what they’re trying here. And that only lasted 25 episodes.
Here’s hoping “Person of Interest” becomes more interesting very soon.