Reese, Finch, and Bear the dog talk saving the world over a chess board. Image from CBS.
Season 3 of “Person of Interest” saw the dissolution of the terrorist group Vigilance, the dispersion of the heroes, and the awakening of Samaritan. It focused on the new threat posed by the superior surveillance machine, Samaritan, and the security threats it posed in the hands of a shady corporation, Decima Technologies. This story arc promised an epic war of Machines, with the odds stacked decidedly against the survival of the heroes. This season received mixed reactions from viewers; some loved the epic new turn with the Machine’s struggle to survive in the face of the new and improved Samaritan, while others were more critical, preferring the focus of the previous two seasons on Harold Finch’s (Michael Emmerson) operation of using the Machine to save lives from criminal acts in New York City.
The Pilot episode of Season 4 picks up where Season 3 left off and promises to retain the threat of Samaritan, but at the same time returns to the series’ roots. With the exception of Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), all the heroes have taken on aliases and are lying low under cover jobs. Finch, disillusioned by the Machine’s instructions to kill a Congressman, has taken on the alias of “Dr. Whistler” and is teaching an obscure college course in which the students enrolled could be counted on one hand. John Reese (Jim Caviezel) is now operating in Narcotics with the NYPD. Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi) is restless for action as she works at a retail cosmetics counter and stands up the date she is assigned for her cover identity. Root (Amy Acker), makes sure Shaw behaves and reminds the team that the Machine will soon deploy them once again in the opening salvoes of the coming war. Then the payphone rings; a new victim’s number is given, and Reese and Shaw resume operations. Finch resists becoming involved. He does not trust his Machine and believes it has caused more death and destruction than any good.
Shaw prepares to make Root beautiful for a job interview. Image from CBS.
The first episode, “Panopticon” delivered everything that is great about the “Person of Interest” series. Reese and Shaw are as epic as ever in their unorthodox justice; Reese has trouble adjusting to operating within the rules of police work and prefers action more akin to Dirty Harry’s. Fans are treated to seeing Shaw resume her role as a sassy support sniper, but she also serves as a surprising voice of restraint, advising Reese to use discretion and refrain from attracting attention with his methods. Finch, the founder of the operation, remains consistently altruistic in his distrust of his own machine. Just as he built the machine to save lives, he refuses to continue working with it for the same reason. Root retains her creepy personality, but serves as the glue keeping the band together—she’s come a long way from her introduction as a serial killer! Fusco continues as a detective and helps the team when he can. He isn’t given as many of his humorous moments, but he will doubtless shine in future episodes. Fans are also given an explosive new development with the addition of a new team member that leaves huge implications for the show.
This new season of “Person of Interest” is off to a brilliant start. The developers appear to have listened to the critics, and have struck a shrewd balance with promises to deliver the goods on the previous season’s story arc while at the same time returning to the original formula that made the show successful in the first place. This resurrection of the old and the reunion of the heroes are both fitting: Season 4 promises new beginnings, remaining new while continuing with the old.
For more information on “Person of Interest” and to watch recent episodes, visit the official webpage.
New Reese comes with a badge. Image from CBS.