The sheer amount of money and talent thrown at Person of Interest makes it all the more inexcusable what a waste the show is. But New York location after location and attempts at topical issues can’t give the show the veneer of authenticity it needs. Or the originality.
Every plot element in the expensive pilot is a cliche and you can guess what happens next every few minutes, except for the one twist in the middle. Which would be defensible if the whole thing wasn’t painfully slow, if the exposition wasn’t thrown at the screen and if there was any reason to care about what is going on screen.
Even the basic elements are off. James Caviezel’s makeup in the opening is surprisingly terrible. Odd for an episode that probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million. And Caviezel’s acting is equally terrible. The promos implied that Michael Emerson would get more screen time, but instead it’s Caviezel trying on his best tortured act and then smirking his way through the rest of the show.
Watching Person of Interest, I felt like I was watching a subpar version of The Pretender with worse acting and a weaker concept. All the meditations of national security and surveillance are about a decade too late and a cop bashing show that also tries to exploit 9/11 is barely even worth sneering at.
What Person of Interest really shows is that networks have completely forgotten how to make action shows. The reboot of Charlie’s Angels, Person of Interest, the reboots of Knight Rider and Bionic Woman all come back to the same thing. Add on the bastardization of Human Target and it all adds up. Networks just can’t make an action show anymore. They don’t understand that it has to go someplace.
Person of Interest combines the pace of CSI with the plot of a generic 80’s action hour overlaid with a whole bunch of meditation on surveillance for something that fails on every level. Its writing fails. Its acting fails. Even its makeup fails.