Person of Interest: Pilot (CBS)

Person of Interest CBS Michael Emerson Jim Caviezel J.J. Abrams Jonathan Nolan
Person of Interest CBS Michael Emerson Jim Caviezel J.J. Abrams Jonathan Nolan

Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel Are Stopping Crimes Before They Happen

Episode 1-01 / Originally Aired 9/22/11

I was disheartened to discover that the new CBS series Person of Interest is about a former CIA agent and a reclusive billionaire teaming up to solve crimes that have yet to happen, and in fact not based on my Facebook home page, as I had initially been told.
Facebook page Gary Green Tv Food and Drink

Believe it or not, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to hear that had been given the green light for a prime time network slot, considering the universal praise I regularly receive for clever status updates and the army of up-thumbs that celebrate each and every one of my Foursquare check-ins.

And after all, wasn’t Father of the Pride based on a Vegas animal act?  S**t My Dad Says based on a Twitter feed? And Cavemen based on those punchy commercials for auto insurance?  It’s just a matter of time until a lazy network decides to base an hour-long show on a Facebook profile, and even though it didn’t happen this fall, I still intend mine to be the first.

To that end, I’ve already re-vamped my page to be more instantly appealing to programming executives looking to satisfy the average American viewer. The only pictures I now post have me posed alongside at least one of the following:

A.) A curmudgeonly boss who occasionally reveals himself to have a heart of gold.

B.) A sassy, racially-ambiguous street kid with God-given song-and-dance skills.

C.) A sexy but insecure female neighbor forever giving her heart to Mr. Wrong, and with whom I may eventually try to have a baby.

D.) A cuddly fur-bearing alien with a mastery of sarcasm and an insatiable desire to make love to the kitchen appliances.

E.) Ted McGinley.

Additionally, my profile now reads as follows:

In a Relationship With: A variety of film actors whose careers are on the decline, though they only appear in my life during the months of November, February and May.

Profession: Varies from month to month, but always have the same number of people below me as I have above me.

Lives In: An unidentified town somewhere in Middle America for the first five years.  After that, the big city.

Attended High School At: Someplace at whose reunion I plan on bringing a close friend to pass off as my enormously successful spouse.

Interests and Activities: Randomly starting businesses (especially cookie making). Replacing the director of local talent shows at the last minute.  Reluctantly getting dragged to sex shops by friends in an attempt to put the ZING back into my relationship.  Occasionally appearing at a high-profile amusement park, on a game show hosted by Lyle Waggoner, or popping up on the Facebook page that immediately follows my own.

Person of Interest CBS Michael Emerson Jim Caviezel J.J. Abrams Jonathan Nolan

The ad campaign for Person of Interest asks, “What if you could stop crimes before they happen?”  My response to that is, “I’d probably get into a shit load of trouble.”  Consider it for a moment.  It’s only heroic to chase down a skeezy street urchin, slam his head against a dumpster and sit on his neck until the cops arrive after he’s mugged the ninety year old Russian woman.  Doing it before means at worst you might be accused of racial profiling and prosecuted for a hate crime.  At best, you’ll be required to attend anger management classes.

Person of Interest CBS Michael Emerson Jim Caviezel J.J. Abrams Jonathan NolanSpeaking of skeezy street urchins, Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ)  is simply too attractive to convince me he could ever be one.  Even with the greasy, matted hair, grimy face and phony costume beard, I know plenty of nymphettes who would consider rolling around on hefty bags and refrigerator boxes for a chance to hit that, thought I’ll spare them the embarrassment of singling them out by name (you’re welcome, Sean).

Caviezel is former CIA cover operative John Reese who has deteriorated to a homeless drunk having lost the only woman he ever loved.  He wanders aimlessly from subway to subway, throwing back the hooch and occasionally employing his special ops training to pummel the gravy out of passers-by within an inch of their lives… and he’d still do better on Zoosk-Dot-Com than you would.

Person of Interest CBS Michael Emerson Jim Caviezel J.J. Abrams Jonathan NolanMichael Emerson plays “Mr. Finch,” the mysterious wealthy software designer with a regretful heart who recruits Reese to help him stop violent crimes that have yet to happen.

Finch has designed a post 9/11 machine that can determine potential victims and perpetrators by sifting through the web of cameras, listening devices and other surveillance instruments implemented in the wake of The Patriot Act.  Though the “machine” was confiscated by the government, Finch has worked in a “back door” that allows him to retrieve only the Social Security Numbers of those individuals in question.  Of course, as Finch is played by Emerson, the notoriously double-dealing, triple-faced weasel Ben from LOST, nothing he says should ever be taken as fact.  Emerson’s talent for delivering techno-jargon and mundane dialogue with a distant, creepy emotional brokenness is played to the nines here.  He’s basically Benjamin Linus if he had a job at the Apple Store Genius Bar (“You wanna kill me, don’t you?  If I were you… I’d do the same thing. But ask yourself this… if you shoot me, who’s gonna troubleshoot your motherboard?“)

Emerson’s schizophrenic deliveries play nicely off of Caviezel’s controlled indifference, and there are plenty of street chases, car crashes, gunfights, techo-imagery and bad-ass firearms to keep your ADD kid occupied.  And once Reese agrees to work with Finch, Caviezel goes through a desperately necessary “lead character car wash” and comes out looking like the stud trying to sell you $800 ski goggles in a Vanity Fair ad.
Person of Interest CBS Michael Emerson Jim Caviezel J.J. Abrams Jonathan NolanThe two leads take Person of Interest a long, long way, though the actual initial “Person of Interest” case was somewhat thin while simultaneously being under-explained. Additionally, supporting actors Kevin Chapman and Taraji P. Henson were given next to nothing to do, though rarely is there a pliot that has time to establish the character played by any actor who doesn’t come with “Starring” or “And” directly above their name.  So, hopefully in the weeks ahead this will all be corrected.

And if not, my Facebook profile is ready and waiting in the wings to take the Thursdays at 9 PM slot off CBS’s hands.  If anyone has experience writing infectious theme songs about a formerly closeted gay man who makes killer pizza crust, has the first eight seasons of Dallas on DVD and once met famed little person Billy Barty, submit your lyrics in the comments section and I’ll have my people contact yours.

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