Person of Interest keeps rennovating its formula


‘Person of Interest’ continues to renovate its formula by admitting that John CAN’T tail everyone, adding more fan service shots and incorporating more cinemagic.


In our New York Comic Con interview, Jonah Nolan stated that he wanted to continue to develop the Person of Interest formula to keep himself and his staff invested. Visually and textually, he did so in this week’s episode, “High Road.” I loved the opening flashback’s blue overlay matching Finch’s all blue laptop screen, Ingram’s all blue suit, and the homeless-looking prodigy’s all blue jeans. I especially enjoyed the red haired contrast of the supposed person of interest victim, Finch’s future love, juxtaposed with the red hair of the safe cracker’s wife. The blue motif continued in the contemporary day with Harold’s blue repair man suit, Zoe’s blue shirt, the victim’s wife’s pale blue shirt, Reese’s blue car, the wife’s blue bowl, the baddies’ blue pick-up, and the safe cracker’s blue plaid shirt. Through the contrast of blue and black, Nolan, the costume director, and/or art designer aligned the color blue with the suburbs and black with the city where Reese returned to his usual dark clothes while riding in Carter’s black Chevy. I enjoyed the covert color palette, because it showed the coalescence of writing with directing with costuming and art direction. Occasionally, those threads run parallel in TV/theater/film, but in this episode they all interwove. I especially liked the flashbacks’ blue overtones which reminded me of the early IBM blue screen monitors and the old school blue screen of death. What better color to use during Finch’s Machine training?

I especially liked how the color combinations changed between the seasons. Last season, the characters appeared more alive in their flashbacks than in present day. But, this season, the transition from the faded out blue to the warm browns of the library, made Finch and Reese appear more alive now than before. And they are. Last season, Reese lived in an eternal dream state of broken love while Finch remained isolated from everyone, including himself. Now they have each other, a close social community and an insane fan-girl. Not bad for two men who started their journey with a death wish.

The show also continues to innovate through the mini-scene transitions. I loved the orange and black 1980s pixelated bar graph which replicated a digitized Manhattan. I love that the orange text on a black background reminded me of old school 1980s PCs.

I have to point out the clever wordplay where the writers keep packing in-jokes into each throwaway line. In the opening, Reese jokingly references a “reclusive billionaire” while Finch discussed “Fort Wayne” immediately after. Yes, Reese and Finch are Bruce Wayne and Batman separated into two distinct people. How can you not read the script each week as an actor and squee at the script’s meta-references? How, can you not squee as a graphic designer for the show? I love that the producers keep packing tiny visual artifacts in between the dialogue. For some shows people don’t notice, but, the POI fans DO notice, which is awesome.

“So, we found the most boring man in New York.” –Reese

I must compliment the show on its continuing humor incorporation from the doughnut incident with the dog’s  “boundaries” to Reese’s gun-cock at the doorbell. Separate from the doughnut’s special glaze, I love that their morning doughnut selection is a covert ritual. It’s rarely called out, but it’s always there, indicating their continuing character growth. Clearly, the characters and writers feel comfortable enough with the formula that they allow Reese to mock the potentially boring week’s victim. And, I like that the week’s victim had an even stronger sense of justice than Finch or Reese.

Why didn’t anyone ever notice the hot man with the intense smoldering eyes following them everywhere?

I especially enjoyed this week because the writers had enough balls to point out the fly in the ointment. My biggest issue with Person of Interest surrounded Reese’s crowd merge ability. Admittedly, in Manhattan you can barely see the person ahead of you. But, in other places that isn’t the case. I couldn’t understand why no one ever turned around to notice the hot, 6’2″ foot man with the intense, smoldering eyes and the well tailored suit following them everywhere. I’m grateful that the writers finally admitted it.

Reese is the pimp daddy to end all pimp daddies.

Another innovation this season includes the tongue in cheek covert acknowledgement of Zeese-CaReese fan camps. Although Nolan brings back actors/characters he likes, I wonder about the large amount of fan service going on this season. First, Reese pops up in Carter’s room MULTIPLE times. Next, Reese and Carter fly across the country to share a room. Now, this week, Zoe and Reese share a house as a pretend couple. Don’t get me started on Reese talking to Carter while Zoe’s in the room, WHILE referencing THEIR cross-country trip. Reese is the pimp daddy to end all pimp daddies. I’m still surprised that Reese didn’t pull Carter for this job, unless he thought the neighborhood required homogeneity (or that he needed to spread out the overnight jobs equally amongst his lady friends). And, DON’t get me started on the multiple double entendres this week. I wish I asked Nolan more about the overt fan-oriented moments.

Photo Credit: CBS

21 Comments on “Person of Interest keeps rennovating its formula

  1. I agree! I “think” I agree with the whole assessment. I like that Zoe tried to stake a claim to Reese and Carter looked to Reese for an explanation and he felt obligated to explain it to her later. Uh, why? I thought Reese and Zoe was so boring together like a old couple who stayed together because of convenience. It felt like it was one of those relationships that lasted way past their curve of relevance and Carter was the thrill on the side. Reese and Zoe fake relationship in this episode remind me of my fear in any relationship–(I’ve gone and stayed too long) –you gotta to know when to move on!! With Carter, he could be himself…Has anyone notice how Carter no longer chastise Reese like he’s a child, but now she uses the female most prevalent skill –“the art of persuasiveness” to subdue him. :-)

  2. Excellent review of a rather mundane episode. I liked the progress in Reese’s long-term relationship with Carter: he listened to her and followed her advice when she talked him out of simply knee-capping the baddies. I liked also that they obliquely brought up the road trip to Texas again. Nice continuity. She was even dressed in a variation of his iconic uniform: black suit, white shirt.

    I thought Alicia Witt was underused as the number’s wife. I was hoping for a plot twist that would have given her some shades of red treachery, but alas, it was not to be. The threats in the subburbs are just as vanilla as Reese feared. The number really was a saint.

    The poignant and powerful Finch flashbacks were a lovely counterpoint to the blah in the ‘burbs.

  3. Oh, An. I think it was a homogeneity thing; I think he wanted to blend in, so he could watch the POI not be subjected to sideways glances and having to defend his fake relationship. Where I live, if you are not in an interracial relationship then you are in the minority. I also think Carter would have made an interesting component of the fake relationship…which still could have change the dynamic from the one’s who are watching to the ones who are being watched. Reese did breakup with Zoe in the end and she wanted more time, but Reese allowed the pretty journalist lady to breakup with him in the previous episode.

  4. Just read that Grace is Finch’s real wife–cool. Poor Zoe she can’t seem to catch a break with Reese. Loved Reese in the black tshirt. I wonder who the machine will pair with Reese. My bet is Carter. Listen to how the machine described Grace. Much like Carter. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Cant wait for next week with that beautiful doctor.

  5. Love the show–it just keeps getting better and better. Liked the review. If it keep going as it is, I can see it knocking another of my favorite scripted shows off its perch–NCIS, and that woujld be something.

  6. Just read that there is a love interest on the horizon for Carter in episode 8 by the name of Roland Brown aka Cal Beecher. He will play a narcotics detective. another nail in mr Careese coffin.

    By the way An great review.

    • I think a potential love interest is just that: potential. I don’t think it will kill Careese but it will cause a delay. I will love to see what episode 8 brings. I really hope this is not the case of token black male for TBF.

  7. Nolan loves to keep us guessing. In the episode a week ago, did Reese kill that guy in the end or did he ship him off to Mexico. Also in last week’s episode, did he or didn’t he with Zoe. Guess we’ll never find out. loved the way Zoe told Carter that she was Reese’s wife. Women just know and Nolan played to that emotion. was Carter a bit jealous–YES!!!!!!

  8. Zoe, the Great White Hope, has been developed as a temporary roadblock. And the same is true for the Token Black Detective coming along next month. Patience, a faithful belief in the long distance run, and a healthy sense of humor are required to make it through these trials, heh!

  9. An looks like you’re leaning towards Zeese even though you claim not to be a fan. Zoe is a great actress and i like the fact that she’s not a twenty-something barbie, but Im sticking with Careese until the final episode and Nolan has the last laugh. You see Carter still has that photo of Reese and Jessica. Nolan didn’t put that scene in just to fill air time. That photo is going to bring Reese and Carter together in some way. Just can’t seem to figure out, however, why Reese is so nervous and clumsy around Zoe but so comfortable and relaxed around Carter.

  10. An, Psudeo, and others,

    I think the reason Reese did not ask Carter to pose as his wife is because he’s trying to maintain a clear professional relationship with her. He does not want to blur the line.

    It’s probably also the reason he calls her “Carter” and not by her first name. If you notice, he’s only called her Joss once, and that was after she had been shot. He has called Finch “Harold” and Fusco “Lionel” numerous times. Why the difference?

    • I disagree and I doubt if Reese gives a damn about lines. I think Reese and Carter relationship is not just a working relationship…she is everything to him–a friend, a partner, a confidante, and a lover if he desires it. I think Reese would prefer Carter’s company better than any other woman, but Reese isnt writing the show. Plus, everyone calls her Carter and I am sure her new love interest will also call her Carter. Maybe he calls her Carter because she wants to be called Carter.

      • “I think Reese would prefer Carter’s company better than any other woman, but Reese isnt writing the show. ”

        What do you mean by “Reese isn’t writing the show”?

        I think the “not blurring the lines” thing is more important to Reese than not asking Carter because the New York suburbs may have a problem with a black woman / white man married couple. Something like that probably would not be at the forefront of Reese’s mind.

        It would be odd if Carter’s new love interest called her by her last name. Most likely, he will call her Joss after they start dating.

        • see my latest post up under Taber, who agreed with you, who I also disagree with.

    • Well, he should have left her in New York and taken someone else to Texas. She was way out of her jurisdiction too. According to the writers she is good for Texas and not for the suburbs.

      I think the suburbs scenario with Zoe was strictly to make some fans happy.

      I think him calling her Carter after calling her Joss was to slow down the momentum of their increasing relationship.

  11. I have to disagree with you psuedo. Reese calls her Carter because for now the relationship is professional and calling her Joss would probably cause him to look at her differently than he wants to. But i find it interesting that she calls him John and he calls her Carter. He’s never even seen her in a dress. And although he cares for her as a friend calling her Joss would send a mixed message which Nolan is not ready to explore.

    • I disagree with both Taber and Gab–I am ex-military, the guy I was dating seriously and dyfunctionally was calling me by my last name, while at the same time asking me to marry him– which is what we (ex and current)military people DO–call eachother by the last name…maybe Carter calls John by his first name, because she knows his real last name–so as a precaution she only uses his first name.

      • So, why does Reese call Finch and Fusco by their first names some times? I know that they are not ex-military like he and Carter are, but it’s not as though he knew Carter when she was in the armed forces.

        So, why the distinction between how he refers to her versus how he refers to the guys on their team?

        • I think you answer the question yourself…they are not ex or current military. The point I was explaining is that it is typical that ex and current military people to call eachother by their last names. I do not think Reese is calling Carter by her last name because their relationship is just professional. I agree to disagree with you. :-)

  12. It’s quite obvious why Reese did’nt ask Carter to be his wife. He needs her on the outside. She is a cop. also let’s get real–an interracial couple? Wouldnt have been an easy fit for this undercover scheme. Nolan made the right call.

  13. An, do tell us more about the double entendres! Now I need to rewatch just to get the jist of it!