Person of Interest (TV series)
|Person of Interest|
|Created by||Jonathan Nolan|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||103 (list of episodes)|
|Production location||New York City, New York|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||September 22, 2011 –|
June 21, 2016
Person of Interest is an American science fiction crime drama television series that aired on CBS from September 22, 2011, to June 21, 2016, with its five seasons consisting of 103 episodes. The series was created by Jonathan Nolan; executive producers were Nolan, J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Greg Plageman, Denise Thé, and Chris Fisher.
The series centers on a mysterious reclusive billionaire computer programmer, Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), who has developed a computer program for the federal government known as "the Machine" that is capable of collating all sources of information to predict terrorist acts and to identify people planning them. The series raises an array of moral issues, from questions of privacy and "the greater good", the concept of justifiable homicide, and problems caused by working with limited information programs.
Katharine Trendacosta of Gizmodo noted that by the end of the series in 2016, Person of Interest had been transformed from a "crime-fighting show" with an entertaining plot device into "one of the best science-fiction series ever broadcast". The show won the 2012 People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama and the 2016 People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Drama.
John Reese, a former Special Forces soldier and CIA operative, is burnt out and presumed dead, living as a vagrant in New York City. He is approached by Harold Finch, a reclusive billionaire software genius who built a computer system for the U.S. government after September 11, 2001 called the Machine, which monitors all electronic communications and surveillance video feeds, in order to predict future terrorist activities. Finch and Reese attempt to understand the threat to, or by, people the Machine identifies as being "of interest" by providing only their social security numbers, and try to stop the crime from occurring. They are helped by NYPD Detectives Lionel Fusco, a formerly corrupt officer whom Reese coerces into helping them, and Joss Carter, who initially investigates Reese for his vigilante activities.
During the second season, Decima Technologies, a powerful and secretive private intelligence firm run by ex-MI6 spy John Greer, is revealed to be attempting to gain access to the Machine. Carter vows vengeance against HR, a criminal organization within the NYPD, after they have her boyfriend, Detective Cal Beecher, murdered. Reese and Finch encounter Sameen Shaw, a U.S. Army ISA assassin, on the run after being betrayed by her employers. The Machine is revealed to have developed sentience and covertly arranged for itself to be moved to an undisclosed location to protect itself from interference.
In the third season, the Machine's sentience is fully revealed as it increasingly communicates with and proactively assists and directs the actions of the team. After being demoted due to HR's machinations, Carter brings down the entire organization, but is killed by its rogue second-in-command. The team also battles Vigilance, a violent anti-government organization devoted to securing people's privacy. A more advanced artificial intelligence called Samaritan is revealed. Samaritan differs from the Machine in being open to external direction and willing to remove those seen as disruptive to law and order pre-emptively.
Season Four covers the team's life in hiding. They continue to work on cases, but must now also evade Samaritan, which is seeking to resolve perceived problems of human violence by reshaping society, sometimes violently. Samaritan and the Machine meet via human proxies as the only two of their kind, and discuss their essential differences, disagreeing strongly on whether freewill or firm guidance is more beneficial to humanity. They part with the understanding that Samaritan will seek to destroy the Machine.
In season five, Finch steals and weaponizes Ice-9, a virulent computer virus capable of infecting and destroying Samaritan, although it will also destroy the Machine and much of the global computing infrastructure as well. Greer sacrifices himself in vain to kill Finch and ensure Samaritan's continuation. The Machine ceases to function after showing Finch its prediction of the world and his friends' futures if it had not existed. Finch survives and reunites with his former fiancée. A while later, Shaw is unexpectedly contacted by the Machine; it has restored itself from the satellite to continue its work.
Cast and characters
- Jim Caviezel as John Reese: a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and later a CIA SAD/SOG operative in the Special Activities Division
- Michael Emerson as Harold Finch: a reclusive, security-conscious, and intensely private billionaire software engineer. His real name is unknown and he has many aliases (most commonly Harold Wren), using various species of birds as the last name.
- Taraji P. Henson as Joss Carter (seasons 1–3; guest season 4): an NYPD homicide detective. Carter is a former U.S. Army interrogation officer who passed the bar exam in 2004, but gave up practicing law to return to police work.
- Kevin Chapman as Lionel Fusco: a reformed corrupt detective whom Reese blackmails into being a source inside the NYPD. Finch later arranges for Fusco to be transferred to Carter's precinct so that he works alongside her.
- Amy Acker as Root (seasons 3–5; guest season 1; recurring season 2): a genius hacker obsessed with the Machine. Root also has a keen interest in its creator, Finch.
- Sarah Shahi as Sameen Shaw (seasons 3–5; recurring season 2): a former U.S. Marine and later an ISA operative/assassin who was working for Northern Lights. Shaw unknowingly deals with the "relevant" numbers generated by the Machine.
- Brett Cullen as Nathan Ingram, Finch's collaborator on the Machine who died in a suicide bombing attack set up by the government. Ingram acted as the interface between the government and his company while the Machine was under development. Finch and Ingram became best friends while they both attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Carrie Preston as Grace Hendricks, Finch's fiancée who believes him to be dead following the ferry bombing that killed Ingram
- Paige Turco as Zoe Morgan, a "fixer" who specializes in crisis management. Finch and Reese first meet her as a person of interest. Later, she works with them on cases that require her skills. She and Reese have an apparently sporadic romantic relationship.
- Ken Leung as Leon Tao, a former financial criminal and three-time person of interest who has assisted in some cases with his forensic accounting skills. He has a penchant for get-rich-schemes which always land him in difficulties with gangsters.
- Brennan Brown as Nicholas Donnelly, an FBI special agent who becomes interested in Reese when his case crosses one of Reese's. He periodically offers Carter the opportunity to work with him as he pursues Reese.
- Luke Kleintank as Caleb Phipps, a genius teenager with a difficult past. Phipps later returns as a successful computer coder.
- Susan Misner as Jessica Arndt, Reese's deceased lover. After Jessica's relationship with Reese ended, she married another man, but remained in contact with Reese.
- Wrenn Schmidt as Iris Campbell, a therapist assigned to speak with Reese, working undercover as Detective John Riley, after his involvement in shooting incidents as an officer. At the end of the episode "Skip", she develops a romantic relationship with Reese.
- Jimmi Simpson as Logan Pierce, a tech billionaire and person of interest in the middle of the second season, who returned towards the end of the fifth season and, together with two other former persons of interest – Joey Durban and Harper Rose – forms a second team also working for the Machine, that is based out of Washington, D.C.
- Annie Ilonzeh as Harper Rose, a drifter and opportunistic con artist who first appears in "Blunt" as a person of interest when she tries to independently double-cross both a drug cartel and the Brotherhood. At the end of the episode "Skip", it is revealed that the Machine is starting to anonymously use her as an asset. In "Synecdoche", it is revealed that Harper has become part of a second team working for the Machine in Washington, D.C., with former persons of interest Joey Durban (portrayed by James Carpinello, first appeared in "Mission Creep") and Logan Pierce (actor Jimmi Simpson, first in "One Percent").
- James Carpinello as Joey Durban, one of the machine's first numbers in the first season who returns at the end of the series to reveal that he – together with two former persons of interest, Harper Rose and Logan Pierce – has formed a second team in the nation's capital.
The following characters are tied to a government project related to the development and use of the Machine:
- John Doman as Ross Garrison, a U.S. senator charged with overseeing the Northern Lights project
- Elizabeth Marvel as Alicia Corwin, a liaison between Ingram and the government while the Machine was being developed and a former member of the National Security Council
- Camryn Manheim as Control, the woman who is the head of the ISA's operation (code-named "Northern Lights") regarding the Machine. To protect the Machine, she sanctioned the suicide bombing that killed Ingram and caused Finch's injuries. When the plug is pulled on "Northern Lights", she is unwittingly installed as a puppet heading Samaritan, a position with which she becomes more and more uneasy.
- Boris McGiver as Hersh, the Special Counsel's enforcer, a former member of the ISA
- Jay O. Sanders as the Special Counsel, a shadowy figure from the Office of Special Counsel who appears to be coordinating the activity regarding the Machine and sees Reese as a threat
- Cotter Smith as Denton Weeks, the official who commissioned the development of the Machine while he was a deputy director at the NSA
- Sterling K. Brown as Cal Beecher, a narcotics detective with whom Carter had begun a relationship. Beecher is Alonzo Quinn's godson but was unaware of Quinn's activities.
- Anthony Mangano as Kane, an NYPD homicide detective with whom Carter and Fusco periodically work
- Michael McGlone as Bill Szymanski, an NYPD organized crime unit detective with whom Carter sometimes works
The following characters are involved in the HR storyline, in which a group of corrupt police officers and public officials work to control organized crime in New York:
- Robert John Burke as Patrick Simmons, a uniformed officer who is a right-hand man to Quinn and HR's second-in-command. He handles HR activities on the street level
- John Fiore as Womack, the captain of Homicide Division and Carter and Fusco's supervisor
- Michael Mulheren as Arthur Lynch, a police captain and major figure in HR with whom Fusco appeared to be working in the first season
- Clarke Peters as Alonzo Quinn, the mayor's chief of staff and the head of HR
- Al Sapienza as Raymond Terney, a detective working for HR who periodically crosses paths with Carter
- Brian Wiles as Mike Laskey, a rookie cop (and mole for the Russian mob) affiliated with HR who is installed as Carter's new partner after she is demoted to officer for getting too close to HR
- Enrico Colantoni as Carl Elias, a nascent crime boss and the illegitimate son of Mafia don Gianni Moretti. Elias is determined to revive and unite the crime families of New York City and to eliminate the Russian mob. Although not a "good" man, Elias is generally seen as a source of order and stability in the underworld and considered the lesser of two evils.
- David Valcin as Anthony "Scarface" Marconi, Elias' principal enforcer and close friend.
- James LeGros as Bruce Moran, Elias's accountant and close friend of both him and Anthony Marconi from boyhood. He attempts to hold Elias's empire together while Elias recovers from the Samaritan attack.
The following characters are part of Reese's backstory relating to his time with the CIA:
- Michael Kelly as Mark Snow, a CIA operative who once worked with Reese
- Annie Parisse as Kara Stanton, Reese's former CIA partner who was widely believed to be dead, but is later recruited by Decima Technologies
- Darien Sills-Evans as Tyrell Evans, a CIA officer working with Snow
The following characters are involved in the Decima Technologies storyline, a shadowy organization that is in possession of the Samaritan AI:
- John Nolan as John Greer, a mysterious, arrogant, former MI6 agent who is the director of operations for Decima Technologies and runs the Samaritan AI
- Julian Ovenden as Jeremy Lambert, an operative for Decima Technologies, and Greer's right-hand man
- Cara Buono as Martine Rousseau, a former investigator for the United Nations, now a Samaritan operative
- Oakes Fegley as Gabriel Hayward, a young boy who acts as Samaritan's "analog interface"
- Joshua Close as Jeff Blackwell, an ex-con who is recruited by Samaritan
- Robert Manning Jr. as Zachary, an operative for Decima Technologies who later becomes a Samaritan agent
- Leslie Odom Jr. as Peter Collier, the leader of Vigilance, a violent organization which professes to protect people's privacy, but is unwittingly a Decima puppet
The following characters are involved in the Brotherhood drug gang storyline:
- Winston Duke as Dominic "Mini" Besson, the leader of the Brotherhood gang
- Jamie Hector as Link Cordell, a violent gang member and Dominic's right-hand man
- Jessica Pimentel as Floyd, another of Dominic's higher-ups, often appearing in place of Link
- The Machine is an artificially intelligent system, created at the request of the U.S. government, to sift through the data collected by NSA mass surveillance. It is able to accurately predict premeditated lethal crime by analyzing the data from all surveillance cameras and electronic communications worldwide which are fed to it by arrangement with the NSA.
- Samaritan: Initially developed by Arthur Claypool (a former MIT classmate of Finch's and Ingram's) at the NSA, Samaritan was the result of a second project that was terminated by Congress when the Machine was developed first. Unlike the Machine, Samaritan is designed as a more open system rather than a black box, lacking the precautionary restrictions Finch had built into the Machine, and can be directed at specific targets.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||23||September 22, 2011||May 17, 2012|
|2||22||September 27, 2012||May 9, 2013|
|3||23||September 24, 2013||May 13, 2014|
|4||22||September 23, 2014||May 5, 2015|
|5||13||May 3, 2016||June 21, 2016|
The series was officially picked up by CBS on May 13, 2011, and debuted on September 22, 2011. On October 25, 2011, the show received a full season order. It was renewed for a second season on March 14, 2012, by CBS, which premiered on September 27, 2012. CBS renewed Person of Interest for a third season on March 27, 2013, with Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker promoted to series regulars.
The series was renewed for a fourth season on March 13, 2014, and was renewed for its fifth and final season on May 11, 2015. ADR recording for the series was done at recording studio Cherry Beach Sound. The music is composed by Ramin Djawadi. The first season soundtrack was released on November 12, 2012. The second soundtrack was released on January 21, 2014. The third soundtrack, which contained music from the third and fourth season was released on January 29, 2016.
According to CBS, Person of Interest received the highest test ratings of any drama pilot in 15 years, what one CBS executive called "crazy broad appeal you don't usually see", prompting CBS to move CSI, which was broadcast on Thursday for over 10 years, to Wednesday, opening up a slot for Person of Interest. The pilot episode won its time slot, drawing 13.2 million viewers.
The first season of Person of Interest received generally positive reviews, with the pilot episode drawing a favorable response from critics and later episodes receiving higher praise. On Metacritic, the season scored 66 out of 100 based on 26 reviews. Of the pilot, David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle said "Person of Interest separates itself from the gimmick pack, not only because of superbly nuanced characterization and writing but also because of how it engages a post-9/11 sense of paranoia in its viewers."
David Hinckley of the New York Daily News gave the pilot four stars out of five, commenting on Caviezel's and Emerson's performances, saying Caviezel "brings the right stuff to this role" and Emerson "is fascinating as Mr. Finch." Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times stated that in regard to the pilot, "the notion of preventing crimes rather than solving them is an appealing twist... The surveillance graphics are very cool." The episodes "Many Happy Returns" and the finale "Firewall" were particularly acclaimed. Tim Surette of TV.com called the former one of the series' "best episodes", commending Caviezel's performance and the episode's character exploration, while the latter was called "exactly what a season finale should be", with Surette concluding his review by saying "'Firewall' was a spectacular finish to what has been an incredibly surprising first season of Person of Interest."
On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 63% and average rating of 6.7 out of 10 based on 38 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Person of Interest is a well made and well acted espionage procedural, though its characters aren't terribly well developed and its intriguing premise yields mixed results."
The second season received positive reviews. Surette praised the premiere episode as "vintage Person of Interest amplified, showing off its trademark combination of complex intrigue, creative action, and clever innovation in bigger ways than ever before." He praised guest star Ken Leung's character as "one of the greatest POIs the series has had" and praised the episode's overall narrative, as well as the flashbacks. "Prisoner's Dilemma" and "Relevance" were the two highest-rated episodes of the season, with Surette calling the former "as complete an episode of Person of Interest as there's ever been" and The A.V. Club's Phil Dyess-Nugent praising Jonathan Nolan's directorial work in the latter.
The season finale "God Mode" also attracted positive reactions. Nugent called it an "unapologetically kick-ass episode" with some "terrific action set-pieces". On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 100% and average rating of 8 out of 10 based on 8 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Smartly plotted and consistently thrilling, Person of Interest's second season delivers dazzlingly dramatic episodes that skillfully develop the show's overarching narrative."
The third season received highly positive reviews, and is noteworthy for drawing in more critics for its exploration of artificial intelligence, as well as its timely storytelling format. In regards to the season, Slant Magazine said that the show "is at its best when sticking to cutting-edge topics" and called it a "solid action-thriller that intersperses twist-filled standalone episodes into its season-long arcs." The A.V. Club said that the show captures the "national post-post-9/11 mood" and that with the mid-season arc in season three, "turns conspiracy theory into art".
The season's two story arcs both received a considerable amount of praise: the two episodes ending the HR storyline are commonly considered to be some of the best episodes of Person of Interest. Matt Fowler of IGN gave "The Crossing" a 10 out of 10, reacting extremely positively to the cliffhanger at the ending. The episode to follow, "The Devil's Share", was the most acclaimed episode of the season, being praised for its opening sequence, its writing, Chris Fisher's direction, and the acting performances, especially those by Jim Caviezel and Kevin Chapman. Surette called the episode a "stunner" and declared it as the series' possible best episode, praising the opening sequence as the "greatest sequence the series ever put together", feeling it succeeded in eclipsing the devastation induced by Carter's death. Surette also praised Fusco's effectiveness and character development in the episode, as well naming the cinematography and direction to be the best of the series, and identifying points of symbolism in the episode he felt were noteworthy and effective. Fowler gave the episode an "amazing" rating of a 9.3 out of 10, also praising the opening sequence, as well as the flashbacks and the ending scene.
Phil Dyess-Nugent of The A.V. Club gave the episode a perfect A rating, praising the atmosphere of grief the episode built and feeling Fusco's character development served as an appropriate tribute to Carter. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 100% and average rating of 7.7 out of 10 based on 11 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Person of Interest weaves compelling standalone stories into its engrossing serial narrative, and incorporates welcome bursts of humor into its sci-fi mystery core."
The fourth season received highly positive reviews, with critics praising the thematic value of the Samaritan storyline. The episode "If-Then-Else" garnered near-unanimous praise from critics and audiences alike, with many considering the episode to be the best entry in the series. Fowler gave the episode a perfect rating of 10 out 10, indicating it to a "masterpiece", and praised the simulation format, the action scenes, the emotional value, and the ending. He called the episode "next-level inventive" and a "jolting, exciting, heart-wrenching episode". Fowler said the ending scene "crushed" him, and he offered praise to the significance of the flashbacks to the chess games.
Alexa Planje of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A rating, and in her review, said that though the task of executing a story structured like "If-Then-Else" was difficult, the episode did so "elegantly" – she cited the "interesting score, vibrant color work, and humor" as the key elements. Planje said the episode "aces every scenario" during the simulation segments, and appreciated how the episode transformed itself from what appeared to be a "standard mission-focused story" into a "moving ode" to Shaw. She praised the episode's exploration of the parallels between being a human and being a machine.
Shant Istamboulian of Entertainment Weekly lauded Emerson's performance in the flashbacks and felt the season marked the series' "creative peak". He concluded by saying "Moving like a rocket, this episode is fast, funny, exciting, and, ultimately, sad, ending with what seems like the loss of another team member. We'll have to wait until next week for the outcome, but as it stands, "If-Then-Else" is an instant classic." Surette had high praise for the episode, calling it "playful, mind-bending, heart-breaking, and flat-out excellent." He praised the episode's incorporation of its "recurring theme of sacrifice", and called the flashbacks "as fascinating and provocative as anything the series has done." Surette cited his favorite part of the episode as the exploration of the Machine's perspective, and additionally praised the humorous segments.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 100% and average rating of 8.3 out of 10 based on 12 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Thought-provoking, grounded sci-fi makes season four of Person of Interest as compelling as it is timely."
The fifth season received highly positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 100% and average rating of 8.7 out of 10 based on 14 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Person of Interest concludes in a satisfying fifth season that both deepens the characters that audiences have grown to love and delivers a cracking arc about the dangers of technology."
|Season||Time slot (ET)||Premiere||Finale||TV season||Rank||Viewers
|Live + DVR|
Thursday 9:00 p.m.
September 22, 2011
May 17, 2012
September 27, 2012
May 9, 2013
Tuesday 10:00 p.m.
September 24, 2013
May 13, 2014
September 23, 2014
May 5, 2015
|5||Monday 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 p.m.
May 3, 2016
June 21, 2016
Person of Interest has been picked up by many networks for broadcast outside the United States. It premiered in Australia on Nine Network on September 25, 2011. The series was simulcast in Canada and premiered on City on September 22, 2011, and moved to CTV in 2013. It premiered in the UK on Channel 5 on August 14, 2012.
Awards and nominations
|Year||Association||Category||Nominee(s) / episode||Result||Ref.|
|2012||Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing – Short Form Dialogue and ADR in Television||Thomas DeGorter, H. Jay Levine, Maciek Malish, Matt Sawelson / "Witness"||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Post Alliance||Outstanding Sound – Television||Thomas DeGorter, Keith Rogers, Matt Sawelson, Scott Weber / "Matsya Nyaya"||Nominated|||
|IGN||Best TV Action Series||Person of Interest||Nominated|||
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Taraji P. Henson||Nominated|||
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Drama||Person of Interest||Won|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)||Noah Timan, Keith Rogers, Frank Morrone, Scott Weber / "Pilot"||Nominated|||
|2013||Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing – Short Form Music in Television||Tom Trafalski / "Firewall"||Nominated|||
|IGN||Best TV Action Series||Person of Interest||Nominated|||
|Best TV Hero||Taraji P. Henson
for the character "Joss Carter"
|2014||IGN||Best TV Action Series||Person of Interest||Nominated|||
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Taraji P. Henson||Won|||
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic TV Actor||Jim Caviezel||Nominated|||
|2015||IGN||People's Choice TV Series||Person of Interest||Won|||
|Best TV Action Series||Person of Interest||Won|||
|People's Choice TV Action Series||Person of Interest||Won|||
|Best TV Episode||"If-Then-Else"||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Network Television Series||Person of Interest||Nominated|||
|2016||Edgar Allan Poe Awards||Best Television Episode Teleplay||Erik Mountain, Melissa Scrivner Love / "Terra Incognita"||Nominated|||
|IGN||Best TV Series||Person of Interest||Nominated|||
|Best TV Action Series||Person of Interest||Won|||
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Crime Drama Actor||Jim Caviezel||Nominated|||
|Favorite TV Crime Drama||Person of Interest||Won|||
|World Soundtrack Awards||Television Composer of the Year||Ramin Djawadi||Nominated|||
|2017||Edgar Allan Poe Awards||Best Television Episode Teleplay||Jonathan Nolan, Denise Thé / "return 0"||Nominated|||
|Globes de Cristal Award||Best Foreign TV series||Person of Interest||Won|||
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