Remember the end of THE DARK KNIGHT, when Batman/Bruce Wayne uses the technology at the disposal of Wayne Industries to turn Gotham City into a giant surveillance device so he can find The Joker? Well, TDK screenwriter Jonathan Nolan sure did because he takes the same basic concept – a secret, citywide surveillance network – and expounds on it in the new CBS vigilante action series PERSON OF INTEREST.
Co-created by Nolan and JJ Abrams (LOST, FRINGE), the show unites two men the world thinks are dead in a battle against crimes that haven’t happened yet. There’s Mr. Finch (LOST’s Michael Emerson), a slightly crippled billionaire genius who created the government’s shadowy Big Brother in the wake of 9/11. John Reese (Jim Caviezel – looking like a young, friendlier Eric Roberts) is ex-military who has coped with the loss of a loved one by falling off the face of the earth and seeking solace in a bottle.
A chance encounter between Reece (in full wino mode) and some subway gang bangers lands him in the office of a detective (Taraji P. Henson) who wants to know more about this derelict with lethal moves. Before she can run the cup she obviously lifted for prints (ham-fistedly shown a couple times for slower viewers), Finch’s lawyer has sprung Reese and the journey towards the two working together is under way.
Though PERSON OF INTEREST lacks the humor and chemistry that made FOX’s HUMAN TARGET (RIP) such a treat, the show should ably satisfy my weekly action fix. Caviezel is slick and confident as he deals with everything from dirty cops to a blink-and-you-miss-him William Sadler as a gun buyer; and scenes of our hero loading a rocket launcher in the back of a cab, then coolly hopping out to take down an SUV in the middle of Manhattan are a hoot.
PERSON isn’t groundbreaking by any stretch but if it turns into THE EQUALIZER MEETS THE FUGITIVE for the 21st century I’m okay with that.