The Machine’s Swan Song
After months and months in Limbo CBS recently decided to finally break their silence. As the long period of uncertainty already suggested and JJ Abrams all but confirmed, season 5 of the insanely underrated Person of Interest will be its last. The shortened episode order was already a sign on the wall and when word on the renewal was nowhere to be found and Sarah Shahi was cast in Nancy Drew it was practically final. Person of Interest has a very dedicated following so there was outrage and disbelief when the axe finally came. Personally I still have beef with Nina Tassler and CBS for their treatment and cancellation of Jericho. That show had a lot of potential and a rabid following but the scheduling of Miss Tassler killed the show in the end. Now I know that the head of programming is leaving CBS soon or probably has already left so maybe she is not to blame for Person of Interest’s demise. Regardless, the ratings of this great CBS drama are very decent. They are not on the level of NCIS and all its incarnations but still much better than a lot of other shows on different networks that do get renewed. The eye sometimes get blamed for not truly supporting any show that doesn’t have the name NCIS or CSI in it. That is a little bit harsh but I do understand where that is coming from. Don’t get me wrong. CBS is number one so they get to be very harsh when it comes to ratings. That’s probably one of the reasons why they have remained number one for years. But a show like Person of Interest, a show that the powers that be claimed to love very much, deserves better than being kept in limbo for so long and having to shoot a season finale not knowing if it will be the series finale.
But what’s done is done. The axe has dropped. This highly entertaining, fun and smart show will not continue past its fifth season. And if you think about it, 5 seasons isn’t that bad. A lot if critically acclaimed shows have not gotten near as far. In a way I can live with Person of Interest coming to an end now. But I can’t live with the way CBS has treated the show. It’s not even only the limbo. But the fact that they waited so long for scheduling the show as well. And now that they finally did they will air two episodes a week. From a fan’s standpoint it’s good to get a double helping of awesomeness each week but you don’t treat a show like this that way. It seems like they are burning off the remaining episodes as fast as they can so they can wipe their hands clean of it, much in the way they would with a wildly unsuccessful and crappy show no one watches. Person of Interest deserves better. Way better! But unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it. So before Person of Interest begins its Swan Song let us talk about what made this show into what it is. One of the best on television.
JJ Abrams has been Hollywood’s golden boy for a while now and after the latest Star Wars film he truly can do no wrong. But, just like Steven Spielberg mister Abrams is attached to many shows as an executive producer and just like with Spielberg, a lot of those shows are mediocre at best. So just because JJ Abrams was involved didn’t mean that my excitement level went through the roof. But, when I heard that Jonathan Nolan was one of the creators and was attached as showrunner I knew straight away that this show was going to be amazing. From Memento to Batman Begins. From The Prestige to The Dark Knight. Everything Christopher Nolan’s brother has touched has turned into pure gold. So attach him to anything and I am in. Regardless of what it is. With Person of Interest he did it again. He created a show that is smart, very relevant when it comes to current events (Snowden, PRISM), funny and super exciting. You can clearly see his hand in the show. It comes as no surprise to me that the episodes he has written are among the shows very best. Many Happy Returns, Firewall, The Contingency, God Mode and The Devil’s Share are instant gems. And add Relevance to that, an episode he also directed and you know what the man can do. Relevance is among the best television episodes in recent history. Under the creative lead of Jonah this show has changed from episodic to serialized which did wonders for the show and its mythology. The first season was great and it only kept building on that, getting better and better. And season 4 ended spectacularly, leaving everyone and their mother wanting more. Unfortunately Jonah seemed a little bit less involved from season 4 onward if you look at the writing credits. That’s only logic as he is involved with the upcoming HBO series Westworld, which also promises to be amazing. I mean, Jonathan Noland and HBO? That’s a match made in heaven if there ever was one. But I’m happy to see that he does get a writing credit for the series finale, together with Denise The. That is a great combination. If there is one reason why Person of Interest is so good then it’s definitely Jonathan Nolan.
If Person of Interest had me at Jonathan Nolan then Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson cemented the deal. I have always liked Caviezel even though I haven’t seen that money movies or series he was in. I just think he is a terrific actor. Michael Emerson on the other hand is one of the best TV actors around. His performances as Benjamin Linus in Lost was so awesome, winning him a well-deserved Emmy and making Ben Linus one of the TV characters that will be remembered for a very long time. Taraji P Henson initially didn’t have that much to do but when her role expanded she delivered, eventually becoming a fan favourite and now lighting up the small screen in the hit show Empire. But not only these three are acting their socks off. Sarah Shahi, Amy Acker, the list goes on and on. Nina Gold gets a lot of credits for her amazing casting work on Game of Thrones. Rightfully so I might add. But the casting of Person of Interest is nearly as good.
They say a story is only as good as its villain. This show has great villains. The corrupt cops going by the group name HR were very interesting and that storyline came to a very satisfying conclusion. Elias was one of the best baddies Person of Interest has ever had. Enrico Colantoni played the role expertly and he was one of the most likeable villains I have ever seen. His struggle with the also interesting Dominic and the Brotherhood was good for a long list of great episodes. Vigilance, Decima Technologies and Samaritan complete the list of great villains this show has. Greer interacting with Samaritan makes for some very good television and I can’t wait to find out where the war with Samaritan is going to end. Because as of the end of season 4 Samaritan has won.
No matter how great the actors are, no matter how well this show is directed, at the heart of it is its mythology. The premise was interesting but not that special. A billionaire who invented a machine that could see crimes before they happen hires a former CIA agent to help him stop murders from happening. But Person of Interest is about much more than that. It’s about trying to make the world a better place and the futility of trying to do so. About civil liberties versus security. About power and corruption. About what it means to be a hero. But it’s also about who are heroes really are. What drove Finch to create the machine? Is the machine itself, and artificial intelligence in and of itself a good thing? Why did Nathan Ingram die? Is it Finch’s fault? Is Reese a bad person? Can Root wipe out all the bad she did before she joined team machine? Can Shaw actually start feeling something? Can Fusco wipe the dirt off himself? There is so much more to Person of Interest then you might realize at first. One of the good thing about it is that it’s not mythology for mythology’s sake.
So on May 3rd Person of Interest’s Swan Song begins. The episode is titled B.S.O.D. and it’s directed by lead director Chris Fisher and written by showrunner Greg Plageman and Tony Camerino. On June 21st the series finale will air and then we will found out who will win. The machine or Samaritan. And who will make it out alive. I expect lots of great action, crazy twists and turns and at least one of the members of Team Machine to die. I’m grateful that the showrunners have written the final episode of season 5 in such a way that it could function as both a season and a series finale. Therefore we won’t get a major cliff-hanger nor a lot of unsolved mysteries. I’m looking forward to see the final season and I already know that this show is going to be sorely missed.