Season 3, Episode 20: “Death Benefit” | Original air date: April 15, 2014
“Person of Interest” doesn’t work for me as a drama anymore.
It doesn’t work because I spend most of the hour thinking how lousy the cops must be in whatever city Reese (Jim Caviezel), Finch (Michael Emerson) and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) have their massive gun battles.
This week, the cops in Washington, D.C., were made to look like chumps buy a guy with a limp and a former black ops government spook who kidnapped a U.S. Congressman to save his life.
There’s a reason they kidnapped the congressman. Conspiracy group blah blah is trying to do blah blah to get the new blah blah machine blah blah no privacy blah blah. It was probably explained better than that, but I stopped caring about the umpteen terrorist groups and extremist and corporate goons about 12 conspiracies ago.
At one point, Reese shoots at a congressman in broad daylight near the U.S. Capitol. Apparently in the post-Sept. 11 world, there are absolutely no traffic cameras or surveillance of any kind. I mean, sure, the whole plot of the show is based on a mysterious machine’s ability to access those kinds of cameras and data use them to predict who is going to be killed.
But that’s only when it serves to advance the wafer-thin plots. When people are having gun battles in the nation’s capital, nobody catches a stray glance. The cops, FBI and everybody else are a step behind — sirens in the distance just far enough away that our heroes can slip away without consequences.
This week, Reese thinks the machine is telling them to kill the congressman, who is corrupt and will support one of the blah blah conspiracy groups. They don’t do it. But they think about doing it.
Then a sappy pop song plays as the team — which, again, includes a guy with a serious limp — somehow manages to escape a manhunt by all the nation’s law enforcement agencies. Well, Shaw gets shot. But that really amplifies the absence of probability, doesn’t it? Now there are two wounded ducks outwitting an entire pack of bloodhounds.
The bad guys of one of the blah blah conspiracies get 24 hours to access all security cameras. They want to track down Finch. Because, you know, no government agency ever caught a terrorist or criminal without a massive, all-powerful surveillance machine.
Aw, forget it.
This is knitpicking. I know that. But the show has lost so much credibility that all I see now are a bunch of stupid scenarios that should be easily snuffed if the writers were even trying to make the show believable.
The challenge is to subvert reality through suspension of disbelief. But all “Person of Interest” does is manage to comically ignore reality and ends up suspending entertainment.