HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Person of Interest : Season 4
HTS Overall Score:81
Has it really been 4 years since I started watching “Person of Interest”? How time flies. Without putting your expectations too high, I have to say that “Person of Interest” has become one of the best broadcast television shows on the market. Most of the really GOOD action oriented shows have been shuffled off on the incredibly lucrative cable television market and ever since the decline of “24” we’ve not had the greatest luck with action/cop shows. However, I couldn’t resists checking out “Person of Interest” when it aired and become immediately entranced with the show. It keeps a great balance going with police/spy procedural and the crazy conspiracy theory created by the invention of the all-knowing machine.
Spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t watched the last few seasons you might want to skip a paragraph or two ahead. Last time we tuned in, Samaritan had just come online and Agents Reese (Jim Caviezel), Shaw (Sarah Shahi) Root (Amy Acker) and Harold (Michael Emerson) had to go to ground in desperate attempt to stay alive. Fast forward months into the future and things are much bleaker. Root had managed to program a blind spot into Samaritan, but that only can keep them safe in public for so long as they don’t interfere with the godlike A.I.’s master plan of “fixing” humanity and they don’t draw unwanted attention. The Machine is still out there in cyberspace, elusive and still active for our cadre of heroes. Sending them irrelevant numbers, they split time between rescuing these “irrelevant” humans as well as trying to find a way to defeat Samaritan.
While Benign at first, Samaritan has grown into something much different than its competitor. While the machine had “imprinted” off of Harold’s moral compass and grown to resemble his creator very much, Samaritan does what any artificial intelligence with godlike powers would do with the imperfection of humans in its gaze. It tries to take over the world and rule it efficiently and effectively, even if that means eliminating humans in the process. This goal is something neither Reese, Harold nor Root can stomach, so while Samaritan has taken over as the default A.I. for the unsuspecting U.S. government, the human resistance is in full swing with Root still having admin access to the Machine. A guerilla war is being fought on the streets of New York, a war that most people don’t even know exists, but one that will forever affect the fate of humanity, one way or the other.
“Person of Interest” has done what many shows cannot do and stay relevant. It adapts as each season progresses. Most series have a set style or genre that they fit into and stick with that, or they mix things up dramatically and end up killing the show. Much like the Artificial intelligence that Harold designed, the show and the characters in the show adapt and somehow are able to make the show better as a result. The series originally started out as a police/spy procedural, with elements of conspiracy theory thrown in. Reese and Harold would have two different plots per episode, with one of them being an “irrelevant” number to save and the other slowly pushing along the main plotline about the ethics and morality of having a machine watch and spy on you 24/7. By the end of season 3 we started to have a paradigm shift with the introduction of Samaritan and the actions of the Machine. The science fiction aspect of an all-powerful machine became more and more a pressing issue, and with the insane plot twist at the end of Season 3 we delved into full on Sci-fi territory. Season 4 amps up the volume with a distinct change in tone and structure of the show as the sci-fi elements become even more pronounced. Now we’re in full on war between two godlike intelligences, one on the side of humanity, and the other bent on becoming their lord and master (for their own good of course).
While the direction of the show has changed, the characters themselves have had a similar paradigm shift. With agent Carter gone, Reese is a changed man, digging deep within himself to find a humanity he thought he wasn’t capable being ever again. Lionel has changed from mostly clean cop with a bit of dirt hanging over him, to full on good guy in this season. With John being reassigned a position as regular detective, he and Lionel get some good face time, where Lionel finally becomes the moral mentor for John and his increasingly guerilla tactics. Harold himself has become violently disillusioned with the whole concept of powerful A.I.’s, which is a dramatic change from his previous “necessary evil” point of view that he’s been struggling with. What is shocking is how much fan favorites Sameen Shaw and Root have become in the show. Both of them have an incredible change in character that is both natural and exciting to watch. Sameen is supposedly a sociopath with limited emotional capabilities, but her time with the rest of them has started a chain reaction that allows her to use all of her limited emotional abilities to their max. Root, who started out as a villain and turned into an anti-hero has become one of THE most vital members of Harold’s crew, adapting and becoming less an acolyte of the machine, but a true friend to all of them, machine included. I haven’t seen this excellent of a growth arc in a TV show in quite some time. Especially a broadcast TV show.
There are SOME downsides to season 4 which cause me to rank it as good as Season 3. The good parts are REALLY amazing, and probably the best in the entire show, but there became a problem with running a full 22 episodes. There became a bit too much filler as the show tried to deviate from the standard episodic nature of the first couple seasons and leaned towards a heavily serialized arc. Had the show been trimmed of about 4-6 episodes it would have come out much leaner and much more focused, but the inclusion of these filler episodes broke up the pace a bit, and were pretty blatantly obvious at being filler. Don’t get me wrong, those filler episodes were fun, and they focus on some AMAZING side characters (Elias, played by Enrico Colantoni is absolutely FANTASTIC as the crime boss with a soft spot for John and Harold), but the changing of the show to a serialized arc meant that the longer running time of the season had a few drawbacks. Season 5 has been renewed for a 13 episode season, which trims the series up pretty solidly, so hopefully there won’t be any more pacing or filler issues with the upcoming season.
The episode rundown is as follows
7. Honor Among Thieves
8. Point of Origin
9. The Devil You Know
10. The Cold War
11. If – Then – Else
12. Control – Alt – Delete
19. Search & Destroy
20. Terra Incognita
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51873[/img]"Person of Interest” has a simply fabulous 1.78:1 AVC encode for us to enjoy, matching the last few seasons almost blow for blow. The show is bathed in darkness as Reese and company skulk through the night time and shadows of New York City to protect their “irrelevant” victims. Colors are rather natural and show the vibrancy of the city, with lots of blues, reds and dark navy colors of the NYPD uniforms. Reese is always in his dark blue suit, but Shaw and Root tend to showcase some more variety. Skin tones and contrasts are spot on, the only thing to mar the presentation is some signs of softness when the CGI blends with the actors, most likely a side effect of trying to blend reality with fiction. The black levels are very much needed to be perfect as the show is a dark show, and that shadow detail shines through in spades. No black crush and no faded blacks to mar a near perfect image. I did notice a few more moments of banding this season, which dropped the score just a tad from last, but the seasons are all very very similar in look.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51881[/img]Boom goes the dynamite. “Person of Interest” has always had a bombastic track and this season is no different. The show opens up with deep, throbbing bass lines as Harold Finch introduces each episode and the resulting score is just as aggressive and pounding. Gunshots sound like howitzer cannons, with John Reese kneecapping countless bad guys (which ironically isn’t a real life scenario since by shooting a person in the leg you can just as easily kill them as with a shot to center mass), and car doors and car crashes sound like something out of the expendables. Dialog is always crisp and clear, with nice vocal separation and the dynamic range always swings quite wide. Surrounds are just as active as one would expect with some very solid use of minor ambient noises, as well as the cacophony of the copious gun battles and fisticuff encounters with our nefarious Samaritan Agents.
• Music of Interest – Step inside the studio of Composer Ramin Djawadi for an intimate look at his process along with Show-Runners Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman as they discuss scoring sequences and key elements of music themes in Person of Interest.
• Going Underground with Root and Finch – Michael Emerson and Amy Acker give us a one on one tour through the newly created Subway Headquarters with the Production Designer, Rick Butler.
• Person of Interest 2014 Comic-Con Panel – Executive Producers Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Greg Plageman (Cold Case) are joined by the series’ stars for a special Q&A at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con.
• Gag Reel
“Person of Interest” manages to be one of the most engaging action oriented series on broadcast TV and a crowd pleaser that has gained quite a cult following. I’ve become much pickier with TV series over the last decade as the premium cable channels have really upped their game, but some great series still exist for the regular folks with good old bunny ears on the TV. Energetic, full of action, and now an amazing sci-fi arc, this show leaves me shaking with anticipation for season 5 to start. I usually binge watch a TV season as they come out (as I did with this season), but the impatience to see what happens with the Samaritan story arc make me want to re-evaluate that method of watching as I may not be able to keep away from the TV this coming up season. Audio and video are great, as usual, and while the extras may be a bit lighter by the smallest of margins, this should in no way dissuade you from watching of the best TV shows on air right.
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Amy Acker, Kevin Chapman
Created by: Jonathan Nolan
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English, Spanish DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 968 minutes
Own Season 4 on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD August 11th
Buy Person of Interest : Season 4 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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