I’m not one to turn down a new crime show. Give me a detective, a forensic team or a vigilante out for the truth and I’m pretty much a happy camper. So I was expecting to enjoy the new CBS procedural “Person of Interest” (premiering tonight at 9/8 central), particularly since it’s the brainchild of “Lost” producer J.J. Abrams and Dark Knight/Memento screenwriter Jonathan Nolan. Unfortunately, after watching the pilot I’m feeling robbed–and not in the good way that’s followed by philosophical one-liners from street-hardened detectives.
First off, what could have been an interesting meditation on surveillance culture suffers from heavy-handedness and an out-there premise. The show hits viewers over the head with dozens of clips of gritty security camera footage, allusions to September 11, and images of cameras peering menacingly with their glowing viewfinders, like 2001‘s Hal, from every lamppost and stoplight. Instead of a subtle questioning of our Big Brother society, which might be interesting, the show goes with a convoluted sci-fi premise: A computer program gathers information from all this surveillance and predicts which members of the public will be involved in a crime. Yet this sophisticated program cannot tell whether they will be victims or perpetrators, or where, what, when and how the crime will occur, giving our team of human protagonists their mission–to figure it all out and stop the crimes before they are committed. As a premise this makes about as much sense as that 2008 Angelina Jolie film Wanted, in which a band of weaver-assassins receive instructions about who to kill from a mysterious loom.
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