Case Number 24549

PERSON OF INTEREST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (BLU-RAY)

Warner Bros. // 2011 // 1008 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // September 23rd, 2012

The Charge

Ever think you're being watched?

Opening Statement

"You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people, people like you. Crimes the government considered 'irrelevant.' They wouldn't act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number's up...we'll find you." -- Harold Finch

Facts of the Case

An extremely wealthy computer scientist named Finch (Michael Emerson, Lost) creates a machine for the government. It is designed to predict which people are going to do terrible things so that terrorist acts like 9/11 can be avoided. Yet there is a side effect, and this super computer compiling surveillance from all over the world can also see smaller more personal crimes before they happen. The government shows no interest in helping common people, and so Finch drafts an ex-Cia hitman (Jim Caviezel, The Passion of the Christ) to help him thwart the smaller plots and schemes of more average men.

The Evidence

Person of Interest is basically a police procedural where Jesus and Benjamin Linus (the ultimate bad guy from that mysterious island show) team up to stop crime before it happens. It's a hit series from the 2011 CBS lineup that played on the idea that crimes could be stopped by technology, and so they could invert the typical police procedural. Often there are twists and turns, and the simple sci-fi concept spins out hundreds of variations. It's a handsomely produced show with solid actors that is just smart enough to keep the audience fascinated, while entertained.

Much has been made that the show sprang from the minds of J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan, who respectively worked on Lost and the much loved recent Dark Knight movie trilogy. You do get a sense of two distinctive styles coming together for the small screen. Abrams provides the twisty, turny plot that carries the show along week to week, which includes the mysterious past of the ex-CIA agent, as well as crooked cops working with organized crime. Nolan offers the gritty reality elements to spice up the fantastic design of Abrams, and a sense of how to edit action and fragmented narrative together effectively. The series looks great, and takes full advantage of New York City as a place where nobody can escape a camera or an electronic device with a GPS in it. The technology creates the paranoia, but it also ingeniously provides all the hope to solve it.

The show works because Caviezel plays a convincing bad-ass while Emerson pulls off the brain all too easily. They have a chemistry that works well, and they quickly become a dynamic duo that forces you to believe in the almost comic book world they live in. They add the right gravity, and both men know how to mine a mystery and provide depth to characters that few actors can achieve. The supporting players are certainly up to par with them, but in the end the leads make the show tick.

This Blu-ray set includes four high definition discs as well as six DVDs all packaged together in one slipcase. You will certainly want to watch the superior 1.78:1/1080p transfer on the Blu-rays. The image is near reference quality, a seriously beautifully rendered picture without a trace of artifacts or digital noise. It looks better than some feature films, with a mighty impressive visual presentation. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is equally impressive with a mix that has plenty of bombast when called for.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

If I had to pick an area I was a little disappointed in with this set it would be in the supplements. They are of good quality, but there just are not enough. There are only two audio commentaries with the show creators. Executive Producer Jonathan Nolan helps provide the commentaries that run over both the original broadcast pilot as well as the extended version of that same initial episode. The two tracks discuss the evolution of the show as well as how they constructed both the one hour and the more familiar forty minute version of the same show. I wish they could have done a couple more over key episodes, but we simply get that start and nothing else. Up next is a featurette on the premise of the show, which discusses surveillance cameras and how we've lost all privacy as the government has gained access to cell phones and emails. It's an interesting piece, but it only deals with one aspect of the series. There is a little gag reel that shows some bloopers on the set, which are always fun to see. There aren't a ton of extras here, and certainly we could have stood to have seen more to mine the rich concepts and arcs of the show.

Closing Statement

Using the paranoia of surveillance, the smarts of two great actors, and a team that knows how to make an operatic crime story seem real and gritty, Person of Interest becomes a fascinating little television show that is wildly addictive. The Blu-ray gives viewers a beautiful presentation of the show, but it doesn't really provide rich extras to add enough to the video experience. The best thing though is that you can watch all of this first season in one dose without any annoying commercials.

The Verdict

Guilty of being a rare, crowd-pleasing show that has more than half a brain. Free to go on reinventing the buddy cop procedural genre.

Review content copyright © 2012 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 96
Audio: 96
Extras: 78
Acting: 95
Story: 90
Judgment: 94

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 1008 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentaries
* Extended Pilot
* Featurette
* Gag Reel
* DVD Copy
* UltraViolet Copy

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1839578/combined

* Official Site
http://www.cbs.com/shows/person_of_interest/