“Just like old times, eh Finch,” says John Reese (Jim Caviezel). “Hardly,” replies Harold Finch (Michael Emmerson) who has reluctantly rejoined his old partner and Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi) in trying to save an electronics shop owner and his son who are in deep with a street gang that’s trying to become a bigger force in New York City in the season four premiere episode of CBS’ crime series Person of Interest.
It’s been a few months since Reese, Finch, Shaw, and Root (Amy Acker) blinded Decima’s A.I. master computer called Samaritan to their existence by going underground and taking on new identities. Finch is a college professor, Reese a narcotics cop, Shaw a perfume sales lady at Bloomingdales – yeah she hates it – and Root still comes in and out of their lives when Finch’s machine tells her to. But now the machine reaches out to Reese and calls him with a new number of a Person of Interest. Eager to get back to their old mission of helping people, Reese quickly tries to enlist both Shaw and Finch to join him. Alas, Finch warns Reese it’s impossible with Samaritan constantly watching and never stopping its search for them. Reese, however, will not be stopped and keeping a low profile discovers the number belongs to an electronics store owner who is being forced by a gang who kidnapped his son to create a new non-tappable mobile network to avoid being discovered by the police.
Meanwhile, Root pays a visit to Finch and tells him that he can’t sit this out. “You have to pick a side because this is war…and you have a god in this fight and she’s fighting for her life,” says Root who has always liked to believe that Harold’s machine is female. Realizing Root is right, Finch meets up with Reese and begins to help the store owner finish the untraceable mobile device to have something to bargain with for his son. Using his expertise with computers, Finch is able to locate the gang’s hideout to allow Reese and Shaw to head out and try to save the store owner’s son with the help of an unexpected ally.
Suspenseful and engaging, Person of Interest’s season four premiere titled “Panopticon” brings back the show’s heroes with a glimmer of hope and a reconnecting of the main characters. It was the darkest hour at the end of last season for Reese, Finch, Shaw and Root who were on the run and attempting to disappear from Decima and its super machine Samaritan. They were struggling to stay alive and being forced to part ways and take on new identities, but now that they’re reunited and slowly beginning to make a difference again, Reese, Finch and Shaw just might be able to begin again while needing to stay under the radar of Samaritan’s watchful eye.
Jim Caviezel is still perfect as John Reese a.k.a “The Man in the Black Suit” who yearns the most out of his five colleagues to get back to helping and saving people. The season four premiere offers a pleasant twist and change for his character who has always been the most lethal of the group and who could turn cold and do what was necessary to help or save a life. This time it’s Reese the machine reaches out to, as if already knowing he needs to get back to work. Reese and Root are now the two characters who have become the moral center of the show as they try to bring Finch back from his desolation, fear, and depression and remind him that it was HE who started all of it because every life matters.
Michael Emerson is flawless as Harold Finch, the brilliant billionaire genius who’s lost his faith in the machine he created – still haunted from the time his machine wanted Reese to kill a senator to prevent Samaritan from going online – and even finds himself doubting if he, Reese and the others have made a positive difference at all. For the first time since the series started the man who never once doubted their mission and purpose is lost and alone. And it’s still the scenes between Reese and Finch that are the highlights of the show.
Sarah Shahi gets most of the laugh and smile moments in the show as Shaw, the trained assassin who’s now forced to smile and spray perfume for customers…a few of whom get a face full of perfume they were never interested in. The writers have lightened her character up a little, giving her some very funny lines such as when she reteams with Reese and finds out his cover identity is being a narcotics cop. She says, “Not fair! At least you get to bang in a few heads here and there.” She’s almost become the comic relief in a very dark cloak and dagger show.
With stunning action scenes, sharp and crisp dialogue, loud car and truck crashes, intense shoot-outs, and intelligent and deadly villains who still have the upper hand against our heroes, Person of Interest season four is shaping up to be the most compelling season yet of the best crime drama series on television.
– Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
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