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Person of Interest

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When I was converted from a Blackberry to a Nokia Windows Phone at the end of last year, I was fortunate that there was a promotion running at the time that gave you a free subscription to Netflix for six months. It’s proved useful, especially with the kids on rainy days! Lego Ninjago and Chima have been favourites.

I’ve mainly used it - so far for catching up on films that I missed when they came out originally, and also when I can’t be bothered to find the DVD. It’s on all the TVs in the house (one as a Smart TV, the others via AppleTV) and also works well on the iPads.

Anyway, I had been on a bit of a spy/thriller kick, and having watched
The Numbers Station and The Expatriate, I decided to try the recommendation from Netflix for Person of Interest. This was a TV series, with the first two seasons online already. I went with it on the theory that I could just bin it if I wasn’t bothered with it.

Anyway, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the serious. The basic plot is simple. Mr Reese (ex-CIA) works for Mr Finch (billionaire software engineer recluse) in New York. They are sent social security numbers by the Machine, an expert system, which represent people who will be either a victim or perpetrator of violence in the immediate future. This kicks off a variation on the Police Procedural Crime Thriller where first of all the ‘detectives’ need to work out who is the victim and why, before they stop it. The numbers are from the Machine’s ‘Non-relevant’ list which is deleted every night, the ‘Relevant List’ being related to Terrorism.

It’s very well written, with good characterisation. This shouldn’t surprise me really, as it is written by Jonathan Nolan, who was the writer behind the film
Memento, and others directed by Christopher Nolan.

It’s also very apt, especially post-Snowdon, and touches a lot of my interests - the spy drama, corruption, AI, surveillance state and so on. I’m pleased to know that there are another 2 series to watch after this one!

The overarching plot arcs are interesting - the corruption of the police through an organisation-known-as-HR set against the rising gangland control of the criminal Elias, and the interactions with the government owners of the machine and those that want to control or destroy it. There are two cop characters who support Reese and Finch - one a very straight laced detective, the other moving on from a corrupt past life.

I recommend this highly - you can get the first two series on Netflix, or on DVD right now.