Person of Interest

File:James Caviezel3.jpgPerson of Interest has a hard edge but a heart of mush. Recently it has shown people going round in bomb vests, one of which went off; people shot in the forehead,  a lorry smashing into a car which rolled in front of it, and a man beaten up in the exercise yard of Riker’s Island. Yet the heart of it is the friendship of two men who sort others’ lives out for them. Stories are wrapped up in the TV hour.

My spoilers are a year behind the US air-dates. There is some attempt to create threat continuing through the episodes: Agent Donnelly of the FBI was going to find the heroes, but died and his colleagues couldn’t be bothered to continue. Really. So threat appears- the Russian Gangs are invincible- then vanishes, with a few fist fights or a shooting.

Even more reassuring is Castle: one of the assistant policemen has referred to the male and female leads as “Mommy and Daddy”. Mummy and Daddy sort things out before bed. The supposedly hard bad-guys crumble before them, and are sent down.

Meanwhile Southland, which has just finished in the UK, had its lead shot three times in the chest.

File:Nathan Fillion by Gage Skidmore.jpgLuther, with Idris Elba back in London, had a serial killer who drained his victims of blood which he used to write words on the walls of their houses. That was the point where I stopped finding these plots horrible, and started laughing- Ooh, that’s imaginative, what will they do next? Why on Earth would he do that?

I am desensitised to these things on TV, but would not be so desensitised in real life, even only on the news. Is that the point? Or are these dramas something like Special Agent Oso, who faced challenges his audience might face, and found ways to overcome them, educating that audience. After the task of the day, Oso returns to his secret base, where he is taught new skills, a safe haven where everyone knows their place. Rather like Castle’s apartment, or Finch’s library.

I much prefer the drama which invites me to empathise with the characters rather than that which has me observing them like creatures which swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Castle and The Mentalist show the murderers as monsters, rather than ordinary people pushed too far. They are safely outside Our Group, safely Other.

2 thoughts on “Person of Interest

  1. I was going to do a post about TV programmes too, you’ve reminded me. I definitely don’t want to see Luther now, and I’d already disregarded the Mentalist based on a few clips. Unfortunately, after Breaking Bad everything feels badly scripted and poorly shot. I’ve just started Homeland, which had a brilliant first episode promising a complex female lead. It’s still good but sometimes slips into soap opera mode for some reason and has shifted to concentrate on overly exciting plot at the expense of the lead character.


    • I did not see Homeland series one, apart from its last two episodes. The soap-opera works, bear with it: without the family relationships there would be a great deal less tension. Season 2 is wonderful. Season 3 is worthless drivel- only episode 3, “Tower of David” is watchable, though the Guardian derided that one too. I don’t think I will bother with season 4, possibly on C4 later this year.

      I thought you were having another sabbatical. The sun is shining!


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