May 19, 2011
CBS has released a short preview (via io9) of their freshly picked up J.J. Abrams/Jonah Nolan show Person of Interest, which stars Michael Emerson (who was so great as Benjamin Linus on Lost) and Jim Caviezel (who was so bland as Six on the disappointing remake of The Prisoner). Caviezel stars as a presumed-dead CIA agent recruited by a reclusive billionaire (Emerson) to use his spy skills to wage a vigilante war on crime in New York... before it happens. Up until that last Minority Report twist, it basically sounds like The Equalizer (ex-spy uses skills to fight crime in NYC) meets Batman (self-financed billionaire wages war on crime). The Batman connection is no coincidence, either. Person of Interest comes from the team of J.J. Abrams (Alias, Mission: Impossible III, Undercovers) and Jonah Nolan, brother of Christopher and co-writer of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The pre-crime aspect seems from the clip to be an expansion of a concept Nolan first explored in The Dark Knight: the use of a network of security cameras to invade citizens' privacy for their protection. It's a theme also explored on contemporary UK spy series like MI-5 (aka Spooks), as CCTV cameras are a way of life in Britain. It's hard to get a sense of a show from these partly behind-the-scenes upfront clips, but the premise and the people involed have me intrigued. My primary misgiving, though, is Caviezel. In The Prisoner, he just proved too dull to be a leading man. Hopefully he approaches this character differently. Personally, I would have rather seen Emerson paired again with his Lost co-star Terry O'Quinn as ex-spies in Odd Jobs, but sadly NBC didn't feel the same way; the new regime pulled the plug on that potential Abrams show.