This one was intricately, if implausibly, plotted so strap on your industrial-grade suspension of disbelief because it’s time for Person of Interest.
Cold open surveillance footage takes us to a parking garage at 23:41:10. Some random man is walking away from his car. Nothing to see until the white SUV plows into him. Then stops at the stop sign. Footage freezes on the car’s license plate before the driver speeds off. Surveillance footage takes us ahead in time to 6:32:44 and Boris Badenov informs an associate that “Ve’ve got a pro-blem.” Damn moose and squirrel.
You’re supposed to stop BEFORE you hit the pedestrian.
We’re in a Chelsea diner at 6:34:25 and the place is hopping. A familiar, pointy head appears on the surveillance footage. It’s Finch, eating breakfast. An uncharacteristically noisy Reese clops up (Did they Foley in his footsteps or has he started wearing heels?) and asks “What’s good here?” Finch, still resisting Reese’s charms says “That won’t work, Mr. Reese.” Reese says it was just an innocent question. Finch explains that nothing’s innocent with Reese and that an answer could indicate if Finch is a regular and narrow down where he lives. Reese tells Finch he’s paranoid and Finch is like “No duh.” Reese continues to plead his innocence but Finch isn’t having it, and then we see that in his spare time he reads dystopian literature by Sinclair Lewis. Guess he’s moved on from Orwell. He pushes a menu on Reese and leaves. Reese snickers then looks inside to see some tweedy looking guy with a beard.
That special doesn’t look appetizing.
Reese whispers to us in voice over that it’s Samuel Gates, the next person of interest. It’s 7:54:22 on a leafy street on the Upper West Side. A school bus drives up and Gates announces it. A 12-year-old boy comes running out of the house and Reese asks what they have on Gates as he sits on a porch across the street. Dude, this is the Upper West Side. I think the neighbor would have noticed some stranger reading the paper on his porch and called the cops. Or, seeing how tall, handsome and well-dressed Caviezel is in this scene, invited him in for some coffee.
Finch is in his library giving us Gates’ deets: Born in south Boston, law degree from NYU, lives on Upper West Side with his son (duh), and no wife because she died a year earlier. But no foul play, cancer. There’s also a devoted nanny, named Cristina Jugador del Día. So, lonely man who recently lost the woman he loved and is throwing himself into his work…yep, Reese is back in over-identification mode and asks where Gates works.
Just some random, good-looking white guy sitting on your porch, over identifying with your neighbor. Nothing to see here.
He’s a criminal courts judge. It’s 9:46:21 at the courthouse and Judge Gates is presiding over a trial. He sounds like a stickler for procedure and Reese voices over that he’s a “tough on crime,” by the book judge who’s made his share of enemies. As Reese lollygags his way to the back of the courtroom we hear Gates say “If video of the actual crime is unfairly prejudicial, I think we might have to give up on the entire concept of trial by jury.” Then he declares that the video is admissible. Wonder if that will come into play later?
Finch gets antsy and runs down how the machine works for first time viewers and then says they need to narrow down the threats. Reese breaks into Gates cramped office to wire it for their snooping and finds Gates’ convenient hate mail folder.
Conversation continues as Reese spies on Gates as he eats lunch joking that the only threat to the judge is cholesterol. As Finch is explaining that he’s been analyzing the letters and narrowing them down, Reese notices two crew-cutted thugs from the Stereotypes R Us and asks if any of them are crew-cutted thugs.
Then we get one of PoI’s creepy but beautifully edited scenes where Reese crosses the street to protect the judge as he’s coming out of the deli and the two thugs appear behind him. As Gates walks down the street unaware of all that’s swirling around him, we see Reese reaching into his back pocket and brushing shoulders with Gates as one of the thugs reaches into his pants pocket. It’s all very tense until we see the thug pulls out a cell phone to send a text then toss the phone. The two thugs go off in different directions and Reese retrieves the phone.
Even the extras were flawless in this scene.
Text says “COURT IN SESSION, GOOD TO GO SCHOOL’S OUT, MOVING IN,” and I appreciate the thug’s attempt at proper grammar. Reese asks what the son’s name is, and he, too, is Samuel Gates. Showing once again that maybe he’s not the brains of the operation, Reese says he thinks they’re following the wrong Sam Gates. I’ll let Finch explain SSNs to him.
Its 14:45:24 on Gates’ street as the school bus drops young Sam off. He runs behind the bus because he was never taught proper safety. Anxious to share the day’s events with Cristina, he gets a blanket over the head instead. A car pulls up and they rush Sam out. As they’re shoving him in Reese runs into the frame and beats the crap out of the first two, and damn if it doesn’t look like Caviezel might be a badass himself because it’s shot in close-up and his face is visible for a lot of it. A third thug with Abercrombie and Fitch hair comes out and after fighting briefly goes Indiana Jones and shoots Reese. Unaware that Reese is the lead and therefore not dead, the thugs drive off with Sam.
Surveillance footage takes us to the library at 16:35:33 and hello, ladies. Reese is putting on a clean shirt and flashing some skin. He’s peeved because he can’t do his job if he’s getting bad intel. Finch points out that the machine gave them the judge’s number not the son’s so Gates is still in danger. Reese continues to get dressed during this scene and he’s wearing jeans now, so does he keep clothes at the library? Or does he carry an overnight bag, just in case? These things matter for the nascent slash writers, writers.
Finch tries to bring Reese back around to the case and that the kidnapping is likely the first step in a larger plan that they can still fix, but with a lonely PoI and a child in danger, Reese’s hero complex has ratcheted up exponentially. He says his plan is to find young Sam, then cocks his gun for no reason except to give those slash writers something to fixate on.
It’s the end of the day at the courthouse and Gates gets a call. It’s a frantic Sam but as the judge asks what’s wrong, Boris Badenov comes on the line to tell the judge that Sam’s fine but no cops, no feds and they’ll contact him later. Gates pleads with Boris, but gets hung up on. Desperate, Gates calls Sam’s cell, then Cristina’s then one of Sam’s friend’s but no Sam. As the awful truth settles in the judge sits on the courthouse steps while Batman walks up behind him. Oh, sorry. It’s Reese. I get them confused.
Reese sounds sympathetic, but the judge is smart and assumes Reese knows about Sam because he’s one of the kidnappers. Reese whispers to the judge that he isn’t, but he did try to stop it. The healing power of the Caviezel doesn’t work as quickly and easily on a middle-aged judge as it does on younger women, though, and Gates keeps questioning Reese. Reese finally gets the judge to look him in the eye long enough to glamour him and get him to go along.
Can you hear me now?
Surveillance footage takes us ahead to 17:33:22 at Gates’ home. The house has been ransacked and Gates wants to know where Cristina is and how the kidnappers got his security code. Reese wonders if Cristina helped, but the judge puts the kibosh on that. Then he picks up Sam’s football and backpack and looks so sweet and lost. Reese kindly asks if the judge tried any kidnapping cases but the judge just absently says no then informs Reese he has about $300K in the bank and that he’ll pay. Reese continues to comfort the judge saying he will find Sam and bring him home. As Reese is leaving the judge says the kidnappers said no police or FBI. Reese smiles at him and says “They didn’t say anything about me,” which doesn’t fill the judge with confidence.
Surveillance footage shows the audio connection between Reese and Finch as Reese says they’re set up in Gates’ house. Ever the nudge, Finch reminds Reese that they’re not exactly running a legal operation and don’t need a judge asking questions. Reese, who’s standing in a doorway surrounded by turquoise walls, a portrait of the Virgin Mary (Jesus & Mary sighting:1) and beaded room divider, says he can’t work a kidnapping from afar. Reese asks about tracing the call, but no luck. Call was “anonymized through the internet” and the thug’s phone was a burner with little valuable information except a few cryptic texts.
As Reese is digging a bullet out of the wall, Finch says he’s trying to get information from the cell company but they have an impressive firewall. Reese asks why he’s having difficulties since he built the Orwellian nightmare. Finch gets peeved and points out that things are different when your access to the information is illegal, but that he’ll figure it out. Reese tells him to do it quickly and we see the nanny’s dead body in her apartment. Frowny face. Reese, who finally got a pair of gloves, dials 911 and walks away, leaving the land line open so they can trace the call.
Mother and child reunion
It’s 18:17:34 and Fusco’s sleazing around the precinct asking about Carter. She’s not at her desk, but in case we weren’t sure she’s the worst homicide cop on the planet, we see that she has the empty Elias evidence box and Reese’s file on her desk. Fusco rifles through the Reese file and sees pictures from when he was mugged, which isn’t even evidence since HE WAS THE VICTIM, but Carter comes into the office and Fusco slaps everything back in place. Even though the establishing shot showed the folders splayed on her desk, Carter sees the folders and straightens them, piquing her suspicion. True to her awful instincts, she starts questioning Fusco about why he transferred from the Bronx, using the same interrogation technique she used on Reese over-enunciating “WAN-tet? Or NEE-ded?” Why do people talk to her?
Fusco, having been on the receiving end of Reese’s bad-assery a few times, isn’t intimidated by her. She tells him she heard some rumors and wants to know what she’s dealing with. Fusco gets a text at that moment and leaves, telling Carter he’s buying her a coffee since she’s so nice. Fusco goes down to the street and waits in line at a food cart as Reese slinks up in casual clothes (this is relevant) and says “He comes when he’s called. Good. Now if I could just train him to stop trying to kill me.” Fusco finds that amusing then, true to his meathead nature, whines that the commute’s a bitch, forgetting that it was just last week that he was nearly killed by a death squad. Reese tells him to be grateful then asks about Carter.
Heh. I love making fun of the killing machine.
Fusco got the memo that they’re supposed to pretend she’s legitimate and not an obsessed officer ignoring her real case load to track Reese and tells Reese what he already knows. Impatient as ever, Fusco wants to know if there’s anything else. Reese hands him the bullet to get a ballistics work up and mentions the kidnapping and crew-cutted thugs. Fusco says kidnappings are a big deal so Reese asks about Amber Alerts. Showing some character development and continuity, Fusco gets serious and asks if they’re dealing with a child abduction. Reese scoffs at him so Fusco goes off on how he’s still a cop and can help. But Reese is a cat and wanders off because he’s bored, leaving Fusco jabbering to the woman behind him.
Finch and surveillance footage let us know it’s 19:25:03 and that Finch was able to hack the cell company. He got a Brooklyn address for one of the thugs. As the thug walks up the stairs to his apartment Reese comes out of the shadows and beats the crap out of him before throwing him down the stairs, lifting the thug’s wallet during the mêlée because he’s a multi-tasker. The guy’s name is Leon Josef Terskiy, which triggers something in Reese. He rips the guy’s shirt open to expose man tits and a huge Bundesring looking tattoo. Reese spouts some Slavic sounding gibberish SB9, a nasty Eastern European street gang. Reese knows they’re illegal arms dealers and kidnappers from “his previous employment.”
Carter shows up at the nanny’s apartment, not to investigate the actual homicide, but to follow up on the fact that Reese might have been there, based on a description of “6’2”, graying temples, nice suit,” even though he was wearing jeans and a driving coat at the time. CONTINUITY! Random cop tells her the manager saw him leave at the time of the 911 call but that the murder took place two hours earlier. Since the other cop is only a day player he asks Carter if she thinks Reese killed the nanny, like she knows dick about investigating a murder. She says no, he probably placed the call, so being a good Samaritan will not go unpunished. Random cop lets Carter know the victim was a nanny and is dead so no need for Carter to hound her about her connection to Reese. Oh, and they have patrol cops interviewing her clients. He asks her why he was there if he wasn’t the shooter and she just makes a face like maybe she sharted.
You take notes? I just watch surveillance footage intensely.
Gates is talking to a patrol cop about Cristina, and that she wasn’t there when Sam came home. Despite knowing she was a nanny, the cop wonders who “Sam” is and really, NYPD should sue this show for their feloniously stupid portrayal. Gates says Sam’s his son and that he came home when Sam said Cristina wasn’t there. The cop accepts what the judge says and thanks him. Gates walks back into the house, looking miserable, and we see Reese standing there. Gates, showing he’s not entirely immune to the healing powers of the Caviezel, says that Cristina was there when his wife died and was always there for Sam, so Reese tries to comfort him by telling him Sam’s still alive. The judge wavers and says Reese can’t know that, so Reese switches tacks and ask if he’s ever heard of…and spouts the same Slavic gibberish SB9.
Gates wonders how Reese knows all this but Reese obliques that he “has experience.” Gates questions if that’s enough and wonders if he shouldn’t just tell the cops the truth. Reese tries to calm him down by saying he knows how to be invisible which, not really, and that he’s going after Sam regardless. He asks Gates one more time about the gang but the judge doesn’t know them. Boris calls at that moment and lets the judge know that they don’t want money they want him to make sure that Angela Markham is acquitted. Markham was the drunk driver at the top of the episode.
A quick pan shows Sam and a Virgin Mary statue in the foreground, letting us know they’re stashing the kid in an abandoned church and for us to keep making Jesus and Mary connections.
Too easy. Joke writes itself.
Surveillance footage leads to the courthouse at 8:20:53. Gates voices over Angela Markham’s exposition. She’s an account executive at a tech firm in the trade center. She’s being tried for DUI and vehicular manslaughter. The judge still thinks it’s a random accident and wants to know where Reese is getting his information. Reese deflects and then says he needs to find a way to hurt the kidnappers and asks Gates to stall but cooperate to buy Reese time.
Up at Finch’s library, we learn that SB9 has upgraded from street gang to multi-national corporation. Reese exposits that they’ve developed a veneer of professionalism and Finch adds, with a bit of grudging respect, that they leave almost no digital footprint. They can’t find any connection to the kid so Reese jumps on the “He-Man Gender-Assumptions” train, thinking that whomever Angela is sleeping with is high up in SB9. I’m sure his gender assumption will be proven right, since it usually is. Finch starts looking into Markham’s background and Reese leaves, practicing his D&G runway walk on his way out.
He walks up to some beater in an outer borough parking lot and opens the trunk. Leon’s tied up in the trunk and Reese taunts him. Leon sasses him through the duct tape so Reese just slams the trunk closed.
So that’s where the smell was coming from!
Over at the precinct Fusco walks up and it looks like Carter might actually be working the nanny’s homicide, but no, she’s just using it to stalk Reese. She probably saw that earlier scene where he was getting dressed. Fusco questions her about the crime scene, noting the missing slug and surveillance footage tells us his cell rings at 8:56:33. It’s Reese. Fusco says it’s his ex and walks about 10 feet away. Carter’s Carter so she barely notices Fusco telling Reese that ballistics was a bust and Carter’s working the nanny’s murder. Fusco asks if the two cases are related but Reese tries to blow him off. Showing some more character development Fusco smartly points out that if he can ID the nanny killer it could solve the kidnapping. Reese grudgingly accepts that Fusco’s not a total meathead and agrees to work with him.
Fusco goes back to Carter and leads her through the obvious because her working theory is ex-boyfriend. Fusco points her to the circles at the entrance wound and asks how many ex-boyfriends use silencers and that the killer’s a pro. If she closed one of her 37 open cases, she might have picked that up sooner. Never questioning why a former narcotics cop knows more about a murder than a homicide cop, she just tells Fusco to pull up a chair.
At the courthouse, Finch is syncing his cell phone to Angela’s. Gates takes the bench and in a not-at-all symbolic way, looks at Sam’s school picture before calling court in session.
Bright light! Bright light!
Surveillance footage takes us to a muddy lot at 10:23:06 and suddenly we’re in the Sabotage video. Oh, no. It’s just Reese spinning donuts in the beater. He goes to the trunk and offers Leon a juicy burger or another spin. All he has to do is give up Sam’s location. Leon says he doesn’t know, so Reese asks about Angela Markham. Nothing. Leon says he doesn’t know why they wanted the kid, he just works in four man teams, taking orders. Then Leon starts having a fit. Reese goes to slam the trunk but Leon remembers something important, the address where he gets paid. Reese throws him the burger and slams the trunk, telling the tied up Leon to figure out how to eat it.
Back at the courthouse and Gates is sustaining every cockamamie objection from Markham’s attorney, rendering the responding cop’s testimony useless. The prosecutor gets frustrated so Gates calls court recessed until the next morning. He goes back to his office and the phone rings immediately. It’s Boris. The judge asks who Markham is to Boris but Boris is like “You disappoint me.” Gates wants to talk to Sam, but Boris says not until the judge stops stalling. Gates is quick on his feet and points out that he has to do it right or Markham will just get tried again. Boris accepts this excuse and tells the judge to remember what he’s playing for. Then he sends a picture of Sam to the judge, in case he forgot. And for Finch to intercept.
Finch is talking to Reese while he tries to trail Markham but she’s pretty agile in her heels and he can’t keep up. But it doesn’t matter. As Reese lets Finch know he got an address from Leon, Finch intercepts a call to Markham’s phone. It’s Boris. He tells her “It’s as good as done,” but she fights back that until she’s free it’s not done. D’oh. Gender assumptions bite Reese and Finch in the ass, again, as it turns out she’s not just some bimbo, she’s integral to SB9’s operation.
Reese makes this look so easy.
It’s 22:36:31 and Reese is breaking into a brownstone’s basement apartment. He’s winding through the basement’s narrow hallway, when the A&F thug comes home. The thug takes a shot at Reese and misses, even though he’s only about five feet away, allowing Reese to get off his own round that hits. They tussle as Reese asks where Sam is. When A&F says he doesn’t know, Reese decks him for fun. Then he busts into a bedroom to see stacks of bills strewn around the room and lets Finch know he thinks he’s found the way to make them hurt.
Surveillance footage lands on a voice capture of Boris which leads to him getting pissed because he’s missing two men and half a million dollars. He barks some random orders then throws his cell phone at Sam.
Meanwhile, Reese walks into the library and dumps a trash bag full of cash on Finch’s desk who deadpans “I guess we know why they didn’t ask for money.” Reese thinks the cash is a way to get Sam back, but Finch rains on Reese’s parade pointing out that he’s a sexist jerk because Angela’s working with SB9, not sleeping with them. But she’s blonde. It was an obvious assumption.
Still think dumpster diving doesn’t pay off?
Markham’s firm installs software to detect money laundering. She oversaw the installation at One State Bank and shuts off the software when SB9 transfers their money through them and that’s how they pay for things without leaving a digital footprint. Finch deduces that if they can get the account numbers they can find Sam.
Reese catches up with Gates at the courthouse and Gates is getting impatient. Reese says he can save Sam if the judge trusts him, but it doesn’t look good. In the courtroom, Gates announces that he’s reversing his earlier decision to admit the video footage because it would be unfairly prejudicial. The prosecutor asks for a mistrial but Gates denies that as well. As the prosecutor chafes at the reversal, Gates threatens her with contempt. With nothing left, she rests her case.
A One State ID badge with Finch’s picture is swiped through a security scanner. Finch is in their server room downloading account information when an actual One State IT guy comes in. He’s suspicious but doesn’t make nearly enough to fight so he just says the information’s confidential and Finch tells him they’ve been hacked. IT guy panics and wonders about the firewall and who Finch is. Finch sasses him that since he’s the one who got called, he’s the guy who took IT guy’s job. Asshole billionaire.
We’re outside and Reese opens the trunk to reveal that a lavender shirt compliments the tawny undertones in his complexion. And to pour some water on the thugs. He asks A&F what their boss’ name is. A&F refuses to give up information so Reese asks if A&F ever saw two cats in a bag. This confuses A&F so Reese asks Leon if he wants out then cuts the zip ties from Leon’s wrists before slamming the trunk shut. Heh.
Cats in a bag
Fusco calls Carter over to show her CCTV footage of the nanny’s street around the time of the murder. He spots A&F walking down the street, taking off gloves. Even though he sticks out in that neighborhood more than Reese, only Carter’s allowed to make wild assumptions and she says “maybe he’s just a guy with cold hands.” She’s the worst. Then she asks if Fusco got a description she doesn’t know about. She saw a guy in a Carlos the Jackal ski mask and assumed it was Reese, so again, she’s the worst. Fusco says he had a hunch and ran the plates on A&F’s car. It’s registered to a company, Coldfield Holdings. As she walks away to follow up, Fusco sends Reese a text.
Leon’s chowing on his burger as Reese lets Finch know that Boris’ name is Yarik Koska. Finch watches the One State data scroll and tells Reese that Koska’s name doesn’t show up. Also, Angela shuts down the software for three minutes a day to let the money flow through the bank undetected. And the operation goes beyond just SB9. As Finch says that it could take hours to find Koska’s shell corporation Reese receives Fusco’s text about Coldfield. This leads them to an address 10 blocks from Gates’ house. Reese thinks Gates won’t have to throw the case if he can find Sam quickly but the jury’s reached a decision.
The address is the abandoned church where they were holding Sam. Reese says if Finch doesn’t hear from him in four minutes to call the police. Reese checks out the church (Jesus and Mary sightings: 2) as the judge calls court to order. Reese finds Sam’s blanket but no Sam. As the jury foreman reads the “not guilty” verdict Reese texts Finch that Sam’s not there.
Mother and child reunion, part 2
Gates leaves the courthouse and Boris calls him with directions to Sam while Angela and her attorney congratulate each other. Finch tells our viewers who are resting their eyes that Markham goes free while Gates is heading to his death sentence. Reese says it’s a scorched earth policy then explains what that means. This scene is very redundant until we see Reese sidle up to Angela and pull his gun as she’s getting into her car.
Surveillance footage takes us to a marina at 18:08:34, and it’s gray and drizzling. Sometimes weather just gives you a much better shot than you were anticipating. Gates drives up in his fancy sedan to meet with Boris. Gates isn’t getting that they’ll both be killed so he demands to see Sam. One of the baddies yanks the kid out of an SUV so Boris can pull a gun on him. Gates keeps them talking long enough to give Reese time to wander up with Markham telling them to stop. Reese catalogues what a scumbag Boris is and he’s like “So what, I’m still killing all of you,” but Reese, looking hella drawn and haggard, says he’s not working alone. Boris gets a cell phone alert and sees that all his clients’ accounts have been zeroed out. Unless Boris lets Sam and Gates go, Reese will let Boris’ clients know he lost all their money. Boris thinks for a moment, shoves the kid aside and says “The operation’s burnt. Shoot them all,” but it’s only three against Reese. He kneecaps them all before they can land one bullet. With both Sam and Gates safe, Reese tells them to go home.
Kneecap count: 3
As Intro by The XX fades in, we cut to a montage of the prosecutor getting a print out of all of Boris’ clients’ accounts while Carter and Fusco careen up to A&F’s apartment. They find Markham, Boris, A&F and random baddie bound, gagged and surrounded by the money Reese took earlier. POV switches to a car’s rear view mirror as Reese watches Markham getting shoved into a squad car.
It’s an early Christmas for Carter and Fusco.
Sam and Gates are kicking around a soccer ball on a beautiful morning. Sam runs off in time for Reese to materialize next to Gates. Dude really is a cat. Gates is somber and says he doesn’t know how to thank Reese. Reese says not to, but Gates continues, telling him he doesn’t know how or what Reese is doing but if (when) he gets found out there isn’t much the judge can do to help him.
And we’re back where we started, with Reese sliding into Finch’s booth in the diner as Finch eats. He asks Reese what Gates said and Reese says they have nothing to worry about and the judge might even help. Finch points out that he was listening, but Reese says he was reading between the lines. Finch gets frustrated with Reese and says only time will tell who is right. As Finch moves to leave Reese says “Thank you.” Finch can’t figure out his angle, and says “I beg your pardon?” Reese isn’t teasing and he sincerely says “for giving me a job.” Finch considers this for a moment then shoves the menu at Reese. He tells Reese to have the Eggs Benedict and that he’s had them “many times.”
Finch walks off and Reese thinks he’s getting another number but the menu’s empty. This weirdly intimate moment between two weirdly damaged men touches Reese and he smiles to himself, sending all the nascent slash writers to figure out how Eggs Benedict fits into their storylines. While Intro plays us out of the scene, I think Reese is hearing Bob Marley instead.
Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that I’m feeling?
So, that’s it. There was a ton of implausible action and continuity errors galore, but it was also one of the better written episodes. I think they’re finding their footing and even Carter doesn’t bug as much.
And if you’re drinking at home: kneecap count = 3
Any other thoughts?