I thought I'd observe the airing of the final episode of Person of Interest, which was broadcast on Tuesday night. In this era where the flashiest, or just most comfortable, programs get all the attention, Person of Interest set a new standard for network television. On the heels of hits like Alias, Lost, and Fringe, CBS acquired this latest idea from J.J. Abrams, who developed it with Jonathan Nolan, expanding on concepts Nolan had originally conceived along with brother Christopher Nolan in the blockbuster The Dark Knight. In an age of terrorism and surveillance scandals, Person of Interest explored the nuances of both in surprisingly personal ways, expanding from an initial focus on tech savant Harold Finch and his pitbull John Reese to include the likes of Root and Shaw, as well as police counterparts Carter and Fusco as they worked on the behalf of the Machine, and later against the corruption of its doppelganger Samaritan.
This was a show I was eager to watch when it debuted in the fall of 2011, which just happened to be when I lost all track of regular TV viewing. When CBS begrudgingly dumped the final season this year (I have no idea why the network became so grumpy about a show that had been one of its biggest hits in recent years), I took it as a chance to catch up and pay my respects as it concluded its story.
It never disappointed me. From the return of Shaw (following the unexpected death of Carter, Shaw's apparent demise was one of the moments that registered in the mainstream media, in part because of her budding relationship with Root) to the closing moments of the brilliantly orchestrated finale, in which the whole reason these characters were fighting was spelled out (because human lives matter, which in any other hands would have come off as a trite message indeed). This was a whole series that bucked the trend of providing easy answers about its weekly mysteries, famously giving the group clues leading them in the direction of people who could be victim or perpetrator. In an age where we've steadily lost our trust in others, Person of Interest struggled to affirm that it can still exist.
This was a 9/11 drama ten years in the making, exploring the world that resulted from the worst catastrophe of the modern era, and coming up with a hopeful message. That may not be what everyone else is saying, but that doesn't matter. Thank goodness Person of Interest did. This was a TV classic, folks.