The Machine’s human avatar in Person Of Interest
UK Broadcast Airs on Channel 5
Whether picking off Russian gangsters like an unvirtual first-person shooter or dressing up in a bear costume for some mission, Root has become the breakout character on Person Of Interest.
Root is the kind of character every actress moans there aren’t enough of on US telly: a female action hero who isn’t just a bloke with lipstick. She’s a woman who can take on the men on their terms while remaining 100% feminine. And no, that doesn’t just mean she’s allowed to wear sexy dresses every now and then, as would happen on many shows. She’s a fully-rounded character who clearly delights in being a woman upsetting a man’s world. Hell, she even has a lesbian crush on a teammate that doesn’t come across as gratuitous and she’s insistent that God is a woman; although God in her case is the Machine – the sentient
US Broadcast Returns to CBS in 2016
supercomputer built by Harold Finch.
She started out as an antagonist to Finch’s team, a hacker for hire and sometime assassin (her business cards must have been interesting). On learning of the Machine’s existence she became obsessed with finding it. Harold feared she wanted to destroy it. On the contrary, she wanted to free “her”. The Machine was clearly flattered and was soon using Root as its human avatar. Communicating with her via earplugs the Machine could guide Root through action sequences – the onscreen results were spectacular.
Amy Acker – once Fred on Angel – has played Root with a sparkling charm throughout. Root could simply have come across like an automaton or puppet; Acker gives her a vulnerable charisma that means you have no choice: you have to root for her. Dave Golder