The Ma­chine’s hu­man avatar in Per­son Of In­ter­est

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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

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