Per­son Of in­ter­est

Good­bye to the Ma­chine

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Viewscreen -

UK Broad­cast Chan­nel 5, TBC US Broad­cast CBS, fin­ished Episodes Re­viewed 5.01-5.12

It seemed to take for­ever for sea­son five of Per­son Of In­ter­est to hit US screens, with CBS ig­nor­ing it for an en­tire year be­fore declar­ing this the fi­nal sea­son... which they then ap­par­ently sched­uled by blind­fold­ing them­selves and throw­ing darts at a cal­en­dar. (We’re still wait­ing to see it in the UK.)

Still, it’s aired. And now it’s over. What be­gan as a fairly sim­ple crime show mu­tated into one of the finest sci­ence fic­tion se­ries in years, in­cor­po­rat­ing – and of­ten pre­dict­ing – real-life events with its sto­ry­lines about sur­veil­lance and cor­rup­tion. You have to won­der if Ed­ward Snow­den ever watched it and nod­ded along as he saw his life played out on net­work tele­vi­sion, ex­cept with the help of a few for­mer CIA as­sas­sins and a Bel­gian dog named Bear who only an­swers Dutch com­mands.

As for this year – well, it’s an odd one. It be­gins with the Ma­chine a shadow of its for­mer self in a tiny brief­case, as Finch and Root try to re­store it to its for­mer glory. Mean­while their col­league and friend, Shaw, is be­ing held by Sa­mar­i­tan’s goons and the end of the world ap­pears to be nigh... for hu­mans, at least. The afore­men­tioned “odd­ness” comes from watch­ing the show’s long-held team dy­nam­ics shift; Jim Caviezel’s John Reese has al­ways been front-and-cen­tre, but here he seems to blend into the back­ground as both Root and Shaw get the spot­light and then, later, Finch. This isn’t a bad thing, and Per­son Of In­ter­est has al­ways been an en­sem­ble piece, but you do find your­self won­der­ing if Caviezel was a bit miffed by it all.

Else­where there are some lovely nods to pre­vi­ous loose threads, shock­ing plot twists and ac­tion scenes that are a cut above what the show has ever done be­fore – in­deed, you’ll be left won­der­ing if the streets of New York are still vi­brat­ing from all the gun­shots.

Per­son Of In­ter­est was al­ways des­tined to go out on a high. It’s just a shame that CBS lost so much mo­men­tum by bench­ing it for a year and then burn­ing through the fi­nal episodes as though they were ashamed of them. Def­i­nitely not the work of a good sa­mar­i­tan. Jayne Nel­son

And now our chaps face the deadly threat of the gi­ant Xs…

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