Created by Jonathan Nolan (co-writer of and contributor to many of his brother Christopher's films), Person of Interest certainly isn't the first TV series to tap into the nation's decades-long descent into diminishing privacy. Not by a long shot. Movies like Minority Report, itself based on a Philip K. Dick story from the 1950s, already introduced the idea of preventing violent crimes before they actually happened. Yet Person of Interest borrows elements from several different media, blends 'em up and manages to create a consistently compelling slice of weekly network TV. The first season laid plenty of groundwork while capturing a solid critical and commercial following...and oddly enough, the trend actually turned upward during its second season, which serves up 22 more episodes of action, drama and intrigue.
Season One's finale, "Firewall", closed on a strong note; it was one of Person of Interest's most-watched episodes to date, even scoring higher numbers than the pilot. It proved to be one of the series' most ambitious and suspenseful outings thus far, weaving together at least three layers of mystery as new "person of interest" Caroline Turing (Amy Acker) was revealed to be a hacker named "Root" who wanted to capture Finch (Michael Emerson) while being pursued by Reese (Jim Cavaziel). The third season doesn't allow for much breathing room, beginning almost immediately where Season One left off and, not surprisingly, maintaining the show's quick pace. It's a terrific string of episodes, packed with plenty of action, mystery a good dose of humor and even a cool dog. Neither season is easy to condense into just a few paragraphs...but if you're looking for quick episode summaries, they can be found below.
Whether you're watching these episodes for the first time or getting a quick refresher before Season Three begins later this month, you'll find plenty to enjoy here. Person of Interest has never been a show that you watch casually: things move quickly, layers upon layers of the series' deepening mythology are constantly piling up and, luckily enough, it's executed in such an engrossing and entertaining manner that you won't mind keeping your eyes glued to the screen. Caveziel and Emerson are terrific anchors and, once again, charismatic enough to pull most of the dramatic weight. Recurring characters like Leon Tao (Ken Leung) and Root (Amy Acker), as well as familiar detectives Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson) and Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman) just add more depth to an already deep series. Season Two regularly succeeds in avoiding the sophomore slump, smartly leaving a number of questions unanswered while still tying up a few loose ends in the process. For obvious reasons, Season Three can't come soon enough.
Presented as a fairly pointless Combo Pack, this mammoth ten-disc release features just four Blu-Rays and the rest DVDs (oh, and an Ultraviolet Digital Copy, if you're into that sort of thing). The choice of three different formats may appeal to some, but I sincerely doubt many Blu-Ray owners will ever get much use out of the 480p discs included here. Either way, it's tough to find fault with the high-def A/V presentation we're graced with: Person of Interest looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-Ray...so if that's what you buy 'em for, you won't be disappointed in the least. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Video & Audio Quality
Although I don't like Combo Packs in general, one major benefit is the ability to easily judge differences between 1080p and 480p versions of the source material. Person of Interest is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and looks phenomenal on Blu-Ray; in fact, the difference in overall image detail is as evident as Season One. Textures are incredibly crisp, black levels are solid and the series' stylized color palette is translated nicely. Though the frequent use of lower-resolution "surveillance footage" can be more than a little jarring at times, this only reinforces the strength of this visual presentation overall. Without a doubt, this is another terrific effort from Warner Bros. that fans should be pleased with.
DISCLAIMER: This review's images are taken from the DVD edition and do not represent Blu-Ray's native 1080p resolution.
Equally impressive is the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track: it boasts a crisp, dynamic and commanding audio presentation that really grabs the viewer's attention. Dialogue and music are balanced evenly and rarely fight for attention, the rear channels are used smartly and LFE is generous when the situation demands it. Optional French, Spanish and Portuguese DD 2.0 dubs are included, as well as optional English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Presented in typical Warner Bros. style, these no-nonsense menu designs feature easy navigation, stylish animation and relatively quick loading time. Each episode has been divided into six chapters, though no chapter selection menus are present. "Play All" options are also included. Again, this ten-disc set is housed in a multi-hubbed keepcase that's roughly twice as thick as a standard case; it's about as compact as possible, given the superfluous inclusion of DVDs. A Booklet
is also included with content lists and episode summaries, as well as a UV Digital Copy redemption code and a matching slipcover.
Not too much, unfortunately, even compared to the relatively thin first season. The main attraction here is an Audio Commentary
during the excellent season finale, "God Mode". Featuring creator Jonathan Nolan, director Richard J. Lewis and co-executive producer Greg Plageman, this is a rather hectic discussion of the episode's development and production. There's no shortage of information here, from location shooting and editing to early versions of the script and production difficulties. Die-hard fans should definitely enjoy this one, even though a few additional commentaries would've been better.
On a related note is "View From the Machine" (21:24), a behind-the-scenes featurette that summarizes a typical 24-hour window of the show's busy production. This particular piece takes place during the completion and development of the season's last four episodes, focusing on everything from location scout meetings to shooting and brainstorms for as-yet-unfinished stories. Lots of cast and crew members are heard from in NY and LA, including producers Greg Plageman & Richard J. Lewis, writer Tony Camerino, 1st assistant director Peter Soldo, location manager Paul Kramer, actors Taraji P. Henson, Jim Cavaziel, Kevin Chapman & Michael Emerson, editor Mark Conte, VFX supervisor Jay Worth and more.
Finally, we get a short Gag Reel (3:20) with the obligatory line flubs, character breaks and other stress-relieving moments. All bonus features include optional subtitles in the languages listed above.
One of the biggest breakout hits of 2011, Person of Interest returns in style with a second season that serves up plenty more action, suspense and intrigue. Performances remain strong, the series' mythology has deepened nicely and, as always, the exceptional production values aren't far below your average Hollywood blockbuster. Warner Bros.' Blu-ray/DVD combo pack follows the template of Season One, serving up a terrific A/V presentation, three different formats and only a few choice supplements. It's a somewhat bulky package that conflicts with the series' slick, streamlined appearance, but I'd imagine that new and old fans should enjoy Person of Interest in just about any format. Highly Recommended.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design work and runs a website or two. In his free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing in third person.