Film and TV

Person of Interest: "Blue Code" of Silence

It occurs to me that Person of Interest might be one of the first prime time network TV shows (and almost certainly the first one on CBS) to make endemic police corruption a major theme. Sure, you've had "dirty cops" crop up all the way back to Dragnet, but usually you have to stick with HBO or FX to see how dirty the Thin Blue Line can actually get.

However, on last night's episode, the corruption in the NYPD went from a side issue to forming an important new component to Reese and Finch's plans. Welcome back to major supporting character status, Fusco.

You can always tell it's going to be a busy episode when they jump right to the Number of the Week sans prologue. The NOTW this time is paramedic Michael Cahill, who goes from upstanding citizen to diamond smuggler inside of a minute. Fortunately, Reese has somehow insinuated himself as the ambulance driver. They get pulled over, but one of the crew (Vargas) assures them he has friends in the force.

This has New York's Finest Taxi Service from The Usual Suspects written all over it.

Reese accompanies the crew to hand off the diamonds (to the Russians? Hungarians? Hottentots?) and helps torch the limo. He then follows Cahill to a 3 a.m. break-in -- wait, why the hell is Finch in a suit at 3 a.m.? -- where he enjoys a rendezvous with his family. Cahill's actually an undercover cop.

Wuh oh, it's another flashback episode (it's been, like, two whole weeks). We take the Wayback Machine to 2008, where Reese is holed up in an NYC apartment with the dearly departed Claire Stanton, and what do you know, Agent Snow? They have a hooded prisoner they're supposed to "render" for attempting to sell software something something to the Chinese. Since I'm on a roll, I'm guessing it's Machine related, and the hooded guy is probably Ingram. Snow tells him to get some R&R, and Reese proceeds to enjoy a beer with his ex-wife's (Jess?) husband. Stanton is displeased, but sympathizes.

"We're not walking in the dark. We *are* the dark."

Side note: Reese is originally from Puyallup, Washington.

Back in the present. Cahill is actually Daniel Tully. He tells his handler he wants to go after Vargas's direct supplier, someone named LOS (or...Elias?), and warns the handler (who's probably the connection) of Vargas's inside cop connection.

Snow's back, and not happy to be sent on a wild goose chase. He has ominous words for Carter about the fate of Reese's old partner. He scoots and Finch shows up, asking Carter to find out who the leak is. Fusco is also on this for Reese, and approaches one of his old partners in crime to get close to Vargas.

Vargas and crew go to pick up their latest shipment of filthy narcotics at a Chinese restaurant, and things go downhill. One of Vargas's men gets shot in the leg. Worse, Vargas knows one of his crew is a cop and refuses to get medical help for Femoral Artery Wound until he finds out who.

Finch wants Fusco to pinch Tully's undercover file before Vargas's informant can grab it. He does, but gets caught by the IAD informant (this guy didn't even have a line before, they're getting smarter about concealing the bad guys) after shredding the document. He calls Vargas and Reese gets FAW's phone away from Tully (he swiped it to call his handler). Reese's reward: a crowbar to the head.

Tully engineers a moment alone with Reese, who reveals he knows enough about the cop's life story to be a potential friend. Tully reluctantly agrees, then shoots him in what I assume is a flak jacket to make it look good for Vargas (it's not, he just grazed him). They go on to the meet with LOS as Reese is left to escape from the car-set-on-fire-to-be-his-would-be tomb just as Carter rolls up. Now they have a dilemma: Go to the meet and save Tully, or go rescue Fusco?

LOS shows up and turns out to be...some bureaucrat-looking white guy. Tully takes him down, with Reese and Carter's help, but Reese has some bad news for their narc friend. "LOS" is CIA, using drugs to fund the war on terror. He warns Tully the CIA will come after him if he books the guy, but Tully doesn't listen.

The Bad IAD Man takes Fusco out to kill him, but then Reese conveniently shows up to do what he does best. Bad news for Fusco, though: Reese needs him to keep playing at "bad cop" to get close to HR. Which he does. As his old friend tells him, "You belong to HR now."

Snow gets LOS out of jail, only to "render" him bag-on-the-head style. The Company isn't very forgiving of interruptions to the revenue stream.

- So it looks like we don't find out who the guy in the bathtub in 2008 was after all. There goes my "Expert Prognosticator" designation.

- Lots of annoyingly convenient plot developments, tonight: Carter showing up just as Reese escaped the car, Reese showing up in the nick of time to save Fusco.

- Where the hell is Elias?

Next week: Mr. Reese goes to Wall Street.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar