Person of Interest: Can We Get a "Witness?"

Hang on, I'm about to ruin every movie and TV show you'll ever watch again.

Or maybe not, because of course you're all aware of the "Law of Economy of Characters," which states that movie budgets make it impossible to have unnecessary actors. If you're watching a movie or TV show and there's a recognizably famous actor in a seemingly minor/insignificant role, he/she is your bad guy. Don't believe me? Go watch a couple episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Or you could just ask Abe Simpson:

I say we call Matlock. He'll find the culprit. It's probably that evil Gavin MacLeod or George "Goober" Lindsay.

Last night's Person of Interest dodged this somewhat, as Enrico Colantoni (who played murder witness Charlie Burton) isn't a household name except to fans of Just Shoot Me! (a species I'm still not sure actually exists) and Veronica Mars. Nevertheless, I immediately suspected him of being more than just a mild-mannered high school teacher.

Meaning I am either The Smartest Man Alive or I watch way too much TV.

I'm not sure how any of the rest of you want to die, but I'd just as soon not get whacked in a convenience store (unless Lynda Carter and Jaclyn Smith are the cashiers who bravely give me CPR). For a change, Carter and Fusco are the first characters featured.

Ooh, a mob execution! I never get tired of hearing the expression "Double-tap, close range." Detective Schemansky (Mike McGlone, a.k.a. the deep-voiced Geico guy) tells the detectives the victim is a former La Cosa Nostra lieutenant named Benny D'Agostino, murdered in retribution for a Russian turf war. More importantly, the Benny's boss is none other than the mysterious Elias.

There was a witness caught on the bodega's security camera, and Carter is eager to track the guy down, especially since he's now most likely being hunted by the Russians.

Conveniently, the witness -- Charlie Burton -- is also the Finch's Number of the Week. He's a high school history teacher under surveillance by Reese and oh shit here come the Russians, who seem...curiously armed to the teeth for a meek school teacher. Reese extracts Burton with a disappointing lack of bloodshed, and they escape through a Bulgarian-run neighborhood because the Russkies won't follow. Oh, those wacky eastern Europeans.

Burton catches a bullet in the shoulder during their getaway, forcing him and Reese to lay low in an abandoned apartment. Reese's cell phone is destroyed as well, leaving him unable to communicate with Finch. It's a nice twist on their usual "in each other's head-edness." The teachers says he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and didn't understand the final message D'Agostino gave him. He and Reese exchange pleasantries, and Burton tells him he tries to get Russian mob kids out of "the life," with limited success.

Carter, Fusco and Schemansky question the widow D'Agostino, who seems perfectly content to let Elias get vengeance on the Russians. She also claims his takeover of Brighton Beach is "just the beginning," as he intends to unite the Five Families. No word on what Michael and Fredo have to say about all this.

Uh oh, it appears the Russians and Bulgarians have united to find the two fugitives (Reese stole some medical suppiies from the Bulgies, so now they're pissed). Luckily Reese jacks into a land line and gets an alternate way out from Finch, and a student of Burton's living in the building gives them some breathing room. Meanwhile, Finch, using ATM camera footage and reports coerced from Fusco, believes Elias is also on his way to whack Burton, because he believed Benny passed "sensitive information" on to Burton before he died.

Reese arranges for a pickup at the ferry, but Elias's men are on their way as well. Finch assumes Fusco ratted them out, a theory quickly disregarded when they knock out the detective.

And how did Elias's men know about the ferry? Because BURTON *IS* ELIAS! Holy balls. He even offers Reese a job, to no avail, then warns Reese to steer clear of him in the future. So now Reese and Finch have to ponder how to implications of saving a guy who's about to start a mob war.

Finally, Elias's men track down the Russian boss and kill him. And this, Elias says, is "just beginning."

Good stuff. Liked Reese and Finch forced to rely on their own capabilities when communications were severed, and though the reveal wasn't a huge surprise, I'm actually kind of glad the whole "Who is Elias?" thing wasn't stretched across the entirety of the first season. Now things can start picking up.

Or will in two weeks, when Person of Interest returns.

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