Person of Interest: "Ghosts" in the Machine

As you'll recall from last week, Jim Caviezel plays the Man With No Name...well, we actually found out his name. It's Reese, and he was evidently a spook of some ability in his past life. Michael Emerson plays Finch, the Mysterious Billionaire who designed a machine that measures calamitous intent for the government. The feds, being focused on big ticket items like bombings and mass destruction, culled out the lesser crimes, declaring them "irrelevant." This is where Reese and his buddy come in.

And each episode will apparently open with Reese opening several cans of whoop ass on the bad guys. I could learn to live with that.

The Machine provides Finch with a Social Security number of a person, no more, no less. And the latest belongs to one Theresa Whitaker, a 15-year-old who was allegedly murdered two years ago. This is something of an inconvenience.

But before we get too involved in that, we're sent back to 2002. The Machine is just getting off the ground, and a not-yet-limping Finch and as-yet-unnamed associate celebrate winning another business award while checking out their new NSA hook-ups and contemplating the lingering problem of sorting through the massive amounts of surveillance data to find the bad guys.

We've come a long way in our perception of privacy when this former alt.hack message board fodder is now the basis for a prime-time network drama. God bless America.

Back in the present day, Finch tells Reese that Theresa's father Grant, a real estate developer gone belly-up, allegedly murdered his wife and kids, but Theresa's body was never found. Reese "persuades" Lyle, the dirty cop with a heart of gold he shot in the back last week, to look into the files. After perusal, Reese believes it was a professional hit, because, as he puts it, "It's what I would have done."

There follows a nice reaction shot of Finch briefly contemplating who, or what, he's gotten into bed with. He visits Theresa's aunt, posing as a claims investigator. She doesn't believe Theresa's dead either.

Meanwhile Carter (Taraji P. Henson) keeps digging into Reese's background, only to find most of his files have been redacted by the Feds. About all she's got to go on is the fact that he wears a suit. Might be time to switch to more business casual attire.

Reese tracks down Theresa, who has apparently been off the grid so long she's taken to dressing like Angelina Jolie in Hackers. She escapes, but we know she either faked her own death or is in cahoots.

Reese visits Solmick, the killer responsible for the Whitaker hit, in prison. He says he let Theresa live as a matter of principle (he's one of these mythical contract killers who won't kill kids) and has been defending his honor around the cell block, which would appear to have backfired. The trail leads to Landale, the holding company that invested with Grant in a few properties, and the main guy, Calhoun, certainly has more muscle around him than the average Century 21 guy. And Uncle Derek's there, too.

Tracks Theresa to a laundromat, where he gets his ass kicked by a skinny Bob Hoskins, evidently dispatched by Landale to take care of Theresa.

[Jesus, do all these guys wear Kevlar vests?]

Long story longer: Derek got his brother hooked up with money launderers (Landale) to buy this parcel of polluted land the government was (eventually) going to clean up. "Eventually" became too long to wait and they killed Grant and his family. Now they're after Theresa because the government finally did clean up the site and it's worth a shitload.

Back to 2007. Finch's partner is unhappy The Machine weeds "irrelevant" persons. I'm going out on a limb and saying Finch started his new venture to atone for whatever ended up getting this guy killed.

Not Bob Hoskins kills Derek and tracks down Theresa, who's in hiding with Finch. Reese interrogates Calhoun via dump truck, which is something I wasn't previously familiar with. NBH goes to cap Theresa, but naturally Reese saves the day.

Little extra background on Reese this week, as all the back story applied to Finch. Somewhere between 2007 and now he acquired a limp, and his old business associate died. I'm guessing suicide, but we'll see.

Next week: The war comes home, and Reese head-butts someone.

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