Film and TV

Person of Interest: "No 'Legacy' Is So Rich As Honesty"

That's Shakespeare, homes. Though, as it turns out, not really applicable to last night's episode at all.

In passing along one of the Machine's numbers last week, Mr. Finch effectively showed Detective Carter his hand. And by thwarting Watson in his attempted murder, Carter did a good job playing into it. Now, to continue the gaming/sports metaphor: The ball's in her court. Will she aid Finch and Reese on their mission, or will she remember she's a servant of the law and take these guys down?

Yeah, that wouldn't make for very good television. And where the hell is Elias, anyway?

Carter waits for Reese in a coffee shop, and it turns out he was there the whole time. She apologizes for Snow having him shot. And she's curious about, you know, the thing. Reese warns her if she gets involved, there's "no turning back," etc., while she states she has certain rules they have to follow. He also tells her she was chosen because her moral compass is "pointing in the right direction." Considering the necessity of illegal searches and wiretaps in PoI, this can be taken as an underhanded indictment of bleeding heart search and seizure laws. Or maybe he's just being nice.

First order of business, the Number of the Week: civil litigation attorney Andrea Gutierrez. She has a sealed juvie record Reese needs unsealed. So much for those rules, eh, Carter?

Gutierrez worked her way up from a hard-knock life, ending up with some $70K in debt, and is trying to make a name for herself suing the state on behalf of inmates with grievances. Reese likes her spunk (do they still call it "spunk?" How about "moxie?"). Her current case is Terrence King, a dude facing charges for drugs found in his apartment he claims were there before he moved in.

Reese tails Gutierrez, Fusco reports Cater's surreptitious conversations with Finch to Reese, unaware that Carter is also working with them. Finch expresses concern at keeping both Fusco and Carter ignorant of each other.

But no time for that. First, Reese has to take care of a ruffian tailing Gutierrez. Or rather, he takes care of Reese (dude's still recovering from being gutshot, give him a break). Personally, I think Gutierrez should practice her pre-incident awareness, i.e., not walking alone through a bad neighborhood with her earbuds blaring, What would Gavin de Becker say?

Finch springs his nephew (?) out of jail for gambling. Will's a doctor, and...dun dun dahhh, the son of Nathan Ingram, Finch's (presumed dead) partner.

Reese found steroids on the guy he fought and asks Carter to trace them. He then goes to Gutierrez's office to plant a tracer on her, maquerading as an ex-con suing his boss. She, in turn, has to meet with Terrence, speaking cryptically of "everyone needing a second chance." Carter calls back with possible locations on gyms distributing the steroids, which she divulges on the condition he not cause any shenanigans. Reese obliges by fighting the guy in the street and chasing him in front of a dump truck. Subtle.

The newly deceased was one Alonzo Garcia, an ex-con who shared a parole officer with King. The PO, Dominic Galuska, is apparently taking a 30 percent cut from parolees he finds jobs for. After a quick KO, Reese sticks a gun in Galuska's hand, douses him in booze and calls 911 to have him picked up. Carter confirms Galuska was prone to setting up his parolees, while Reese sends Fusco on an as-yet-undetermined mission.

Gutierrez makes that "second choice" crack again. Best guess: She was a hooker. Network TV loves those heart-of-gold prostitutes.

Carter and Finch break into Galuska's computer and discover he's made another withdrawal to hire another assassin. Reese takes him out as well. At this point, it should be pretty obvious Galuska views Gutierrez as a threat to his racket.

An aside: "Galuska" is about the mook-iest name I've ever heard.

The racket in question consists of busting single parent parolees and having their kids (and additional imaginary ones) assigned to foster care, along with that fat foster care check. Finch believes Galuska's contact in DFS is a woman named Gloria Copeland, and in order to prevent her from destroying all the evidence, Finch installs a scanner in the DFS shredder. If only we'd had one of those at Worldcomm.

But it turns out Copeland isn't the one on the inside, it's Chris Scollard, Gutierrez's contact I didn't mention earlier because he seemed so insignificant. Distracted again! Damn you, CBS! And time is now a factor, because King's getting transferred to ATTICA! Sorry, that's always how I hear it.

Reese shoots Scollard and Carter shows up to take him. But how the hell is Carter going to explain who shot the guy? She just found him in the library? And what about that hug Gutierrez gave Reese? He's still mourning Stanton, you Jezebel!

And now Will is curious about what daddy was doing before he died. Ruh roh. Yes, he died. "Billionaire's tragic death?" And that aforementioned "undetermined" mission Reese assigned Fusco: tailing Finch. This will end well.

This episode was a little heavy on the "Reese saving the day at the last minute," and didn't advance the overall arc much, but the Reese-Fusco angle was a nice twist. Still, it bears repeating, are we just saving Elias up for the season finale? These standalone episodes are fine and all, but too many and Person of Interest threatens to become just another procedural.

Next week: Well, apparently there is no next week. PoI won't be back until February 2.

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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