Person of Interest: No "Risk," No Reward

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It's about time Person of Interest took a position on the economic crisis. Okay, maybe it isn't, but Wall Street has been in the headlines a lot for the past, oh, five years. CBS can be forgiven for not presenting things "ripped from the headlines" as much as a certain fellow network that airs a lot of shows about law and/or order, but a little topicality never hurt anybody.

Then again, I'm not sure oblique references to the Occupy movement and a sanitized portrayal of a homeless squatter settlement count. Procedurals typically have to exist in a sort of parallel reality where real-world events are hinted at but rarely directly impact the lives of the principle characters, so expecting much more is probably foolish.

Give CBS a break, POI is still more realistic than anything we saw on Touched by an Angel.

This week's NOTW is Adam Saunders, a Wall Street trader. Reese must therefore get some new duds. Finch clearly enjoys this more than his surly cohort: "Banking is mainly looking clever and wearing the right clothes."

Saunders is under surveillance by someone else, which Reese discovers when he's unable to jack into his cell phone. Finch has insinuated him into Saunders's life as an asset manager with $153 million seed money for Saunders and his firm, Baylor Zimm, to play with.

Oh, and remember Keller, the CEO of Virtanen Pharmaceuticals? He's been found guilty of murder, and Virtanen stock craters. Luckily, Saunders shorted a shitload of their stock, making him both a hero to senior partner Sydney Baylor and mortal enemy to the guys in his firm he neglected to bring up to speed.

Saunders and Reese go out to celebrate while Finch snoops around the trader's apartment. Saunders engages in fisticuffs with Victor, BZ's chief broker, who had bet the opposite on Virtanen. Saunders ends up spending the night at Baylor's pad, with sexy results.

Finch recruits Carter to go to the SEC and obtain sealed records of an investigation they did into Saunders and BZ, because Carter can now walk through walls, apparently. She finds the inspector's name (Rasmussen), who coincidentally hassles Saunders on the street. Saunders was a witness in the investigation and possibly lied on the stand to protect Baylor.

Reese follows Saunders to Queens, where he meets Robert Sowoski, the man who was his legal guardian after his mom died. "Uncle Bob" has read BZ's prospectus and is worried about their concentrating assets into one company: Tritak Energy. Saunders gets worried as well. Turns out BZ has 19 percent of their action in Tritak. Lots of Finch's funds are getting funneled there, too.

Saunders gets pissed when Reese tells him he knows about his investing Uncle Bob's money, but the tiff is short-lived after the ex-CIA agent keeps him from getting pancaked by a dump truck.

Finch looks into Tritak and finds what looks like evidence of insider trading at BZ. He then goes to Uncle Bob, posing as an SEC investigator. Bob tells Finch what a motivated young man his "nephew" is.

Meanwhile Rasmussen is also on the Tritak trail. Saunders, spooked by his firm's leverage, agrees to show him some numbers. Saunders is lured to the roof where Reese barely saves him from getting turned into street pizza. After some verbal cajoling, Saunders admits he told Baylor about his concerns. However, any suspicions we had about her are allayed when they find Baylor's body in her bathtub. Luckily there's no other murders in New York that night, so Carter is able to check the murder scene.

Reese eschews taking Saunders to a safe house and dumps him in Bumtown, the same place he holed up after dropping off the grid (even putting him on to Joan, evidently the matriarch of the homeless folk). Aha, a moral lesson! I knew you wouldn't disappoint me, network that gave us Jake and the Fatman.

In more good news, a bill passed by the New York Senate allowing fracking upstate means Tritak's pipeline is no longer needed. The company tanks, with predictable results for BZ's investments. Reese confronts Victor, who tells him someone with plenty of juice must have pushed the Senate bill through. Saunders sees the paper and tells Reese someone in BZ must be shorting, then stupidly calls Uncle Bob to apologize, which of course allows the bad guys tracing Bob's phone to get a line on him.

Of course, the short seller is Paul Ashton, Saunders's friend I neglected to mention earlier, to the tune of 4,000,000 shares. Naturally, Ashton is in bed with Rasmussen. Saunders briefly waxes nostalgic with Reese until spilling the beans about calling his uncle. Here comes the hit squad. And if you were hoping an army of homeless would rise up to resist the jackbooted thugs of rapacious capitalism, you'd be disappointed: Reese fights them alone. He's plentyo pissed people are shooting at his homeless friends. Defeating them turns out to be pretty easy, considering the assassins have brilliantly affixed laser sights to their guns, making them sitting ducks in the dark.

Finch's brilliant plan to turn the tables on Ashton and Rasmussen is to have Saunders buy up a shitload of Tritak. I'm not keen on how trading firms operate, but I think there are usually controls in place to prevent orders of that magnitude. Anyway, the cops show up to arrest the pair, and Reese cold-cocks Rasmussen as he's trying to get to Saunders. Wait, what's the moral here? We're *not* supposed to sympathize with a government enforcer rendered toothless by deregulation and corporate political interference trying to get his own sweet lick of that brass ring, like Gil from The Simpsons?

Saunders makes good with Uncle Bob, and even buys the homeless squat area. Reese also tells Joan "someone new" is looking after him, in reference to Finch (or so the eavesdropping Finch seems to think). So, now he's *not* conducting his own investigation into Finch's background? Where the hell was Fusco this week? And Saunders is no longer a suspect in Baylor's murder?

Finally, Rasmussen never makes it to jail. Who could possibly be the mastermind behind: an engineered Senate vote, an attempted $300 million stock swindle, and murdering an SEC agent who was supposed to be in police custody?

You already know the answer to that: Elias is back.

Next week: There is no next week. POI is taking another one of its intermittent weeks off.

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