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'Person of Interest' returns after a season of change

Season 4 | Episode 1 | “Panopticon” | Aired Sept 23, 2014

Person of Interest is back after its most ambitious season yet, in which several plot strands came to a close, and seeds that had been planted early in the show’s run were given a chance to bloom.

HR is no more, having taken Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson), who was fatally shot, as collateral damage. In its shadow rose Samaritan, a program that could best be described as the Machine’s evil twin. The program is coveted by government types as well as the shadowy Decima Laboratories, and is led by the oily Greer (John Nolan).

Trying in vain to stop Samaritan from falling in the hands of Greer, the team found themselves in a state of disarray and parted ways, with Root manipulating government servers into classifying everyone as dead. Samaritan, on the other hand, finally went live—ready to show the world what it’s made of.

That question is answered in Budapest, where an American journalist (Frederick Weller) chats up a pretty woman (Cara Buono). She shoots him dead once he starts spewing information about some sort of technological conspiracy afoot involving artificial intelligence and how it is bringing companies to their knees.

In New York, Greer and Senator Garrison (John Doman) discuss the merits of Samaritan and how the sacrifice of the journalist was necessary for the sake of national security. As Garrison walks away, Greer has a conversation with Samaritan on his phone, inquiring about Finch and the gang: “Whatever rock they are hiding under, I’m sure you will find them as soon as they emerge.”

Cut to Shaw in the most unlikely of places: a Manhattan department store, spraying perfume samples. After taking a tongue-lashing from her boss (surprise, surprise—retail isn’t Shaw’s forte), she spies Root over at the makeup counter. After hearing her complain about her “day job,” Root tells her to “stay in character” and continue to stay off of Samaritan’s radar.

Reese, meanwhile, seems to be up to his old ways, meeting a trio of men for a drug deal. When he leads them to a car trunk full of cash, the men pull out their guns and try to take it all. As the saying goes, big mistake. Proving that old habits die hard, Reese takes them out just as the NYPD arrive. Seeming as though he’s about to get arrested, Reese instead flashes a badge and is referred to as “Detective.”

Meanwhile, Finch (and Bear!) finds himself addressing a college class as “Professor Whistler.” After shooting down a leggy coed who suggests another means to pass the class, and having a quick exchange with a school official, who brings up his dissertation filled with typos, he gets an alert on his phone regarding “1182 Sullivan St.”

Reese meets up with Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman) at a rooftop crime scene before getting the same alert as Finch. Before long, he meets Shaw at a self-help presentation. As Shaw complains that Reese’s cover job is much more exciting than hers, a nearby pay phone rings. “Looks like we’re back in business,” says Reese, with a rare smile.

Reese and Finch meet in a park where Reese tells him that the Machine is spitting out numbers again. Finch is understandably hesitant to jump back in. Reese nevertheless hands him a file on Ali Asam (Navid Negahban), a shopkeeper who is good with computers. Finch, warning of impending doom if they keep helping the numbers, leaves Bear with his old partner and walks away, file in hand.

Reese surveils Asam’s shop, where he sees Asam have an exchange with a member of the Brotherhood gang, who brings up the rooftop homicide. After the gang member leaves, Reese approaches Asam and begins inquiring about the rooftop case. Volunteering his help, he leaves his card with Asa. Later, Reese and Fusco tail Asam and discuss the racket he’s involved in—creating a private phone network where authorities have no access. Approached by the gang member, Asam hands him the product, a high-tech battery, and tells him to wait as he goes to test the signal. As Reese follows him, Fusco spies Asam sending a text. Having cloned his phone, Reese realizes that Asam handed over a bomb that he just triggered.

As the hood and his 105131_wb_1298bcaccomplice drive away, Reese runs up and manages to grab the phone, throwing it away before it explodes. Reese and Fusco interrogate Asam, who divulges that he had gone to the cops before and since they did little, he had to take matters into his own hands. Fearing his son Ben (Eshan Bey) is in danger, the three arrive at the shop to see it ransacked. Asam’s phone rings, and it’s the criminals with news that they have his son. Reese calls Shaw and asks for her help. Sensing hesitation, Reese goes alone and demands to see Ben. As Reese lays out the criminals one by one, the leader mentions something about a whale. Before he can continue, Reese himself is knocked unconscious—by none other than Shaw.

Root visits Finch and gives him an update on the “mayhem twins,” Reese and Shaw, before reminding him the importance of keeping up with the Machine and how it’s just the five of them (“Six if you count the dog”) against the world. As Reese gives Asam the unfortunate news that his son is still out there, Finch makes a surprise appearance and requests that they play by the rules. “Then I’ll find someone who doesn’t,” says Reese, who pays a visit to Carl Elias (Enrico Colantoni).

Finch inquires how Asam set up the network and is surprised to find that it covers all five boroughs, and that Asam used UHF rooftop antennas to keep suspicion low. Reese begins asking questions about the Brotherhood and mentions the whale. Elias reveals that the whale is not a person but a shipment of heroin that comes in four times a year; it used to be something handled by HR. As Elias warns Reese to steer clear, Reese offers him a job.

Asam calls the Brotherhood and assures them that the network is secure. Finch then calls Reese and gives him the location of the house where Asam’s boy is located. Reese and Shaw arrive at the house as the watch the deal in motion. As some of the members drive off, they crash into a truck head-on. Shaw thinks it’s Reese’s doing, but it’s actually one of Elias’ men. As the rest of the Brotherhood gang scurry out, Shaw takes care of them. Reese enters the house and takes out a few more, looking for Ben as sirens whine in the background.

Reese manages to catch up with a gang member who has Ben in his car. He knocks the gang member out and extracts Ben before being approached by a uniform. A woman identifying herself as Meg Watkins from Homeland Security—the same one who shot the journalist in Budapest—visits the crime scene.

Reese and Finch sit on a park bench and reflect on their latest endeavor. Finch hands Reese a bag filled with Asam’s communication system and tells him they will be able to communicate without Samaritan’s knowledge. Reese, in turn, tells him that things aren’t about the numbers anymore: “It’s about survival.”

At the precinct, Fusco is shocked to find out that he’s got a new partner, John Reese. Finch continues dwelling on his typo-filled dissertation, only to figure out that the typos are a code leading him to a library, where he finds a book of interest—and possibly something larger.

This season opener got straight to business as usual, and the audience is allowed to get reacquainted with characters who were forced to jump off a plane without a parachute. There is a lot of talk of survival here, and with the threat of Samaritan looming, it’s exciting to see these characters out of their comfort zones and in a vise’s grip as they try to figure out just how they’re going to get out of this predicament.

Person of Interest started out as a rather straightforward procedural, but has evolved into more of a serialized show with its procedural elements still intact. Last season kinda blew the doors off, and we’re now starting to pick up the pieces. There is plenty of potential for this season to continue the momentum from the last and make for another exciting one.

 Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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