If you step out into a New York City street, you may as well be smiling — there’s no doubt you’re being filmed. It’s the reality of a post-9-11, surveillance-heavy world, and a major inspiration behind the new J.J. Abrams crime thriller, Person of Interest.
“Someone tried to count (the number of cameras in NYC) a couple years ago, and the official tally was ‘uncountable,’” says executive producer Jonathan Nolan, whose credits include the Dark Knight films (director Christopher is his brother). “I think we’re all really aware these days of just how much information is kind of swirling around out there about us, about our friends, about everybody,” he adds. “What’s missing in all of this — or at least we think is missing — is something that sifts through all of that information, a way in which that information actually becomes useful to people.”
Enter The Machine.
The invention of a mysterious billionaire, Finch (Michael Emerson), the government-commissioned, anti-terrorism Machine is capable of predicting when a crime will occur.
With the aid of a former CIA agent, Reese (Jim Caviezel), Finch plans to enact vigilante justice, which plays out on the show in a case-of-the-week format.
“We’re at this very odd moment, kind of standing on the precipice of seeing what happens when you start harnessing all that information,” Nolan says.
Scarily, he’s referring to real-life as much as the world created on Person of Interest.
“This is not really a science fiction show,” he says. “It’s more science fact.”
Meet the cast
• Person of Interest airs Thursday nights on Citytv
- Finch (Michael Emerson) “I play a shadowy tech billionaire who’s had some kind of transformative experience in his psychological life, and he’s decided to dedicate himself to a justice mission,” Emerson says.
- Reese (Jim Caviezel) “He’s former special forces CIA on the surface, but deep down, a guy who is searching for a purpose, and Finch seems to offer that,” Caviezel says.
- Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson) “She served two tours in Iraq,” Henson says. “She gets a little more emotionally involved with some of the people that she interacts with.”