Person of Interest is in my top Forever Shows, fun fact Sarah Shahi is in two shows I consider my Forever Shows!
I love the show, the show gave me a host of compelling characters both good and bad, and all shades of gray. They have a lot of women who are varied and awesome, and not everyone needed to know how to use a gun to be awesome.
I think as a whole though it told a really amazing story about people who are introverts, loners, damaged people who needed a second chance. They formed into an odd family/team but they worked and often under the guidance of an AI that was also coming to its own.
And, I love that when the show did focus on the romance, it didn’t focus on it to the exclusion of everything else. Characters are allowed to have plot and history beyond their romance (well, not everyone Grace, unfortunately, is there for Harold but it’s Carrie Preston’s acting the elevated Grace. Iris’s character doesn’t have that).
But I would be lying if I say Person of Interest was perfect there. There are no perfect shows, and POI stumbled a lot, and sometimes they got too enamored with their ideas. Particularly in season 5 with all the constraints of the network and possibly (after watching Westworld) influenced by Westworld’s storylines a wee too much.
(It’s a revelation watching Westworld with Person of Interest in the forefront of my mind because there were moments when I went-- oh, that’s why they did that in POI.)
Even if I accepted the deaths of Carter and Root they could have still done it better, the 100th episode was doing far too much in one episode, they could have broken that up into a two-parter.
The undercover identities went nowhere interesting and they focused too much on John as John Riley (don’t get me started on the Riley identity). They completely dropped the storyline in season 4A where Harold and the Machine decided to work together, they never brought up Harold as Dominic’s teacher in 2PiR which they could have used to bring in Dominic into the story more.
The writers kept separating Harold from the team for no reason! You could literally watch 5x10 and 5x13 together and not miss anything.
They occasionally have weird pacing issues and story decisions, I’m looking at you season 3A, 4B, and 5B(ish)*.
*Admittedly that’s on the network.
Also, they have a representation problem. This show taught me that just because there are some diverse casting choices (not a lot) a show can still have representation problem. I mean, in terms of the story the deaths made sense from a character point of view but POI does not exist in a vacuum.
Carter was a main character, a woman of color and Root was a complicated queer woman. Collier might have been complicated but he existed in a show where a large percent of ‘bad guys’ are black, same goes with Dominic.
Another thing I learned in season 5-- how important it is to have a good villain for the heroes to fight.
After Lambert, who else was an effective antagonist for the team? It’s not Blackwell, the character and the actor was as effective as a wet blanket. Greer devolved into a monologuing drama queen, who as potcpoi loves to point out literally declared himself Samaritan’s queen.
And the most grievous sin of all? Samaritan. Samaritan was practically non-existent as a threat! Compare how Samaritan was presented in season 4, and then the first few episodes of season 5. It’s like day and night!
Also, the show failed to connect Shaw’s storyline with the team’s storyline! Shaw could have told them about what she discovered while she was held captive further pushing Harold into action, and not just because of Root’s death! Greer could have maliciously asked about Shaw and how her escape was treating her, but none of these things happened.
The show ended well, it was emotionally resonant and quiet in the way that fit the show’s overall tone but they could have done better. I expected a full all out assault against Samaritan, but the AI war ended not with a bang but with a whimper.
But in the end, this is the show that gave me Shaw, Root, Harold, Carter, John, Fusco, Zoe Morgan, and Bear, and their occasionally quirky, mysterious AI guardian. I will always be thankful for the show because of that.