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Why Humanity Prevails on Person of Interest As Two AI Gods Go to War

If I tried to find a single weak link between the core characters, I'd be here all day

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This article will contain spoilers for seasons 1-4—if you haven’t already started watching, all four seasons are available on Netflix. If you’d like a crash course, here’s one I made earlier…

How common is it to watch a television show and loathe the main character? How common is it to loathe a scene when two certain characters interact?

…How common is it to root for the entire cast, despite their flaws and unfavorable traits? Person of Interest is so special because I cannot think of a core character I actively dislike. I, unfortunately, didn’t include Detective Joss Carter (the illuminating Taraji P. Henson) or The Machine itself—but the premise is this: Person of Interest’s NYC is ruled by AIs, but never lose its grip on the importance of humanity—in its beautiful and ugly forms. It’s why Carter’s death made me cry so much that I went through an entire tissue box (I’m serious). It’s why when Shaw sacrificed herself, I could feel the shards of agony lodged deep in my chest as Root clawed at the elevator doors, her screams of horror silent and helpless.

They’re all immensely watchable, whereas, in every other series I’ve seen, I confess there’ve been lead turds I want to throttle. In Person of Interest, not only are they individually interesting, superbly built-up with flashbacks and detailed back-story; their relationships are an absolute joy to watch too. For a fast-paced, belter of a series, it’s easy to lose track of character relationships and arcs, and it’s easy to rush them because of a speedy plot. But Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman haven’t been idle in writing these characters: they love them with all their heart and you can tell.

Incredibly, no character’s loss is skimped over either; individual pain isn’t brushed aside. When Carter meets her demise, they honor her memory as often as they can: Carter was their moral center and pillar of justice. Her memory saves Reese from himself in ‘Terra Incognita’. When Shaw is believed to be dead or captured, Reese and Root spend episodes determinedly hunting her down. No loss is without its profound, emotive consequences. This show doesn’t just kill a character and lazily forget about them. They don’t just create two-episode arcs for recurring or guest stars Elias, Greer, Lambert, Martine, Dominic, and Control. They don’t just have a meaningless POI Caleb Phipps in season two who ends up saving their lives in the finale. Nolan and Plageman should perhaps teach a masterclass on how to plot.

With each core character bringing a different trait, it spreads and reaches to every corner of the audience. There’s something for everyone. So without further ado, I’d like to present these relationships and briefly explore why they’re so appealing, complex and heart-rending.

 

REESE & FINCH

Reese and Finch are the core and the start of the entire show. They’re polar opposites: Finch is a recluse, and Reese is a kneecapping, coolly calm badass. The fact is: Finch saved Reese’s life in giving him this job, and Reese gratefully acknowledges that. As a homeless man in the Pilot, he had no purpose and was drinking away his days, but Reese—who inherently wants to save lives and be so much more—was wasting away, and Finch picked him up at his darkest hour.

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Finch, ever the pacifist, doesn’t quite appreciate Reese’s in-depth description of gauging someone’s eye out in self-defence.

As the seasons develop and Reese and Finch grow closer (Sencha tea, Reese) it becomes obvious that the duo greatly care for the other. Finch risks everything in driving to save Reese from the FBI. From the very beginning, Finch and Reese note that they’ll likely die on this job—but they’ve accepted that. To society, they’re dead anyway. But their touching faith in each other, their easy banter and their understanding evolves as the seasons move forward. This show could’ve easily been about two white, privileged men with tragic pasts saving the world on a weekly basis but it’s not—it’s so much more than that. What’s most touching for me is that whilst Reese recognizes that Finch saved his life by giving him purpose, Reese’s steadfast loyalty has done the same vice-versa. Reese’s friendship, protection and genuine care for Finch has saved Finch, too. For all that’ll happen throughout season five, I’ll never doubt the undying faith Reese and Finch have in each other. One must ponder where these two will end up once Person of Interest truly ends—and if it’s six feet under—you know what? At least, they were each other’s salvation.

 

ROOT & SHAW

You probably wouldn’t expect Root and Shaw to develop any sort of camaraderie let alone romance after kidnapping, tasing, sedating, handcuffing, nearly torturing her with an iron—but Root and Shaw have forged something special and unique. Romance has never been at the center of this show, though as ‘Shoot’ is an internet sensation, I hope to expand on them next time. Shaw seems to be made to deal with Root’s shenanigans, and Root enjoys pushing Shaw’s buttons so much it’s brilliant. It’s bloomed from obvious flirtation to real affection, without either of them noticing—until the dark season four and losses are prone.

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Shaw notes on their date (it’s totally a date): “It’s not every day you get to beat up a militia group in Anchorage then hop a plane to Miami.”

What’s refreshing is that they are so normalized. The entire gang know something’s going on, yet they don’t joke or leer at them for it. The show never loudly, obnoxiously pats itself on the back for great representation. Root and Shaw are just there, like any other romance. It’s so great to see that women can  allude to obviously wild sex; that they can flirt openly with each other; that they can build this epic romance and their team don’t bat an eye—not because they don’t care for Root and Shaw, but because romance is human, and romance is normal. Next season, when Shaw inevitably returns to Team Machine, it’ll be interesting to see their dynamic going forwards. Amy Acker pulled the performance of the year as a heartbroken Root: but just how far has their dynamic teetered? It’s a dangerous line to walk; when Root loves someone—she will give everything—and as Jim Caviezel hinted at San Diego Comic Con 2015, not all of Team Machine will trust Shaw, whilst Root’s very firmly in Shaw’s camp. With rebuilding The Machine still to-do and this rift driving them apart, it prophesizes frightening cracks in the steady foundation of Team Machine.

 

ROOT & FINCH

Root and Finch are technical geniuses, initiating with a hugely antagonistic relationship and, er, kidnapping (Root does this a lot, cor blimey…). They possess vastly different ideologies: Finch’s aware he’s built an AI that he keeps a distance from, ‘broken’ it to teach it human morality—whereas Root believes The Machine is a deity that should never have been broken, that should be freed and elevate the world beyond humanity, which to her, is just “bad code”.

But when Root’s identified by The Machine as Her analog interface, the game changes. Root can now communicate directly with The Machine and she escapes the mental hospital Finch had confined her to. Yet Finch subsequently imprisons her in a Faraday cage, unable to trust her. It leads to many conversations between the pair, about their clashing ideas in regards to The Machine, but as their relationship develops, Finch truly sees her as a key member of the Team Machine family. By ‘Prophets’, he confesses: “You’re a brilliant woman, comrade, and a friend.” It’s not just respect for her technological ability anymore—Root’s saved their lives multiple times, and whilst her ideology may not have changed, she cares greatly for the team. In the same episode, as Root and Finch hack into systems side-by-side, she notes, so softly, so emotionally—that “This is nice.”

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Root and Finch working together on what they do best—hacking into systems!

It’s a simple sentence, but Amy Acker loads it with so much emotion. Finch notes that she must be lonely—and she doesn’t deny that the world is dark for her—but the way Acker delivers that gorgeously simple line is everything. They’ve gone from antagonism, distrust, hesitancy, pained civility to genuine friendship—to a point in ‘Asylum’ and ‘YHWH’ in which Root would risk her life for Finch. In ‘Skip’ she begs Finch not to die—because she can’t lose him and Shaw too. What will be most interesting, perhaps, is when the two most technologically capable people rebuild The Machine, and how potentially different The Machine could be when it’s influenced by Root and Finch, not Finch and Ingram. There’s sure to be ideological and moral clashes, and I cannot wait.

 

REESE & SHAW

The Mayhem Twins didn’t get off to a great start in ‘Relevance’ where Shaw shoots Reese in the chest not once, but twice. But since joining the team, they’ve come to mutually respect their fighting prowess and deadpan humor. It’s particularly entertaining when the pair take obvious glee in winding Finch up, and as much as I love the Reese and Finch friendship, I think the addition of Root and Shaw have been key in expanding Team Machine. Finch has someone to talk computers about (could you imagine if Finch waffled on about BSOD’s to Reese?) and Reese now has an equally competent, kickass, gun-toting partner in Shaw.

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Betty Harris—oh, Betty Harris. Reese offers a meek “maybe Finch made a clerical error?”

Adorably, they’re honestly like siblings. When Reese gets in trouble with his Captain at his new detective job, Shaw sniggers at him in glee; when Reese and Shaw have to ‘fake-date’ in ‘Lady Killer’, Shaw stubbornly refuses to let Reese row the boat. When Reese is shot in the shoulder and his “ouch” comes across on the communications, Shaw calls him a “baby”. In ‘Razgovor’, Reese snickers when Shaw gets made…by a ten-year-old. When they uncover a yellow Ferrari awaiting them in order to speedily get through NYC, Shaw throws Reese her rifle to make him feel “less inadequate while I drive this thing.” And he complies. Their non-stop bickering is hilarious—but more than that, they deeply care for each other, and Reese—the bigger, bulkier, stronger of the two—never disregards Shaw’s competence in combat as inferior to his own. He truly respects and admires her.

When Shaw is shot in the leg, Reese is the first to run back and support her as they make their escape. When Shaw’s captured by Samaritan, Reese stands loyally by Root’s side in believing that she’s alive—and they wreak havoc on NYC trying to find her. But what I find most endearing and special about Reese and Shaw’s relationship is that it’s never sexualized. The first time Finch and Reese see Shaw wearing a dress, they both stare in awe but Shaw quickly turns this around with a mildly erotic joke about the boys, and that’s that. Shaw’s undeniably attractive, but for good-looking male and female leads, it’s understandable heteronormativity in a fanbase can be overwhelming and lead viewers to ‘ship’ them’—but in Person of Interest it just doesn’t happen. Not once is the notion of a romance brought up, and it’s refreshing to see that shunted out of the way and have two badass characters, male and female, maintain one of the greatest platonic relationships played out on television.

Reese once says to Shaw: “A friend once told me, in our line of work, we walk in the dark. Doesn’t mean we have to walk in it alone.” And as Shaw integrates herself fully within the team, that message becomes blatantly clear.

 

REESE & FUSCO

Reese and Fusco go all the way back to season one when the notorious Man in the Suit recruited dirty cop Lionel Fusco to be his eyes and ears in the precinct. Though they start off with Reese relentlessly teasing Fusco, there’s a kind of love-hate relationship going on there. As time passes, they really begin to bond and connect, with Reese even acknowledging—in a hostage situation—that Fusco is his friend.

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Detective ‘Riley’ and Detective Fusco don’t often see eye-to-eye…

This is exactly what I mean about the sheer effort and lack of laziness in Nolan and Plageman’s writing. Reese and Fusco’s relationship develops organically. When Fusco is uncovered by HR and sent to his death in the forest, it’s Reese who comes and saves his life. After Carter’s death, it’s Fusco who pulls Reese back into action, even undergoing a punch-up with the superior Reese as a way of getting his friend’s anger out at him. It’s Fusco who joins Finch, Shaw, and Root in saving a dying Reese’s life in his tunnel-vision hatred towards Alonzo Quinn as he pushes for vengeance for Carter’s demise. It’s Reese and Fusco who undergo the Brotherhood’s torture with Elias when things spiral out of hand at the climax of season four. These two might have started off as a funny comedy duo—and they still often are—but together they’ve developed something complex, and something infinitely more impactful.

 

FUSCO & SHAW

Fusco and Shaw will always have that back-and-forth banter throughout the seasons. One of my highlights was when Shaw was unfortunately put on a stakeout beside Fusco, who literally snores like a pig. Sameen Shaw does not have time for that. Yet Shaw does something in ‘The Crossing’ that Fusco will likely never forget: she saves the life of his son. It’s a decision Shaw has to make, off-screen, very quickly. She knows sacrificing Fusco will be hard for the team, but she knows it’ll be harder for Fusco if she doesn’t save his son’s life. Shaw may be a self-diagnosed ‘sociopath’, but in so many characterizations of Shaw, it’s frustrating to hear the word ‘robot’ used (you too, Gen). Shaw’s anything but that. She recognizes other people’s feelings and she cares. She knows Fusco would have preferred this decision and the good soldier she is—she goes with her gut instinct in a scene that had Fusco sobbing in gratitude.

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Shaw takes far too much glee in hearing their POI condemn Fusco’s attire and “sad tie”.

Fusco isn’t as worldly as any of the team members—he knows that—but he’s still accepting, open and friendly to all cultures even if he cannot visit all these exotic places. In one of the more poignant moments, Fusco unexpectedly wishes Shaw a “Happy Persian New Year” in ‘Allegiance’—an episode all about racial profiling and ignorance—and the subtlety on Shahi’s face as she plays Shaw’s reaction out is spot-on. She’s touched, and from Fusco of all people—very surprised. These two may quarrel and tease but these moments will never be forgotten.

 

REESE & ROOT

Reese and Root might have gotten off to a slightly rough start, what with Root kidnapping Finch in order to find The Machine and gain twenty-four hour access, and as Root integrates herself within the team we don’t see much Reese and Root interaction. She often shamelessly fails to call him by his name (australopithecine, big lug, knuckle-dragging friend, lurch…). Their relationship, however, distant it may be is always encased with trust: when Root orders him or Shaw to do something via the mesh network, they do it—because they know she’s The Machine’s voice.

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Reese feels Shaw’s loss acutely as any of the team—but as he witnesses Root’s facade breaking down in the car, he doesn’t comment—only lets her mourn quietly, respectfully.

Their personal relationship doesn’t blossom until ‘If-Then-Else’ in which Reese and Root, joined in their unwavering loyalty in Shaw and refusal to accept her death, sends NYC into absolute havoc in trying to find her. They journey together to Maple, a town upstate, in order to locate Shaw—and it’s this journey that solidifies their bond, with a beautiful and moving soundtrack to capture the tender, rawness of the moment. Reese quietly accepts that Root’s still mourning, and he doesn’t make a comment as her emotions get the better of her. He supports her, and he holds her back in the snow when she tries to kill Martine out of vengeance (though they both later note he should’ve probably just let her kill Martine). Reese has a tendency to be a rock for everyone else, only rarely consumed by his own pain (like he was after Carter’s death, and Fusco was the one to reign him in) but as Shaw says to Reese, there’s no ‘dead in team,’ and there’s no I either. Without Shaw, Reese and Root have drawn undeniably closer, and I find it fascinating how whilst each character has their own relationship with the other, these dynamics overlap in the way the characters treat each other, too. I think I can say for these two: they’ve got each other’s backs.

 

FINCH & SHAW

On Shaw’s first mission, she shoots the hell out of half a dozen people in 0.02 seconds, despite Finch’s plea to do it with a little…finesse. In ‘Razgovor’, Shaw disregards all of Finch’s orders in order to save Gen’s life. When they’re about to break into Arthur Claypool’s safety box at the bank, Shaw’s tasked with their escape route once they retrieve the hard-drives—and Finch pleads with her to consider Reese’s more ‘scalpel-like’ approach. Shaw rather gleefully declares that it’s “hammer time”. In fact, the entire episode ‘Aletheia’ is a goldmine for Shaw teasing Finch—about how she’s got “finesse coming out my ass” and in response to Finch’s urge to consider what Reese would do, she simply quips, “Brood?”

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Finch [on the phone]: “Are you eating something near my computer?”/Shaw [with an entire chocolate bar in her mouth, mutely shaking her head]: “…Maybe.”

Everyone has their moments of teasing and mockery, but everyone genuinely cares about each other—because they’re a dysfunctional, underground family quietly, thanklessly, saving lives. It’s Finch who keeps Shaw company when she’s effectively imprisoned in the subway to keep her safe from Samaritan’s dangerous, prying eyes—and it’s Finch who reassures her that “Root is not alone”, implying that he knows. Just like he’d told Root in ‘Prophets’. And Shaw’s expression, the way she stills in her movements…she can’t deny it, either. Finch is the first to let go hope of Shaw being alive post-‘If-Then-Else’, but it’s not because he doesn’t have faith in her—it’s because to hold out hope is painful.

 

ROOT & FUSCO

Coco-puffs, banana nut crunch, cuckoo’s nest, super-powered-nutball and Nutella have all been pet names coined by Fusco to address Root in their quirky, off-beat, mostly hilarious relationship. There’s no denying that there’s respect: it’s mainly played off-screen, but the scrapes and fed-up nonsense he lets Root (often accompanied by Shaw) get away with is brilliant. He does so without too much complaint, but will relish any opportunity he can to whip out a wisecrack.

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You know your life’s a simulation when…

Fusco, along with Shaw and Finch, utterly have Root’s back in ‘The Devil’s Share’ as they go to quell Reese’s rampage. As much as Fusco enjoys his distinctive pet-names (my favorite is “Maybelline”, for Shaw) Root relishes making Fusco’s life hell too—especially with her ridiculous FBI alias Augusta King, proudly flashing her badge (I’m pretty sure you’re holding it the wrong way up, Root) and Fusco sums it up pretty well: “gimme a break.” But as close as Fusco is to Shaw, he understands whatever’s happening between her and Root, there’s something—and it’s Fusco Root falls back into, in ‘If-Then-Else’ in the tragic elevator scene as Shaw shoves her back after kissing her; he holds onto her as she claws at the elevators doors slamming shut, screaming her pain and agony into a helpless abyss.

 

BEAR

Okay, hands up, I cheated. Bear isn’t human. Bear’s a Belgian Malinois—a dog—adopted by Reese. But the thing about Bear is that he’s not just there for the cuteness factor. Bear helps with several of the plots, as a useful attack dog and as a bit of comedy relief. To say Bear has a relationship with every single character is true—literally everyone adores him.

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Bear isn’t just there to be cute. The entire team loves him and, a Dutch attack dog, he’s contributed to several missions.

Many times Bear’s accompanied them on missions—most notably when pretended to be sick in order to save the life of Reese and Finch’s POI—the vet (‘Reasonable Doubt’); when Carter uses Bear’s assistance in locating Detective Stills’ body and moving it (‘In Extremis’); and when Root uses Bear’s enhanced sniffing to find out Greer’s location (‘Allegiance’). He’s valuable, he can swim, he inappropriately licks donuts that Reese then eats, he’s adorable and can terrify a grown man—when I say Person of Interest leaves no stone unturned, I mean it. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as affected by an animal as I was with Hedwig in Harry Potter (…don’t judge). Bear is universally loved by all members of the team, especially Shaw who claims she’s “only in it for the dog”.

Now if I tried to cover, in-depth, every single relationship on the show with every past and current character and recurring ones, I’d write a book. But I hope these examples showcases why all these relationships are important. Yes, they have their funny moments—but heartfelt ones too. Every single member of this team cares about the other; every person of interest matters; every life, guest or recurring character matters. And that’s what is so inherently important in Person of Interest—the person. They’re human. They live in a city doomed by two warring ASI’s, but among all of that, through all the hardships and losses they endure, Team Machine piece each other back together. They’re family, and no loss is ever skimmed over. The guys never act as if the ladies are inferior in their fighting prowess, as if they can’t handle themselves. They respect them for their skills. The show may be sci-fi, and it may revolve around the AI plot—but it’s the humanity of these intricate dynamics that prevail, and touch us so profoundly.

Thank you, as ever, for reading! If you have anything to add, feel free to hit the comments section below or tweet me @NicolaChoi. Thank you, folks: until the next time!

58 Comments

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  1. I want to hug you! I love love love Root and Shaw, but I wouldn’t be able to watch POI if I didn’t love the other relationships, too. And I do, they are all so wonderful (and I have a very large soft spot for Carter/Fusco and Carter/Reese). This show may be a crime procedural mixed with AIs, but at the core, it is about found families.

    • *Bear hugs* Thank you! Yes, I adore Root and Shaw too, but I’ve never watched POI just for their dynamic. This family just gels so amazingly together that every single scene *works* because of their connections and I LOVE it. And you’ve made me nostalgic for Carter 🙁 I really wanted to include Carter but it would’ve just been too long–especially those two dynamics you mention and Carter/Finch would be a funny one mixed in too. But indeed…that’s what I mean it’s crime solving and AIs but at the core of it, at its very foundation, is this family that would die for the other. And I just love them a heckuva lot. Thank you Lindsey!

  2. YAY another brilliant POI article from you. Root and Shaw and Root and Finch are my favorite dynamics but the show wouldn’t be what it is today without all the other fantastic relationships.

    They all found a family in each other and it’s absolutely beautiful to watch.

    • Hi Isa! Thanks for commenting again, I recognise your name 😀 Thank you so much. That’s really interesting; they’re my faves as well but I actually on an equal level love the Mayhem Twins too, haha. I just think their banter is brilliant. Thank you so much. A family, it is. Thank you!

  3. YES I love all of them and appreciate how the show and writers actually give the entire cast the opportunity to interact with each other and continually develops those relationships compared to other shows where the cast may rarely have scenes with certain members/only characters in an arc interact/etc. I never expected to cry over the Shaw/Fusco scene with his son or Harold and his wife! That’s the biggest reason I push back against people wanting a episode skip list (shoot fans) because they are going to miss so much.

    • Thank you! Yes, in a lot of series I’ve seen it’s exactly like that e.g. X character will only have scenes with Y1 and Y2 but in POI they all mix together and it’s a lot of fun but it just builds that family feel for sure. Yeah I was sobbing too! Bless you. To be fair to the Shoot fans, I don’t think they could be generalised as to building a skip list – not every Shoot fan would say “skip this episode” etc, and Jonah and Greg have said themselves what episodes they favoured, and in a previous article I also highlighted ten episodes to must-watch for seasons 1-2 so I think to be fair, it’s not a bad idea if someone really is pushed for time and can’t binge all the episodes. I’m lucky enough to have followed POI so I’ve seen them as they come (as painful that was!!!) with with the landscape of POI right now, and on Netflix too, if someone wants a skip list then I think it’s good that fans highlight more plot important points and then hopefully once the new viewer’s hooked, they can view all the episodes.

      But I do agree: I really, really implore any viewers to watch all the episodes. It’s as you say, amazing opportunities to build on these amazing relationships, the flashbacks as well, and they *DO*. For example that endscene in 4C with Reese and Finch was just…after all that trauma, it was gorgeously done. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  4. You’re still by a clear mile the most original writer on here – all your articles are interesting and often moving, and emotional! I LOVED this! This is exactly why POI works so well, because there’s not a single dynamic to dislike. Every bands together like family, much like our fandom. Thank you for gifting us this article! ^_^

    • Naw, I’m niot a writer by trade either so definitely not but thank you for the high praise. Have you checked out the Weekly Superlatives? I always enjoy those articles! They’re by Amna Shabbir if you search that name or just search weekly superlatives 🙂 They are amazing articles, I really enjoy them.

      Thank you so much, Francesca! I love the early theme of ‘family’ here. I was really hoping to get that across. I think this lot are glued together by their affection, care and trust in each other–and no AI will break that. I’ve got such faith in them. Bring on Season five!

  5. I agree w/Lindsey…Im a hardcore Shoot shipper but I’d never watch it if these dynamics werent as amazing as they are!! Even though you left Carter out sadly, it was still an amazing article and I loved it! you really showed the importance of team Machine being…a TEAM! Another brilliant, thoughtful, insightful article, you are really talented and we are blessed to have you in the POI fandom!

    • I do regret leaving Carter out–she had amazing relationships with Reese and Fusco, and even Finch, but it would’ve just been too many comparisons. I could even write Carter/Shaw too–so for the sake of keeping the article shorter, I had to leave her out (and RIP Carter, you are sorely missed). But thank you, Jaden!

  6. Another captivating, gorgeously written, entertaining article from you! You never seem to run out of original stuff – you’re really different from the weekly formats that the rest of the writers on TNWU put out here and your quality of writing is excellent. You kept each dynamic concise, compact and meaningful. I love Shoot, but I adore all the dynamics. I especially loved Fusco/Shaw, and the part you wrote about Shaw saving Fusco’s son. It was a good subtle nod to a lot of Shaw’s characterization in fic too – that she’s just this grumpy robot. Thank you for yet another brilliant article!

    • Thank you so much Joe for your high praise. The POI fandom I gotta say–I love you all so much (just as Reese loves Finch and Root loves Shaw etc) for supporting me on twitter and commenting here. This is amazing. Thank you so much for your review, and I’m so glad that my writing isn’t too snippy or blunt–I think I struggle with that a lot. And YES! Oh my GOD! I loathe it when Axis II Personality Disorder is equated to “Shaw’s a robot”. From a healthcare professional to-be standpoint I can confirm thats probably not true…please stop stigmatising A2PD…but thank you, Joe, most sincerely, for your lovely words.

  7. This just elevates the fandom and you above stupid, immature ship wars that ruin fandoms amok with petty kids and often pettier adults. This was sheer brilliance and very, very clever. I understand leaving Carter out, even though she was an amazing character – but you wrote impartially, keenly and very astutely about every single dynamic in an equally entertaining fashion. I favor some partnerships over others but by the end of the article you’d won me over. Every single dynamic is a godsend on this show, let it be known. You have a real talent here for writing, and TNWU are lucky to have you. Thank you for this.

    • Nadiyah, you don’t know nothin’ yet, for when Reese/Bear vs. Finch/Bear ship wars get ugly, they get ugly…

      I kid, but thank you Nadiyah 🙂 I completely agree with you on the ship war thing. I’m so sick of hearing about it, or trashing other fanbases etc – very prevalent on Twitter, it seems – and it was those kind of comments that just made me loathe a fandom and subsequently their show, too, with regret. I still watch it but it’s just not the same–I miss having civil and entertaining debates… and I have faith in POI that once the freakout’s over (I mean, we’ll freakout when we get a premiere date LOL) those episode discussions can be open and speccy. Hopefully I can do POI stuff here as it airs! And thank you! I’m the lucky one to have TNWU! But thank you!

  8. This is the kind of article I’d expect from a professional outlet and a professional reviewer. Completely impartial, you covered all bases with all dynamics, you wrote in an entertaining way that never got boring, you reminded us of the touching and hilarious moments these relationships had, and intelligently weaved us through this journey with you.

    The POI fandom thanks you, Nicola!

    • Wooaaahhh Ma’am–thank you for the high praise–so unprecedented and I’m stunned–thank you so much. I can’t believe it. Yeah, I think it was easy for me to be impartial because even though I favour certain relationships…I still love all these dynamics, so impartiality was never an issue or even a question/concern that arose. Thank you! They really do have their ups and downs, these relationships, and it’s awesome to watch them. Thank you Jenn!

  9. There needs to be more articles as skilful, concise, thoughtful, impartial, entertaining and entrancing as yours. This is gold dust. Thank you.

    • Wow. Thank you so much Fokrul for your lovely and kind words. ‘Gold dust’ I will treasure for a long time. 🙂

  10. i think you’ve just hit the nail on the head with the show there. in one explosive, entertaining, gripping article you’ve told us a story of how these characters mold together , blend together, interspliced with funny gifs and touching moments. this was something really special. it doesn’t matter who you ship on this show. this fandom’s clearly not the place for ‘ship wars’. this exquisitely-written article just shows that it doesn’t matter who you ship, you can still appreciate the show’s interesting and unique dynamics, whomever they are. i especially loved the fusco and shaw segment. your work is intelligent and commandeers an audience…it’s something really special and reaches out to us. thank you. (:

    • (Don’t kick me in the feels with “maybe someday”!! XD )

      Thank you so much. Yeah, I’ve never really seen any ship wars on POI but honestly–even if there WAS no romantic relationship–I’d still watch the show with them…these dynamics are so special and timeless that it’s so petty to demean them to ship wars. POI is such a larger story with bigger themes to focus on–and love is a big theme–but not “ships” if that makes sense. And exactly! It doesn’t matter who you ship–I just *hope* I’ve proven in this article that these dynamics are unique and special, all of them. Thank you so much for your kind words. (I love Fusco/Shaw!!)

  11. I loved this. Reminded me of 2 quotes, firstly Harold: “That our moral system will never be mirrored by theirs because of the very simple reason that they are not human.” and then his gorgeous speech in 2 Pi R: “Let me show you. Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and this is just the beginning; it keeps on going, forever, without ever repeating. Which means that contained within this string of decimals, is every single other number. Your birthdate, combination to your locker, your social security number, it’s all in there, somewhere. And if you convert these decimals into letters, you would have every word that ever existed in every possible combination; the first syllable you spoke as a baby, the name of your latest crush, your entire life story from beginning to end, everything we ever say or do; all of the world’s infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle. Now what you do with that information; what it’s good for, well that would be up to you.”

    Humanity will win. The Machine may be broken but I can see POI coming to a bittersweet ending but humanity will have won, and these amazing characters will have been part of a legendary story of how they fought to save the human race. Each dynamic you’ve written so beautifully about is flawless. They’re hilarious, moving, they all care, they really are a family. And this article reminded me of that. It doesn’t matter who you ship, or who you want to end up together. POI isn’t about that. I ship Shoot and I hope they end up together, but you know what, as long as this family fight together and go down together, stick together and remain loyal to each other, I’m happy. Each dynamic is a joy for me to watch. Thank you for this article, Nicola. This was absolutely so well-written, thought-provoking and often touching.

    • Thank you so much, Sophina, and those quotes are gorgeous. I’ve always loved 2πR and doesn’t it just prove POI’s tight plotting? What you do with all those numbers is up to you; but coming full-circle, Caleb Phipps, the POI of that case, the listener of that speech, is an unknowing contributor to what saved The Machine. Isn’t that just beautifully mind-boggling? I love it! Love love love your optimism here and I totally agree with you wrt humanity: I really think (or hope) that’s the glue that’ll hold them together as the AI wreaks havoc on their sturdy foundation as a team, ‘as a family’. Thank you so much for this lovely response and the thought you put into getting them quotes as well. Absolutely. Thank you, so so much.

  12. You’re the exact type of sensitive, impartial, unique writer we need for a show as special as ours. You’re truly a blessing and so, so talented as well. You are an absolute wordsmith; your mastery of not just vocabulary but capturing the readers’ attention is just mind-blowing. I read your The 100 fight analysis and was completely stunned. I know nothing about martial arts and I came out feeling like I did. It was enticing and educational. Your writing really is one of a kind and I hope you write many, many more POI ones in the future.

    • Thank you, Kingdom! I’m a bit taken aback by the high praise but thank you…and yes The 100 fight analysis was a bit different because I did have knowledge of that but I’m glad you took something from it and I’m glad you enjoyed this article! I always worry for my writing ability so comments like this are–beyond thanks that I can express in words, truly. Thank you!

  13. Bless your soul for writing this article. I saw the bad news on your Twitter. My condolences to you, and thank you for trooping on with this. The POI fandom will never, ever bother you to write for us, don’t worry about that. You’ve done an amazing job boosting our online profile and filling our timelines with positive energy and love =] xoxo

    • Thank you Annie! Absolutely no worries. I try not to let that coincide with this and I’m doing well, thank you. And absolutely, never have I ever felt pressured to write anything for you guys – I do it because I want to, and because I’m a real fan of POI and I can’t wait to see where S5 is headed. So no worries on that. And thank you so much for commenting with your lovely words 🙂

  14. I just saw Sarah Shahi was casted in Nancy Drew today and it made me sad 🙁 Just thinking about never seeing Shaw again after this season…. I couldn’t bear it. I got really emotional reading this article.. I love Shoot but I also underestimated how much I loved Shaw’s interactions with everyone else, especially Reese, “The Mayhem Twins”. And Bear as well. Beautiful article, I really loved the use of gifs and also how you don’t just put funny moments in, it’s also serious, game-changing moments for each dynamic written completely impartially, showing no favoritism to any pairing at all. I really enjoyed it. This is what a family feels like on Person of Interest , as dysfunctional as they are. <3

    • I’m sorry to hear that Leona 🙁 Yeah, you never know, if S5 does smash it and S1-4 are smashing it on Netflix, they are a possibility and as they shoot all their episodes in one go and release it in one go (…I’m not sure if I can handle that with POI, I think I’d have a coronary) it COULD still work. Very very slim chance and I don’t know the logistics, plus it’s only a pilot. We’ll just have to see. But we haven’t even seen season five yet, and that’s looking to be a KILLER season so we have that to look forward to–and of course Shaw’s return, too! And you know, all good things do indeed come to an end (unless you’re Grey’s Anatomy…dude how many years has that been on for?!) and it may be better for them to “drop the mic” as Jonah said at one of the cons and absolutely blow our minds with these thirteen episodes, than stretch the material and dull it again (even though Abrams says there’s more story to be told). We just have to make the best with what we have and season five is going to be crazy!

      Thank you for your comment, and I hope you’ve cheered up a bit today Leona. I know Shaw’s a brilliant character (my favourite, I confess) but I do feel very happy for Sarah in getting a lead role. That’s really awesome for her. Thank you for this, and of course–I’d never write an article exploring all those dynamics whilst clearing favouring one, lol, that would be bad of me. But I do love all the dynamics so impartiality wasn’t a problem regardless. Thank you and indeed, indeed–and I think I can say the same for the fandom. It does feel like a family. 🙂

  15. This article is the epitome of why I love the show so much. You don’t need to ship anything to enjoy it full throttle. It’s full of interesting, funny, hilarious, and moving dynamics you’d never think would work, and like you say, every characters important. And again, as you say, Nolan and Plageman are not lazy in writing – other shows just dither on with their ‘character arcs’ but Nolan and Plageman have crafted them beautifully, even the guest stars, and this article just exemplifies that. Thank you.

    • Thank you ray! and Exactly! I could absolutely not ship anything (e.g. I didn’t ship Reese/Carter at all but I LOVED those two together, they were electrifying) and still adore the show. It’s THAT good. Its so, so good. And I agree with you on Nolan & Plageman…they’re so creative and on it with the plot, it’s amazing. Thank you for your lovely comment!

  16. One word: beautiful.

    You summed up so delicately, so entertainingly, why POI endears me like this. This was a joyous read and something I really needed today to brighten my day up. I hope you spread your talented wings wide and far and I hope we see more of you on TNWU, you’re truly one of the more gifted and intellectual writers I’ve seen.

    • Oh Ellen–thank you for such a sweet message. Gosh there are tons of writers on TNWU and new ones joining too, I’d definitely not single myself out here. But thank you, I’m glad that this article was a good read for you, and thank you Ellen!

  17. I’m very excited to hear more from you and I hope you continue to write for Talk nerdy with us for a long time. i think in the huge hiatus ahead of us for poi and season 6 looking less and less likely, it’ll be a shame because i would want maximal coverage of poi from you, because you’ve just demonstrated you have such good understanding of these dynamics and interplay. i hope that whatever you write, you enjoy, and i’m sure i’ll enjoy reading your pieces too, because every single one you write is either touching, moving funny and tear-jerking or it’s full-on kickass analysis like your The 100 ones – i’ve never seen any 100 analysis like it. it’s the best by far on any website. whatever show you cover consider me a loyal reader. thank you.

    • Thank you! I knooooow, the hiatus is so frustrating because of CBS’ utter silence on it. Not even an airdate. On a likely final season. [Chandler Bing Voice] Could they BE any more out of order?! But yeah it’s fine, I think the POI fandom are very clever anyway in their own speccing so discussions wrt POI is usually very titillating but I do look forward to delving deeper into sort of morality, neuroscience, etc someday. Thank you!

  18. “Every single member of this team cares about the other; every person of interest matters; every life, guest or recurring character matters. And that’s what is so inherently important in Person of Interest—the person. They’re human. They live in a city doomed by two warring ASI’s, but among all of that, through all the hardships and losses they endure, Team Machine piece each other back together. They’re family, and no loss is ever skimmed over. The guys never act as if the ladies are inferior in their fighting prowess, as if they can’t handle themselves. They respect them for their skills. The show may be sci-fi, and it may revolve around the AI plot—but it’s the humanity of these intricate dynamics that prevail, and touch us so profoundly.”

    Absolutely perfect. Stands up and applauds you. That was mind-blowingly good and so, so moving. So touching. And you’re 100% right about them not being lazy. The Caleb Phipps storyline completely caught me backwards and I was just so surprised they remember details like that, plus the rocket launcher in Control Alt Delete. They really are masterminds, and you succinctly and masterfully summed it up. Well done, I really look forward to more articles in the future.

    • [Bows, waves hand royally] I kid, I kid 😛 But thank you for enjoying the article. Indeed I never thought Caleb would return but MY GOD did they think that through! To have him get the compressor algorithm and because it was Finch and what Finch did for him….It felt like the episode 2πR came full circle indeed when that happened and I was just shocked. And yes as you mention, the rocket launcher, Root eating pancakes in Shaw’s honour etc… so wonderful. I love the creativity of the writers and producers. Thank you!!

  19. You’re the exact writer this fandom needs, no other. You are perfect. Amazing talent, amazing skill, and you proved here amazingly impartiality too. Fantastic.

    • Woah–high praise indeed–thank you so much. I’m very humbled by that and taken aback. I have a LONG way to go before becoming a good writer by any means but if you enjoyed this material that is more than enough to make me 100% happy. Thank you so much.

  20. Reese and Finch spoke about their deaths from the beginning so this sentence already had me tearing up: “One must ponder where these two will end up once Person of Interest truly ends—and if it’s six feet under—you know what? At least, they were each other’s salvation.”

    This entire article was a beautiful homage to the amazing cast and chemistry between them all. So beautiful. I’ve never seen such a talented cast like this one before and you did them real justice and gave them love.

    • I just don’t ever want to let these characters go :'( I get emotional thinking about it too. But all good shows have to come to an end, and it’s gotta be a good end rather than a drawn out, boring end, right? And it really sounds like theyre gonna lambaste it through these 13 episodes. Very excited. Thank you so much! The actors are amazing in how they all have chemistry with each other, no dynamic ever feels forced! Thank you!

  21. This is perfect.

    I initially wanted you to write for The 100 because I knew you were a fan but seeing that series pretty much fall apart and crumble in quality, I’m glad you got POI. This is by far a better quality show and theres far more stuff to write about. This for instance is just a prime example of why POI is so good. There isnt a single character to hate, not even the POI’s , not even really the bad guys…. like you say Lambert is an a–hole but the actor is so good at playing him! Love it

    • Thank you Jimmy 🙂

      Ah I’m sorry to hear your slight fall in The 100 enjoyment. It is a fun show, and I think they’re going to tell a really good story, plus there’s still ten episodes left–so for sure whatever doubts you may have hopefully they get answered on the show. It was absolute stellar quality in season two! I have to say in terms of POI…the fandom has been extremely welcoming and supportive (even when I fail on social media lol it happens a lot) and so, so kind. So receptive and just like you: leaving amazing comments on my articles. I read and respond to all of them because they matter to me, and I hope that my responding shows that I really do care, and that your words have touched me, truly. Thank you so much!

      (Lambert is such a douchebag but it’s so brilliant. He’s played by Mr. Julian Ovenden, who is 100% swoonworthy. Like youtube him singing. Oh my god.)

  22. i don’t know why i’m crying, but i am. person of interest has been part of my television obsession for years now, and to know that it’ll end soon is just heartbreaking. your article was unintentionally heartbreaking too. this is years and years of carefully crafted relationships and dynamics and you condensed them in such a beautiful, funny, poignant way. i’ll never forget it, and i’ll never forget these characters. you have a real writing talent. i hope you go far, you really deserve it. of all the articles on this website the only true, deep analysis comes from you. thank you.

    • Bless you barton, I hope those aren’t tears of sadness. Mine too, and it’s always sad when something you love comes to an end–but when season five airs and its undoubtedly gotta be the best season there is, likely of anything to be honest, I think we’ll be speaking for AGES about how epic season 5 was. POI has truly been a game-changer for TV and has spawned a lot copy-hards too–and horribly mistreated by CBS. But it’s you guys, and the fans on tumblr and twitter and message forums etc that pull the show through with your optimism and discussions and debates etc. (And thus humanity prevails! XD ) Thank you so much. And neither will I, you know…I don’t think I’ll ever forget POI and its wealth of characters, past and current. For me, POI is “it”. It really is just…I could never think of a series to top it. Its making me emotional now, lol darn it. Thank you, barton.

  23. You have a real gift. Don’t let it go to waste. I look forward to more, but also pace yourself, take your time and carry on being lovely as you are on twitter. You’re a real blessing to our fandom. thank you.

    • Thank you Grace! And indeed. I do try and stick to 1 article a week and so far I think I’ve managed. It’s very therapeutic I find, writing, so I like it a lot, and especially if its something I am passionate about. Thank you Grace 🙂 I like the people I interact with on Twitter too. Everyones been amazing. The fandom is great so thanks 🙂

  24. Do you know how I felt reading this article? Blissful.

    Because you understand these characters right to the core. From the very beginning you grasp their dynamic and you watch them evolve and you convey it in so few words yet it packs such a punch. It’s so concise and it’s brilliantly done. It’s intelligent as well. My favorite segment by far was the Reese/Shaw segment. That really was special, especially with Reese’s quote. I know POI’s future looks bleak, and unfairly so, but I really hope we get a season six so we get excellent coverage from you again. You’re truly special at this. Well dome.

    • Thank you Jamie for such high praise! Thank you so, so much–and yes indeed it does look bleak [insert the Pandora’s Box quote] but I think deep down from the bottom of my heart I will always remember POI for what it is: pure genius. It really, really is. Thank you so much, Jamie–and yay for the Mayhem Twins love!! I LOVE their dynamic so much! (Their high school reunion episode made me laugh so hard).

  25. Love this! Other than the most complex, thought provoking, high energy, no scene is wasted storylines, the character relationships are what really hooked me into POI and this article drills into that brilliantly. Each duo brings something different to the table, I just love them all, unlike Shaw I’m not just in it for the dog… although he is adorable!

    I’ve enjoyed all of your POI articles so far and look forward to reading the next one.

    • Thank you Marie! Indeed, no storyline is wasted in this very plot-driven and plot-tight show but I’m glad you’re on the same path as me…the sheer humanity of these relationships and watching them evolve has been amazing. And you’re so right, each duo is so special and unique it’s lovely. Thank you, Marie, for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it!!

  26. There is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said so very eloquently by those that have already commented (especially Jamie,Nadiyah, ray, Francesca, Marie and Day, oh heck … pretty much everyone ). Nicola, it is a real pleasure to read your wonderfully articulated analysis on the show that means so much to us. Your intelligent and perceptive style of writing allows the reader to easily understand and appreciate both the characters and the storyline of the show. Ray I think summons it up best in my mind “This article is the epitome of why I love the show so much. You don’t need to ship anything to enjoy it full throttle. It’s full of interesting, funny, hilarious, and moving dynamics you’d never think would work, and like you say, every characters important.” You have a gift Nicola and thank you so very much for sharing it with us. I look forward to your next one as well.

    • Oh thank you so much DAC. That really means a lot…I’m honestly just a huge fan of the show who really loves all the characters so much, and to write about them is honestly my honour. To interact with the fandom and be part of it is my privilege. I’m so happy that you enjoyed the article but I’m happy too that I get to be part of this journey with you all. Thank you so much for your amazing comment, you won’t believe how much it means to me. I hope I can churn out more articles in the future worthy of that, but thank you and I am deeply humbled. Thank you so much 🙂

  27. Beautifully written and accurate! It is an amazing show for the points you made- out of the ordinary. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    • Thank you so much, Joan 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I truly, truly appreciate it. Thank you so much!

  28. Thank you for this sensitive and insightful essay on the complex characters of POI. Your skillful writing has really done justice to the intricacies of these characters, as far as it goes. I hope that, since you were not able to cover the relationships of Carter with the other characters in this essay, you will devote another essay to that intriguing subject. Carter is soldier, mother, conscience, muse and heart-partner for Reese; she shares the high intelligence, prickly go-it-alone sensibility, and dry wit of Finch; she rescued Fusco from himself, and she found the hidden good in social outcasts like Shaw and Elias. I really look forward to your comments on Carter’s humanizing presence to round out your excellent analysis of this superior show.

    • Hey Carol! Thank you–and yeah I totally regret not being able to fit Carter in–I decided for space I’d stick with current mains, and also even each dynamic was very briefly covered, in hindsight. But yeah–you know, I LOVED Detective Joss Carter. She is one of my solid favourites of the show. I’m not sure if I’d do an entire article dedicated to Carter–but I think this show is awash with grey moral areas and ethical issues, and Carter–who is quite the moral centre of it all, the “good guy”, the self-sacrificial, independent, humorous, loving mother, intelligent and loyal monolith of justice and fairness–I think would be a huge contributor to an article about POI’s ethics, morals, etc. So rest assured I’ll never forget Carter–and I wanted include that point, that I was sorry that I’d excluded her, because in no way is Carter ever excluded from the story. And morality on this show encompasses every single character–Reese, Finch sometimes has questionable ethics, Elias is an excellent example. So yeah, I can’t say anything’s in the works and I haven’t written anything–but upon my list of ideas “to do” for POI, the exploration of morality and ethics in an AI-dominated NYC is actually on that list. Hopefully one day I will get to sit down and write it properly, because I’m super interested in ethics and POI is the perfect subject for it. Thank you, Carol! And thank you for your insight into Carter too–it was lovely to read.

      • Your reply was lovely, as lovely as your original essay. I think that Carter — compassionate, inquisitive, devoted and wise — was designed as the foil to the machine, the humanizing central figure to highlight the utter otherness of Finch’s creation. I think it would have been fascinating to follow the machine’s interactions with Carter, especially as it explored the nature of the parent-child relationship. After all one of the important aspects of Carter’s character was as a mother; its fascinating to imagine how much the machine, seeking to understand its relationship with its creator Finch, could have learned from probing Carter on what it means to be a parent. Perhaps the machine did indeed learn a lot from watching her grapple with tough moral dilemmas during all those years of interactions with Reese, Finch and Fusco. Lots of intriguing avenues of moral exploration and ethical consideration were cut off when they killed Carter.

        • Thank you for your exquisite reply on such a beloved character. This is why I loved her so much. She embodied justice, loyalty, the peak of morality–and at the same time she juggled her ex’s troubles, successfully raising her beautiful son–she isn’t defined by her death, her position in the precinct nor her motherhood. She is simply one of the greatest, complex, burdened characters on the show–I truly admired her. She was a real inspiration and I believe must have been, for so many people. Even in unlikely circumstances she was determined to do what was right, and what was moral. Interesting allusion to the Finch/Machine and potential Carter/Machine relationship too! I ponder that because I think TM perhaps seeks that fatherlike relationship with Finch because he is TM’s creator; you see TM forge a close bond with Root, but not once is Root seen as a mother-like figure because she didn’t create TM: Finch did. But even Finch has his own moral dilemmas and of course so does Carter. Indeed you’re right. Carter could’ve given so much more–but I do think they did her death justice. She single-handedly ripped HR apart. She lived and died an absolute hero, and though sorely missed I’m so glad Taraji is finding huge success on ‘Empire’ as Cookie!

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