Person of Interest: American Psycho

Wow! I bet fans of normal procedurals were FURIOUS at the ambiguous ending of last night's Person of Interest. But if the new CBS series wants to keep this person's interest, it's going to have to keep doing such things as a means of separating itself from more neatly wrapped-up procedurals. So far, so good.

This week the computer box spit out the social security number of a pretty young doctor, played by pretty young Linda Cardellini of ER fame—though you really should know her as Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks. Man, I had a mountain-sized crush on her! Anyway, her character was a doc by day and a clubber by night, and Reese suspected she was being stalked by a handsome sexual predator, a la American Psycho. He was half right; as is becoming typical for Person of Interest, we found out things weren't as they seemed. It turned out she was stalking him because he'd raped her sister in college, which led her sis to commit suicide, and she wanted to dissolve his body with lye in her vacation home near the ocean. Sweet revenge!

And thus the thinking man's question for the episode was born: Is vengeance worth it if it will irreparably change your life for the worse? Here we had a young doctor with a bright future who didn't know what she was getting herself into. If she were to murder that Patrick Bateman-ish dude, she'd feel good for about five minutes before the blood on her hands started haunting her. At least, that was Reese's take.

The meat of the story came with Reese's determination not to let someone else walk the same path he did, which ended with him becoming a smelly bum on the subway. And at the end of the episode it became painfully obvious that he's not happy with his choices and still wonders whether he can change, or whether it's too late. He wants to think it isn't, but sadly, deep down he realizes that it is, no matter how many People of Interest he rescues or puts away. So when Reese asked the serial rapist to help him make a good decision and the show cut to black, we weren't not finding out whether Reese killed him, we were seeing a visual representation of Reese's internal struggle. That cut to black said he's not sure what kind of man he is, and we may never know. Person of Interest is, like, surprisingly deep, man. I really liked that ending, because it got me thinking.

I had expected a little more flashback-story on either Reese or Finch, but instead we saw a lot of Reese internally delving into his own past. There weren't any details, but it was just as effective to see the cracks begin to surface on the facade of our robotic anti-hero. Reese's vulnerability was also revealed in the flashback in last week's episode ("I'll wait for you." Poor guy!). We're slowly getting to know the mysterious Reese, and frankly, I'm on board with this gradual layer-peeling. He may tromp around New York City punching people in the face, but there's a soft center beneath that hardened exterior.

Surveillance Notes:

– Still not buying Taraji P. Henson as Detective Carter. But it's a good thing that Lionel is working with her now; that'll help combine these threads.

– "Which do you think I'll regret more, letting you live or letting you die?" YEAH REESE!

– Finch to Reese, regarding the topic of using lye to dissolve a body: "I will refrain from asking how you know that." YEAH FINCH!

– This show could just be Reese walking around New York City causing mayhem, and I'd still watch. It hasn't gotten old yet, even though the action's been dialed down a bit.


Questions:
What did you think of the fade-to-black ending? What do you think Reese ended up doing? What would YOU have done?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I loved the ending and I love the series.. especially the characters are so unique in their own ways, and I love that we try to figure out what the crime will be as well as who the criminal is within an episode, it gives a fresh alternetive to standard cop procedurals.. and for this specific episode, apart from the ending, especially the part where Carter confronted Finch and Finch replied in a very very convincing, calm manner was fantastic.. it gets better every week.. btw, what does cure te ipsum mean?
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It translates as heal yourself, as in "physician, Heal yourself"
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Loved the ending. Unfortunately, considering how careful the writers have been up to this point about Reese not killing anyone, I doubt they'd have the guts to have him kill this guy. But hey, they surprised me with this ambiguous ending so maybe they'll surprise me with Reese's decision.
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Finally....a show without all the "fluff", it's raw and not over thought. I really enjoy the fact that I cannot anticipate the twists and turns!! Nothing like Person of Interest on TV. BEST NEW DRAMA, HANDS DOWN...I LOVE IT AND I AM HOOKED!!!!!
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I'm more in love with this show every week I just love it and in my opinion it's the best fall show easily.
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He isn't going to kill him. The writers don't have enough guts for that.
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Amazing ending! Reminded me of Justified. I really hope the show makes more decisions like that in the future or the cases of the week could get boring. It's so much stronger when the characters are more involved.

Each episode has improved from the one before it.
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At first i thought Reese was just playing psychological games on the guy to keep him from hurting other women. But the more i watched i realised Reese was genuinely conflicted on whether he was going to kill this guy which hit home just how scary a guy Reese really is. I can only guess what happened to that guy but id say things don't look good for him.
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I Loved the ending. I even said to myself right after it was over, "Great Ending!"
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I loved it! the ending fit the character. He isn't necessairly a "good guy" and he isn't necessairly a "bad guy" it could honest to goodness go either way with whether or not he killed the guy and that is what made it so awesome! They could have tried that with someone else but the fact that we've come to see that Reese is that morally ambiguous and compromised left that ending to be perfect!



Yeah. I love Tariji P. Henson. Not so enthused with Det.Carter. Hopefully with the new addition things will be better.



Also LOVE the camraderie and witticisms between Finch and Reese.
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he is in the doctors house and he have those dissolving chemicals

so why it should be wasted ?



" when an opportunity strikes , you grab it by devils horn ! "
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i do belive Reese killed him, he got that look, GOD i love that look.
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So freaking good, one of the best endings ever!
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Much stronger episode this week.

Fade to black, perfect!! Although killing him puts the target on the Dr(it is her home). Better that he is now a Reese puppet.
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Loved it! Starting to feel a bit less like a procedural. Loved the cut to black. Also loving the references to things that happened in previous episodes. And loving Emerson and Caviezel on screen.
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Am I the only one who thought that the ending was extremely cliched!? There are similar lines and situations in almost every movie or show dealing with revenge and justice. And of course it is a false alternative as there is at least one other way (and in my opinion the right one) to deal with things: "convince" the rapist to go to the police, confess and serve his time (I'm sure it would be easy for Reese to be convincing...). That way Reese wouldn't have to add to his guilt complex and - more importantly - the earlier rape victims could finally get some closure (if that's possible at all). - Anyway, this show gets more tedious and pretentious every week. Despite its ridiculous premise it started with some promise but doesn't really deliver (Abrams...). And Caviezel/Reese/Robot is starting to get unintentionally funny (even a line like "I'm going to buy a hamburger" would sound extremely dramatic with that voice). But at least it's somewhat entertaining. My hopes lie with Henson/Carter right now. She breathes some life into the show and the face-off/dynamics between her and Reese could be interesting. Anyway, if the show doesn't improve by next week I'm out. - I'm sorry if I sound a little harsh and I don't want to spoil the fun for anybody but right now I'm disappointed. The show just shouldn't try to be something it's obviously not able to be - it has the subtlety of a Schwarzenegger action movie - but concentrate on the action. If we want nuance there's many good alternatives on tv but if we want action unfortunately not. So I'm still hoping...
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I can understand your impatience about the machine plot development. Let's not forget that we have a network procedural here. I think this season will count 20+ episodes so it's not really surprising to have little long-arc development in the early episodes. I would tell that it will deliver... but not before the middle of the season.
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There is not much a plot of this nature can offer in originality, what matters is how they hendle the cliche' and I think they handled it well.
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This Lion has makes a good point!
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You're the only one.
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i love the ambiguity! woot! reese and finch! :D
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loved but frustrated by the ambiguous ending. What would Reese regret more? A little more blood on his hands would hardly matter, especially since he "saves" the good doc by shedding it himself, but it would move him further down the road to damnation. And if Reese believes the rapist can't change, then what hope is there for Reese himself? But can he take the risk of the rapist identifying him or going to the cops? Reese was careful not to kill the drug dealers, and I agree with the writer who thinks we may see some of the story about how Reese knew about the double cross, but there was no need or strong motive to kill them. I think Reese killed him, but doing so cost him a lot. I don't think I could have killed him, but a couple of bullets between the legs, and an ice pick to his eyes and ears would put him out of commission and preserve my identity. Just sayin', right?
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See, procedurals aren't supposed to make you think this much. That's why I like the series. Even though we have different opinions about the ending, we're talking about and both making sense. That's what I like in a show.
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I can't stand Procedurals, so this show wasn't going to last long on my list of must watch shows every week. Endings like what we were just treated to, are just that; a treat. If anyone claims they need to have their storylines tied up with a nice little bow at the end of every episode, then I feel deeply sorry for them. All shows should do tricks like this to give you wiggle room in your thoughts after the credits roll. TV, to some, is mindless tribble, and will continue to be considered that unless intelligent shows get creative, rather than stagnant. Lets just hope they can keep surprising us each week.
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Great ending, best ending so far
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This show is so good!

Every episode so far has been brilliantly scripted, acted and written.

I love the character of Reese, but i agree with you about Henson; she isnt the most believable person.



I loved the ending of this weeks episode.
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I totally agree with you about Taraji Henson. There is no way she's believable as a cop. I didn't like the ending. I like a resolution at the end of a show. But overall, it was a really good episode.
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reminds me of certain law and order endings that left you saying s**t!
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This is a cool show and I love the main actors!
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On another note. I hope they are going to let us more in on how the machine selects the people. It's beginning to look like just an excuse for today's plot.

As for Taraji P. Henson, I also have problems buying her as detective Carter. If she's going to play the role of a P.I.T.A. for Reese she is too young and too soft. Someone like CCH Pounder would be more adequate.

Wouldn't it have been fun if they had booked Mark Valley as detective Carter?
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Yeah, the more I think about Carter, the more I'm lead to consider that she will soon be more of a friend that an enemy. Some already said that due to the Batman-ish dimension of the show. But what makes me consider that is that she's really depicted as a nice gal but not really as a tenacious police officer with strong moral values and considering that vigilantes are bad. More Gordon in Batman than CCH Pounder in the Shield kind of character.
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I don't know, Tim. My first impression was that Reese was just playing with the guy to make him suffer before he kills him. His inner questioning felt a little superficial, not as genuine as when Dexter does it, for instance. But when it cut short to the blank I said: "Oups! They better not do that too often..." Opening the way for discussion to the audience can be good as a cliffhanger. But leaving viewers flat too often as an episode ending? I don't know.

I too was waiting for the "to be continued..." at the end.

Maybe Abrams put his hand on this one or maybe Nolan figured that the answer was quite obvious. As you wrote "The meat of the story came with Reese's determination not to let someone else walk the same path he did". So, how would the poor doctor react if she ever sees the guy on the street again?

Which do you think I'll regret more, letting you live or letting you die?"

The answer is obvious: letting you live. [blank]
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"Which do you think I'll regret more, letting you live or letting you die?" YEAH REESE!



The ending was AWESOME.
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Very pleasant to watch. Putting Fusco and Carter together is a great move : two slow storylines become one that could be explosive.

Having each case revealing a bit more of the characters is definitely the sign of a good procedural. Definitely not that much density into Unforgettable for example.

I'm just afraid that get tired of the fake understanding of the case during the first fifteen minutes of the show. It's kind of like House where we know that he's wrong on the first four+ diagnoses.
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That's why I think they have to explain the Machine's process a little more as how does it spit the numbers.
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Yeah, unfortunately (or not) I think we'll know more about the characters (Finch in the first place) than the machine. With 20+ episodes (i'm not sure of that), they will take their time and give us a lot of fillers.
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I'm thinking he shot him. In my head I saw him Reaching for the gun right as it cut to lack
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That's kind of what I got. I think Reese lets the scumbag commit suicide.
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I was a little disappointed with the fight scenes as they weren't very well done (you can clearly see space between Reese's head-butts and kicks -- a little too WWE-ish), but it was a fun episode, nonetheless. I'm not sure how I feel about the fade to black. On the one hand, I generally like my plots to have an ending, especially if the show is pretty much a procedural. On the other hand, it's different, and different is certainly more interesting.
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I was hoping for a part Two.
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Definitely a great show, quite dark and much better stories and writing than other procedurals around ...
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Arguably the best new drama of the season. It is like Burn Notice if it didn't have the comedic elements of it and Michael was teetering on the brink of soullessness and had instead of Sam and Fi a secretive billionaire to fund whatever he wants.



I dig this show. I like the fact that Reese is broken and he is self aware of it. Which makes him that much better of a character, because at any given moment could go either way and be the good guy he thinks he is no longer or further down the bad guy route which he struggles to try to understand if that is who he really is.



The ending last night was a perfect depiction of this. I don't think that was the darkest part of the episode I think the better part of it was how he knew that the cartel guy was a traitor to his organization. Which I hope will lead to more backstory of how Reese went from the guy in the hotel room with the woman to the guy on the subway and the guy now that seemingly has nothing to lose.
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I liked the fade to black ending, it gives us something to talk about, and because it's a pseudo-procedural, it doesn't really matter if he shot him or not, we'll never see these characters again.

Besides, Reese blatantly shot him. He may as well right? There's a handy cupboard filled with lye in the other room! Also, if he's wondering if he can change or not, hell, he can change come the end of season 4, there's plenty of time for that! I just want to see Reese take out a load of bad-guys, it's fun.
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Yeah. Tie him in the bath and pour lye on him one tablespoon at the time while naming every girls he has abused. Come back the next day to liquify the rest.

Serves two.
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Loved it. For me the best new show this fall. Excellent acting, superior scripting.
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It was a great ending, and Person Of Interest is one of the best shows on TV today.
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I think he offed the bastard, and would have as well.
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I seriously want to know if Reese shot him or not. Damn you fade to black ending!!!
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So far, so good. Really like the show;)
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