Last night gave us a pretty nifty episode of Person of Interest in "Bury the Lede," which asked an intriguing question: How can we reverse engineer an episode's story in order to end up with a shootout on a merry-go-round? The answer was a complex case involving a headstrong (and sexy!) investigative journalist, a mayoral race, a bunch of dirty cops, and an awkward first date. "Bury the Lede" hit a lot of vintage Person of Interest sweet spots, combining humor, an ever-expanding mythology, and some incredibly ridiculous circumstances. Whenever an episode does all this, the show is damn near unstoppable.
This week's persona de interesante was Maxine (White Collar's Gloria Votsis), a get-the-story-at-any-costs-even-if-it-means-posing-as-a-prostitute-and-blackmailing-a-public-figure kind of gal who collected scoops like your cousin collects Pokemon cards. She was a bit abrasive at first, but by the end of the episode I warmed up to her mostly because Reese softened her up and helped her seem more tolerable, much like the Brazilian diplomat's daughter in "Masquerade." Hey, at least these damsels who Reese saves from distress aren't completely helpless and have some moxie.
Maxine had been digging up dirt on one of the city's mayoral candidates, and had previously written exposés (well, exposés after the fact) on many cases that Reese and Finch busted wide open, including Elias and the network of dirty policemen known as HR. Naturally, we were led to believe her articles had made her the target, and because she kept sticking her nose in an ongoing investigation to find out who the head of HR was, it was up to Reese to step in and save both the investigation and her. But this is Person of Interest, so obviously the obvious wasn't so obvious.
In a first for the series, the person of interest turned out to be the perpetrator by indirectly causing harm to someone else. When Maxine wrote an article incriminating a mobster's son named Zambrano as the head of HR (which was later proved false), it led other rival factions to take him out and leave Maxine with one giant "oopsie!" on her hands. Turns out he was a good guy who was actually a lead witness in an investigation that would have blown up a whole criminal underground. And in another first for the series, this all went down while Reese couldn't let her know he was protecting her, because she was also tracking leads on "the mystery man in the suit!" So how did Reese and Finch find a workaround to get close and protect her? Match-Heart.com.
I'll never get tired of this show thrusting the cyborg-ish Reese-inator into regular awkward human situations, no matter how ridiculous the means of putting him in there are. Last night, Reese was set up on a date with Maxine through an online dating website after Finch sorted through the algorithms and made Reese a perfect match for Maxine by sharing interests and posting pictures of Bear. Finch did all the legwork with flirty texts and instant messages, and the kicker was that all of this was done without Reese's knowledge. The fact that Finch thought it would work shows how detached these two socially defunct clowns are from the rest of society, and Reese was a glorious disaster on the first date, saying all the wrong things and not knowing any details about Maxine because he wasn't involved in the get-to-know-you virtual conversations. Men, amirite ladies? I just have one question: What would Finch have done if the person of interest wasn't a lovely female investigative journalist? I would pay big bucks to see an episode where Reese gets set up with a hulking, hairy gay man. Hey, he's already fond of bears.
After Reese proved himself to be a worthy gentleman, their subsequent dates involved digging up the truth, dodging bullets, and pancake breakfasts. This all eventually led to the cool carousel shootout, where Zambrano's ledger—which had incriminating evidence on all sorts of crooked cops—was hidden.
While all this was going down, dear old Fusco had his own HR problems. Sensing the truth was ready to come out, Simmons—the dirty cop who looks like Nazi Frankenstein—tasked Fusco with cutting off the FBI investigation at the pass and getting the ledger before others did. We've come a long way with Fusco, and it's always painful to see him dragged back into HR's business after so much redemption, but that's the curse of his character and I don't expect it to end anytime soon. However, it was imperative that Fusco get the ledger, because his name was in that book, too.
Eventually the ledger (nothing makes for a more exciting key to a case than a business ledger) got into the right hands and then into Fusco's hands, and the real culprit was outed: the young handsome mayoral candidate! When will you ever learn, handsome politicians? But that too turned out to be a misdirection, because there was another puppet behind the scenes. Young handsome candidate's opponent's campaign manager Quinn, played by The Wire's Clarke Peters. He's the actual head of HR, a man who makes a living planting powerful people in powerful positions while he stands in the background with his fingers in everything.
Can I just say how much I love the way Person of Interest has layered its bad factions? Root was cleverly disguised for half a season, Elias's true identity was hidden well after we knew he existed, and now Quinn has emerged as the head of HR long after we first tangled with HR's many lieutenants. There have been plenty of Batman comparisons with Reese, but the hierarchy and tangled web of villains and factions is just as Batman-y. This really is a superhero comic come to life, minus the tights and silly names.
"Bury the Lede" was another fantastic episode of Person of Interest, which effortlessly mashed up humor, an intriguing case, and a big reveal in the overall mythology. I hope this how goes a million seasons.
– There was some funny Cyrano de Bergerac stuff going on as Finch did all the flirting and developed a crush on Maxine (she quoted Orwell? Swoooon!) while Reese played the handsome exterior. And Reese wearing glasses to look smarter? Too funny. Jim Caviezel played that date perfectly.
– More laughs as Finch hid in Reese's closet, which doubled as an arsenal any supporter of the Second Amendment would be proud of.
– Carter continues to descend into redundancy. Girl needs something to do other than be gofer and show up in time badly.
– Maxine on the man in the suit: "He shoots a lot of kneecaps..." Reese: "Sounds like a great guy." So nice to see this show is very self-aware.