After the complicated machinations of the past couple of weeks, Person of Interest put the brakes on a bit for an episode that concentrated more directly on the Number of the Week. That’s not to say that the episode ignored the development of its multifarious back-stories, or the relationships between its main characters, but that these were definitely background elements.
The Number of the Week was Andrea Gutierrez (April Lee Hernandez, billed as April Hernandez-Castillo), a Civil Rights lawyer deeply in hock to try to establish her legal practice, a rough and ready, unpracticed young woman with a past history as a juvenile lawbreaker. Andrea’s speciality is representing ex-cons with grievances against the State, for which she’s been unrelievedly unsuccessful so far. She’s now representing Terrence King, a former drug addict who’s cleaned himself up for the benefit of his six year old son, who’s now inside for having drugs in his house, despite being provably clean. Someone wants to kill Andrea.
Andrea’s case stands at the conjunction of two scam. There’s the corrupt Probtion Officer, Dominick Goluska, who’s threatening his clients with ‘discovered violations’ that’ll get their asses kicked back into the joint unless they pay him 30% of their wages: Reese deals with him quickly, knocking him cold, sousing him with booze and leaving him behind the wheel of his car, clutching his gun, and calling it in as a 911. It’s funnily fast, and shows the big difference between the levels Reese and Finch operate at and the small-time crook.
But the other one is far more serious. It’s a racket going on. Goluska’s clients who he sets up to go back inside are all single parents whose children go into foster care. Except that someone in the fostering programme is doctoring the records to create additional, ghost children, placed with compliant fosterers, who collect the money for these non-existent children. Andrea’s a target because her case for Terrence King will expose this, if he is released.
It’s a good story, and there’s the usual amount of misdirection as to the real culprit, reminding me that I have to be more alert and remember that anything that’s obvious on this show isn’t going to be.
The fun in this case is in watching Detective Carter moving closer to a full-scale alliance with our vigilante pair. The CIA’s brutal attempt at executing John Reese two episodes ago, in front of her eyes, has shocked her and, in a way that’s never stated, radicalised her. She asks for a meeting with Reese, wants to know more about what they do, and where they get their intel from.
This latter Reese won’t disclose, but he hands Carter a nme, Andrea Gutierrez, and starts to use her to get information to assist the case, and working in parallel lines. And without telling her he’s already got Detective Fusco on a line, nor telling Fusco that Carter’s now an ally, all through some wonderfully fussy mother hen calls from Lionel about Carter’s new, secretive actions.
And Carter, who’s made it plain that she is a Police Officer and there are rules, is already getting flustered about how Reese just ignores rules, because he can. But she’s in the slipstream now, and John’s already pointed out that once you’re past a certain point, there’s no going back. (He’s also told her she’s getting paranoid – now you’re learning…)
But let us not forget Harold Finch. There is the usual dry wise-cracking between our odd pair, still much of a cross between banter and sniping. Reese still knows too little and he wants to know a lot more. Mid-episode, Finch is called away on private business, involving bailing out a young man on misdemeanour charges, who embraces him and calls him ‘Uncle Harold’.
It’s not too difficult to work out who he is, and that the Uncleship is honorary: he is Will Ingram (Michael Stahl-David), son of Finch’s old partner, Nathan Ingram. There’s a clear affection between the pair. Will’s a qualified Doctor, who’s spent a lot of time overseas, in Red Cross and other wild-doctoring circumstances. He’s back to clean out his Dad’s old loft apartment, get rid of his things, go back abroad, except that he changes his mind when he starts going through his Dad’s old papers.
There’s a mysterious gap of seven years, when Nathan shut his company down, paid off all his employees, worked on something that he sold to the Government for $1. You and I and the cat know that this is the story of the Machine, but Will doesn’t. Something like that, he muses, is either worthless or priceless. He wants to know more.
This disturbs Finch. He’s concealed himself even from this engaging, thoughtful, intelligent nephew: Will thinks Finch was only his Dad’s best friend, that he works in Insurance, that he wasn’t involved in the Company. Will’s going to dig even deeper into his Dad’s papers…
And if this isn’t enough of a development on its own, there’s John Reese. John still has trust issues with Finch, about whom he knows little except that there is more to know. He’s tracked Finch to the loft, observed him and Will. He’s found Will’s phoros on-line, including the face of Nathan Ingram. He’s found a headline about Billionaire’s tragic death. He’s got a job for Lionel Fusco. It involves tracking Finch…