Person of Interest: s02 e05 – Bury the Lede

Victim, or Perpetrator?

And here is where things really start to get interesting.

After resolving the issue of Finch’s kidnapping by Root, and allowing a lull in the form of a procedural episode or two, Person of Interest began developing its first major theme for season 2 in this episode. First, there was a bit of minor misdirection in the form of this week’s number, Maxine Angelis (guest star Gloria Votsis), a determined investigative reporter pursuing financial improprieties in one man’s political campaign to be elected Mayor of New York (gosh, if we only had reporters like that in Britain).

We begin in media res with the lady: there is no longer any need to rehash how Numbers are received, nor to introduce them in the Library, we save time by introducing them on the fly. But Maxine immediately seems irrelevant as the FBI, under Special Agent Donnelly, swoop on the NYPD and arrest 75 dirty cops, all members of HR. This does not include Fusco, though he’s sweating a bit, and he has Symonds on his back demanding he destroy evidence that implicates the latter.

The raid is all based on Fusco’s undercover work in season 1. The scale of it might lead you to suppose HR is crippled, at best, but the Boss remains unidentified and out of reach.

Maxine’s interested in that story too, and also the one about the Man in a Suit, which means Reese can’t get close to her in the usual way without risking publicity that he and Finch neither want nor need. It makes his job impossible, so Finch solves it in an underhandedly direct manner: Maxine is using an online dating agency, so winds up agreeing a date with a ‘John Anderson’, an actuary.

And when Reese starts floundering very quickly, Finch gets Zoe Morgan to do a walk-by, to perk Maxine up about ‘Mr Anderson’s attractiveness to other women.

That’s by-the-by. Maxine has a meet with Mayoral Office high-ranking staffer Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters, in between The Wire and Treme: does his presence alert you to anything?). Quinn’s behind the Griffin campaign, the one with the sleazeball implication, but is getting creamed by the Mr Clean candidate, Landon Walker.

And there’s an anonymous tip to Maxine, naming Christopher Zambrano as the boss of HR.

Zambrano looks good for it. His Dad was one of the Mafia Dons taken out by Elias last season, he runs an Import-Export business that is the kind of cover Dons use, the FBI are interested in him. Maxine sprays him all over the cover, but there’s just one thing wrong: Zambrano’s clean. Clean in that he’s the witness, not the boss, possessor of a ledger of pay-offs belonging to his Dad, that he’ll surrender to the FBI, once he gets his immunity deal. Now Maxine’s painted a target on his forehead.

The news that she’s been played, and allowed her eagerness for a scoop to let her see the wrong story, breaks during her date with ‘John Anderson’. Christopher Zambrano is shot dead, Maxine’s career ruined, she’s genuinely repentant, and when she tries to track down who set her up, her life is in danger. From being the Perpetrator, albeit unknowingly, she has become the Victim that Reese has to protect at close range.

What’s important is to find the ledger, but when they do, two homicidal ex-FBI agents are prepared to take it from them and arrange their death as a lover’s spat that escalated. Reese’s hands are tied, both literally and figuratively. This time it’s Carter and Fusco who arrive to save the day.

The fall-out is that both the ex-FBI guys and the ledger drop Landon ‘Mr Clean’ Walker in it. He’s arrested by Donnelly, Ed Griffin wins the Mayoralty. Fusco, who’s dancing on a knife-edge here, removes two pages from it first, relating to payments made to P Symonds and L Fusco. It’s still not enough to get him out of HR.

There are two stings left in the tale. Maxine goes on a fourth, entirely normal date with Anderson, but it’s their last: she’s wedded to her job and he isn’t yet over Zoe Morgan. But she’s dropping the Man in a Suit investigation. He must be an Urban Legend – after the weekend she’s just had, if he did exist she’d have seen him…

But the other is the big reveal, and it’s one that we should all have seen coming from the mere fact that Clarke Peters was playing a guest role. It’s to be a recurring role. The boss of HR is Alonzo Quinn. And the shape of season 2 slowly crystallises.

21 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s02 e05 – Bury the Lede

  1. Really great episode. Season 2 is where Person of Interest’s plotting really starts to get complex. This episode contains a genuinely interesting number-of-the-week, a chilling ending, and a welcome return to the season’s long-term arcs. I’ve heard this episode described as very Batman-esque, and I’d agree. I could see this as an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

    1. Absolutely. The show’s a perfect example of biding your time, getting establishd and then slowly opening up your deeper intentions. I’m not so sure about the Batman comparison, but then I haven’t seen as much of the Animated Series as I’d have liked.

      1. Season 2 is the most Batman-esque season of the show in general. In the comics and the Animated Series, there are always several different factions and supervillains, each with their own agendas. The main difference is that Person of Interest’s villains (besides HR) genuinely believe that they’re trying to make the world a better place, whereas Batman’s usually reflect a dark aspect of his personality. Regardless, the parallels do line up. Mr. Reese’s name is a reference to the Riddler (Mysteries-Mr. Reese is similar to Mr. E Nygma-Mystery+Enigma).

  2. The writing in this one is razor sharp. Overall, it’s one of the season’s strongest. The number was compelling, and had solid chemistry with Jim Caviezel-would have made a better match for him than Iris the therapist. Don’t get me started on that (they had Kathryn Winnick right there and they decide to pair him with Iris? Just no).

      1. I must now redact my earlier statement. John’s scenes with the therapist worked a lot better than I initially thought. We’ll get there.

  3. I could get there now, having time on my hands: being high-risk due to my diabetes, work sent me home on Tuesday to self-isolate for my own good. I can get a lot of things done, but I don’t want to get *that* far ahead. I’ve already got nearly five months of infinite Jukebox posts waiting to schedule…

      1. Yes. After November, I don’t think I’ll come back to this for at least a year. I need to look elsewhere Find stuff I can watch without the urge to blog.

      2. Gotta be smart about this—ration the Person of Interests for the rest of our lives. I have a list of good stuff…………I still have to catch up on The Expanse and Better Call Saul.

  4. I’ve got rewatches like Homicide and The Wire, I’ve a complete Hill Street Blues untouched and that’s not counting the designated successors to PoI and Lou Grant…

    1. The curiosity is real. I kinda assumed you’d blog the Wire. But that is awfully dense (in a good way)–completely packed to the brim.

      1. I’m keeping my cards close to my chest on both of these, but I’m sure you’ll get on with PoI’s replacement. The one for Lou Grant… well, we’ll just have to see.

    1. Many hundreds! But 20 minutes each. Over and done with. They rarely drag, and the show still holds up after all this time. Chuckles bites the dust………..

      1. I have no idea why I typed that. It’s about the same length as Deep Space Nine. i meant to type ‘168’.

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