Person of Interest: s03 e02 – Nothing to Hide

One of the many things I love about Person of Interest is the flexibility of its format. It’s basic underpinning is that Finch has invented an early warning system, forty-eight hours notice of murder, giving our heroic band the opportunity to save a life, whoever the person, whatever the circumstances. The possibilities are limited only by the various gradaions of humanity.

Take this week’s episode. The Number is Wayne Kruger (a splendidly rancid performance by David Alan Basche), CEO of a corporate titan who has made it by creating a Facebook-like empire called Lifetrace, which publishes complete details of people’s lives. Actually, it’s more like Friends Reunited, which the aged among us will remember, permitting re-contact, except that instead of letting the users choose what details to publish, Lifetrace sucks up and spews out everything. And Kruger sells on the data to make millions.

There’s an obvious issue here involving Privacy. Not that Kruger cares. He’s one of those bombastic bastards, master of his Universe, who is never wrong, always cleverer than everyone around him, unaware that his imagination is limited to only the next step in getting very richer and deliberately obtuse as to the effects of his orgamisation.

Frankly, he’s a twat, and a hypocrital one as well (aren’t they always?) Total exposure is good, it feeds the apocalyptical vision of a world in which everybody’s ‘wants’ will be anticipated, to the no doubt detriment of their thinking for themselves, and anyway, the only people who want privacy are those with something to hide.

Yes, that tired old line, promptly reversed when it appears Kruger has things he wants to hide and someone’s putting these out publicly. The sex with not-his-wife, the arrest record, the bank details used to strip him of every penny, being kicked out of his own company, privacy is such an outmoded concept, isn’t it?

Kruger’s life goes to pot, a helter-skelter leading only downwards. Finch, Reese and Shawwatch over him, rescue him from an overt attempt at murder but still the arrogant bastard pursues only the dollar signs in his eyes. He CAN resurrect the big deal, he can haul the guy who’s done this in front of Mr Peter Collier (Leslie Odem Jr.), nobody messes with him.

And at the last he may be capble of learning a lesson. The man behind all this is a father, or was a father. Lifetrace put his daughter’s entire life onto the internet. Three times, an abusive ex-boyfriend traced her. Three times, the family asked for her details to be removed. Three times, the company did nothing. The fourth time, the boyfriend murdered her. Not all people require privacy because they have something disreputable to hide.

Kruger may have finally caught the edge of something bigger than himself, that old saw that we all must understand to be truly human, that actions have consequences. Within minutes, however, he was dead, and John Reese also shot, in the bullet-proof vest. By the wholly unforeshadowed Peter Collier. Not a corporate functionary but a crusader. Whose Crusade is foursquare for Privacy, and whose Crusade is out to take it back, in a very forceful way. A dominant theme for season 3 has just been introduced.

This was the major story of the episode. Therewas no room for Root this week, but Carter’s story was advanced, slowly. At Cal Beecher’s grave she bumps into Alonzo Quinn, his godfather (as Carter knows him), a man alive to potential threats to HR and not prepared to allow them to develop beyond potential. And, lo and behold, Carter gets an eager rookie to train, Officer Mike Laskey (Brian Wiles). Whilst Fusco discovers Beecher’s file has been frozen, access denied.

Enough to keep us going. And we will be going there

10 thoughts on “Person of Interest: s03 e02 – Nothing to Hide

  1. “Nothing to Hide” [3×02]
    Written by: Erik Mountain
    Directed by: Frederick E.O. Toye

    To repeat what you said at the top, Person of Interest does moral ambiguity well. I’ve seen the first 5 seasons of Arrow, the first 3 seasons of The Flash, and the first two seasons of Legends of Tomorrow. They mostly fail at attempting to add nuance to their stories-whenever the heroes are faced with self-doubt, it never really lands. “Nothing to Hide” succeeds in that same area-not through self-doubt, but by serving up a person who may or may not deserve the protection the team is giving him. No one’s really sad to see Kruger go. That’s where the whole series excels, really. Violence to stop violence, surveillance to stop bad things from happening, the use of extreme methods to get the job done….that’s where POI lives. In the grey. It also helps that the production quality has obviously improved from the start of the series. A simple ‘number’ spirals out of control and introduces a brand new villain. The uncertainty of where the threat comes from gives it a big boost as well.

    A-/A. I can’t decide which-I’ll leave it up to you.

    1. I’ll go with A.

      None of the DC shows you reference can cope with ambiguity, whilst the comic books themselves have long had a better handle on it. The shows are too ‘comic-booky’ and I’ve given all of them up.

      1. Let’s go with A, then! It has the same structure as Liberty, but is much more satisfying all the same.

        As I said, I stopped watching them two and-a-half years ago. I really did enjoy the first two seasons of Arrow plus the first season of the Flash. Just seemed like both shows refused to grow. None of the character growth really sticks, all of the ‘big ideas’ are trite and overplayed, and the dialogue is truly painful-seriously, anyone who complains about the dialogue on POI has never watched The Flash. I would agree that they’re too ‘comic-booky’, in that they take the worst aspects of them, being the endless repetition and borderline ennui, without really reaching the heights of its source material (in the case of The Flash, anyway-Arrow did well considering Green Arrow is quite limited).

  2. Same structure but a far more complex Number that you couldn’t just root for.

    I bailed out on Arrow first, because it was just too gloomy, and once the flashbacks caught up with real time, it lost its point. Flash and Legends I’ve only just dropped this seaspon; Flash lost the idea that there was a joyful, fun aspect to superspeed, and became a carbon copy of Arrow whilst Legends stopped bringing in minor DC characters and opted for increasing the silliness beyond the point it was bearable.

    1. Yeah, gloomy really didn’t suit such a silly comic book action show well at all. The Flash even less so, with the endless heart-to-heart pep talks. So annoying. And Legends became a live-action cartoon.

      1. It was more ridiculous than actual Justice League Cartoon from the early 2000s….Which is really good.

  3. I’d compare it with the post-Legends Justice League International, which started off admirably funny but had to keep topping itself with its surreality until…

      1. I would expect no less of the programme. The point had already been made with lesser figures, but if you set oiut to save you have to set out to save everyone. Who are you to judge who lives and who dies? I wouldn’t trust myself with that power, and if I don’t trust me I’m sure as hell never gonna trust anyone who isn’t me?

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