Person of Interest Season 1, Episode 2: ‘Nothing to Hide’
Directed by Fred Toye
Written by Erik Mountain
Airs Tuesdays at 10 P.M. on CBS
When it comes to the owners of the numbers that “The Machine” feeds out to Reese and Finch, Person of Interest does one of two things very well: making you sympathize with this potential victim or hating the guts of the victim/perpetrator. The latter of the two is executed very well in ‘Nothing to Hide’. The number this week belongs to Wayne Kruger (guest star David Alan Basche), the owner of a company that specializes in the personal information of others and posting it on a website known as “Lifetrace”.
Kruger’s rather detestable line of business makes an interesting and disturbing parallel to Finch and Reese’s work with “The Machine”, the very epitome of the term “invasion of privacy”. The notable difference, as Finch himself points out, “The Machine” only gives a person’s social security number and can’t even be broken into for more information, primarily because people like Kruger would abuse such sensitive information. The other argument to that, however, is that while “The Machine” doesn’t give them critical information that “Lifetrace” might have, Finch has hacking skills that invariably gives him access to the kind of information that “Lifetrace” willingly gives out to whomever simply clicks onto their website. In a time where more and more people’s information is displayed on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even sites distressingly similar to “Lifetrace”, a complete lack of personal privacy is becoming a larger and larger problem. True, back before the digital age we all had a phone book where we could easily look up anyone’s address and number, but you could have your name taken out of the phone book if you didn’t want everyone to know where you live. God forbid a sociopath or aggressive ex-boyfriend got your address and stopped by for a visit. In any case, ‘Nothing to Hide’ is quite successful at making the point that the only difference between Kruger’s “Lifetrace” and “The Machine” is that no one is able to access “The Machine”. It would be a completely different ball game if that were to change.
In an episode where the subtext along with the story is strong, it’s encouraging to see that the acting isn’t taking a back seat. Michael Emerson plays his disgust at Kruger’s dealings effectively without feeling ironic or hypocritical. This is primarily because of our understanding that Fitch is easily offended by wrongdoings everywhere. His constant evasion of Shaw’s constant following is also entertaining; the audience knows all too well that whenever Finch turns a corner, he magically disappears. A little fact that Reese knows all too well from trying the exact same thing in earlier seasons. Speaking of Shaw, it’s nice to see her be a consistent member of The Number Brigade. The inevitable episode where Shaw shakes things up for Reese and Finch is headed like a freight train, but it’s enjoyable to have Sarah Shahi playing nice for now. As always, it’s entertaining to see Jim Caviezel deliver odd little comedic moments in his creepy monotone voice and he doesn’t disappoint, although I’d like to see Reese have more to do with Shaw around. Potential love interest? Now we’re just deep in crazy talk. Also, Bear the dog is once again a stand out. Is doggy Emmys a thing, because he’s a serious contender.
The very end of the episode presents us with a new enemy organization that could prove to be a problem for “The Machine” going forward. It’s not clear yet how anyone non-government could have an idea about “The Machine”, but this unknown group railing against anything violates our collective right to privacy will surely learn about “The Machine”, if they haven’t already. It’ll be interesting to see how this group plays into events going forward.
Nothing to Hide brings the show back to its groove with a compelling threat and a “person of interest” that is absolutely detestable and without any sense of a sympathetic nature, a type that the show excels at and should use more often.