Person of Interest, Season 3, Episode 7: “The Perfect Mark”
Directed by Stephen Surjik
Written by Sean Hennen
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET on CBS
“The Perfect Mark” opens with Finch (Michael Emerson) undercover once more as a patient for Hayden Price (Aaron Staton), a con man posing as a hypnotherapist to get sensitive information out of people. In the opening scene, it looks like this hypnotherapist, fraud though he may be, might be able to squeeze some information from Finch about his past, but no, Finch is a tough nut to crack and it’ll probably be some time before the show reveals the hush-hush world of Finch’s pre-Machine life. All we know is that Finch might have been a legendary hacker in his past life and is still a wanted man, by his old name at least. Back to the case, though- Price has managed to get involved in the ugly affairs of everyone’s favorite corrupt police organization, HR, all in the search of an admittedly large score: a 1927 New York Yankees-signed baseball that could be sold for over four million dollars.
The way in which the baseball is connected with HR’s money laundering operation is actually pretty interesting and quite Breaking Bad-esque. People always think of auctions as a very high-class function that might be manipulated into something as nefarious as money laundering. It’s an element that’s rarely, if ever, explored and is nothing less than fascinating. Even more so when the explanation comes from Enrico Colantoni’s Elias, a ceaseless source of malice and irrational likability.
The way in which “The Perfect Mark” wraps itself is equal parts unexpected and entirely earned. The entire episode, up to the ending, boils down to who will get whom: Price or HR? Forcing the viewer to focus on those two effectively blinds the audience from seeing the third option: Price’s girlfriend, Natalie Boal (Jennifer Ferrin). While it would be nice to see Price and Natalie sail off into the sunset with Price living the straight and narrow, it’s much more compelling to see somebody else (in this case, Natalie) con him like he’s conned so many countless others in the past.
Person of Interest, while not a powerhouse Emmy contender, is still consistently getting great performances from its actors. Most notable are Carter (Taraji P. Henson) and Elias, who share a very engaging scene together. Henson exudes a strong intensity in every scene she’s in and never falters in pulling off the “tough cop” routine. It’d also be wrong not to mention the scene between Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Carter that ends, rather epicly, with a fist bump. Reese is always such an uptight character that it’s fun to see him let loose every now and then. Well, loose for him that is. Caviezel, as always, sells it with his usual monotone dryness, but that’s just what makes Reese, Reese.
All in all, Person of Interest continues to be a show that delivers effective stories week-by-week, proving that procedurals can rise beyond their format and consistently bring something more to the table.