CBS’s ‘Person of Interest‘ is show about a team of militant good Samaritans given bits of foreknowledge from a surveillance-enabled artificial intelligence. It’s about more than that, but, honestly, if you don’t know anymore just go watch it. It’s good. The rest of this post is spoilery anyway. Go on, get!

Okay, if you’re still with me then you know the show. I’ve been going over the past seasons and have zeroed in on the show’s formula. Some of it is so obvious to viewers that it’s outlined by Harold’s monologue in the opening credits. They get a number for a person that is either a victim or perpetrator, they recon the person, some stuff goes wrong and they eventually save the victim(s) whether they were the number or not.

Here, however, I want to break down how the majority of the episodes go a little further, if you’ll indulge me.

We get the number.

Along with the number we get a run down of their life and recent activity or any other exposition needed to get the show off the ground. Of course, it’s all vague enough to not be able to nail down the number’s motives.

We recon the number.

It appears that the number has fallen in with the wrong crowd or is the wrong crowd. There is usually some group at play — the mob, the gang, the government, the anti-government group, the competing intelligence organization, ect. — and the person of interest is after them for some reason or vice versa.

There is a weird confrontation.

Typically the number gets away or is abducted from Harold and Co. Said Co. is super well-trained so this happens due to some unrealistic event. Sometimes the person watching the number is uncharacteristically unprepared, others an overpowered strike team is used to take the number. I don’t know how many episodes I see ten or so henchmen dispatched to kidnap a little girl or mild-mannered suit when the person doing the dispatching would have no reason to suspect so many henchmen would be needed. Reece and/or Shaw typically take out the first wave of criminals then a second wave inexplicably shows up. I guess evil organizations are lousy with new recruits.

A realization occurs.

Yeah so the bad guy isn’t the bad guy, it’s the other guy. Surprise! (for the 39th time)

There is another confrontation.

This time around the team gets it and Reese and/or Shaw are more badass. Bad guys are shot in the knees yet act as if they were shot in the head. (If I was shot in the knee, expect me to be moaning expletives for the remainder of the scene.) In later seasons, Root acts as a deus ex machina that still kinda makes sense when the dust settles.

Forgive me if some of that sounds sarcastically critical. I love the show for all it’s quirks. ‘Person of Interest’ returns for season 5 sometime in the next year or so.