Surveillance can save you from state corruption on Person of Interest

Last night's episode of Person of Interest was a number-of-the-week episode that was fairly light, but did deliver a few interesting tidbits - including more Finch backstory. Unfortunately, the subplots with Carter and Fusco are starting to go clown car in their overstuffed complexity.

Spoilers ahead!

This week's number
You just knew that this week's number would be a good guy because she was a nice working class girl from Queens who'd had a troubled childhood but then worked her way through college and law school - all so that she could stay in the neighborhood and help prison inmates who are being mistreated. Plus, she loves sexy high heeled shoes.


It turned out she was in danger because her prisoner advocacy had accidentally uncovered a scam that stretched from a corrupt parole officer to the state foster care system. Luckily, thanks to surveillance and Finch turning a shredder into a fax machine (almost as silly as the "forced pairing app" that Reese always uses), our heroes get all the dirty data they need to finger the nasty government workers. As usual, Person of Interest tries to deliver a message about how the system offers perverse incentives that actually encourage parole officers to send their charges back to prison and invent fake kids for them so that they can get a cut of the state money set aside for foster care. Plus, there's a hint that parole officers could even get kickbacks from prisons for sending prisoners back (after all, the more prisoners you have, the more money you get).

There's a kind of weak switcheroo when the prison kickback scam is revealed as a foster kid kickback scam. Overall, this was kind of a cheese and confused plot arc. But still mostly fun.


Juicy backstory
Ingram's son showed up, back from a Doctors Without Borders kind of deal abroad. He's a doctor; he wants to save humanity; he has no idea that Finch is a computer mastermind. All he knows is that Finch was his father's best friend. When Ingram's son starts to go through his father's things, he find evidence that Ingram sold some kind of machine to the government for a dollar. "That means it was worthless or priceless," he tells Finch, who denies knowing anything about it. Seems like Ingram's son is basically the only family Finch has. And he's heading back out to some unknown region to do more Good Things.

Goofiest moments
Now that Carter is working with Reese and Finch, there is a lot of unnecessary dorkery where Fusco sees Carter making secretive phone calls - which inspires Fusco to call Reese, who is talking on the phone to Carter, and trying to keep both Carter and Fusco from knowing that they are both working for him . . . yeah, you get the idea. It's call-waiting spy foo.


Also, allow me to reiterate what I said earlier: Shredder as fax machine? Whut? I can haz?

Speaking whut, why is Carter now the errand girl for Reese? Doesn't she have a job to do? And isn't she kind of weirded out that Finch knows what she's doing and saying all the time? Is he listening to her in the bathroom too? That question occurs to me way too often, in regard to a lot of characters, when I'm watching Person of Interest.


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