A Rant about Person of Interest

Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker
Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest
Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest

I didn’t watch in Person of Interest when it began. I think I started watching when I noticed Sarah Shahi tweeting about it. From the first glimpse I saw a very different Sarah Shahi from anything I’d ever seen before. That was intriguing.

Amy Acker in Person of Interest
Amy Acker in Person of Interest

Then I saw Amy Acker being very mysterious – almost mystically gifted – and thought to myself, “Why haven’t I been watching this show?” Sarah Shahi, Amy Acker: two long-time favorites. What’s not to like?

I started watching. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand what was going on in that first episode I watched. I still don’t. I get that it has themes around privacy and Big Brother watching our every move, and people who decide on how our lives will be lived without consulting us in the matter. However, the details are obscure, especially the little matter of how the characters can go around killing people willy nilly. Shaw and Reese (Jim Caviezel) manage to fill people with lead in every episode. No one seems to mind.

Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker in Person of Interest
Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker in Person of Interest

It took a long time before the two actresses had any scenes together. I’ve figured out a few things about the characters since then. Shaw (Shahi) is good with a gun, likes dogs, makes a great thief, and seems attracted to men. (More on this later.) Root (Acker) is somehow connected to ‘the machine.’ She shows up unexpectedly, seems to know everything before anyone else, and can help out with the action in a pinch.

I think the machine is something invented by Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). It sends them on the missions they undertake. Somehow. Or maybe that’s a different machine from the one Root communes with telepathically. Or somehow. Even worse: now the bad guys (AKA, the government) have a machine, too.

Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest
Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest

I keep wishing there would be an episode with only Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi doing whatever the mission of the week is. A whole episode with only the two of them. Who cares if I don’t understand what the heck is going on in this inexplicable drama when the two of them are on my screen! Couldn’t they be trapped in an elevator or held captive in a cargo ship or put in mortal peril in an underground bunker for a whole episode? Together?

Nobody in the show seems to have a private life or a sex life. Once in a while Shaw seems interested in a man she’s pursuing as part of a mission. So maybe she’s straight. Root, on the other hand, likes to come on to Shaw every chance she gets. Root seems attracted to Shaw. So maybe she’s not straight.

Shaw never says, “Hey, leave me alone, I like guys.” She just lets Root flirt and listens in her stoic manner without responding in any way. So maybe Shaw’s not so straight as she seems.

These few seconds of flirting, of sexual tension, are the only really clear parts of each episode. Nobody is shooting anyone or doing crazy action scenes on rooftops. Just two people standing in front of each other and one of them is hoping for a connection. Hey, the characters run around and do crazy stuff and have machines in their heads, but they’re really just regular folks. See, they have sexual sizzle between them.

Person of Interest isn’t the kind of show where we are suddenly going to go off into the personal lives of the characters. They don’t have any personal lives, they are merely extensions of the machine. I don’t know whether to thank Person of Interest for these few seconds of sizzle between Shaw and Root, or scream bloody hell because it’s driving me crazy.

Is the tease from Root really just teasing the audience? Throw in the lesbian question to keep the audience coming back? Or is this little subplot heading somewhere? If we are going to get subplots peeking into the personal lives of the characters, why aren’t Reese and Finch and everyone else getting these little subplotty moments?

What do you think is going on between Shaw and Root?

UPDATE: January 2015. Shaw and Root have their first kiss, and possibly their last.

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