The series' first episodes indicate that there's more to both Finch and Reese than we first see. Both have flashbacks to earlier, somewhat happier times, and both have personal reasons for going after criminals. Finch walks with a limp and can hardly turn his head, but in flashbacks, he walks normally. 

Reese had a relationship with a woman years ago, but something has happened to close him off. Caviezel's lean features and sad eyes make Reese a singularly distinct prime-time crime fighter and he brings movie star mystique to the thriller. Michael Emerson, who intrigued Lost viewers for years as the despicable Benjamin Linus, is a sharp contrast, exuding intelligence and mystery.  

This procedural of the paranoiac post 9/11 era has gotten better with every episode. A series this ambitious not only has a backstory to reveal, it's also already unfolding a larger story of forces behind the scenes; it could be that the self-appointed crime fighters are uncovering something bigger than individual victims-to-be. 

A lot of things could happen: will Detective Carter start seeing these mystery men as de facto allies, and will this compromise her official duties?  Or will she expose them as well-meaning but unaccountable agents and potentially out-of-control wild cards?   

So far, the series has balanced individual cases with suspenseful ongoing sub-plots that show how precarious a situation Finch and Reese have created for themselves. 

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out the first season, and if done well, beyond. The most compelling thread in the narrative fabric is that of Reese, the haunted government hit man who strives to save others.

Is he beyond saving himself? Is he to remain a man of blood, fated to be forever shut out of a society he makes safe one person of interest at a time?   

*This review first published 10/24/2011

**Watch Person of Interest Thursdays on CBS