Person of Interest Review: Blast from the Past

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Sometimes going backwards on a show to fill in the blanks can be unnecessary, simply a detour on the main course that adds nothing to the main story. And yet, when done right, connecting those dots in the past can be both satisfying and cool.

Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 16 pulled back the fold to really reveal the full layout involving those bits and pieces of information viewers have already gotten over the course of three seasons. And in a way, there was a certain expansion on the origin story for the characters we’ve come to know and their initial connections to the Machine.

It was kind of a surprise to see Finch with another partner, another man in a suit, but Rick Dillinger was no slouch. Actor Neil Jackson did a good job giving him a charming personality and directness that got the job done but was clearly a contrast from the way Reese might handle the same situation.

Which made it such a fun moment to see the “couple” following Daniel Casey was in fact Reese and Kara, both working for the CIA on a killing mission. This wasn’t necessarily the hardcore assassin Reese, but over the course of the hour it was obvious that Reese was changing. Not liking the torture, even saving Casey at the end (all for Finch to see) made it even more understandable why Finch would eventually come to seek him out in Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 1.

What’s more, Decima, the shadowy organization who we eventually learn recruited Kara in Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 13, is revealed to be extremely interested in tracking down Casey.

Why? It all has to do with the infamous Machine, of course. That’s what it brilliantly all comes back to.

Casey had been recruited by the government to try and access the Machine, and using his computer he was able to gain part of a code before getting kicked out and ultimately hunted down to be eliminated. That specific computer ends up being the one Reese and Kara are sent to find in Person of Interest Season 1 Episode 20 when they travel to Ordos.

It’s just in this hour, we got to see Control and even the still alive Special Counsel (the return of Jay O. Sanders!) discuss that particular act. Those two, especially Control, don’t like when people get to close with their knowledge of the Machine.

And as the various forces are fighting for Control, it was kind of a clever twist in the story to see Dillinger betray Finch. He couldn’t handle being in the dark. And it was certainly obvious their relationship was professional as compared with Reese and Finch who are friends as well as colleagues.

So he ended up selling the computer right before getting taken out by Shaw. And what another fantastic reveal for the hour. It’s amazing to see her back on the other side working for Control who eventually puts the hit out on her and her partner in Person of Interest Season 2 Episode 16.

Funny that Finch happened to be near Shaw when she went on her killing spree. At least he was kind enough to bury Dillinger after the betrayal.

I was a bit disappointed we wouldn’t get to see Reese and Dillinger face off in the future, but he certainly was a memorable presence in the short span of time he had.

And really, it is fun seeing things come full circle and how intricately connected all these stories and characters are with that super Machine at the center.

But the hour wouldn’t be complete without one last moment to send the story forward and have you already wishing it was next Tuesday. Crazy Root showed up to retrieve Casey and send him to Columbia. What is she up to?

I’m sure there were even more intricate moments or subtle callbacks I might have missed, but getting to watch all the puzzle pieces fit into place to see that bigger picture was just plain fun. This was an impressive Person of Interest episode that could have wound up wasted time, but it instead gave viewers an exciting and revealing look into the past.

Do you wish Rick Dillinger had lived?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (114 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

Sarah silva

This was a good episode. It was neat seeing what happened in more detail before Reese was hired by Finch. The way Shaw, Reese, Kara etc were all intertwined was very cool.


Person Of Interest this week was brilliant and mind blowing. It was amazing to see all dots get connected together. I hope this show will stay for few more seasons.


Why does Person of Interest have to be filmed so dark, as in color? It is so difficult to see what is going on.


great episode! this show has layers for those who want, but even for the viewer who doesn't record, slow down, make notes of the Machine's gibberish can really enjoy the show. I don't feel they are taking us for granted at all.

Joe zubrick

Not a big fan of the episode - much too convenient and contrived in it's exposition. As much as I like Shaw, her part just made me groan. She missed? Did appreciate the mention of Caribou, Maine. Either there's someone with a northern Maine connection involved with the show or a lot of weather watchers there (Caribou is where the weather station is and is mentioned frequently). Of courses, the bus could have dropped him off in Houlton (where the Interstate ends) or 40 miles northwest of Caribou at Fort Kent. In either case, Casey would have been right on the border.


this episode was just ok for me. wondering if john (jim) wanting out. his scenes are less has made a few movies during his show hiatis etc maybe wants to do that instead

@ barbara

The ratings for last night's show are a SERIES LOW. Wonder what Jim thinks about that?


Person of Interest ratings continue to decline as viewers reject the show, by the millions. What could be wrong? Oh wait........

@ Just Wondering

I'm at a loss as to why numbers are down this year. However, if you look at the facts, it has the 4th highest number of viewers on the network, averaging over 12 mil per episode (and although I haven't seen them, I assume it's top 10 across all networks, given that CBS is #1). It's already been renewed for Season 4 as well. The 18-49 demo is way down this year, but that is not only what a network bases a decision to keep a show on. CBS is not about to cancel a top 5 show anytime soon...

@ Just Wondering

number of viewers and quality are two different things … unless you consider reality tv to be the summum of quality ?

@ braaf_hond

If a show does not make money for advertisers, its quality will not matter and it will be canceled....kind of like that....if a show is really fantastic and no one watches....thing. Person of Interest is in a downward spiral and it may not recover from its freefall. Too bad. A lot of former fans really loved the show, but the writers and CBS took them for granted.

@ Just+Wondering

Well network tv is filled with imao a lot of trash. No disrespect to anyone that likes watching csi or bones or whatever crime shows like them, btw i used to watch pretty much all of them until i got cable so i'm not just talking crap. POI is literally the only network show i still watch and firmly believe is near the quality of the cable shows. Btw some of the most critically and cult status shows like deadwood, the wire and firefly were all cancelled or ended before their time so don't think because not as many people are watching POI instead of the csi etc. i don't rake that as a sign of a declining show, its just that many people that watch network aren't into the serial nature of POI. They would rather watch a show where there are god guys that catch bad guys and always win. That's my 2 cents anyway.

@ Just+Wondering

How has the show taken fans for granted. If you see the premise set up you would realize that the show was meant to never stay the same, and if you go into it with that mindset you should love almost every single minute of it, as you keep wondering what is going on.


POI:The Rewind IMO the BEST EP of the SERIES ( so far)!. The answer to the Stanton question from S2...nice. Seeing all the "helper monkeys"... keep up the great writing.


great episode [just to explain why root went up north 😏] … however, i have one question left : who was the guy in the tub ? not the number, not dillinger, all the decima guys were shot … so,…? the number's friend ? who ??? WHO ???


Okay, so it was Dillinger who sold the laptop to the Chinese, which is how it ended up at Ordos... but why did Greer think it was Finch who sold the laptop? Maybe Dillinger used Finch's name while doing the deal in order to spite his (ex-)employer? Did I miss something, though? How did Finch recognize Reese and Stanton as CIA? I didn't think he'd run across them before, but maybe I just need to recheck the timeline.

@ Dreamrose

Yes you did.Finch modified Casey code.I think he left his signature there so that no one follows casey anymore.
Thats why Decima thinks Finch sold them that laptop.
Finch recognition of Reese has still not been explored.
I think Finch was looking for a partner before Dillinger and may have hit on Reese as a potential one.(just a guess).
Knowing the writers the reveal would be much better than that.

@ Dreamrose

Finch recognizing Reese may be a setup for a future flashback.

@ Dreamrose

Finch recognizing Reese maybe a setup for a future flashback.

@ Tim C

Finch may have recognized Reese because he was part of the same team who was sent to kill Nathan. This was kind of hinted when Control mentioned that she prefered sending people like the CIA for the dirty work so nothing could be be traced back to them.

@ Lorall

nathan was killed by a bomb … not at all john's style, even when in the cia … and i doubt harold would hire a guy from the team who killed his best friend and killed/injured many bystanders …

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Person of Interest Season 3 Episode 16 Quotes

Something about killing a citizen makes me want to kick back on the beach.


You knew I was a shark when you hired me. Don't be surprised when I smell blood in the water.