CBS’s “Person of Interest” stood out as one of the best new series from the last year, delivering thrilling action and compelling, character-driven drama from week-to-week. The first season Blu-ray edition delivers a great presentation, though the bonus material falls a bit short. Person of Interest: The Complete First Season Release Date: September 4, 2012 Studio: Warner Brothers Home Video Packaging/Materials: Ten-disc Blu-ray keepcase with slipcover Year: 2011-2012 Rating: NR Running Time: ~17 hours MSRP: $69.97 THE EPISODES SPECIAL FEATURES Video 1080p high definition 16x9 1.78:1 Standard and high definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 2.0, French 2.0, Portuguese 2.0 Various Subtitles English SDH, French, Castellano, Dutch, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish Various The Season: 4.5/5 "You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it." – Harold Finch If Batman were split into two people, one representing his brains and the other his brawn, they would resemble Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) and John Reese (Jim Caviezel). The former is the brilliant inventor of the Machine, a device designed to look for terrorist threats to our national security by collecting and analyzing the wealth of surveillance data streaming across the planet. The latter is an ex-CIA operative, highly trained in hand-to-hand combat and spycraft, but who’s become disillusioned and self-destructive after a devastating personal tragedy. Together the two men work from the Machine’s “irrelevant” list, people who are either poised to commit a crime or about to have a crime committed against them, but whose event does not rise to the level of an act of terrorism. Receiving just a lone Social Security number from the mysterious device, it’s up to Reese and Finch to figure out the nature of the forthcoming crime and put a stop to it. But despite the noble intentions, vigilante justice is a crime of its own, drawing the attention of dogged NYPD Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henson). She’s already well aware of Reese, who initially came through the precinct after a multi-man subway scuffle. Since then, he’s managed to elude Carter at every turn, though she’ll eventually cross paths with him again, as well as his more unassuming partner, when they have a need for information only she can provide. By then, she too will benefit from their unique skills and resources, though in the greater scheme of things it will be anything but a symbiotic relationship. The same goes for Reese and Finch’s relationship with the much less honorable Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman), whose inroads with the corrupt police collective known as “HR” provides them with another valuable information stream, but one ultimately acquired through their own dalliance with blackmail and manipulation. Reese and Finch will frequently venture into such grey areas in their work, though their actions will always stand in stark contrast to the egregious crimes they investigate. As their victories accumulate, however, worthy opponents to both men will rise to the surface, once more proving the adage that good cannot exist without evil. Though its premise sounds a bit like the TV series “Early Edition,” which had a man preventing terrible events based on information from a yet-to-be-published newspaper, mysteriously delivered to him each day, “Person of Interest” is much more grounded in reality and grittier in its content. Conceived by Jonathan Nolan, the similarities to Batman are no coincidence, as the mysterious surveillance Machine and Reese’s no-nonsense personality and fighting prowess call back to the work of Nolan and his brother, director Christopher Nolan, for “The Dark Knight.” Though early episodes adhere to the self-contained story structure necessary to build up an audience, the show later includes some sizable arcs, everything from the back story on Finch and his Machine and Reese’s past with the CIA, to the rise of their criminal counterparts, the ambitious crime boss Elias and the brilliant hacker / con artist Root. Flawlessly interweaving compelling character histories with nail-biting developments in the present day, “Person of Interest” stands out as one of the best new series of the 2011/2012 broadcast year. With a new season set to premiere next week, those who haven’t yet become fans of the show have a lot of catching up to do. "Person of Interest: The Complete First Season" on Blu-ray includes all 23 episodes that aired in 2011 and 2012. The episodes are spread across four Blu-ray discs in the following arrangement: Disc One: Episodes 1-6 Disc Two: Episodes 7-12 Disc Three: Episodes 13-18 Disc Four: Episodes 19-23 "Person of Interest’s" second season is scheduled to premiere Thursday, September 27th at 9/8c on CBS. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The series episodes are correctly framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The transfer exhibits inky black levels and fine shadow detail, though there are moments when contrast can look a touch flat. The sometimes stylized color palette shows great depth as well as saturation. Fine object detail in fabrics, and skin textures in particular, are excellent, though scenes in higher contrast environments, like Reese and Finch’s meeting place by the river, reveal some slight edge haloing. Grain structure is often visible, as is a touch of noise at times, though there's no obvious signs of noise reduction measures. Audio Quality: 4.5/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, clear and intelligible. Support for the score in the surround channels is balanced and seamless, as are the sometimes aggressive atmospheric and directional effects. LFE is sufficiently deep and robust, though explosive effects don’t always troll as deeply as one would like. Special Features: 3/5 The collection of on-disc bonus material is on the meager side, but the inclusion of the entire six-disc DVD edition and Ultraviolet digital copy are worthy of mention. Audio Commentary with Producers Jonathan “Jonah” Nolan and Greg Plageman: Nolan and Plageman tend to be a little over-complimentary of the cast and crew on their track for the Pilot, but the commentary for the Extended Pilot is noticeably better as they share more behind-the-scenes anecdotes and offer their thoughts on the characters and story they’ve created. Nolan does most of the talking on both tracks, and his brusque style may be off-putting to some, but those who stick with it should be satisfied. Extended Pilot (55:49, HD): The longer version of the first episode includes more expositional scenes and moments between characters. Those favoring the broadcast version will find the pacing bogs down as a result, but comparing the two does make for a good demonstration of how storytelling can be affected through the editing process. Living in the Age of Surveillance (15:04, HD): Be prepared to feel a little paranoid as the show producers and various privacy and security experts talk about the realities of governmental surveillance in the modern age. Gag Reel (2:47, HD) DVD Edition: The episodes on the six-disc collection are presented in 1.78:1 MPEG-2 video, enhanced for widescreen displays, and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio at 448 kbps. The special features mirror those on the Blu-ray edition. Ultraviolet Digital Copy: Redeem by September 4, 2014. Recap The Season: 4.5/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 4.5/5 Special Features: 3/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5 Warner Home Video delivers an impeccable high definition presentation for the first season of “Person of Interest,” CBS’s engrossing crime drama / thriller. The bonus material on the Blu-ray release is limited to just a handful of items, but the inclusion of various standard definition and streaming options fills out the set accordingly.