Viewers accustomed to seeing executive producer J.J. Abrams' name on character-driven, serialized TV shows -- "Lost," "Alias," "Felicity," "Fringe" -- may be intrigued by his new CBS series "Person of Interest," but it appears this new program has more in common with the straight-ahead procedurals that dot CBS's prime-time lineup than it does with Mr. Abrams' past efforts.
Michael Emerson, who played the mysterious Ben Linus on "Lost," stars in "Person of Interest" as enigmatic Finch, a millionaire who has a list of people who will be involved in future crimes. First up: Diane (Natalie Zea), an assistant district attorney.
"She might be the victim, she could be the perpetrator," Finch tells his new employee, ex-CIA agent Reese (Jim Caviezel), as they stalk Diane near a New York hot dog vendor. "I want you to follow her, figure out what's gonna happen and stop it from happening."
Reese doesn't believe him at first: "I think you're a bored rich guy. I think that woman's probably your ex-wife or someone you rode in an elevator with once and either way, I think I'm done."
Think again. Reese has a background -- shown in flashback -- that nudges him into working for Finch while eluding a curious New York detective (Taraji P. Henson).
Mr. Emerson seems to be playing another version of his "Lost" character in "Person of Interest." He brings the same creepy mysteriousness to Finch. Mr. Caviezel ("The Passion of the Christ") often speaks in a hoarse, soft voice that's reminiscent of Clint Eastwood.
"Person of Interest" benefits from the high-concept notion of identifying criminals and victims in advance of the crime but beneath that glossy sheen, it seems like it will be a procedural crime show like so many other programs on CBS.
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.