Person of Interest is back for the new year with the eleventh episode of season 4.

“If-then-else” is a genius of an episode. Clever; thoughtful; dramatic; with a little humour and a foreboding sense of an inevitable tragedy. The battle was so important, and the references to the Alamo were not subtle, that casualties were inevitable.

Goodbye Miss Shaw. I liked you.


The episode relies on the Machine’s evaluation of the team’s options that will meet the main objective of stopping a stock market disaster and secondly the safe recovery of all the team. The Machine’s early lessons in evaluation options are shown in flashbacks to a 2003 chess game with Harold Finch; at the end of which Harold has to remind her of the importance of objectivity. Evaluating multiple scenarios is important, but life isn’t a chess game; every piece holds equal value.

Harold explains the origins of chess back in a time when people were not equal – where the King had to be protected at all costs and where pawns were sacrificial and handicapped in movement; and survival depended upon being higher up the social ladder. I will never look at chess the same way again. Indeed I make never play it again.

In Person of Interest the team risks their lives for the good of the world, and the Machine lets them, because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Shaw knows this and at the end the scenes of her falling to the ground amidst a rain of gunfire and Root’s horrified expression are both beautiful and devastating.

The kiss; the tears; the sacrifice. Great television. But what next?

PS Actress Sarah Shahi is pregnant with twins. As a result, the mom-to-be has taken her leave from the show….just maybe not permanently. Although the shooting looked terminal to me.