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Person of Interest: Get Carter

“Detective Carter doesn’t understand the rules. She’s bad for business.”

Hurray! After all my whining in my previous review, here comes a Carter-centric storyline! There was a lot going on in this episode. In what we are led to believe is a typical day for Carter, she faces an abusive husband, a murder case, an aging mafia boss, and an assassination attempt. All this and she still has time to have breakfast with her son. Twice.

Unlike last week’s installment, this episode did manage to surprise me. I was sure that the flashback (set in the Middle East, in 2004) would center around Reese, not Carter. I was really surprised to see she had a kid. I also didn’t see BC the informant being the (attempted) killer. I thought for sure he would be murdered while working for her and then she would be all guilt-ridden.

Finally, I was surprised that the person she lost seems to be a man. The guy whose picture Finch found in Carter’s car appeared to be a cop. My current theory is that he was killed on September 11, which inspired Carter to enlist. I was sure from where they seemed to be going with the Kovach plot that it would be a sister who was killed by an abusive husband.

I really enjoyed the flashback in this episode. While others have merely added layers to the show’s central mysteries (What is Reese’s past? How did the Machine come to be?), this one explained something. By showing Carter’s dealings with Yusuf, the possible al Qaeda delivery man who, naturally, speaks perfect English, the writers establish Carter as the consummate good guy. In a world made up of gray areas, she alone represents something pure. Carter always does the right thing. Always. She is a paragon, a touchstone of morality, which nicely counters the relative morality views of the rest of the characters.

Furthermore, her actions in the past firmly connect her with Reese. Everything she does and says with Yusuf, I can totally see Reese doing. Perhaps not when he was at war, but certainly now. She rattles off details of his personal life in an almost Machine-inspired way, and manages to assure Yusuf that she does care about him and his family. She is genuinely broken up when she finds out he has been killed.

Fusco, on the other hand, just doesn’t seem to get it. He kept asking Reese why he cared so much about Carter. While Fusco would obviously care if she died, he really doesn’t understand why Reese would. This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Reese’s character. Fusco really should know better. He himself has tried to kill Reese (twice, at last count), yet Reese consistently helps him out.

We continue to set up the Elias storyline, which I’m pretty sure is leading up to a season finale showdown. Carter paid a visit to Moretti, Elias’s father. Moretti mentions that Elias took a shot at Carter, even though she didn’t tell him that. She didn’t call him on it. Important in future? Another case of sloppy writing? Time will tell...

Bits and Pieces:

The title of the episode ("Get Carter") is apparently a reference to a Michael Caine movie from the seventies. Anyone seen it?

Why do families on TV always have time for leisurely breakfasts before school?

Was it just me, or did Jim Caviezel look particularly sexy in this episode? It might have been the leather jacket. Or the motorcycle.

Carter got a first name! It’s Joss. Reference to Mr. Whedon? Probably not, but I’m going to pretend it is, because it makes me happy.

They really had fun with Taraji P. Henson’s height in this episode, constantly making her adversaries considerably taller than her (Alvarez, Kovach, Monica, Mei Li). I think they must have done this intentionally, because she’s only 5’ 4”, about average height. And taller than me.


Fusco: “You got a first name?”
Carter: “Sure. Detective.”

Eddie: “You come after me and I will exercise my Second Amendment rights. And I promise you, I got a pretty big gun.”
Carter: “Man as angry and bitter as you are? I got a feeling it ain’t that big, Eddie.”
Go Carter!!

Fusco: “There’s more cameras than this?”
Carter: “Yeah. Mayor wants one on every corner.”
Fusco: “Wow, no wonder I feel like I’m always being watched.”
There’s also a camera on your desk, Fusco. Remember?

Carter: “This guy wearing a suit?”
Cop: “No. Motorcycle jacket. Why?”
Carter: “Maybe it’s in the cleaners.”

Carter: “You can’t just play God. You don’t get to decide who lives and who dies.”

Two and a half out of four Mexican sodas.


  1. I really like Carter, for all of the reasons you mentioned. And she's taller than I am, too. :)

    Jim Caviezel often leaves me cold, but he can definitely pull off the sexy. I'm more of a fan of Michael Emerson, though. I sort of wish that they hadn't hobbled him with the back injury that makes his head immobile. Although Emerson is so good that he uses it well.

  2. Yeah, I'm definitely not the biggest fan of JC. He doesn't have much range, but he does this sort of thing very well.

    Michael Emerson is just totally amazing. I so mistrusted and disliked Ben on Lost, but I always believe and am rooting for Finch. It's hard to believe Emerson only has two Emmys!

  3. 'Get Carter'is a very influential 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine, plus several other well known British actors. It follows a London gangster, Carter, played by Caine, who travels back to his hometown to investigate the supposedly accidental death of his brother. It is very violent, with an accurate portraying the local criminal class. Carter is portrayed a self-contained loner, as is Reese. I have not seen the episode yet, but will look for any references to the film when I do. I very much recommend the original film. If you like 'POI' you may find it interesting. Do not watch the Stallone remake, which is terrible! John

  4. I really liked this episode, but that's probably because I really like Carter. Loved your point about her being the "touchstone of morality" surrounded by those who are not. It adds a lovely layer to the show and it makes it very easy to understand why she engenders loyalty in everyone around her -- even those she would arrest if she could.

  5. And now, Carter's moment to shine. Another great episode. This show is starting to grow on me.

    Great review again sunbunny. A nice way to complete my viewing.

    And your second question is not only funny, but also right on the nose !

  6. Gilmore Girls.

    These two ate for 18 people AND remained slim throughout the series...

  7. Quoting you now : "It's hard to believe Emerson only has two Emmys!"

    WHAT !?!?! Jennifer Carpenter deserves half a dozen for this fall and him 2 and a half boxes for his work on Lost !!!

    Awwww SOB !

  8. "Get Carter" is a Season 1 episode focused on character development-and I think it accomplishes this very well. The character in question, of course, is Carter. "Get Carter" paints a very clear picture of who Carter is, and why Reese is so interested in her. Unlike the other main characters, Carter hasn't given up. She hasn't resigned herself to her fate. That's quite important, considering just how broken our other main characters are-whether by guilt, corruption, desperation, or pain, all of them have, to various degrees, been broken a little inside. The flashback in this is also very good-it doesn't really tell us anything new about Carter that couldn't be deduced from this episode, but it still works.

    3.5 out of 4.


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