Person of Interest is Like Batman - Comparisons | Fanboys Anonymous

Person of Interest is Like Batman - Comparisons

Posted by Anthony Mango Monday, November 26, 2012
I've been a fan of the television show Person of Interest since it's inception and it didn't take me long to figure out why. Person of Interest draws many comparisons to the Batman character - some obvious, some a little more subtle. For those unaware, Person of Interest was created by Jonathan Nolan, who helped write The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises with his brother, director Christopher Nolan. When you start looking at the show with that in mind, it's easy to pinpoint elements that are inspired by the Batman series. Here's a list of some ways Batman and Person of Interest crossover from what I've been able to notice.

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1. John Reese is Batman

The protagonist of Person of Interest is a mysterious ex-CIA agent who goes by the name of John Reese, though it's been established that this is an alias. He acts as a vigilante known by most people as merely "The Man in the Suit". This is his codename ala "The Batman". Jim Caviezel talks in a low, gravelly voice which calls back to the Christian Bale Batman voice. Needless to say, Reese is a very skilled fighter, just like Batman. He also seems to have a similar "no killing" policy, but he's of course much more relaxed with that, using guns in every episode and not hesitating to shoot someone in the kneecap at a moment's notice. John and Bruce Wayne both operate in big cities. They have very few trusted allies and they have even less stable romantic relationships. Which leads us to another character...

2. Zoe Morgan is Catwoman

Paige Turco plays one of the only recurring characters on the show named Zoe Morgan. She's the most well established as of season 2 in terms of romantic pursuits for John Reese. The comparison between Zoe Morgan to John Reese and Catwoman to Batman is that they're beautiful, strong-willed, smart women that are a bit on the dirty side of good. Catwoman's a thief while Zoe Morgan is no stranger to dealing with the criminal underworld as a "fixer". Both Selina Kyle and Zoe represent that tough woman that can handle herself and put up a fight against Bruce/John and the chemistry is undeniable.

3. The Dog - Bear is Ace the Bat Hound

Batman has a pet dog named Ace the Bat-Hound. In season 2, John and Harold adopt a dog named Bear (formerly Butcher). Both pets are the stereotypical watchdogs that are totally devoted to their masters and will tear your limbs off if you're one of the villains.

4. Joss Carter and Lionel Fusco of the Gotham City Police Department

The two primary NYPD officers of the show seem to represent the GCPD in some ways. Lionel Fusco is a big, burly, stubborn, rude, formerly villainous cop that likes to argue with Reese. Essentialy, Lionel Fusco is Harvey Bullock.

Batman Fancast Harvey Bullock Kevin Chapman Fusco from Person of Interest
Kevin Chapman as Harvey Bullock - perfect fan cast?

Fans of the Batman: The Animated Series show are used to the idea that Harvey Bullock's partner on the force is Renee Montoya, a tough Hispanic lesbian woman. Fusco's partner on the force in Person of Interest is Detective Jocelyn Carter, a tough African American woman. Though Montoya is a lesbian, the difference here is that Carter has been pretty much asexual on the show. Other than having a son, she's seemingly shown no interest in anyone romantically. Another Batman character that Joss Carter is reminiscent of is Commissioner Gordon. Both Jim Gordon and her are the truest of true "good cops" on a police force that has more than its share of corruption. Carter's the greatest ally on the police force for Reese and Harold, while Commissioner Gordon is the primary ally for Batman.

5. Harold Finch is Alfred, Lucius Fox, and Oracle

Bruce Wayne might be the one with all the money in the Batman story, but John Reese depends on the funds of Harold Finch, aka Harold Wren. Harold acts as an amalgamation of several Batman characters. First and foremost, he's the one providing all the technical aspects like the super computer system that tracks people down. By the way, did I mention that this computer system is their representation of the Bat-Computer and the building they operate out of as a headquarters is their Bat Cave? Since Harold provides the tech, he's Lucius Fox. He also is the voice in John's ear, spying on everyone and doing the computer work itself. Therefore, Harold is also Oracle, aka Barbara Gordon. Harold at times also acts as the Alfred of the storyline, though, wherein he looks out for John Reese. Although their relationship is more along the lines of equals and friends instead of father and son, they still clearly work together out of a mutual respect and a sense of family.

6. Ramin Djawadi's Score for Person of Interest and Hans Zimmer's for Batman

Although it doesn't match a to a T, if you're a fan of one, you'll probably like the other. Both are dark, both consist of simple melodies that can repeat for a really long time without ever really seeming like a loop, and both are really only there for supplemental reasons rather than drawing attention to themselves.

7. The Gritty Realism

Of course, neither story is incredibly realistic. They're both fantasies. However, they both try to take the idea of a vigilante stopping crime and keep it grounded as much as possible. For example, a show like The Cape was drawing attention to its comic book inspirations and easily became a joke of itself. At times, it took itself very seriously, but it peppered in way too much silliness and camp. This prevented the serious moments from coming out rather than just seeming awkward. The humor in Person of Interest is similar to the humor in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. It consists mostly of smirks and a few scenes here and there that have comedic effect without being "jokey" or taking you out of the story. People flat out die in the Batman trilogy. People flat out die in Person of Interest. In neither entity are you going to see someone magically come back to life or some kind of a hypnotism episode or something along those lines.

8. Archenemies Root and Carl Elias - The Joker, Ra's al Ghul, and Carmine Falcone

The head of the modern mafia in Person of Interest is a man named Carl Elias, played by Enrico Colantoni. Between he and his father, Gianni Moretti, you've pretty much got the Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni mob bosses covered. Another villain on the show is Samantha Groves, or "Root" as her comic book name would be since that is her alias. She is very much the antithesis of Harold in that she's his equal in terms of hacking but wants to use the computer for destructive purposes rather than to help. She sees the world as being corrupted by all the bad people in it. Sound familiar to one Joker character? There's also elements there of Ra's al Ghul, who has always predominantly planned on basically resetting the world and starting anew so it could be a better place in the grand scheme of things. They've also introduced the villain Alistair Wesley who seems a bit like the antithesis of John Reese himself. I have no doubt we'll see some traits shine in him that remind us of some Batman villains - possibly Riddler with the way his cameras were set up and his plan was seemingly infallible. Just don't expect John Reese to find the social security number of Killer Croc, equally as you wouldn't expect Nolan's Batman to fight a mutant crocodile-man.

With all these comparisons and more than I'm sure I haven't even picked up on yet, it's pretty clear why Person of Interest is succeeding so well considering the success of the Nolan Batman films. If you're a fan of one of them and you haven't seen the other yet, I highly recommend checking them out. There's very little likelihood that you'll be disappointed. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises make up one of the most well received film trilogies of all time and Person of Interest seems to be going quite strong for a television show as well. It appears as though it's the TV show that we deserve as well as one we need. Sorry, I couldn't resist throwing that reference out there.

Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.