Series Premiere. "Pilot" is the first episode of Season 1, and the first produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on September 22, 2011. The pilot was produced in two forms: a 43 minute broadcast version, and a 56 minute extended cut, available with optional commentary on the Season 1 DVD.
The yellow box appears to indicate that the person within possesses prior knowledge of the Machine. It appears the Machine can identify and classify target individuals as well as recognize/track/transcribe input and make a final relevant/irrelevant determination in real time.
In the initial 'pilot script' written by Jonathan Nolan, Finch gives Reese a few hundred dollars to pay him for the time Finch needed to explain the job he had in mind for Reese. In the script, Reese would eventually use the money to pay for the small hotel room where he shaved and cut his hair. These scenes were cut from the episode. The early script also more overtly portrays Reese as suicidal than the final version of the script. In fact, Jonah Nolan says "Reese, when we find him, is an extremist. In a sequence that we weren’t able to shoot because we couldn’t get permission, originally the pilot starts with Reese about to throw himself off the Manhattan Bridge."
In the extended promo, the servers in the data center shown at the end of the episode are labeled "INGRAM sabre blade 2437", which would be a possible reference to Nathan Ingram. In the broadcast pilot, as well as in the extended pilot, the labels were changed to the fictitious brand "Sabre Blade 2437", but are actually Dell PowerEdge SC1425 servers.
The first few scenes of Finch out in public show him in the company of his security detail, who respond automatically to any perceived threats. By the end of the episode, we see Finch with Reese and the security detail is not shown, suggesting Finch has begun to trust Reese.
When Reese visits Anton and his father's headquarters to acquire some weapons, he chides one of the young men for holding his gun using a side grip. The side grip, popularized in films such as The Usual Suspects, reduces the accuracy of the weapon by altering its balance and preventing the shooter from using the gun's sight. Moreover, when used with automatic weapons, the side grip will cause the shell casing to eject into the shooter's face, causing possible injury.
Production for the pilot took place over 17 days in March, 2011. This is the first television series by Jonathan Nolan.
The press release for the episode contained different names for several of the characters. James Wheeler was credited as Miller, Lawrence Pope was credited as Alonzo Pope, and Diane Hansen was credited as Diane Bray. This happens when character names fail to "clear", that is when they can be linked to one specific person. Character names in TV series must be common enough there are a number of people in the New York area with the name or so unusual that a name cannot be linked to anyone.
The name of the framing victim, Charles Robinson, was omitted from the aired pilot episode. It was only mentioned by Reese in the unaired extended Pilot.
Several location stills and behind the scenes photographs taken by Amanda Carroll who worked as a set designer on the Pilot episode can be found at her smugmug.com portfolio.
Scenes inside the Library were filmed in W. B. Thompson Mansion, also known as Alder Manor, a historic country estate at 1061 N. Broadway, Yonkers. Reese's dumpy hotelroom as well as the fancy one where he wakes up and meets Finch again and Diane Hansen's apartment were also filmed in the building. A New York City landmark at the corner of East 30th St and Lexington Ave stands in as Library exterior.
Bloopers and Continuity Errors
Although the events in the episode are supposed to be taking place in September, the time stamp of the surveillance feed shows April 14, 2011. Moreover, the same date can be seen on different surveillance feeds along with different timestamps, even though the storyline stretches over several days.
The first scene with Reese in the courthouse spying on Diane Hansen is a mirrored sequence:
Reese's hair points in the opposite direction.
He's wearing the ear piece in his left ear.
The bandage is on his left hand.
The wall he is hiding behind is to his left hand side.
In the scene where Hansen blows off Wheeler in the courthouse, the film has been reversed.
In the following scenes with Hansen talking to Fusco, Reese is standing at the same corner and the wall is to his right hand side. Hair, ear piece, and bandage have also switched back to their normal position.
In the same scene at the courthouse, Reese is holding his cell phone in his right hand. When the image changes to close up, the phone is in his left hand.
Reese said he shot Stills with Fusco's gun which wasn't the case. Fusco's gun is a silver one and Reese actually used a black one and called Fusco an officer rather than a detective.
In the end, when Azarello was arrested by Carter he said he only knew it was "some guy in a suit". However, every time he saw Reese in the episode he was wearing a long black jacket without a suit coat.
Carter's arm moves about 18" along the car door when the camera switches angles while she is arresting Azarello.
In the fake ID Reese used, we can see "F" as female in the gender line.
When the prison transport van enters the jail parking lot, the sign indicating the location is actually a repair yard for the department of city bridges.
Although Finch states that he is the one who built the backdoor access and that he was concerned about the irrelevant numbers, later episodes indicate that was clearly not the case as Ingram was the one who was tormented by the irrelevant numbers originally and built the backdoor access as AUX_ADMIN.
This could, however, simply be Finch keeping as much privacy about his past as possible, as he mentions in the episode and several times in the future how he values his privacy. He had no reason to tell Reese about Nathan, nor that anyone else was involved, as this would have prompted more questions that Finch would prefer left unanswered.
On his fake driver's license Reese uses the alias "James J. Manzione".
In the hotel in which Reese sleeps (before waking up in a different location), he is watching scenes from Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa before falling asleep. This is the first scene that establishes Reese as a rōnin, a wandering warrior, as would later be elaborated in “Wolf and Cub”.
Reese shoots ten people in this episode, including Fusco. Only Stills is fatally wounded.
The producers hid an Easter egg in this episode that links back to the ABC series Lost. The set of mysterious numbers that occur over and over again during that series' six year run are shown in the video from a car cam.
This is the only episode in which Jim Caviezel's voice is used for the "stay tuned" announcement at the end of the show. All others use Michael Emerson's voice.
Carter's station house is identified as the 8th Precinct in the "Pilot". In later shows it would be designated as the 3rd Precinct.
This is the only episode (not including flashbacks) where Finch wears round, instead of his usual rectangular, glasses.
According to the writers, during filming of one of the scenes in this episode, Jim Caviezel ran out of frame. The film crew had to pull Caviezel off a guy who decided to beat up his girlfriend.
The Nagra E tape recorder used by Finch is a rather expensive way to play the wire tap, since working Kudelski tape recorders are a valued collector's item.
"When you find that one person who connects you to the world, you become someone different, someone better. But when that person is taken from you, what do you become then?" (Reese)
"That's the other thing I'm offering you. A chance to be there in time." (Finch)
"We have more in common than you'd think. I've been watching you for a long time, John." (Finch)
"Who you got down there, Carter -- the Angel of Death?" (Forensic tech to Carter)
"I guess you could call me a concerned third party." (Finch)
"You need to understand, Mr. Reese, the information I have is incomplete, but it’s never wrong. You need to know what it would be like to be forced to listen to someone get murdered and not be able to do anything about it." (Finch)
"You left the government because they lied to you. I never will." (Finch)
"They will come looking for you. The police, the Mob your old friends at the CIA. If you stay and we continue to do this, sooner or later both of us will probably wind up dead, actually dead, this time." (Finch)
"I said I would tell you the truth. I didn't say you would like it" (Finch)