Using the Domestic to Illustrate the Profound: Fusco on Person of Interest

So I am watching Person of Interest, Season 1 for the hundredth time (actually, more like the fourth time). And I've been struck by how similar Fusco is to Reese.

Like Reese and the CIA, Fusco was drawn into his life as a dirty cop almost by accident. Just as Reese signed up for service in the CIA out of loyalty to his country and then found himself dragged further and further into darkness, Fusco agreed to help fellow cops out of loyalty and then found himself dragged further and further into petty corruption.

Like Reese, Fusco would prefer to be good and has an instinctive understanding of it. Unlike his fellow dirty cops, he doesn't rationalize his behavior--he knows what he is and what he has done. He knows HR is corrupt. He even attempts to undermine it in subtle ways.

Like Reese, Fusco accepts that his past behavior may come back to haunt him. At the end of "Blue Code," Fusco delivers one of the most gosh-darn heroic noir speeches in all of television. Speaking to Davidson, he states, "You ever been shot? Craziest things go through your mind. Glad I put on clean underwear, hid that stash of porn. Sorry that your son had to find out that his old man was a dirty cop. Then you realize you're gonna die. And try to go down doing something good."

And at the end of "Matsya Nyaya," he says to Reese, "I got this one. I shot him with her gun . . . I was always good at this. That's why you picked me in the first place. Remember?"

Reese is immediately catapulted back in time to when he was betrayed by the CIA and his own partner. Looking at Fusco, he realizes that he has used Fusco in much the same way he was used, that he intends to go on using Fusco, and that Fusco fully accepts the reality of his situation (moreso even than Reese did).

It's remarkable characterization and accomplishes something I always enjoy with mysteries: the thematic elements of the large case (which most of us can't really relate to because we aren't billionaires and we don't get messages from omniscient machines) are reflected in the ordinary and everyday. Fusco is Reese at the mundane level--which makes him a character par excellence.

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