New series in focus: CBS’ ‘Person of Interest’

Ben is back — in all his Ben-ness.

That’s Ben from “Lost,” aka Michael Emerson, who co-stars with Jim Caviezel in “Person of Interest,” which CBS has so much faith in that it’s being pushed into what has often been the most competitive timeslot on network TV, 9 p.m. Thursdays. Emerson is playing a different character, of course, but he still comes across as the master manipulator we remember all too well.

That raises the problem of whether watching “Interest” will serve only to make us long for the glory days of “Lost” (both share J.J. Abrams as an exec producer). “The numbers never stop coming,” Emerson’s Finch says at one point as if to underscore the issue.

In contrast to the friendly behind-the-scenes clip above, the extended teaser that CBS presented at today’s upfronts in New York offered a show that seemed to risk taking itself too seriously, almost coming across like a parody of the scenes in “Lost” that found Ben manipulating the ex-castaways like Sayid in Europe. But fully formed, “Interest” hopefully won’t seem so weighed down. If nothing else, its plot should be easier to track.

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