Elias: “Well, there remains a debt.
Civilization rests on the principle that we treat our criminals better than they treated their victims. That we not stoop to their level. But you and I are outliers, we’re not really a part of civilization. We’re something …. older. Which means of course that we can do the things civilized people can’t.
I offered to kill you for Detective Carter many times and she always said no. She was civilized to the very end. I don’t think she liked me but I liked her very much. You killed her. So now I consider it my responsibility to fix the particular problem that is you, Officer Simmons.”
Simmons: "Do you really think you’re going to be the one to kill me?"
Elias: "No. No, my friend is going to kill you. I’m just gonna watch.”
and that exchange, possibly even more than all the back and forth between our heroes, may have won me forever to POI. Because it nailed the idea of the honorable villain without making him someone we rooted for or liked, and making this scene not a cheering, yay moment, but an almost thoughtful meditation on the inevitable violence of such men….
Person of Interest walks a steady line between glorifying violence and abhorring it, between trying to make the world a better place and accepting that it is in fact a terrible place. And nobody - not heroes, not villains, not victims, not survivors, is exempt from that. And they do it without making it survival porn.
(yeah, I’m looking at you, later-seasons of Criminal Minds)