I've been watching Person of Interest and couldn't help but notice how quiet John's voice is.

So my question is: why?

  • Is it to make the character appear more professional or something?
  • Is the character's real voice?
  • Is the actor's real voice?
  • Is there a technique behind it? If so, did anyone else used it?
  • 8
    From a fan-review; "But what I find most compelling about the show is the character of John Reese. It is marked by quietness. He speaks quietly, moves quietly, and when an intervention requires his martial arts skills, he deploys them with quiet efficiency. Even his humor is quiet. He is imperturbable, cool, a James Dean cool but without the disdain. He moves about with stealthy silence, a ninja noiselessness, entering and exiting buildings, rooms, scenes, people’s lives, unnoticed, ... John Reese is a man of nearly silent action."
    – user7812
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 11:41
  • My guess would be because it's intimidating as hell Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 18:44
  • 5
    In the season 4 episode 'Pretenders' a guest character asks John: "How do you do that with your voice?", to which he, in a rather deadpan manner, answers: "Do what?". - This seems to suggest that he isn't consciously altering his voice (in-universe). - Watch the scene on Youtube
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


Several episodes comment on John's was of speaking, moving and interacting with others. Usually something is mentioned about his military background when the subject comes up. John's background is that he was special forces trained. He may have gotten into the habit of speaking quietly so as to communicate with team members on missions without allowing any opponents to detect his position.

  • 3
    This sounds more like an opinion or guess than a real answer. Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 14:11
  • @MeatTrademark True, but it doesn't mean it shouldn't be considered. Commented May 26, 2019 at 23:51

John Reese is probably a high-functioning psychopath. His tone of voice is an indicator.

Although other people might see him as a world-weary ex-soldier who has suffered through the horrors of war, he is probably one of those who cause the horror. He enlisted in the Army to avoid charges, served in Special Forces, and was recruited by the CIA as an assassin (black ops).

Such people can be very charming, as I know from personal experience. I have known two, one of whom was a pattern for Reese, and both spoke the same, even when describing the murders of hundreds of innocent civilians. I was most impressed with the matter-of-fact tone of voice, usually blaming the victims for their own demise. They were “just in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting in the way”.

Perhaps he feels remorse for his past actions, and the on-screen depiction is that of a man looking for redemption, but I don't buy into that.

  • 4
    His behavior in the series final would seem to contradict a psychopathy diagnosis. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 22:23
  • @jmite Not having seen it, I would not be able to judge. When did it air? Never mind, I see it was in June. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 22:29
  • June 21, 2016. I don't want to give away what happens, though. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 22:32
  • 1
    @jmite I have no real intentions of seeing it (I got bored with the series in the middle of the second season), but I assume he did something heroic and noble, like dying to save someone. Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 22:35
  • 2
    His behaviour throughout the series strongly indicates that he is not a psychopath. He's always unconfortable with Kara's reckless actions, and indeed he does feel deep remorse about his past endeavours, as shown in depth during his short relationship with psychiatrist Iris Campbell. Heck, he's even awkward around Shaw, who is in fact a psychopath.
    – Marc.2377
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 8:08

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