• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 7, 2010
  • Season #: 1

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. 30
    They don't promise to be more than a collection of types, like the generic figures in TV's "Poseidon Adventure'' remake. And if we don't care about them, then it's hard to care about the possible threats that surround them.
  2. 75
    The premise is intriguing, although it's difficult to watch without backseat driving.
  3. 75
    While this straightforward, unapologetically derivative thriller won't blow your mind, it's a whole lot better than ABC's "Happy Town" or CBS's "Harper's Island" and may turn out to be like NBC's "Journeyman" -- a slice of genre entertainment that slowly developed into a worthwhile weekly commitment (and, er, yes, was canceled too soon.
  4. 50
    The premiere is heavy on set-up and light on action. It's more about mood than plot. Whether that will hold up over 13 hours is questionable.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Staskiewicz
    Creator Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) is no stranger to pretzel-twist plots and out-of-the-left-field surprises, and his new series, about a gaggle of strangers, abducted and abandoned in a CCTV-monitored ghost town, promises both in spades.
  6. Take "Lost," mash it up with "The Prisoner," throw in a little "Saw," over-season with badly written and poorly delivered dialogue, glaze with horror-film lighting, dream-scene camerawork and elevators like you haven't seen since "The Shining," and you've got "Persons Unknown."
  7. Persons Unknown was originally developed for Syfy, and it shows. It's all eerie music, unanswered questions and disturbing discoveries, leavened only very occasionally by humor.
  8. A series that doesn't give viewers enough reason to care in its premiere episode.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Swanson
    The real problem with the pilot is not with the situation, it's with the people placed in it. Not only are none of the seven characters particularly interesting, they simply fail to react realistically to their bizarre circumstances.
  10. For now, "Persons" is delightfully weird and foreboding.
  11. This new suspense drama, about a small group of people who wake up as hostages in an empty, creepy hotel, has promise, but it also has familiar and ominous signs of a short life expectancy.
  12. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Persons Unknown utterly fails to entice.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 11
  2. Negative: 4 out of 11
  1. Aug 29, 2010
    Halfway through the first episode I realized exactly what this show was about -- creating suspense and tension in a fictional vacuum of impossibility. It is an attempted summer-time diversion from the tedium of reruns and second-string programming -- and a failure, at that. It is exactly what it attempts to supercede. However, despite the aggravation of it's twisty-turny, tongue-in-cheek writing style which is designed to lead the viewer via a nose-ring into a smugly concrete wall, there are a few shining points. When the vehicle is obscured, genuine moments of humanity are revealed. Certain interactions between the characters are charismatically empathic and succeed in the goal of alleviating moments of summer boredom. The greater setting of the town is a laughably unrealistic anachronism from the days of the twilight zone, or possibly the x-files, yet the cozy pedestrian environment of the hotel, bar and barbershop are where you will find your disbelief suspended. Worth a watch on a languid summer eve? Perhaps. Do the writers deserve raining blow after blow to their genitals for their unabashed smugness? To be frank, that is the only question I would tune in for a second season to see answered. Full Review »
  2. Aug 22, 2010
    Well obviously the show had its ups and downs as to whether it was going to make it through the non-rating period and as it draws to a close and the network makes the absurd decision to drop the second last episode to an online showing only we are told yes they are more than ready to get it off air.

    With so many questions unanswered and yet the show somehow making you tune in each week, the potential that was once there is now being quickly lost on the lack of network backing.

    As yet another show to have the big brother is watching you, and playing on the intrigue on what the hell is going on, conspiracies, government agencies, and the co-orporate world running all kinds of experiments in the quest for unknown answers. We are left with nothing more than a show that did nothing new and provided us with more knowledge that the networks will just provide us with nothing to watch in a season that is classified as a non-rating period.

    Just as interest was being found in the shows characters and what was going on it was over before it all began.
    Full Review »
  3. May 27, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This is a good mystery show like lost and it has a very interesting story from episode to episode . Yes, it builds up a lot of questions throughout the show and then the ending doesn't answer any of them, but that's what I expected. These kind of shows NEVER do explain everything, but it was good along the way. The end doesn't explain much but its not outright bad like many endings are. There is one theory you will come up with thought the show (explained below) which it never confirms or denies, but if you assume it to be true then it the whole story makes more sense. (Spoiler: If you assume that 'the program' is a computer program (and the machine Joe is hooked up to is him 'jacking into the matrix') then it explains what happened with Tori, why the van went round in a circle when they tried to leave and that the break out was all fake. Then the ending makes more sense) Full Review »