Person of Interest Invictis Maneo

In a recent episode of the popular television series, Person of Interest, two of the characters utter Latin phrases. Authors and script writers like to have their little jokes and show themselves to be smarter than the average bear. They sometimes use this kind of thing to slip in a coded homage, or a pet peeve, or perhaps a personal favorite. Not many people today know Latin. Many don’t recognize it at all, just glossing over such phrases when they occur in books, television, or film. And so the writers have their laugh.

 

Perhaps the most common Latin phrase most of us may have heard is caveat emptor, a business reference meaning, let the buyer beware or, in modern American, “Don’t trust the dude selling you that shit!” My preference, in business dealings, would be cave canem but, I suspect, my mind works a little differently than most.

 

Back to the TV series. A little more than half way through this episode, the leading mobster’s right-hand man, Anthony, (whom, it is made clear, is of Italian heritage) is about to die. After a bone rattling beating during which he refuses to give up the combination to the safe, his last words are, “morior invictus.” This generally translates as “I die unvanquished” or “I die unconquered” which sets the stage for the last words of the last scene as Elias, the leading mobster who’s right hand man died earlier, turns and walks into the fade-to-black, after he says “Invictus Maneo,” which translates as “I remain unvanquished or “I remain unbeaten.” Great ending.

 

At least that’s what show notes, reviews, and commentary, would have you believe he said. The thing is, I didn’t hear what the show notes tell us. Perhaps I heard it incorrectly. However, rather than invictus maneo, I clearly heard Elias actually say, “victus muneo.” There was no in. And, although what the notes say is more dramatic, mine makes more sense considering it was the last scene and the actor was likely on the way to craft services. Yep. Better ending. Nice.

 

You gotta love Latin. Well, anyway, I do. There is a little life in that dead language yet. Thank you Mrs. Prokich for that year of misery that has lead to a great deal of fun and mental gymnastics ever since. If I had only known then what I know now I would have paid more attention to conjugations and tenses. Language really is a wonderful thing.

 

Person of Interest Invictis Maneo

 

Person of Interest Invictis Maneo
Person of Interest Invictis Maneo

 

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14 Responses to Person of Interest Invictis Maneo

  1. Matthew November 27, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    Could you be a bigger douche? No? Didn’t think so.

    • Steve January 30, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

      I could, but, if I did, you wouldn’t get it even less!

  2. Travis December 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    He says invictus maneo, the “in” portion is just said quietly.

    • Steve January 30, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      No doubt. But also no fun! ;o)

  3. Merovex January 1, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    If you watch the captioning, you’ll see it was Invictus…you mis-heard. “I remain unconquered”

    • Steve January 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

      Aw… where’s the pun in that??? ;o)

  4. Riley April 24, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    I don’t think you’re a douche. I know what I did not hear, which was an “in” to the victus. Thanks for the post. I enjoyed the clarification.

  5. Amy July 3, 2016 at 3:34 am #

    Latin is cool. Actually, I think languages are cool.

  6. Coire Burnet July 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    All fun and light hearted, however, not sure why you would “beware the dog” in business dealings?

    • Steve December 27, 2016 at 12:43 am #

      Consider it metaphorically.

  7. Kòsmik Voyager December 26, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

    I am sure I heard “victus maneo”. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  8. immigration lawyer May 20, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    Greetings from across the pond! Thanks for a great write-up and the explanation. Although the “in” was pronounced, albeit silently (mind you there’s quite a felt acting in that scene- pay attention to his breathing pattern in that moment when he says it, more to himself, rather than for the audience’s benefit)

  9. Nancy Harper August 29, 2017 at 10:26 pm #

    There’s nothing like poetic endings. The Latin phrase was particularly poignant. Thank you, Steve!

  10. EG September 3, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    He does say Invictus.

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