Invictus Maneo Person of Interest

Person of Interest Invictus Maneo: In a recent episode of the popular television series, Person of Interest, two of the characters utter Latin phrases (morior invictus, invictus maneo). 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, sometimes playing tricks on us. After all, not many people today know Latin. Many will not even 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. Warped might be an understatement.

 

Back to the TV series, People of Interest. 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” or, more commonly, “I die undefeated“, 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“, or, in the current day, “I remain undefeated“. 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, it was “muneo“, not “maneo” — a subtle, but important, difference. 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 Invictus Maneo

 

Person of Interest Invictis Maneo
Person of Interest Invictus Maneo

 

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36 Responses to Invictus Maneo Person of Interest

  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)

    • Elizabeth February 25, 2019 at 11:16 pm #

      Yeah! So quietly it wasn’t there! I have just watched that episode! When I heard victus Mabel I wanted to know what it meant. That is what I heard! The episode is on Netflix. Listen again.

  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.

    • Ann December 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

      Thanks for the information. Never had any Latin but thought this phrase lended itself to a suspenseful continuation of the story. Elias is an interesting character with morals that suit him and give him dignity.

  11. Titus Maximus December 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

    Ut manere inenarratum

    • Steve August 1, 2019 at 9:00 am #

      Absolutely! (sorry, missed this one when you posted it almost 2 years ago!)

  12. George December 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Sorry but he’s said victus maneo

  13. Malc Newton March 4, 2018 at 5:12 am #

    Just watching this series again and in truth I believe he does say “invictus” but we all hear things slightly differently at times.
    I also believe we use way more Latin than we realise, eg for example. (See what I did there?) most people accused of a crime will no doubt claim to have an “alibi” and will swear an “affidavit” stating that they have a “bone fide” case to be released. If not perhaps they will have an “alias” they can use to escape judgement.
    I truly feel that Latin is far from a dead language and will continue “ad infinitum” as it’s “ad hoc” usage pervades our conversations. I could continue “ad nauseam” but I won’t. I suppose we could always have a “referendum” on the subject.

    As an “addendum”. Whatever time of day whether “am” or “pm” it’s always the right time to throw in a Latin phrase or two “etc”

  14. Just my point of view April 3, 2018 at 3:24 pm #

    No he does not say (in) please listen but I do like Steve’s ending better

    • Mike S August 15, 2018 at 3:03 am #

      I didn’t hear “in” either, but enjoyed this discussion nonetheless. Had Latin in HS.

  15. Redchinasky April 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

    Whichever he says, it makes sense both ways so is a lovely little play on words.

  16. Unicornrmk June 16, 2018 at 5:34 pm #

    I just watched the episode and replayed that part over 3 times just to be sure and he does say “in”victus maneo

  17. Mike S August 15, 2018 at 3:01 am #

    I’m re-watching this series, which I really liked when it first aired. google “victus maneo” which happily brought me here, enjoyed the discussion, thanks.

  18. Regina September 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

    I just saw this episode on Netflix and appreciated your post when I looked for the meaning. Latin is coming back! It is taught in public middle and high schools in my area and my daughter is currently taking it. I will show her your post for some motivation!

  19. Iain November 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    Hey 😎,
    So you mean it was a “play on words”? As in Anthony died at home?
    Cheers 😎

  20. Robert Deloyd January 20, 2019 at 6:04 am #

    Ha! I was trying to look victus maneo on Google translate because that’s what I heard the man say, and backspaced and listened three times. Maybe some of us hear the ‘in’ and some of us don’t… besides this is how I found this blog 🙂
    Robert Deloyd recently posted..November 2018My Profile

  21. Smith April 20, 2019 at 1:10 pm #

    Just finished watching this episode. Rewound it 5 times he does say the “in”. I had to learn to read lips during a 6 month period of hearing loss. The shape of his mouth produces two syllables in a row.

    • AeSwoodie July 20, 2019 at 6:31 am #

      I disagree I saw his mouth make the v not in

  22. Tom May 9, 2019 at 2:24 am #

    Glad to know there are other geeks out there who would actually go to the trouble of looking up a Latin phrase uttered in a television series. I heard “invictus” but, maybe I just did a little, unconscious ‘Wordfill’. I was kind of wondering if this Latin phrase may actually have appeared on the former school turned last ditch hide out?? Btw, my pet peeve in movies, why do people always ignore rather than utilize the dropped weapons of their opponents. Oh, and why do they leave their headlights on when they exit their vehicles?? You are now infected with a mind worm that will drive crazy whenever you watch a movie. Sorry.

    • Steve May 9, 2019 at 4:28 am #

      Good to hear from you, Tom. And I agree about the dropped weapons — or at least the extra mags when they are using the same guns. As for headlights, I have favored Lincolns and they always had those time-delay light switches so you left your lights on, turned of the ignition, and you had 15 seconds or so to light your way before the lights switched off automatically. When shopping at night, going to the show, etc. somebody always told you, “Hey, you left your lights on!”

  23. AeSwoodie July 20, 2019 at 6:17 am #

    Don’t go with what you hear, look at his mouth. Invicitus and victus take different mouth movements I did not hear either I saw him say victus I repeat I SAW him say victus. I hope someone has not made this comment. I don’t have time to look through 200 comments

    • Steve July 20, 2019 at 10:29 am #

      Actually, try saying “invictus” and “victus” — lip-wise they are the same. The “in” part causes no lip movement. But you could still be right. Thanks for your comment.

  24. Beth Vawter August 1, 2019 at 2:29 am #

    I just watched the show, and I heard “victus maneo”. I could be wrong. However, “victus maneo” means ‘defeated at home’ whereas “invictus maneo” means ‘I remain unconquered’. Either would fit the situation of the ending of the show. I don’t read lips, so I’ll refrain from further comment.

    • Steve August 1, 2019 at 8:04 am #

      Hi Beth, thanks for your comment. You may well be right, however what I am suggesting he says is victus muneo, not victus maneo — the “u” is important. It’s all about a hungry actor heading for the craft services tables after he has completed his bit. Anyway, it’s what I would have slipped in, probably unnoticed, had I been playing the part. Warped sense of humor and all!

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