Person of Interest 1.22 – No Good Deed
Flashback to 2009 – Finch and his old business partner, Nathan, are in the room with the Machine, the day before they turn it over to the government. Nathan expresses his concerns for Finch – he’s been obsessing over the Machine at the expense of his personal life for 7 years. He suggests that Finch should invest some time into his own life and Finch counters with a smirk and asks why he assumes that he hasn’t. Nathan replies that he’s sure if Finch had found someone, that he’d be too excited not to tell him.
2012 – Just when it seemed that Reese and Finch were starting to respect each other’s boundries, we start this episode with Reese following Finch. Fusco calls – he has been invited to a meeting with HR brass in a week and he wants to see if Reese wants to bust some dirty cops. Reese tells him to call him next week because he’s otherwise occupied. Fusco correctly guesses that he’s surveilling Finch (again!). Finch goes to a magazine stand and buys a magazine and then checks his cell. He walks to a payphone, picks it up, listens for a minute, and then hangs up. As Reese is trying to figure out what he’s up to, Finch calls him to announce that they have another number and need to meet.
Back at the bat cave, Reese asks Finch how he gets the numbers from the Machine. He suggests that Finch should tell him in case something happens to him. Finch assures him that he has a contingency plan and makes it clear that he’s not going to share. The new number is Henry Peck, a financial analyst. Finch hasn’t been able to hack any of his accounts or any accounts from his employer, so he’s obviously very security conscious.
Reese is likewise unable to bluejack his phone so he places a wireless bug in it instead. Peck tries to call a person named Alicia, but is not successful. As he hangs up, one of his coworkers approaches him in the street and tells him that he forgot to wipe his phone’s memory- weird. Reese decides that he’s going to charm his way into Peck’s office because nothing else seems to be working, so he follows him in. The receptionist (the same one who came down to remind Peck to wipe his phone) is less than taken with Reese’s charms and tells him to leave (while she points a gun at him under the desk). She’s not the only security feature that the place has, though, leading Finch and Reese to realize that the place is a SCIF – Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility – a government facility to protect classified information.
Finch hotwires a new coffee maker with a camera and microphones (hardwired into the electrical outlet) and magically sneaks it into the office dressed as a workman, granting them audio and video. After listening for a few minutes, they realize that the office is an NSA listening station. Reese follows Peck home and watches him work late and eat take-out, musing to Finch on how sad his life is (which of course is very similar to Reese’s and Finch’s!). As Finch is watching, Peck’s landlord arrives with two members of NYPD. The landlord had come in earlier when the smoke detector malfunctioned and found bags of drugs, which the police quickly confiscate. Peck denies that they are his, but they arrest him anyway. As he’s being taken away, Finch has some trouble with their bug, and realizes that they aren’t the only ones listening in. He alerts Reese, who sees a man leave the building and follows him, only to lose him a few blocks away.
Reese is alone in the bat cave and notices a dozen copies of the same magazine that Finch bought at the newsstand that morning. While he ponders the strangeness of this finding, Carter calls to let him know that Peck made bail. He has no record other than a speeding ticket that he fought to get expunged. While he talks with Carter, Reese searches through the trash and finds a disposable tea cup. He copes down a number typed on the bottom of the cup and throws the cup back in the trash just as Finch returns. Finch manages to get footage from a security camera outside Peck’s house and sees the man that Finch saw the night before breaking in.
One of Peck’s supervisors approaches him at work and tells him that he knows about his arrest and drug problem. His security clearance is suspended pending an investigation. Peck tries to protest but is shot down fast – he’s obviously being forced out. Peck tries to call the deputy director of the NSA repeatedly but can’t through. Apparently Peck’s been asking some questions that have people rattled. Reese follows Peck home and notices that his security camera is disabled. He rushes upstairs to find the man who planted the drugs holding a gun to Peck’s head. Reese and the gunman fight while Peck escapes. Reese is unable to incapacitate the gunman and he too escapes, but not before Reese recognizes that he’s a government-trained assassin (takes one to know one, I guess).
Reese uses the bug in Peck’s phone to track him and follows him. Peck has managed to get a hold of the cell phone number of the deputy director’s daughter and calls it and talks to the director. Apparently three weeks ago he was called by the director to congratulate him on a report where he named a high level official involved in a major terrorist attack. Problem is, he didn’t put the name in the report. He asks for answers but the director tells him not to call again and hangs up.
Finch listens to the conversation as Reese approaches. He tells Reese that he knows what Peck has been asking about and why they want him dead. He’s been asking about Finch, about the Machine!
2009 – Finch’s partner meets a woman at a bar. Her name is Alicia and she seems rather frazzled. She and Nathan talk about the Machine – only 7 (or 8?) people know about it and they need to keep it that way. They go over some protocols for moving the Machine as well as how to get the information to the appropriate people without being traced.
Carter calls and reports that Peck’s neighbors called 911 because of two men fighting in his apartment. They assure her that the situation is resolved, as they continue to follow Peck. Finch admits that he knew that the Machine wasn’t legal and the government would protect it, but didn’t realize the lengths to which they would go. While they watch, Peck attempts again to contact a woman named Alicia (yep, same one!) . Apparently Peck’s report was changed after going through her office, although her office was supposedly closed a year earlier. She tells him only the word “sibilance” and urges him to run.
Finch and Reese have a dilemma – they have to contain him before he finds out more about the Machine or tells anyone else about it but they also have to do it without him knowing that they are involved. It soon gets even worse as Peck finds their bug, ditches his cell phone, and slips away. Reese tells Finch that he recognizes those hunting Peck as members of a very deep black ops group – they have to find him first.
The hunters are also on to Reese’s involvement, after the skirmish at Peck’s apartment. They also recognize Reese as being government trained and report to their boss in Washington. Their boss tells them to get it done, he doesn’t care about Reese or having the hit look like an accident.
Using Reese’s espionage procedural know how, Finch is able to track Peck to a hostel, despite his attempts to cover his tracks. Peck used the hostel’s internet to find a PIN app to hack into the card reader at his former office. Reese follows him in and Finch advises him that he needs to prevent Peck from gaining any more intel without exposing himself. Of course, seconds later, Reese sees a laser sight focused on Peck and launches himself across the room to push Peck out of the way of three assassins with machine guns. Reese trades fire with them while Peck escapes with a stack of documents. When Peck reaches the street, he runs right up to a police car and throws a glass bottle from the trash at the car. When the officers get out, he tells them that he just broke into the building and wants them to arrest him – he’ll confess. The cops cuff him, grab the documents, and drive off, just as Reese reaches the street.
2009 – Finch is saying goodbye to the Machine. He’s about to shut it down when Nathan asks him if they have a contingency, in case the government decides to abuse the Machine. Finch tells him that the Machine cannot be abused, altered, or accessed. It’s completely self-contained and cannot be altered once he shuts it down. Nathan doesn’t believe him and wants an off switch or a backdoor. Finch thinks that building a back door and having someone find out about it would be wore than anything else that could happen (although presumably that’s exactly what he did to get the numbers). He shuts down the machine and leaves Nathan staring at the equipment.
Peck is supposed to end up in Carter’s custody based on her previous interest in him, but Fusco beats her to the “interrogation”. With no prompting from Fusco, Peck spills the whole story as he knows it – he has 6 reports he wrote for the NSA and for each report a name got added and in each case the name led to disruption of a major terrorist attack. It would take massive illegal surveillance to be able to be so accurate with the names. An internal audit of the NSA internet (“Sibilance”) showed that someone was taking as much information out of the NSA as they put in and analyzing it, which isn’t possible… unless… someone has managed to build something like …the Machine! He realizes it is true as he is saying it. He lists some early prototypes and says that he thinks the thing has been built and is watching everyone as they speak.
Fusco is unimpressed (but Finch, listening in, is sweating!) and takes a break. He runs into Carter in the hall and tells her that Peck is crazy. While they discuss Peck, Reese sneaks in dressed as a cop and takes Peck out. Unbeknownst to Reese, Peck steals a cell phone on the way out. Reese steals a cab and as he starts to drive off, Peck pulls out the cell phone and calls the Office of Special Council. Reese grabs the phone and destroys it, but too late. The big bad in Washington was able to get the phone coordinates and sends this data to a sniper waiting on an overpass. The sniper shoots the gas tank of the cab, causing it to catch on fire, careen out of control, and crash.
The sniper approaches the burning car where we last saw Reese and Peck apparently unconscious. Turns out Reese is okay (seriously, he’s like a superhero!). He drags Peck from the car and fights the sniper. Reese kills the sniper with his own knife and looks around for Peck, who has of course disappeared. Reese tells Finch that Peck is not going to give up and Finch agrees that others who know about the Machine are also not going to give up. He’s confident that they’ll find a way to do the right thing, though.
2009 – After Finch leaves, Nathan boots up the Machine. He creates a new file called ” Contingency”.
2012 – We hear surveillance tape – Peck is apparently meeting with a reporter and the assassins are told to take him out. Peck is waiting for the reporter on a bench when Finch approaches him. He admits that he is not the reporter and that he has an associate who is taking care of the assassins that were sent to kill Peck. He confirms that there is a Machine and it is watching them. He tells him to stop asking questions – the Machine is a mystery he doesn’t really want to solve. Finch shares that the answers have cost him something he values more than his own life. He gives Peck new identity documents, plane tickets, and a bank card to a well-funded account and tells him to forget about the Machine. Peck asks how he know so much, and Finch admits that he built it.
Back at NYPD, Carter is approached by another officer who tells her that Peck’s fingerprints were found on the burned out cab along with a dead John Doe. There was a bunch of paper in the cab that all burned up, except for one small piece, which he hands to her. The scrap says “…Of Custody” and “Sibilance” . Fusco watches Carter and then calls Reese to tell him that the HR deal is a lock, if Reese is done spying on Finch. Reese assures him that he’ll be ready for HR – he may soon have Finch’s address.
We see Reese buy a cup of tea (the same kind he found in the trash at the bat cave) from a street vender. As he confirms that the lot number he wrote down from the other cup is identical, he sees a delivery truck emblazoned with the name of the magazine that Finch had multiple copies of at the bat cave. The truck delivers a stack of magazines on the stairs of a house.
Finch rings the doorbell and it is answered by a red-headed woman. He pulls the “Detective Stills” badge out and tells her that a disturbance was reported and he has to check it out. He offers to help her carry in the magazines and asks if she’s a collector and she tells him that they deliver lots of copies if her art work is on the cover. On a table in the living room is a picture of Finch and the woman. Reese asks about it and she tells him that the man is her fiance, Harold!!! She tells Reese the story of how they met – Finch was eating an ice cream cone in the park, watching her paint (in January!) and offered one to her. Reese asks if Finch lives there and she tells him that he used to, but he died two years earlier in an accident.
Reese leaves the apartment and sees Finch sitting across the street watching him. Although I expected Finch to be ticked about the invasion of privacy, he instead tells Reese that he just watches Grace, but makes sure she doesn’t see him. He doesn’t regret making the Machine, but had no idea what it would mean. Being near him put Grace’s life in danger, so he had to leave her to protect her.
Flashback to one day earlier – Finch is talking to Peck about the Machine, and someone else is listening in – Alicia!!!
Is it just me, or does this show just keep getting better and better? We got a big chunk of Finch back story tonight. It’s so sad that he gave up happiness to save others – it gives us a totally different Finch than we’ve previously seen. We can pretty much guess that things are only going to get worse now that Alicia finally knows the whole secret. Finch and Reese’s relationship remains as complicated as ever. It really surprised me that Finch wasn’t mad that Reese found out about Grace, but I suppose he knew it would happen sometime, and maybe would even offer some additional assurance of her safety. Plus, it’s clear that Finch still knows a lot more about Reese than the other way around.
I would have loved to see more of Fusco and Carter in this episode, but there was obviously too much story to tell. I’m SO EXCITED for next week’s finale!
Curiosity kills cats, Mr. Reese. – Finch
For some of us, human interaction is difficult. – Finch
Not calling it “human interaction” might help – Reese
Did you love this episode? Tell me in the comments!