Finch Learns A Very Different Way To Hack Reality On Person Of Interest

Here's the funniest scene from last night's Person of Interest, in which Harold Finch gets a crash course in swaying a jury from the inside. It's a very different kind of hacking than Finch is used to, and it requires him to be sort of a blowhard. But it's all part of an episode that looks at how "fixers" reshape our perceptions.

Spoilers ahead...

To be honest, "Guilty" was sort of an odd episode. Until now, season four of Person of Interest has revolved pretty heavily around Samaritan, the supercomputer that's trying to take over the world — even when there's been a "number of the week," it's always come back to Samaritan, one way or the other. And the last handful of episodes were heavily focused on the escalating conflict between the benign Machine and the amoral Samaritan.


But "Guilty" is a rare number-of-the-week episode that doesn't relate to the meta-plot that much at all — Samaritan is mentioned a few times, as is the need to keep our heroes' cover identities going. And one of the minor subplots is about some guys associated with crime boss Elias, who are going missing. But it's mostly a standalone, and it reintroduces a couple of long-lost female characters, as part of the show's frantic attempts to replace Shaw (and Root, who's missing this week.)

The actual plot of "Guilty" feels like a holdover from season one. Finch gets stuck on a jury, because the Machine knows one of the other jurors is trying to tamper with the trial. And at first, our crew thinks the juror is trying to get the defendant found innocent — but after Finch rolls out with his blustery "the man's guilty as sin" spiel, as practiced above, it turns out to be the opposite. The real killer wants to make sure the falsely accused defendant is found guilty.

Oh, and the murder was actually over a new cellphone data signal standard, which would have cooked people like a microwave. Which is a neat motive.

Anyway, the main "meat" of the episode has to do with the whole process by which we determine "reasonable doubt" and guilt, and the extent to which these things depend on your frame on reality and the personal dynamics of a group of people. Even though Samaritan doesn't really get a look in, this is the kind of stuff Samaritan has been trying to control, or else use as an excuse as to why humans can't govern ourselves.


The rest of the episode has to do with Reese and Finch struggling with whether to let other people in, now that Shaw is apparently dead and Root is gone. So they have to decide whether to let the sexy-pants Zoe Morgan help them un-fix the trial (see the clip above for how that turns out.) And Reese tries to shut out Fusco, who still goes off and investigates some outstanding numbers on his own, and then delivers an impressive speech about how Reese doesn't get to decide what Fusco is willing to die for. And Reese somewhat randomly decides to have more sessions with the police therapist that he was assigned to after his shooting incident — either because he really wants to unburden himself, or because he's got the hots for therapist lady. (Either way, the scenes with Reese and his therapist feel weirdly tacked-on and are the weakest part of the episode. I just don't feel any chemistry there.)

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