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Characters / Person of Interest: Northern Lights

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BEWARE OF SPOILERS! To prevent the page from being whited out entirely, only spoilers from the final season (5) are whited out!

"They're an army unit that carries out black ops so dark, technically they don't exist."
John Reese

Northern Lights is the codename for an organization/program within the United States Government that controls the Machine, distributes its intelligence and takes action to keep its activities secret from the rest of the world. Northern Lights receives Numbers from an entity codenamed "Research" (actually the Machine's relevant list), and pulls its personnel from various government agencies, including the NSA, the CIA and the Intelligence Support Activity.


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    In General 

In General

  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The late Special Counsel who oversaw their field operations masqueraded as the head of the Real Life Office Of Special Counsel, the people who conduct their field work are officially from the CIA and ISA, and their entity known as "Research" belongs to the NSA.
  • Elite Mook: They fulfill this role in the Person of Interest universe. Only Reese, Shaw and Root have been able to take them on in combat effectively and at times have been bested by them due to superior numbers. Notable instances include:
  • Government Agency of Fiction: They're a secret counter-terrorist organisation who uses The Machine's relevant list to hunt down threats to America's national security and stop them before they even occur.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: They regard their actions as Necessary Evil to stop terrorism, yet allow the ferry bombing to go ahead just to kill one man who threatened their secret.
  • Hero of Another Story: The audience only sees them when they're working against Team Machine, but Control mentions that they successfully thwarted over eight-hundred terrorist attacks on American soil. There's a reason they feel justified in their actions.
  • The Men in Black: They don't officially exist and are dedicated to keeping it that way.
  • Kill ’Em All: Standard operating procedure in the event the existence of Research is compromised to the outside world. They're also willing to let terrorists attacks occur if necessary, if it means the source of the leak stands a good chance of dying in one.
  • Professional Killer: Their true strength. They have a small army of them to conduct counter-terrorist operations worldwide. They're also at Reese's calibre (like the ISA hit-squad in "No Good Deed" and ex-operative Sameen Shaw). And if they find anyone who shouldn't know about The Machine has learnt of its existence, they will be re-tasked in making sure that person does not live to tell anyone else.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The majority of their hit-squads have no knowledge of Research and are simply following orders.
  • The Purge: Decima Technologies ends up wiping out a good chunk of their powerbase as part of "The Correction".
  • Unwitting Pawn: For Decima after the program was reactivated using Samaritan. Decima uses Northern Lights' assets to hunt down anyone they deem a threat to them under the guise of them being a threat to U.S. national security instead.
  • Villain Ball: Their policy of killing anyone who might expose them has a tendency to backfire. Killing Shaw's partner turned their best agent against them. Control ordering Stanton and Reese's death also backfires in the long run. And Special Counsel points out that if they'd kept Nathan Ingram alive, he could have helped them get back the Machine after it went rogue.
  • Villain Decay: Started out as the central antagonists to Team Machine, but by Season 4 they are nowhere near as threatening as they once were. Justified because of Northern Lights officially being shutdown after the program was exposed to the public by Vigilance. They are now reliant on outside help to stop terrorist attacks, which allows Decima to slowly take over their role as primary opposition to Team Machine.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Their stated mission is to hunt down threats to America's national security and terminate them with extreme prejudice in order to prevent massive loss of life. However, they're paranoid about the American public finding out the existence of The Machine and are all too happy to re-task their multiple hit squads to kill anyone, including innocent civilians, in order to keep its existence secure.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness/You Know Too Much: Does this to any employees who wish to leave the program. They also performed this on many of the personnel who were involved with initially setting up The Machine.



"The Machine belongs to me."
Played by: Camryn Manheim
Introduced in: "God Mode" (face hidden); "Lethe" (in person)

"Where were you when Flight 77 hit the Pentagon? Because I was inside it. I carried out the wounded. I covered up bodies. And I have spent every day since putting bullets in the people responsible, and in anyone else who even thinks they can do that to our country again."

The lady in charge of the Northern Lights program, which responds to the Machine's relevant numbers.

  • Badass Bureaucrat: Perfectly willing to get her hands dirty alongside her subordinates.
  • Berserk Button: Don't you dare get between her and stopping a terrorist attack. She will stop at nothing to end you. Even if you are Samaritan.
  • Bigger Bad: The one who is giving orders to Special Counsel, Hersh and their people.
  • Black and Gray Morality: A very dark shade of grey. Yet, despite all of her actions, you can't help but wholeheartedly root for her when she turns against Greer and Samaritan.
  • The Chessmaster: The other members of Northern Lights are her pieces.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Delivers a particularly brutal session to Root.
  • Control Freak: Implied in the closing stages of Season 3, when her partners in running the Northern Lights organization suggest her reluctance in letting the Samaritan system in is because of this. But in Season 4, it's on full display during "Control-Alt-Delete", where she clashes with a Decima/Samaritan asset who has the on and off switch to the access of Samaritan.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Of Diane Claypool.
  • Death by Irony: She ends her life black-bagged and tossed in a hole, the same fate she caused to so many.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • She repeatedly calls out Collier in the Season 3 finale on his actions as a terrorist and isn't particularly scared when he levels a shotgun at her.
      "As a sworn officer of the US government, I can neither confirm nor deny anything pertaining to this matter. And I will say the same damn thing to every other question, until the moment you put that gun to my head and pull the trigger."
    • Averted in "YHWH". She's left dumbstruck in horror as Greer reveals that the terrorist attack on the Supreme Court was actually a masquerade to test her loyalty and she's failed. She dragged off to parts unknown without a word.
  • Didn't See That Coming: "YHWH". She's determined to stop Samaritan from carrying out a terrorist attack and finds evidence that Samaritan is planning to attack the Supreme Court. It was all a Secret Test of Character. Samaritan's agents kill Grice and Schiffman. She gets captured.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: How the Machine gets her to back down, telling Control the address of the only thing she's loved, and telling her that the Machine protects both it and her. Turns out she has a daughter named Julia, whom she loves dearly.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • She's disgusted that her partners running the Northern Lights organization are willing to deal with the clearly untrustworthy John Greer from Decima Technologies, due to the fact he is ripping them off with his own offer for an alternate surveillance system.
    Control: You want me to help Greer, the man who stole Samaritan from me?
    Garrison: Let's put your ego aside for a moment, shall we?
    Control: Ross, I know that Samaritan is an excellent Plan B. I just don't like having to pay for something that belongs to me in the first place.
    • Even if her work requires her to kill people, she is one to make 100% sure that the targets are genuine threats to the United States of America and insists on doing her own legwork or ordering her agents to do so (something many of them actually liked to do). Naturally, she clashes big-time with Decima, who want her to just be an assassin (and leader of assassins) and not ask any questions.
  • Expy: She is essentially a Caucasian Amanda Waller. But with all of the Batman Mythos in this series it probably was intentional.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her pride, and her inability to wrap her head around the idea that The Machine and Samaritan are sentient.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Samaritan deals her. She's to spend her remaining days in a dark, forgotten hole in the ground wasting away from hunger and starvation until she finally dies.
  • Foil: Of all people, she's this to Greer and is basically what Greer could have become had he not flipped out in 1973, shot his treasonous superior, and left MI-6.
    • Control is a fanatical arch-patriot who loves her country dearly and is willing to get blood on her hands in keeping it safe from threats foreign and domestic. Greer loathes nation states with a passion and has dedicated the rest of his life to destroying them by creating a global government under the Samaritan A.I.
    • Control epitomizes Good Is Not Nice, but ultimately means well. Greer in contrast is Affably Evil and barely bats an eyelid when engaging in murder, betrayal and screwing over the opposition in the pursuit of world domination.
    • Both of them are professional spymasters, who are competent at their jobs and ruthless to anyone who gets in the way of completing their missions. Control however mostly focuses on counter-terrorism while Greer initially does his job in the pursuit of gathering useful intel, money and later facilitating the activities of Samaritan.]
    • Both of them are The Chessmaster in their respective organizations. Greer however is a whole lot more ruthless and cerebral than she is.
    • Control may be a zealot but she's diligent at her job, prefers to verify that the relevant numbers she gets are clear and present dangers to America's national security and encourages this to some degree among her subordinates. Greer in contrast now follows orders from a megalomaniac A.I without question.
    • Control initially suffers from a case of Wrong Genre Savvy, believing she's in a Post 9/11 Spy Fiction drama like 24, seeing The Machine and Samaritan more as mere tools to aid in combating international terrorism. Greer however is under no such limits and sees them as "Gods" which have the potential to change the way of life for humanity in a drastic fashion.
    • Greer is a Non-Action Big Bad due to his age and prefers to use his Red Shirt Army and a cerebral approach in destroying his enemies. Control however is a Badass Bureaucrat who has had weapons/tradecraft training and is willing to get her hands bloody alongside her Elite Mook subordinates.
  • The Ghost: Until "Lethe".
  • Go Through Me: At the Vigilance trial.
    Collier: Please, who built the Machine? How does it work? Where is it located?
    Control: Honestly? [looks at Finch] I don't know.
  • Good Is Not Nice: And how. She only wants to protect her country from the threat of international terrorism, but she is willing to manipulate and kill anyone who gets in her way. Whether they're innocent or not.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Against Decima after she realizes that Greer is simply using Northern Lights to do his dirty work and doesn't give a damn about U.S. national security.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: She lives by this trope.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Control is one of the most powerful characters in the series. Or rather, she would be if the artificial super intelligences weren't running the show.
    Root: You think you're in charge? It's adorable just how wrong you are.
    Finch calls her out, too:
    Harold: You foolish woman. You don't understand. You're not in control of anything. You're just the clean-up crew. You're the janitor.
  • Inspector Javert: An ambiguously good version, until Samaritan starts using her as its personal janitor (as we see on "Control-Alt-Delete"). Word of advice: if you are ever suspected to be a terrorist, even if you could prove you're not, better make you peace with God IMMEDIATELY.
  • Ironic Echo: She tells Greer she'll black-bag him and toss him in a dark pit, and the last thing he'll hear before being forgotten there is her voice saying he belongs there. She ends up on the receiving end of this exact same sequence of events at the end of the episode.
  • Iron Lady: She's tough, in charge and has Nerves of Steel.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's abrasive as hell and a borderline zealot when she goes to work, but she's genuinely motivated at protecting her country from security threats, and tries to do her job to the best of her ability.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite seemingly being an over-zealous, ruthless bureaucrat, Control believes her policy of killing any possible leaks will preserve the security of Northern Lights. She's proven right, when she's prevented from eliminating Peter Collier - who proceeds to reveal the existence of her organization.
  • Large and in Charge: A tall, heavyset woman who is in charge of Northern Lights.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: In "YHWH", she realizes that getting information from The Machine, as slippery and cryptic as it was, is infinitely better than Samaritan is. She herself is this when compared to Samaritan and Greer.
  • Master Actor: She made a very convincing Diane Claypool. Her sob story was so well acted that neither Shaw nor Harold (who actually attended Diane's wedding, going from The Machine's records) picked up on it.
  • Morality Pet: Her daughter, Julia.
  • The Mole: In "Lethe".
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: If there's one trope that defines her above all others, it's this one.
    Finch: Thank you for protecting me, although I'm baffled as to why.
    Control: The same reason I've done everything, Harold. For my country.
  • Nerves of Steel: Demonstrates these during the Season 3 finale. In the face of a shotgun-wielding Peter Collier, she refuses to be cowered by the terrorist, unlike her colleagues, who panic and throw her to the wolves.
  • No Name Given: Like many others in the show, Control's real name is unknown.
  • Noble Demon: Despite being rather over-zealous in her efforts at counter-terrorism, the Season 3 finale "Deus Ex Machina" reveals that she's not motivated by a desire for power but genuinely loves her country, stands true to her beliefs in the face of a crazed Peter Collier trying to intimidate her with a shotgun, shows far more backbone than her partners in the Northern Lights organization who either panic or try save themselves, and does her best to protect Finch during Collier's trial.
  • Not So Different:
    • In "Deus Ex Machina", it is shown that she sees Finch as less of an enemy of the state, and more as a kindred spirit and potential ally, someone who has also sacrificed everything to prevent terrorism.
    • To Greer. Like him, she doesn't mind killing civilians in her work. But her justifications are different. The first is initially to prevent knowledge of Research from leaking out. The second is if she deems it in the national interest such as in the case of the Irrelevant framed as a terrorist in "Control-Alt-Delete".
  • Not So Stoic: When torturing Samaritan ISA mole Shelly, she finds out about Samaritan's imminent terrorist attack. She proceeds to brutally pistol-whip her, screaming while doing so.
  • Only Sane Woman: She seems to be the only one in Northern Lights who finds Greer to be utterly untrustworthy.
  • Out-Gambitted: Greer plays her like a fiddle and not only anticipates her every move, but uses her actions to seal her fate.
  • Pet the Dog: During the Season 3 finale, she refuses to point out that Harold has anything to do with the Machine.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner/Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    Shelly: Samaritan will build a new world... a better world.
    Control: Too bad you won't live to see it. [Double Tap]
  • Properly Paranoid: Constantly has her subordinates eliminate any possible leaks and with good reason.
    • She is on high alert in Season 4 after arguing with Samaritan operative Travers, and picks out their attempt at listening in on her satellite phone conversation with Grice.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Control briefly appears in the Season 2 finale, where she is addressed as "Ma'am". All that is seen of her is a gloved hand.
  • Shout-Out: To the works on John le Carré, where a man known as "Control" kept his identity secret while serving as the head of an intelligence organization.
  • The Spymaster: Conducts counter-terrorist work, shrouds herself in mystery with a cover identity as a suburban mother with a 9-5 low ranking government day job and is willing to manipulate and kill anyone she deems necessary in the course of her work.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To Special Counsel. She is the overall commander of Northern Lights, responsible both for sending people to deal with the Numbers provided by The Machine and for protecting the secret of its existence.
  • Torture Technician: In "Aletheia" and "Asylum", she is shown torturing people who know about the two artificial super-intelligences.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: She is willing to take extreme measures in annihilating any threat to American national security and is perfectly content with almost all the decisions she has to make.
    "You want to shoot me, because I had to tap a few phone calls, read a few emails, then you go right ahead. But you better turn that gun on yourself next, Mr. Collier, because you have broken just as many laws. And the only difference is, I didn't wrap myself up in the American flag, and try to convince people that I was a hero."
    • In Season 4, this trope is fully in play. She has to murder an innocent man to prevent Samaritan from thinking she has caught on to the fact it has been framing irrelevants as threats to US national security.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Unknown to her, all her actions to take down Decima were planned by Greer and ultimately doomed her and her organization.
  • Villainous Valor: Captured by Vigilance and placed before a Kangaroo Court, she gives a defiant "The Reason You Suck" Speech and refuses to implicate Harold Finch in order to protect The Machine.
  • Weapon of Choice: A SIG-Sauer P229R. She puts it to very good use in "Aletheia". She switches to a Smith and Wesson M&P Compact in Season 4, which she uses to murder an innocent man framed as an Islamist Extremist.
  • We Can Rule Together: Greer offers her a position in Samaritan's new world. She tells him to go to Hell. This culminates in Samaritan eliminating her.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She genuinely wants to protect the USA from terrorist threats, but is perfectly willing to engage in indiscriminate killing if the existence of her organization is threatened with exposure. It's even more apparent when we find out her backstory. During 9/11, she was in the Pentagon when one of the planes demolished a significant portion of the building. In the aftermath of the attack, she was actively involved in the first response efforts. After that, she pledged herself to prevent such an attack from happening ever again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of season four she's being shown being taken into custody by Samaritan operatives with a bag on her head, and is never heard from again. Allegedly the writers had plans for the character in Season 5, but Camryn Manheim wasn't available. It can be assumed that she was likely simply killed afterwards.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Despite being in the know about the true nature of Research, she behaves like she lives in a post 9/11 espionage drama rather than a Post Cyber Punk Science Fiction show. However, over time, she begins to catch on. Unfortunately, she doesn't catch on fast enough; in "YHWH", Greer takes full advantage of and misdirects her by planting the idea that his organization is planning an act of terror targeting the U.S. Supreme Court. It's all a lie to buy time for the assets under his and Samaritan's command to decapitate what is left of her power and take her down.
  • You Have Failed Me: Tends to do this to people who endanger her organization's mission - even if they aren't part of her organization and have no clue as to how their actions or inactions would endanger it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She really doesn't like loose ends.
  • Younger Than They Look: Either that or a case of Improbable Age: She looks more like Julia's grandmother than her mother; and the actress is, in fact, already in her 50s.

    Special Counsel 

"Pennsylvania Two"/"Special Counsel"
"No one life is above the safety of millions of Americans. That's the ugly math I have to deal with every day."
Played by: Jay O. Sanders
Introduced in: "No Good Deed"

A shadowy figure from the Office of Special Counsel who appears to be engineering the activity regarding the machine and sees Reese as a threat.

  • Affably Evil: Special Counsel is quite the smooth talker and has many affable qualities. He's Nice to the Waiter, treats his enemies with respect even when he's ordering their deaths, makes his reasons clear and holds himself to the same standards as his employees.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 2. Control remains the Bigger Bad, however.
  • Character Death: Hersh executes him on the orders of Control.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": No real name given.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Due to being played by Jay O. Sanders, who has a commanding baritone.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Upon realizing that Hersh has been ordered to kill him, Special Counsel takes the news with grace and understanding, leading to...
  • Famous Last Words: "Fair enough".
  • Kill ’Em All: To anyone who even suspects the Machine exists.
  • Large and in Charge: Special Counsel is a towering man who's as wide as a door.
  • The Man Behind the Man: With respect to Weeks and Hersh.
  • Mole in Charge: Has his day job in an agency that protects whistleblowers. As Henry Peck found out, he's not going to do his job if you try to expose The Machine.
  • Mission Control: Fulfils this role for the project in the event the existence of The Machine is compromised.
  • The Needs of the Many: What he believes justifies his actions. See the quote above.
  • Nerves of Steel: Special Counsel never panics, loses his cool or blinks when faced with a dangerous situation despite being a Non-Action Big Bad.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He's very fond of his new Sexy Secretary, Root, and treats her well since he doesn't know her true identity and thinks she's just a very competent assistant.
  • Non Action Man Behind The Man: He never picks up a gun or even gets into a physical fight. That said, he isn't adverse to tense situations and remains ice cool.
  • No Name Given: At least on-screen. He was credited as "Pennsylvania Two" in the press release for "No Good Deed", but the press releases for all his other episodes credit him as "Special Counsel".
  • Not So Different:
    • Invokes this when meeting Shaw. She agrees entirely.
    • On meeting Finch, Special Counsel describes him as an "invisible but powerful" figure operating behind the scenes, basically the same role that Special Counsel plays (not to mention his own boss, Control).
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Doesn't mind when Shaw blows Wilson away as she's called him out on the latter's stupidity in rashly taking a Contract on the Hitman and given him the compromising evidence he was looking for. He lets her walk out....and makes sure Hersh intercepts her.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Always in a nice suit.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Or so he says.
  • Wicked Cultured: Gives off this vibe.
  • You Have Failed Me: He does this to plenty of people, and it seems that he applies the same ruthless standards to himself when he winds up on the receiving end.

Within the US Government


Senator Ross H. Garrison
"Maybe you shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet."
Played by: John Doman
Introduced in: "Most Likely To..."

A U.S. Senator affiliated with the government's Northern Lights program.

  • Bald of Evil: Well, maybe not quite evil, but he's a self-serving chrome-dome.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Wants a surveillance system that can't be held accountable to the American people, then complains when Decima dissolves itself because now it can't be held accountable to the American government.
  • Corrupt Politician: Samaritan notes he constantly tries to push agendas through Congress that go against the Constitution, and while scanning him lists multiple cases of bribery, misconduct and alcohol abuse.
  • Dirty Coward: At Vigilance's trial, he's clearly the most frightened and quickly tries to shift blame. Control herself does no such thing.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He says so during Vigilance's trial.
    Garrison: I had nothing to do with the development of Northern Lights. Damn thing was up and running when I was read in! I just got stuck with cleaning up the mess.
  • The Quisling: For one of the major figures in Northern Lights, he is all too eager to ally with Greer to save his own neck.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Supposedly, but he shows a definite talent for self-preservation.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Defied. Greer thinks he's no longer needed and wants to kill him, but Samaritan has further plans that include Garrison remaining alive. He becomes one of the few recurring characters appearing in Season 5 to survive all the way to series' end.



Robert N. Hersh/George
"We don't give orders, we execute them."
Played by: Boris McGiver
Introduced in: "The Contingency"

Special Counsel's (and later Control's) enforcer, a former member of the ISA, and Sameen Shaw's trainer.

  • Ambiguously Evil: Possibly. In "Lethe", when The Machine views the standoff at the end, Control has a red box (because she is pointing a gun at Finch) instead of her usual yellow one, while Hersh still has his yellow box. He also eventually dies performing a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Assassin Out Classin: Gets subjected to this by Reese when the latter runs him through non-lethally with a carving knife. Later suffers a more severe experience when going up against Root in God Mode.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Since Special Counsel's death, he's been more or less in charge of the operations, now answering directly to Control.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Nearly always wearing a nice suit.
  • Character Death: Hersh is killed trying to defuse a Decima bomb.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Just like Reese.
  • The Comically Serious: He doesn't have a lot of funny moments, but the few he does have mostly revolve around him doing ridiculous things completely stone-faced. From his plan to Get into Jail Free to kill Reese (shoot his gun into the air ten feet away from some cops), his insistence that he and Shaw are even because he killed her but she drugged him non-lethally, and his method of securing transportation for Shaw during a blackout by shooting his gun into the air and scaring a kid off his bike.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It becomes gradually more prevalent, but eventually he starts throwing out dry sarcastic quips.
  • The Determinator: Rain or shine, he will finish his mission.
  • The Dragon: To Special Counsel and Control, who both run him at different times.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Control orders him to kill Special Counsel, and he does so. He doesn't count as The Starscream because he was Just Following Orders.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He expires fighting half a dozen Decima goons (while already wounded) and trying to defuse a bomb. He fails, but only just.
  • Enemy Mine: Sides with Team Machine for the common threat of Vigilance.
  • Evil Counterpart: Reese describes him as "a lot like me." Hersh lampshades in "Booked Solid" that he and Reese aren't so different.
  • Evil Mentor: For Shaw. As a result, she's just as good as Reese during combat situations. However, he is perfectly willing to poison her when she resigns from the ISA. On the other hand, in Season 3 during 4C, he has a surprisingly amicable conversation with her while drugged and even asks in a concerned tone if Team Machine is treating her well.
  • The Fixer: If there is a problem in Northern Lights that the other "official" hit-squads need not know about, he will be the one to clean it up. It also seems to extend to eliminating those that decide to leave the program including his protégé Shaw.
  • Get into Jail Free: His plan to infiltrate Rikers: pull a gun in a crowded street and start shooting in the air.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Died trying to defuse a bomb... which went off anyway.
  • Implacable Man: Like The Terminator, even if he's grievously wounded it will barely slow him down. For one, he is shot in the back, strangles the Decima agent who did so, and then he takes out another hit squad. He only dies because he's in the same room as Decima's building-busting bomb when it goes off.
  • Kill ’Em All: His general orders to anyone who might know about The Machine.
  • Last-Name Basis: Nobody ever refers to him by his given name. His full name wasn't even revealed until "Lethe", a good season and a half after his first appearance, when it appears in one of the Machine's calculation tables.
  • Last Stand: How his death takes place. He dies in one last struggle against the Decima goons and trying to defuse the bomb.
  • Made of Iron: And how! The man has been subjected to kitchen knives, gunshots and hand grenades, shrugging most of it off.
  • No Name Given: 'Robert N. Hersh' is an alias, as revealed in the death report given to Control. Shaw called him 'George', and considering the two had a close relationship and the way she said it, it seems likely that's part of his real name.
  • Pet the Dog: After Shaw drugs him with Truth Serum in "4C" he seems genuinely concerned about her, and asks if her new boss is treating her okay.
  • Professional Killer: As the fixer, he will handle situations, usually leaving behind a body or two.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Just when Hersh's more heroic side was being revealed, he was forced to sacrifice himself.
  • The Stoic: He keeps a calm face in most situations. Even when Reese beat him and left him with a potentially fatal stab wound, the man didn't show much pain or anger, and later he's calm as a button about murdering his protégé ("Relevance") and his immediate supervisor and multiple co-workers ("God Mode"). Drops this when Root shoots him in ("Lady Killer"), he's left gasping on the floor bleeding out and is visibly in pain. In "4C" he's concerned about whether Shaw is doing fine in her new workplace.
  • Torture Technician: Shown as this in "God Mode". Control later implies he is rather skilled at it.
  • Undying Loyalty: He is to Control what Reese is to Finch.

    Grice & Brooks 

Devon Grice & Brooks
Grice (left) and Brooks (right).
Played by: Nick Tarabay & Theodora Woolley
Appeared in: "Honor Among Thieves", "Control-Alt-Delete", "YHWH" (Grice only)

  • Action Girl: Brooks is no slouch in the combat department and is equal to her partner.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Grice is not a fan of the new arrangement regarding the introduction of Samaritan, and he even lets Shaw run free when they run into each other. Afterwards, he tries to destroy as much evidence of the meeting as possible.
  • Anti-Hero: Professional counter-terrorism operatives with all that job entails, working to save America from international terrorist threats and keeping the existence of Northern Lights under wraps.
  • Badass Beard: Grice has a somewhat modest one.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Decima operatives kill Grice.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Control spares Grice's life after he lets Shaw escape, because this act shows he's not in the pay of Decima and she needs someone to help her investigate them.
  • Character Death: Grice, by Decima operatives while trying to prevent a non-existent terrorist attack on the Supreme Court.
  • Cold Sniper: Brooks breaks out a Nemesis Arms Vanquish to support Grice in cornering a suspect during "Control-Alt-Delete".
  • The Comically Serious: Grice says he's happy when he and Brooks get to investigate a terrorist threat themselves like they did under The Machine, but he sure doesn't sound like it.
    "Yep, just like the old days. I've never been happier."
  • Elite Mook: They happen to be part of Control's personal detail.
  • Last-Name Basis: Brooks.
  • Professional Killer: Their job, as operators for the ISA.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: In contrast to Grice, Brooks shares the late Hersh's principle of not questioning orders and doesn't really mind the recent changes at Northern Lights regarding Samaritan.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Grice is Red, Brooks is Blue.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: They parallel the relationship between Reese and Shaw.
  • Weapon of Choice: The SIG-Sauer P229R for both of them, and the Nemesis Arms Vanquish take down sniper rifle for Brooks.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Brooks doesn't appear with Grice in "YHWH", and it's not known if she was killed as part of "The Correction" like Grice was.


Other Assets


Denton L. Weeks
Played by: Cotter Smith
Appeared in: "Super", "The Contingency", "Bad Code"

The official who commissioned the development of the Machine. He is in league with the Special Counsel.

  • Amoral Attorney: He's one of the reasons why Harold and Nathan had The Machine black boxed. He also legalized the use of Palestinian Hanging, a torture method, on terrorist suspects.
  • Asshole Victim: Considering the type of man Denton Weeks was, it's hard to mourn him.
  • Character Death: Root executes him.
  • The Dragon: With respect to "Pennsylvania Two".
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a lover, which is how Root gets to him.
  • Death by Secret Identity: He soon dies after finding out Finch is the one who actually built The Machine.
  • Jerkass: Harold helps saves him but the guy turns on him and plans to bring him back to Northern Lights.
  • Karmic Torture: Root tortures him using a method that he authorized U.S. Intelligence officers to use on terrorists - and makes a point of showing him a copy of the document in which he did this during the proceedings.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He tries to kill Finch after being saved by him.
  • Your Cheating Heart: According to Root, he had been cheating on his wife with another woman for several years.


Alicia M. Corwin
Played by: Elizabeth Marvel
Introduced in: "Super"

"Everything we did was to make the world a safer place, but we strayed from the path. I admit it. I have so many regrets, but it’s grown so big, and we’re so, so small. I don’t know who you are or how you know all this, but maybe you’re right. Maybe Nathan’s death, it is my fault. I saw the signs. I ignored them. Maybe I deserve this."

A liaison between Ingram and the government while the Machine was being developed and a former member of the National Security Council. Corwin began living in hiding in a small town after Ingram's death.

  • The Atoner: She regrets being involved in setting up the Machine and wants to destroy it due to her fears about how it is being used and the people who have control of it.
  • Boom, Headshot!: At the hands of Root.
  • Character Death: Root shoots her in the head.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Finds out Finch built The Machine, and, well, see above trope.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Was played up as a potential threat in the final two episodes of Season 1 - she was shown stalking Finch, discovering the Library, and finally confronted him with the intent of making him shut down the Machine - but ended up being killed off by Root practically mid-sentence.
  • Heel–Face Turn: At some point, she turned against Northern Lights and its methods and wanted to find a way to shut down The Machine.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Alicia confronts Finch she's clearly at the end of her tether, exhausted after years of constant fear and paranoia.
  • Kill the God: She's the first to describe the Machine as a god, but she wants to destroy it.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Alicia is the only member of Northern Lights to express genuine regret for their actions, as opposed to regarding it as a Necessary Evil.
  • Properly Paranoid: She knows The Machine is watching her, knows at least some of the ways it might be performing that monitoring—she moved to the National Radio Quiet Zone to avoid monitoring by wireless methods—she may be aware that it can act to protect itself should it figure out that she wants to shut it down, and she definitely knows just how ruthless Denton Weeks and the people behind him are.
    • Also, she had an RFID implant for data storage in her arm, as it's one of the few data storage mediums the Machine wouldn't be able to access remotely.
  • Red Herring: In the first season finale, she is set up to be the one who hired the hit on Turing. In reality it was Turing herself, also known as Root.
  • Sacrificial Lion: To establish Root's level of villainy. Also, more subtly, introduces Decima to the plot.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Certain aspects of Corwin's role in the plot prior to her death are never explained due to the fact that she was mostly just there to set up Root and Decima. Why did she think that The Machine killed Nathan? And what was her connection to Decima?

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