Season 1, Episode 15:
Reese and Finch work to protect Michael Cahill — real name Daniel Tully — a narcotics officer working undercover in a smuggling ring. He's trying to arrest "L.O.S.", the head of a major drug smuggling operation, and Reese goes undercover in the gang as well to keep Tully's cover intact. When Reese and Finch learn that the smugglers have paid off HR to expose the undercover cop in their operation, Fusco breaks into a secure part of police headquarters and destroys the file that would've exposed Tully before being caught by HR's officer on the inside. Reese frames himself as the undercover cop and Tully pretends to kill him, giving Reese a chance to slip away and call for backup. With Carter's help, he and Tully apprehend the smuggling gang and L.O.S., who is really a CIA officer selling drugs on the company's behalf to fund The War on Terror. Fusco is driven to a remote location so that HR's officer can kill him, but Reese intervenes at the last moment and kills the officer. He orders Fusco to ask for HR's help in covering up the murder, giving Fusco a way to infiltrate HR. L.O.S. is bailed out of prison by Mark Snow, only to be killed in the back of an SUV as punishment for being caught.
In flashbacks to 2008, Reese, Stanton and Snow are on assignment in a "god-forsaken place" where they're not sanctioned to operate: New York. Their job is to extract a government official who tries to sell "software" to the Chinese, but it's another twelve hours before their extraction arrives so Snow orders Reese to get some R&R. He goes down to the bar and strikes up a friendly conversation with Peter, seemingly a random patron, but when Stanton arrives she recognizes Peter as the new husband of Jessica, Reese's ex-lover. She convinces him to let the past go and they leave before Peter can "introduce" the pair to Jessica.
Tropes present in this episode include:
- Answer Cut: When Carter informs Finch that she won't be helping them break into police headquarters to retrieve Tully's file, Finch just smiles and assures her that they have it covered. Cut to Fusco receiving a call from Reese.
- Bait-and-Switch: Reese and Stanton are involved in an illegal rendition of a government official. The numbers station Reese is listening to, and the conversation with Snow, and the fact that John is CIA at this point and they're only supposed to operate outside US borders, imply they're operating in a foreign country, but when Reese walks out the door he's shown to be in New York.
- Call-Back: Fusco got a commendation for getting Shot in the Ass in the previous episode.
- Coffin Contraband: Diamonds are smuggled in the stretcher of an emergency heart transplant.
- Continuity Nod: Mark Snow mentions that his hunt for Reese took him on a trip upstate. Incidentally, why did it take him four episodes to figure out Reese wasn't in Connecticut?
- Absence of Evidence: Well since Reese was never in that state, it would take Snow a while to confirm this.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Both Tully and Fusco get saved by Reese.
- Crowbar Combatant: Reese is beaten with a crowbar to find out what he knows.
- Cryptic Background Reference/Foreshadowing: The crime for which the government official is being extracted is offhandedly mentioned as having "sold something of ours to the Chinese. Software."
- In the same vein, this episode contains the series' first mention of HR.
- Snow says that Reese killed his CIA partner because she'd outlived her usefulness. At the end of the episode it's Snow who kills a fellow CIA agent for that reason.
- Cut Phone Lines: The leader of the gang has them destroy all their mobile phones, cutting off both Reese and Tully from their backup. However he forgets the mobile carried by the man who was shot.
- Destroy the Evidence/Good Is Not Nice: Reese destroys the only evidence that Fusco was acting in self defense when he shot the IA officer, because he wants him to infiltrate HR instead by asking them to cover up the evidence.
- Disposing of a Body: "Most accidents don't require a shovel."
- Everything Is Online: Averted; the files on undercover police officers are hardcopy only, to prevent hacking.
- Fingertip Drug Analysis
- The Ghost: L.O.S., at first.
- Good Feels Good: Fusco has started to enjoy being an honest cop (with a We Help the Helpless side-gig) and is disappointed when Reese wants him to be a Dirty Cop again.
- Gun StrippingStanton: How many times are you gonna clean that thing?
Reese: In the Army, they taught us the fastest way to get shot was to fail to clean your weapon.
Stanton: In the Marines, they taught us the fastest way to clean your weapon was to shoot a couple people with it.
- Half-Truth: Snow once again misrepresents what happened between Reese and Stanton in "Matsya Nyaya", to deter Carter from working with him.
- If I Do Not Return: The "tell her yourself" version.
- I Know You Know I Know: Snow tells Carter that he thinks Reese is working with a Friend on the Force (though he incorrectly assumes Carter planted the fake fingerprints out of state, when it was Fusco).
- Meaningful Echo: "Remember, we're behind enemy lines here."
- Mexican Standoff
- Mission Control: Finch talks Fusco through the theft.
- The Mole:
- Reese becomes one in Vargas' crew to protect the POI, a detective who is undercover in Vargas' crew.
- Fusco becomes one in HR.
- No Honor Among Thieves: Fusco killing a HR member doesn't bother them. They simply use the opportunity to recruit Fusco.
- Not What It Looks Like: Fusco is caught red-handed shredding the file.
- Numbers Stations: Reese is shown listening for orders on an ordinary radio.
- Percussive Pickpocket:
- Fusco scanning the swipe card.
- Reese fingers Tully as the undercover cop, but it's only to start a fight so he can take the mobile off him.
- Punk in the Trunk: This time Reese ends up there, but Tully slips a torch into his pocket, so he's able to free himself before burning up with the car.
- Rogues Gallery Showcase: Barely. The smuggling crew are employed by L.O.S., a CIA officer who seems to be part of Snow's cabal, and they've paid off HR to look the other way.
- Sadistic Choice: Should Reese save a dedicated undercover cop, or former Dirty Cop Fusco?
- Sharp-Dressed Man: The gang are bemused to see the mysterious LOS is dressed like a businessman.
- Shoot Your Mate: A subversion, as Reese is shot for real, but Tully just grazes him.
- Shout-Out: Reservoir Dogs.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Reese vanishes before he can be 'introduced' to Jessica, his former girlfriend.
- Take Me Instead: When the criminals realise the undercover has a mobile on him, Reese steals it off Tully so he will be 'uncovered' as the cop.
- "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture: Fusco gets this from both Davidson and Simmons. Worse, Reese makes it an Enforced Trope.
- Traveling at the Speed of Plot: It's not shown how Reese is able to save both Tully and Fusco.
- The War on Terror: Mentioned as having eclipsed the War on Drugs as America's number one concern.
- What You Are in the Dark/Face Death with Dignity: Fusco refuses to betray Reese, even though it looks like Reese has abandoned him.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Stanton argues this to Reese.
- You Have Failed Me/You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Why Snow has L.O.S. killed.