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Recap / Person of Interest S01 E18

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Season 1, Episode 18:

Identity Crisis

Fusco: Did you work an identity theft case?
Carter: Every arrest I ever made. They all say I got the wrong guy.

Reese and Finch are thrown for a loop when the latest number, Jordan Hester, winds up being the victim of an identity theft. Of the two people who could be their person of interest — a barman or a lady who deals in antiques — they have to figure out which is the real Jordan Hester and which is the imposter. At first it seems the man is the fraud and the leader of a drug production ring, but when Fusco investigates a previous victim of the same criminal he learns that it's the woman who runs the drug ring, and the man is trying to get to the bottom of who stole his identity. With help from Fusco, Reese and Finch manages to get the real identity thief arrested


Meanwhile, Carter is approached by Agent Donnelly of the FBI, who has been investigating the "man in the nice suit" who intervened on behalf of Powell after the congressman's assassination. He knows that Reese was once a black-ops officer for the CIA but believes that now he's selling his services to the criminal element of New York, such as Elias. Donnelly wants to get Reese off the street and maybe get evidence of CIA wrongdoings on American soil, and he offers the resources of his FBI task force to help Carter track Reese down, but she decides not to tell Donnelly what she knows.


Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Above the Influence: A non-sexual version - Reese refuses to take advantage of a drugged and uncharacteristically friendly Finch's brazen (and certainly quite tempting) offer, "Don't you want to talk? Ask me anything!" He even says that Finch would regret it in the morning.
  • Becoming the Mask: Averted; the real Jordan Hester decides not to kill his Evil Counterpart, leaving her for the police. "For a while I thought I had it in me. But I was just playing you."
  • Been There, Shaped History: Finch invented online social networking in order to provide the Machine with data on everyone.
  • Brandishment Bluff: As he's about to be shot in an ecstasy lab, Reese holds up his water bottle and says it's hydrochloric acid. "You don't want me to drop this." The criminal accuses him of bluffing, so Reese throws the 'acid' in his face, then kneecaps the crook while he's frantically trying to wipe it off.
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  • Climactic Music: "Amongster" by Poliça.
  • Continuity Nod: Donnelly (who first appeared in "Root Cause") references many of Reese's actions in previous episodes, albeit a bit out of context.
    • Reese uses the bump key he made in "Super".
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Reese carries the shopping bags of an elderly resident into the building, past the security guard.
  • Disappeared Dad: The previous identity theft victim missed his daughters second birthday after being framed and sent to jail.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Detective Franklin is a fairly minor character but makes a nice impression with his first scene having fairly diligently investigated the previous identity theft case, being quick to believe Fusco's suspicion that the real thief might still be out there, then excuses himself from the lunch table to arrest their waitress for stealing credit card numbers, having been working another case the whole time and watching her even as he talked to Fusco.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Jordan can be a guys name and a girls name, making it harder to tell which Jordan Hester is the real one.
  • Inspector Javert: Donnelly takes Carter's place as the well-intentioned law enforcement officer trying to catch Reese. The reason he's this trope and not a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist is because he's got the wrong idea about Reese and thinks he's trying to bring in an insane black-ops hitman working for the mob.
  • Mister Exposition: Finch lampshades his role.
    "Meandering exposition is kind of my thing."
  • Mushroom Samba: Finch is doped on Ecstasy to keep him from making trouble. It's hilarious.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: Jordan Hester threatens to shoot Reese, but Reese simply snatches the gun away and smugly asks how he was planning to do that with the safety on.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Carter investigates a murder where the perpetrator says it was the fault of the police because they weren't there to stop him. Carter had just turned down the only job where she can stop murder before it happens.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Finch getting drenched when Reese set off the fire alarm so he could escape from the apartment.
  • Prophecy Twist: The number, Jordan Hester, is both victim and perpetrator because they're actually two people and one is planning to kill the other.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Fusco is making a genuine effort to turn his life around and be a good person, and is annoyed that Reese, Finch and everyone else only see him as a Dirty Cop.
  • Side Bet: Finch and Reese on who can break into an apartment first.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Harold falls victim to this.
  • Stock Episode Titles
  • Time Bomb: A field improvised version involving a microwave and a tray of chemicals.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Again, a major dilemma for Carter.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: While on drugs, Finch refers to Reese as 'Nathan'.


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