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Recap / Person of Interest S01 E19

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Season 1, Episode 19:

Flesh and Blood

"Sometimes I wonder what kind of man I'd be if she hadn't been killed. I hear people change when they lose a parent. Especially when that parent is murdered."

In a flashback to the '80s, a young Carl Elias is bullied in school and resentful because he doesn't know anything about his birth family. His foster mother promises to help Elias track down his father, and by 1991, Elias is a low-level soldier in Don Gianni Morretti's organization. He has a reputation for being resourceful and tenacious and that brings him to the attention of Morretti, who recognizes the name and knows that Elias is his illegitimate son. Morretti promises to help Elias rise up in the ranks, but soon after, under the pretense of a job, he's taken out to the woods by two thugs who have orders to kill Elias the way they killed his mother. Briefly overcome with tears, Elias promises to destroy them all. The thugs attempt to strangle him with razor wire but Elias fights them off, scarring his palms in the process, and shoots both thugs.


In the present day, it becomes apparent that Elias is ready to make his move: Fusco is ordered by Simmons to pass along details of the FBI and Carter's manhunt for "the guy in the suit" and advised to take a few days off work at homicide; Carter learns that Elias' bank accounts have been drained and all $4 million has been parceled out to hundreds of hired goons; and the Machine spits out five separate numbers that correspond to the other dons of the Five Families, plus Tommy Morretti, the son of Don Gianni and half-brother of Elias. Reese offers protection to one of the dons, but he refuses and minutes later is killed by a car bomb triggered by Scarface, Elias' right-hand man. Carter offers police protection to another don, but as she collects him their police backup leaves: Elias has made a deal with HR and all the cops and officials in their pocket are turning a blind eye. The don is killed by a gunman and Carter is only saved by Reese's intervention.


Carter buries the hatchet with Reese and Finch and fills them in on what the NYPD has learned. Finch tracks the money transfers and identifies some of the goons who Elias has paid in the past few days, but when Reese follows them, he learns they're shadowing the families of HR's people, so that Elias can use them as leverage to force HR to cooperate. Meanwhile, Carter goes to the remaining dons and offers them protection, bringing along the only cop she trusts — Fusco! — as backup. When the dons refuse to come along, Carter kidnaps them at gunpoint just minutes ahead of Elias' goons attacking. Finch steers them towards a safe-house but HR officers soon find them and cordon off the building. Reese guesses that Elias will try to use Carter's son, Taylor, as leverage to get her cooperation but he doesn't make it in time to prevent Scarface from taking Taylor. Elias calls Carter and threatens to kill Taylor if she doesn't let him have the dons — people who, he reminds her, make their living by selling guns, drugs and women — but she refuses. Elias eventually turns up at the safe-house himself, supervising as his goons try to break down the steel-reinforced door.


To get Taylor's location, Finch meets with Simmons and informs him of Elias' surveillance of HR's families. Convinced that Elias isn't a true ally, Simmons passes the information up the chain and HR withdraws its support, and gives up Elias' base of operations. Reese goes and saves Taylor, as well as Don Morretti. At the safe-house, Elias breaks down the door but Carter refuses to hand over the dons; the HR backup leaves and uniformed officers arrive to support Carter, called in by Fusco. Elias is arrested, processed and sent to jail, and Taylor is returned to his mother. Morretti also returns to his son, but as they get into a car, they receive a call from Elias, who managed to get a cell phone in prison, saying goodbye and regretting that he can't be there in person. Moments later, the car explodes.

Tropes present in this episode include:

  • Asshole Victim: Arrogant and completely ungrateful for Carter and Fusco putting their lives on the line, The Dons aren't the most likable bunch. Elias invokes this trope when trying to convince Carter that they deserve to die by recounting their activities.
  • Badass Boast: Elias gives one to the two Mafia mooks who are about to kill him.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Finch, who has always been very anti-firearms, asks Reese to teach him how to use a handgun in order to rescue Taylor. Reese... well, he appreciates the thought.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal:
    • When Carter goes to pick up Don Basile, her backup cops abandon her.
    • The Mafia's bodyguards abandon them to Elias, prompting Carter to take them hostage.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Elias swings the man who's garotting him around so he catches the bullet fired by his partner.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Used to great effect by Reese, who takes several rounds in the chest during a shootout and doesn't slow one jot.
  • Car Bomb: Though remotely-activated by Scarface rather than linked to the ignition.
  • Continuity Nod: The bank accounts that Carter suspects belong to Elias were discovered as a result of his failed Wall Street scam.
    • The homicide photograph of Elias' mother stolen in "Mission Creep" is left in Moretti's car.
  • Cool Guns: Loads of them in this episode as all sides break out the heavy artillery. They include a KRISS Vector used by Reese, a Spectre M4 and MP5K's by Elias' hitmen, and a SPAS-12 shotgun and an FN F2000 bullpup rifle by Carter.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Elias.
    • Intermediate Checkpoint of Darkness: Covered in the flashbacks, where Elias realized just what kind of worthless scum his father was and vowed revenge while he already worked as a low-level mafia soldier.
  • Deal with the Devil: Finch makes one with HR, via Simmons.
  • The Determinator: Reese promises Carter that nothing will stop him from rescuing her son. He comes through.
  • Disconnected by Death: The car bomb that kills the Morettis at the end of the episode is marked by the line going dead on Elias' cell phone.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Elias leaves the photograph of his mother's corpse in Moretti's car, just to remind him It's Personal. Also the scene where Carter talks to her son is similar to Elias with his foster mother.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Elias uses this to his advantage to corral his would-be allies, and HR balks at helping Elias when they discover this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Don Caparelli is dismissive of Don Moretti's fate, considering the murder of Elias' mother by Don Moretti poor taste.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Elias looks at the garrote scars on his hands, then we flashback to how he got them.
  • Evil Old Folks: All of the Dons besides Moretti Jr. are in their late fifties to their seventies.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Reese saving her son does more to seal the bond between Reese and Carter than saving her own life.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
  • Foreshadowing: Don Zambrano repeatedly expresses a lack of concern about Elias or confidence that he can deal in him and is indeed the man's partner.
  • For Want of a Nail: In-universe, Elias wonders what he would have been like if his mother hadn't been murdered.
  • Funny Background Event: While John is fighting with Scarface, you can see Taylor in the back, mimicking his moves.
  • Graceful Loser: When he realizes he's been outmaneuvered, Elias surrenders and offers up his hands to be cuffed.
  • Honor Before Reason: Even knowing Elias has her son, Carter refuses to give up the Dons.
  • Ironic Echo: Moretti has his men tell Elias that he's sorry he couldn't be there at the end before they try to kill him in one of the flashbacks. At the end of the episode Elias calls Moretti and his son and tells them that he's sorry that he couldn't be there at the end before one of his men successfully kills them.
  • I Have Your Son: Elias pulls this on Carter.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Played with; Elias does surrender, but he leaves a contingency plan in the form of Scarface taking out Elias' hated father and half-brother with a car bomb.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: When Carter and Fusco detain them at gunpoint, the dons call for their guards. There's no answer, as Elias has paid them off and they've fled the scene.
  • Jerkass Victim: They are mafia dons. Reese even considers letting these numbers pass, but realizes he can't since the mob war will hurt and kill innocent people caught in the crossfire.
  • Kill 'Em All: Elias would rather kill the Five Dons rather than work with them, as he wants to seize total control of organised crime in New York.
  • The Kindnapper: When the Dons won't accept police protection, Carter abducts them at gunpoint.
  • Knee-capping: Simmons lampshades Reese's fondness for this trope. When Reese is raiding the house where Carter's son is being held, he kneecaps someone though the door!
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Elias sees that Carter has backup not on his payroll, he surrenders and orders his men to do the same.
  • List of Transgressions: Remarked on; when Carter finally arrests Elias at the end of the episode, she says she'll have to check her notes for a list of charges, with murder and kidnapping at the top of the list.
  • The Mafia: Gets a much bigger focus in this episode than any other.
  • Manly Tears: Elias weeps when he realizes his own father has set him up to be killed. Then it starts raining.
  • More Dakka: Reese leaves a Bag of Weapons for Carter. When she asks where he got them, Reese tells her You Do NOT Want To Know.
  • Mugging the Monster: Zambrano really shouldn't have gone for Fusco's back up revolver and expected to be able to force the two badass cops trying to keep him alive to let Elias in.
  • New Era Speech: Elias pointing out the benefits of organised crime being under his sole leadership.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Elias points out to Reese that they are both killers.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Elias tries to persuade Reese and Carter to remain neutral, and that the city will be a better place if they let him kill off the Mafia bosses.
  • The Power of Friendship: Reese moves heaven and earth to get Carter's son back, healing the rift between them after "Baby Blue". Despite the Dons knowing he's a Dirty Cop, Fusco backs up Carter and saves the day.
  • Psychotic Smirk: It's easy to miss, but Finch flashes one of these when Simmons asks him who the hell he is.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Young Elias to Moretti's men when he finds out they've been told to kill him. Combined with Badass Boast.
  • Reveal Shot: Used when a cop shows up to pick up Carter's son; the camera pans up to show Scarface.
  • Reverse Polarity: Apparently all it takes to turn a speaker into a microphone.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Carter takes this attitude when it comes to keeping the dons out of Elias' hands.
    Finch: You seem to be having some influence on her, Mister Reese.
  • Shout-Out: This episode is like one drawn out version of the end of The Godfather.
  • Sole Survivor: Griffoni is the only one of the five Dons to survive the episode.
  • That's What I Would Do: Reese works out why Elias is following the families of HR cops, and cites this trope.
  • Villain Episode
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Elias, until his father betrays him.
  • Wham Episode: Elias is arrested, but not without killing the Morettis in one last car explosion.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Elias keeps his father captive, intending that he witness the fall of the Five Families and his own rise to power. However it's averted after Moretti escapes; Elias has him killed, with only a phone call as Evil Gloating.
  • You Are Not Alone: In the end Fusco ignores Carter's orders and calls for uniformed backup, knowing that Elias hasn't bought every cop in the city.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Reese when Carter asks where he got the arsenal he's giving her.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Carter's reaction when HR turns up outside the safehouse.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Carter refuses to open the door and let Elias' men inside.