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Recap / Person Of Interest S 04 E 19

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Season 4, Episode 19

Search and Destroy

Finch: There's only one thing powerful enough to systematically destroy Khan's personal and professional life this throughly.
Khan: [being eavesdropped on] Well this is the crazy part. It's not human that's after me. It's an artificial intelligence.
Finch: Samaritan.
Khan: It's here. We always knew this was possible. Consider what's happened to me!
Samaritan: Intercepting cell phone signal...Target located. Threat level: High [draws a target symbol on Khan]

Sulaiman Khan, the billionaire eccentric genius who founded the world's foremost computer security company, wakes up to learn that the company has been hacked. His private e-mails—including all the ones where he rips into his friends and co-workers—are being discussed on all the morning news shows, steamy pictures of his estranged wife are in the hands of the tabloids, the board of directors has just fired him after seeing financial records that make it look like he was embezzling from the company, and the IRS is raiding his condo. Khan is convinced that only an artificial intelligence could breach his company's security, and that the AI is out to get him. He doesn't know just how right he is: the hacker was Samaritan, which wants to use his antivirus software (and the "immunization chip" he's developing) for its own ends, and it is out to get him—which is why The Machine gave Finch Khan's number.


  • Advertised Extra: Zoe is in all of two scenes.
  • All of Them
    Khan: What networks are covering this?
    Assistant: All of them.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: A mild case when Greer expresses regret that fellow Machine Worshipper Root has been targeted for elimination. But she did pick the wrong God.
  • Arc Number: 314 (pi), as the briefcase combination.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The POI leaves the protection of Team Machine, gets apprehended by Samaritan and after a brief conversation is shot by Greer, who smugly lights up a cigar while standing over the man's corpse. Samaritan's interface, projected onto the wall, then triumphantly lights up with a "Threat Eliminated" message.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Finch points out that it will only be a matter of time until Samaritan finds the Machine's location. The payphone rings ominously... and Samaritan switches scenes to where Greer tells Khan that their search found no trace of the Machine on any networked device in the world.
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    • After the van with Reese and Khan crashes, Finch warns that Samaritan operatives are on their way. A black SUV roars up…driven by Root.
    • Various Red Herring motives are offered, such as a board member trying to depose of Khan for his own profit, or an attempt to seize Khan's biotech.
    • The Machine never wanted what was in the briefcase.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Defied by Finch, who is repeatedly offered a gun and firearms training by Reese, but refuses:
    Finch: When the time comes for me to pick up a firearm, all will truly be lost.
  • Boring, but Practical: In a sense, Reese's M4 carbine. It's not the most exotic weapon POI has featured, but Reese puts it in single-shot mode and uses the scope to Curb-Stomp the Samaritan team with incredibly accurate single shots rather than wasting rounds with the usual suppression/A-Team Firing that Team Machine does. Notably, this is what any Real Life trained soldier would do in combat.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Fixer Zoe Morgan is hired to "clean up the mess" by Khan's company.
    • Martine resurfaces after a fairly long absence.
  • Call-Back: quite a few.
    • Reese tells Finch that only the paranoid survive. Reese says this to himself in the Season 2 premiere after Root kidnaps Finch.
    • There is also a callback to the episode before this, "Firewall", where Reese says "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not trying to kill you." Funny enough, the person he said this to was Root in disguise.
    • Reese's Visual Pun is a reference to when Shaw handed Reese a shotgun and said she's driving.
    • Reese says that they can tell Khan everything because he isn't Claire Mahoney or Simon Lee.
    • During the flashbacks in "The Cold War" focusing on the end of his career at MI6, Greer carried a Walther PPK. He breaks another one out in this episode to murder Khan.
    • This isn't the first time Root has used Knockout Gas on a large number of people. She also says, "You're the boss" before smashing the Faberge egg, like when the Machine stopped her from killing Hersh.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The briefcase Root acquires turns out to be important in the season finale.
    • Averted with the untraceable firearm Khan gets from his loyal assistant. Contrary to Chekhov's dictum, it never gets fired. Likewise the C4 explosive Root insists on bringing.
  • Cigar Chomper: Surprisingly enough it's Greer, who after shooting the number of the week lights up to celebrate.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: His assistant wakes up Khan and turns on his television, just in time for a recap of the scandal.
  • Cool Guns: Reese uses the Nemesis Arms Vanquish take-down sniper rifle to destroy some perimeter cameras. Once they get into the sever room, he puts it aside in favour of a scoped M4 carbine.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind:
    • Reese knocks out a security guard who sees Khan drilling the lock on the generator room, and later saves Khan's life at the prison.
    • Finch warns Reese about a Samaritan mook creeping up behind him, then moments later Reese saves Finch's life the same way.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: Root hides in a hotel room where a couple is in bed together.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Look closely in the climax and you'll see that it's not Team Machine that's on the defensive. Reese and Root carve through multiple Decima assets despite being outnumbered, and only withdraw due to losing the POI and running low on ammo.
  • Cutting the Knot: The security on Khan's phone is too good for Hollywood Hacking, so our heroes hack the phones of the people he's calling. When Reese wants to hear what's happening in the board meeting, it turns out that Zoe Morgan has been invited. When faced with CCTV cameras, Reese just shoots them.
  • Determinator: Khan, which eventually causes his death, as Samaritan knows he won't give up until he has answers.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Samaritan's systematic and personal destruction of Khan simply for getting in its way.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Samaritan gives $50,000 to an inmate, and promises another $50,000 to kill Khan.
  • Everything Is Online:
    • Samaritan can Hack the Traffic Lights and activate street blockades.
    • Averted with, ironically enough, The Machine itself. Samaritan couldn't find The Machine on any networked device running Khan's software anywhere in the world. This disproves the popular fan theory that The Machine is running on regular people's personal devices and all but confirms that the servers "Ernest Thornhill" had moved from Hanford, Washington are still active. A few episodes later, we learn that The Machine is actually living decentralized within the U.S. power grid.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • Khan knows that Mark Lee can't resist a personal meeting to gloat over his downfall.
    • Threat Eliminated.
  • Exact Words: A surprisingly brutal one. Khan demanded that Greer allow him to look into the eyes of "God" (Samaritan). Greer obliges him with a quick shot to the chest with his Walther PPK. Then as the blood drains out of Khan, Samaritan shows all the surveillance it's been doing on him, the footage reflected in the man's lifeless eyes.
  • Expy: Khan's software seems to be one for McAfee Antivirus. It comes pre-installed on nearly every computer, has a not-so-great track record as of this episode's original airdate and has a founder who is no longer with the company. Arguably, Khan himself may be one for John McAfee, the founder of McAfee, albeit a little less...eccentric than his real-life counterpart.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Up until this point, Greer's affable Evil Brit schtick was so well done, one could forget that he was even an antagonist. Here, he begins to drop the facade and display a Lack of Empathy in the climax.
  • Foreshadowing: Both Greer and Finch point out that Khan's curiosity would be the death of him. It's exactly what happens to him in the end.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Khan never got to use his gun.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Khan seems to think the company hiring Zoe Morgan is this.
    "Okay, I know it's bad, but come on, it's not Zoe Morgan bad. Right?"
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: This time, it's evil all the way with Greer breaking out a cigar after shooting Khan.
  • Handcuffed Briefcase: Root cuffs the briefcase to her own wrist, so it will stay with her while fighting those trying to get it back.
  • Heal It with Booze: Or I Need a Freaking Drink when Reese puts a bottle next to Root who is bandaging her injuries.
  • He Knows Too Much: Khan is removed from control of his company because he stumbles across Samaritan's secret use of his software. When he deduces an AI is behind things, Samaritan decides to kill him.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Zoe says that she thought John would avert this, and was surprised he was beginning a relationship with Iris.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Finch on using a weapon:
    Finch: When the time comes for me to pick up a firearm, all will truly be lost.
  • Honor Before Reason: Even though Samaritan is involved, Reese still insists on protecting Khan, though it could blow their cover.
  • Humiliation Conga: Khan as Victim of the Week.
  • I Knew It!: In-Universe. Khan says this when he is proven right about the existence of artificial intelligence.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Root lends a hand via God Mode and plays spotter for Reese when he utilizes a sniper rifle on some security cameras.
    • Later, Reese lays down scarily accurate fire with an M4 Carbine when engaging Samaritan assets.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: Khan eyes Reese suspiciously in the bar, and recognizes him after Reese springs him from prison. Naturally, he assumes Reese is working for his enemies.
  • Insufferable Genius: Khan seems to have been this throughout his career, and it's the main reason why everyone, including his closest friend, turns on him so quickly after the hack.
  • It's Personal:
    • Samaritan sets out to kill Khan personally instead of delegating to Martine.
    • Root and Martine for each other. They even discard their weapons.
  • The Jeeves: Khan's assistant, who stays with him even when his wife, company, best friend, and lawyers leave him.
  • Kick the Dog: Samaritan seems to take a vicious pleasure in destroying the life of a man simply for being an inconvenience. Ironically Khan is fascinated by the idea of an artificial intelligence and could have been a convert to Samaritan's cause. Greer however guns him down without a thought.
  • The Kindnapper: Waking up in the midst of Team Machine, Khan naturally tries to flee these strange people, only to trip because he's been leg-cuffed and zip-tied.
  • Knockout Gas: Root uses this in a restaurant.
  • Lawman Baton: One of the telescoping variety is used by Reese to clobber the perp trying to throttle Khan.
  • Made of Indestructium: The briefcase Root steals.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Greer's cigars are expensive even for him, as Martine notes.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Khan found his company was using way too much diesel. This threatened to expose Samaritan using his company's servers.
  • Mood Whiplash: Team Machine helping themselves to Chinese takeaway after rescuing Khan.
  • Neck Lift: Khan being throttled by a giant inmate.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Finch hadn't given the curious Khan as little information as possible about the A.I.s, the latter might not have run away and gotten himself captured and executed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Samaritan shuts off the camera feeds in the prison so Finch or anyone else watching would be in the dark. Unfortunately for it, Reese manages to steal a uniform, break out Khan and escape onto the shadow map before it could see him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Root and Martine, until Reese pulls Root away.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Khan vanishes in a lightly wooded area while wearing dark clothes against a snowy background and only seconds away from the last time he was seen.
  • One Phone Call: Khan asks for this, but Samaritan makes it look like he's already gotten it.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Root does it to Samaritan assets. Reese to a security guard, and buttstrokes a mook in the final shootout.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted when Greer does Khan the courtesy of answering his questions, only to brutally shoot him.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Khan lifts Lee's access card when he grabs him aggressively in the bar.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Root tells the waiter to lie down. He falls down instead.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Perhaps the most blunt one yet in the series.
    Greer: Very well.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Root finally opens the briefcase to reveal a Fabergé egg. On the instructions of the Machine, she smashes it and stores the briefcase instead.
  • Properly Paranoid: Khan. Justified since he runs a computer security company. Invoked with Finch.
  • Pull the Thread: Khan's troubles started when he realised the company was buying a lot more diesel fuel than they needed just to run the generators in the building.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Reese's Time for Plan B, apparently a prison guard.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Mark Lee points out that if Khan really is being targeted by an Artificial Intelligence, the best thing is to get as far away from him as possible.
    • Superior numbers force Team Machine to leave without finding Khan.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The B-plot with the briefcase. Root gasses a restaurant to steal it, tries to no avail to break into it, and eventually the Machine has to text her the combination. The only thing in the briefcase is a Fabergé egg, which Root then throws against the wall, shattering it. The briefcase itself was the item of value all along.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Zoe disapproves of Reese and Iris and had no issue letting him know. Not because of jealousy, but because she's worried that Iris will very likely get hurt.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Finch confirms Khan's suspicions that an AI is behind his problems, he pesters Finch with questions despite being in the middle of a shoot-out. Not happy with the answers, he then does a Stealth Hi/Bye away from the protection of Team Machine.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Rather than pay Lambert's actor for about 5 seconds of screentime, a very similar-looking young Englishman is Greer's aide in this episode.
  • Take That!: The antivirus being an expy for McAfee becomes particularly funny when Khan mentions the virus being bloated and inefficient in its most recent release.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Invoked when Root adds C4 explosive to an SUV-load of weapons.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Reese leaves behind his sniper rifle (though he's got plenty of guns in the trunk). Root and Martine throw aside their guns after running out of ammo for the satisfaction of pounding each other.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Such is Khan's determination to discover more about the AI that ruined his life, he breaks free of Team Machine and allows himself to be captured.
  • Tracking Device: There's one in the briefcase, and Root has to short it out using an electric cord. Unfortunately, the former owners are already kicking down the door.
  • Van in Black: Used for a Bait-and-Switch. It's Root in the black SUV, not Samaritan operatives.
  • Visual Pun: Reese calls "shotgun!" while holding a shotgun.
  • Wham Episode: We find out that Samaritan is using Khan's antivirus software to search for the Machine. Greer says that the Machine is not on any networked device, but Finch says it's only a matter of time until Samaritan finds it.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Greer, in true Greer fashion, does.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Khan correctly deduces that the attack on him is engineered by an artificial intelligence but he thinks that it has something to do with the new technology he is developing. Unfortunately for him, he is actually caught in the middle of a war between two artificial intelligences and he was targeted simply because Samaritan needed his company's infrastructure and he started asking too many questions.
    • Samaritan plays this straight. When Reese shoots the cameras, its first instinct is to send for maintenance. Though Samaritan mooks led by Martine quickly appear, so presumably it was just being practical — someone has to fix the cameras, right?
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Khan to Mark Lee. Later he's surprised when Team Machine does believe him.

Threat Eliminated.