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Episode Overview   Summary   POI   Cast and Characters   Crew    
← Season 2 Person of InterestSeason 3 (Flashbacks in parentheses) Season 4 →
301Liberty309The Crossing317Root Path (/)
302Nothing to Hide310The Devil's Share” (Multiple) 318Allegiance
303Lady Killer311Lethe” (Finch) 319Most Likely To...
304Reasonable Doubt312Aletheia” (Finch) 320Death Benefit
305Razgovor” (Shaw) 3134C321Beta” (Grace)
306Mors Praematura314Provenance322A House Divided” (Collier)
307The Perfect Mark315Last Call323Deus Ex Machina” (Collier)
308Endgame” (Carter) 316RAM

POI 0312 Main



Air dateJanuary 7, 2014

Running time

Production code2J7612

Written byLucas O’Connor

Directed byRichard J. Lewis


Images (50)

There's a time for a hammer and a time for a scalpel. It's hammer time.

— Shaw

"Aletheia" is the 12th episode of season 3, and the 57th produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on January 7, 2014.


Multiple enemies converge on the POI team as they protect a dying man whose number has come up. They struggle to keep their enemies at bay but without Reese, who has left them and their mission behind following the tragic war with HR, being down one man could have catastrophic repercussions for the team.

Origin of the Title

Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is a Greek word meaning disclosure, lack of concealment or truth. It is associated with German philosopher Martin Heidegger's view of disclosure not as truth but as being open. As we see in the episode, the various characters have experiences which force them to be open, but not necessarily truthful, about events in the past and present. It is etymologically linked to Λήθη (Lethe).

Main Plot Points

  • Reese and Fusco are locked in jail following their brawl. Reese has given up despite Fusco's best efforts to change his mind. Fusco gets them released and warns that Finch is likely in trouble, leaving Reese contemplating what to do.
  • Control explains that she wants Samaritan to replace the Machine out of fear the Machine will stop sending numbers.
  • Control prepares to torture Finch and Arthur Claypool and murder Shaw but they are rescued by Root.
  • During the escape, Root is captured by Hersh.
  • Root is taken before Control who tortures her for access to the Machine. After Root tells Control that she is the Machine's Analog Interface, Control performs a stapedectomy on Root's right ear to deafen her in an attempt to sever her connection to the Machine.
  • Root reveals that the Machine is able to communicate with her through Morse Code on an ultrasonic frequency that Control can't hear and helps her to escape. The Machine passes a message to Control through Root that it is trying to protect her from something and that it doesn't want Control coming after it or its agents.
  • Arthur leads Finch and Shaw to a bank where he has stored the Samaritan drives in a safe deposit box. Peter Collier and Vigilance take control of the bank, separating Shaw from Finch and Arthur who lock themselves in the vault while Hersh waits outside with a SWAT team.
  • Arthur finds a note with the Samaritan drives and realizes that he succeeded in turning Samaritan into a true AI before the project was shut down.
  • As Vigilance prepares to blow open the vault, Finch attempts to convince Arthur to destroy Samaritan to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. After Finch reveals the existence of the Machine to Arthur, Arthur destroys the Samaritan drives.
  • Vigilance breaks into the vault as Hersh and his men storm the bank, but Arthur and Finch are rescued by Shaw. They are then captured by Collier who orders Arthur taken captive and Finch and Shaw executed. The group is saved by two SWAT officers who drive Vigilance off. The officers reveal themselves to be Reese and Fusco and the group escapes into the sewers.
  • Hersh and his men corner a Vigilance operative who detonates a grenade, leaving the fates of Hersh and his men unknown.
  • Finch puts the dying Arthur in his safe house where he receives a call from Root who reveals that the real bank manager was found murdered while the fake swapped out the Samaritan drives and stole the real ones. The Machine then plays a video of Arthur and his wife to help send him on his way.
  • Reese returns to the Library where Finch has figured out Root's method of escape. Reese reveals he only came back to save Finch and say goodbye as Finch isn't someone the world can afford to lose. Reese no longer trusts the Machine, believing it doesn't care who lives and who dies. He then departs despite Finch trying to stop him.
  • The fake bank manager meets with John Greer of Decima Technologies and turns the Samaritan drives over to him, telling Greer that everyone believes them to have been destroyed. After confirming that the woman didn't look at the drives or tell anyone about them, Greer murders her and leaves, stating that he has great plans for Samaritan.


  • In 1979 the young Finch prepares to move his father into a care home, no longer able to take care of him by himself. Finch has continued his work on his prototype machine which he intends to be more than a memory storage device but also something to watch over and help his father.
  • On October 27, 1980, the young Finch continues his work on his prototype Machine and needing more power, commits the ARPANET Outage Data Breach.
  • Some time after hacking ARPANET, the young Finch visits his father in the care home and tells him that men are going to visit and say that Finch committed treason and he asks his father not to believe them. Finch's father's memory has now deteriorated so much that he no longer recognizes his son or the birds, devastating Finch. Seeing government agents arriving, Finch leaves his father a book on birds and flees.

Episode Notes

  • This two-episode arc makes several references to Finch's days at MIT with Claypool and Ingram. MIT is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most select four-year colleges in the U.S. Best known for its curriculum in mathematics, science and technology, MIT emphasizes research and technology education, with a faculty including multiple Nobel Prize laureates. Although not part of the original ARPANET, it has a long history of research tied to the development of modern computer technology and defense. It also has a reputation, along with Caltech and Stanford University, for having a highly creative student body given to pranks and other high profile activities.
  • This episode explains why Finch uses bird names: as an homage to his father who was fond of birds. The book young Harold gives to his father in the nursing home is Eastern Birds by Roger Tory Peterson, a field guide to identifying birds in eastern North America.
  • Rudiger Smoot, the false identity that Finch created to open a bank account on a dare, refers to a common MIT student joke. Smoot refers to a non-standard unit of measure first used by undergraduate Oliver R. Smoot to measure the length of the Harvard Bridge as part of a fraternity initiation. MIT jokes involving measures in smoots (roughly 5' 7", Smoot's height) have become so well known that the ridges in the bridge are now one smoot apart, as opposed to the traditional 6'. Oliver Smoot went on to become chair of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and later President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), bodies charged with standardization of various units and measurements.
  • The quote "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places." is drawn from Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, his romantic novel set amid the Italian Campaign during World War I. The novel was published in 1929, and is known for securing Hemingway's reputation as an American novelist.
  • The reduction in hearing range with age is genuine; the Morse code audio broadcast to Root is in the range that older people cannot hear but younger people can.

Production Notes

  • This episode is the second of a two episode arc, beginning with “Lethe”.

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • In the opening scenes, the video shot of Control exiting the elevator shows her with a yellow square when she should have had a red square at that time.
  • The date stamp in the first flashback appears to be incorrect. According to the Machine, Harold's phone phreak in “Lethe” occurred on November 4, 1979. The date stamp in “Aletheia” when Harold's father leaves for the retirement home also shows 1979, yet it appears to be spring outside since the grass is green and birds are singing. It is more likely that this flashback takes place in 1980.



  • The license plate of the Acura Harold steals in the opening has the plate NSO-7946. This may be a digitally altered version of the plate NSQ-7947 seen on Hector Alvarez's Camaro in “Get Carter”.
  • Young Harold is seen hacking ARPANET with a homemade computer. This was previously referenced in “2πR”. Later in the scene, he is seen dialing a telephone number with the area code 703.
  • At that time, 703 served most of the Washington DC metropolitan area.
  • The date Young Harold hacks into ARPANET is October 27, 1980. In real life, ARPANET experienced a 4 hour long outage on October 27, 1980. In reality, the outage was later shown to be caused by a hardware malfunction.
  • The bird in the tree that Harold's father fails to identify is an American Robin, which makes the scene particularly tragic as this is one of the first birds most people learn in North America. The copy of Roger Tory Peterson's Eastern Birds that Harold leaves with his dad may be the (then) recently-published 4th edition, (copyright 1980). The birds on the pond outside The Pines are Tundra Swans.
  • The Machine sends an actual message through Morse code at a frequency of about 14,200 HZ. It can be decoded as "SORRY.(...) INCREASED PERSPIRATION. HEART RATE AND BREATHING ELEVATED. INDICATIVE OF FEAR.(...) 2 OCLOCK. 2007 ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT TORN. SURGICAL REPAIR PARTIAL SUCCESS. 2010 PHYSICAL THERAPY DISCONTINUED AGAINST DOCTORS ADVICE.(...) 8 OCLOCK."[1] A fan-made clip of the Morse code scene with both the regular frequency and the lowered frequency (to compare, for those who could not hear the higher frequency--more likely older viewers) in the episode can be found here.
  • The two "drives" shown in this episode are actually two 500 GB Linear Tape Open (LTO) cartridges, an industry standard for backup due to their high memory density and archivability. [2] These two LTO cartridges would most definitely be sufficient to contain the operating system for Samaritan.


  • "The first one to talk gets to live." (Control, to Finch and Arthur)
  • "We'll need some enhanced methods. Agent Hersh, do you have some ideas?" (Control)
  • "Stealing a car, almost dying... It reminds me of the old days at MIT, Harold." (Arthur)
  • "The world spins on dreamers like you, Harold." (Finch's father)
  • "Harold doesn't need to chase. He's got a certain gravitational pull with the female population." (Arthur)
  • "Seems everybody wants to lock me up." (Root, to Control)
  • "It would be like giving a five-year-old keys to a jet: irresponsible and stupid." (Root, on giving Control access to the Machine)
  • "You should know better than to hit me. You're lucky to be alive." (Reese, to Fusco)
  • "Claypool's been rocking footed pajamas for months." (Shaw, to Finch)
  • "You think you're in charge. It's adorable just how wrong you are." (Root, to Control)
  • "Nothing wrong with jail. Some of the best vacations I ever had were behind bars." (Reese)
  • "I always said banks were meant to be robbed." (Shaw)
  • "Well, I've got finesse coming out of my ass, Harold." (Shaw)
  • "We will expose the abuses our government has perpetrated." (Collier, to Hersh)
  • "Civil liberties cannot be forged in blood." "Violent revolt is an American value." (Finch and Collier)
  • "I urge you to consider what Mr. Reese would do." "Brood?" (Finch and Shaw)
  • "There's a time for a scalpel and a time for a hammer. It's hammer time." (Shaw)
  • "I'm glad you built it Harold. Somebody would have built it eventually. For all our sakes, I'm glad it was you." (Claypool, to Harold, about the Machine)
  • "Mr. Reese, I am inordinately happy to see you!" (Finch, at being rescued)
  • "Lionel, your face looks good all covered up like that." (Shaw, to Lionel wearing mask)
  • "Thank you for your service. You have earned my highest esteem." (Greer, to his agent, before shooting her)
  • "My Samaritan, you are destined for great things." (Greer)
  • "Hey ! Rise and shine, Wonderboy !" (Fusco to Reese)




Start a Discussion Discussions about Aletheia

  • Episode Locations

    14 messages
    • White Collar has used it several times.
    • Do I get brownie points for it being the first time I've seen an episode of White Collar?

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