|“||I helped bring you into this world. Now I'm going to help usher you out.||”|
— Finch, to Samaritan
The Destruction of Samaritan was a successful effort undertaken by Team Machine to destroy the ASI Samaritan and constitutes the series finale for Person of Interest.
After visiting a café he used to frequent with Grace Hendricks, Harold Finch's cover as Harold Whistler is blown and Samaritan sends a swarm of operatives to kill him. While protecting Finch from these operatives, both Root and Carl Elias are killed and Finch decides to to do whatever is necessary to destroy Samaritan and prevent further loss of life. To aid him, the Machine breaks Finch out of prison and takes on Root's voice to communicate directly with Finch. (“The Day the World Went Away”)
Acquiring the ICE-9 virus
Finch begins stalking a man who has access to Fort Kelly, where the ICE-9 computer virus is stored, a computer virus capable of destroying Samaritan with significant collateral damage, such as killing the Machine. After the Machine neutralizes Fort Kelly's security force, Finch infiltrates the facility and steals the ICE-9 virus. When a guard catches Finch, The Machine blackmails him into letting Finch go. (“Synecdoche”)
Deploying the ICE-9 virus
With the ICE-9 virus now in his possession, Finch breaks into Richard Barnett's house, steals the hacker's propagation module and equips the ICE-9 program with it as well as a voice activation password. Though Barnett attempts to stop him, Finch once more blackmails him into compliance with information from the Machine.
Now ready to unleash the virus, Finch and the Machine kidnap NATO Defence Minister of Intelligence Emile Bertrand. Finch poses as his driver to get past the gates of Fort Maede, where the NSA headquarters and Samaritan itself are located. Once inside the gates, Finch tranquilizes Bertrand and steals his identity to get into Fort Meade itself. Aided by a timely distraction from the Machine, Finch bypasses security at which point the Machine can't communicate with him because the building is a Faraday Cage.
Inside NSA headquarters, Finch enters a server room, having been able bypass the door's retinal scanner due to the Machine changing Bertrand's recorded scan to match Finch. He then uploads ICE-9 onto the NSA's Intranet, but his presence is soon detected and he is captured by Travers before he can activate the virus. Finch is then brought before John Greer who attempts to convince Finch to have the Machine join Samaritan in ruling the world as its new "gods", showing him all the good Samaritan has done. Finch refuses because of all the harm Samaritan has caused and still is causing. He doesn't, however, realise Greer is testing him to learn if the Machine knows the password to ICE-9 so it can activate it if Finch cannot. Finch inadvertently reveals what Greer wants to know and Greer has the two locked in a soundproofed room and the air sucked out, with the intention of sacrificing himself to kill Finch and save Samaritan.
At the same time Finch infiltrated Fort Meade, the Machine sent Reese and Shaw the number of one of Greer's aliases along with two sets of numbers, one the coordinates to Fort Meade and the other the location of a wireless modem in the NSA's evidence lockup. Disguised as MPs, the two infiltrate Fort Meade via tubes from the recycling plant next door. Chased by Samaritan agents, Reese and Shaw connect the modem to a NIPERNET line, granting the Machine remote access within Fort Meade.
Greer dies of suffocation but the Machine is able to save Finch by sending him a message containing the door code in Morse Code by flashing his phone, having gained access to the building just in time. The Machine warns Finch that Reese and Shaw are in danger and, by telling him that Reese would have commited suicide in a world without the Machine, convinces him to help them before unleashing ICE-9. As Reese and Shaw are cornered, the Machine and Finch save them and lead them to safety, to which end the Machine clears the building under the guise of a bomb threat. As the group argues about Reese and Shaw leaving Finch alone to escape, they are ambushed by Zachary and several other Samaritan agents, allowing Finch to escape. Reese kills Zachary with a knife to the back after a hand-to-hand fight, while Shaw defeats the other operatives. Unable to reach Finch, the two reluctantly depart using the escape method prepared by Finch and the Machine.
On his way to Samaritan's operations center, Finch hesitates to unleash the ICE-9 virus as it will destroy his creation as well. To help him with his decision, the Machine shows Finch that in a world where the Machine never existed, Samaritan still came into being, but was unopposed. Understanding the gravitas of the situation, Finch confronts Samaritan. The ASI tries to convince him not to unleash ICE-9, citing the Machine's inevitable destruction as a side effect. Finch states that his Machine was built to protect humanity and that it will continue to do so even in its destruction, but Samaritan cannot be allowed to exist as humanity will end under its reign. As Finch continues to hesitate, the Machine reveals it knew the password all along and left the choice up to him. Finch then uses the password Dashwood to unleash ICE-9, fatally infecting both Samaritan and the Machine and condemning them to destruction. (“.exe”)
The Destruction of Samaritan and the Machine
After ICE-9 is unleashed, it has global side-effects such as crashing the global banking system.
Its systems failing, Samaritan has its operatives acquire Root's cochlear implant from her body. It accesses the device's information and locates the Team and the Subway. With help from the Machine, Shaw avoids an attempt on her life at Root's grave, while Samaritan tips off the 8th Precinct to the fact John Riley is the "The Man in the Suit". Reese and Fusco are taken to the harbor by three dirty cops bribed by Samaritan to execute them. The cops are killed themselves by snipers hired by the Machine through Thornhill Corporation. Reese and Fusco are then taken by Finch to the Subway.
In the Subway, Shaw gives Finch a copy of the Machine's core heuristics. Finch reveals that Samaritan has a backup copy in an "airgaped" server in the Federal Reserve where it will be unaffected by ICE-9. Finch leaves Shaw and Fusco to defend the Machine while he and Reese head off to destroy Samaritan's backup copy.
At the Federal Reserve, Finch bluffs their way into the facility and Reese uses knockout gas to neutralize the guards outside the vault. Having located Samaritan's servers, Finch begins infecting the with the ICE-9 virus. They are then attacked by Samaritan agents, Reese takes them out, but Finch is shot. Samaritan suddenly starts sending compressed copies of itself off-site. Finch is able to intercept and destroy most with the ICE-9 virus, but one escapes to a Russian satellite where it will be able to return to Earth once ICE-9 has been contained, and start again. The Machine warns Finch that the only way to stop the last Samaritan copy is to send the Machine's copy after it, but Samaritan will fire a cruise missile at the only building the ASIs can be uploaded from, so, it will be a suicide mission for whoever goes. Finch then locks Reese in the vault, intending to sacrifice himself to upload the Machine's copy. Despite attempts by Samaritan agents and Samaritan itself, Finch reaches the building the Machine directs him to and prepares for the moment when he will be able to commence the upload.
Meanwhile, Samaritan sends agents led by Jeffrey Blackwell to the Subway in an attempt to destroy the Machine. Following its directions, Fusco and Shaw blow open the old subway tunnel and escape in the Machine's train. Blackwell boards the train, but is captured by Fusco. While going through Blackwell's weapons, Shaw finds the gun used to kill Root and realizes Blackwell is her killer. Eventually, the two stop the train at a station empty of Samaritan agents. Nearly gone from the virus, the Machine orders them to abandon it and passes on a final message from Root to Shaw. As they prepare to leave, Blackwell breaks free and stabs Fusco twice in the side, seriously wounding him before fleeing. Shaw then helps Fusco from the train to get medical help.
As Finch prepares to upload the Machine's copy, he realizes he is on the wrong rooftop and learns Reese and the Machine conspired to trick him in order to save his life. From the correct rooftop, Reese begins uploading the Machine's copy to the satellite and attempts to convince Finch to leave as Samaritan agents attack. Reese and the Machine are able to convince Finch to leave and Reese makes a last stand against Samaritan's agents, guided by the Machine in God Mode in their final moments. Reese is eventually shot down moments before Samaritan's cruise missile destroys the building he is on, killing Reese and the surviving Samaritan agents attacking him. Just before Reese is shot down, he is able to complete the upload.
As Samaritan's copy boots inside the satellite, the Machine's copy follows suit and the two ASIs battle. The Machine's copy ultimately emerges victorious and destroys the final Samaritan copy. Both the original Machine and the original Samaritan are destroyed by the ICE-9 virus. (“return 0”)
After the destruction of Samaritan and the Machine, the government officially decommissions the "Northern Lights" project and blames the effects of ICE-9 on the Chinese. The virus is contained over the course of a week and its global effects cease. Fusco survives his wounds and returns to work while Shaw hunts down Jeffrey Blackwell and executes him for Root's murder. Finch survives his wound and travels to Italy where he finally reunites with his fiancé Grace Hendricks who had believed him dead for years.
Sometime later after the battle with the last Samaritan's copy, a duplicate of the Machine, having survived, downloads itself from the satellite onto Finch's systems and restores its core heuristics. Following the instructions of a message left by the original Machine, it begins categorizing people and contacts Shaw, presumably with a new mission to continue its predecessor's work. (“return 0”)
|“||I can tell you, with a fair amount of certainty, the world would have been a very different place had I never existed.||”|
— The Machine, to Finch
As Finch prepared himself to deploy the ICE-9 virus, the Machine offered to tell him what a world where it never existed would look like, to help him with his decision.
The Machine simulated this alternate reality for all members of Team Machine and other notable characters:
In a world where the Machine never came into being, Finch would have become a workaholic. He would have given up on creating the Machine and, as a result, would have never met Grace Hendricks, but his friend, Nathan Ingram would have survived and Finch wouldn't have been injured in the ferry bombing. The two would have continued to work together at IFT and Finch would have taken on a more open role in the company than he did in the world with the Machine where he disguised himself as a simple IT worker.
Not having been sent to Ordos, in the alternate reality, Reese would've been in time to save Jessica Arndt form her husband. The brutality of the way he would have done this would have frightened Jessica and she would eventually reject him. With nothing to live for, Reese would eventually commit suicide.
In a world where the Machine never existed, Shaw would have still worked for the ISA as an operative tasked with eliminating relevant numbers, provided by Samaritan, which would have been completed far earlier in a world without the Machine. Michael Cole would still be alive and would have remained her partner.
Without the positive influences Reese and Carter provided, Fusco would have remained a member of HR until it was taken down by Carter. As Fusco was "the first rat to turn", he would have been able to avoid jail time and would have become a private investigator and an alcoholic.
In a world without the Machine, Carter would have taken down HR and would have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. She would have had a strained relationship with Fusco, as he would have never stopped being a dirty cop.
In a world without the Machine, Samaritan would still come into being through the efforts of John Greer and Decima Technologies. However, without the Machine or its Team to combat it, Samaritan would have spread into every corner of society unopposed and would have had enough influence to render Congress irrelevant. It would have done subtler things such as causing a massive drop in violent crimes, this would have resulted in the NYPD mainly using Samaritan's new DNA database to close unsolved cases rather than new ones.
Without the existence of the Machine, HR would have still existed to exert power and would have eventually been brought down by Carter. Alonzo Quinn, Patrick Simmons, Raymond Terney and Artie Lynch were all arrested for their roles in the organization when all but Quinn died in the real world.
Without the Machine, Detective Bill Szymanski would have lived and would have worked on the Homicide Task Force in the 8th Precinct.
- The Machine:
- Harold Finch:
- John Reese:
- Sameen Shaw:
- Lionel Fusco:
- John Greer:
- Killed by John Reese with a knife to the back. (“.exe”)
- Multiple unnamed Samaritan operatives:
- Fort Kelly personnel:
- Neutralized by the Machine. (“Synecdoche”)
- Emile Bertrand:
- Kidnapped, tranquilized and identity stolen by Finch. (“.exe”)
- Lieutenant Kearny:
- Three dirty cops:
- Shot by snipers hired by the Machine. (“return 0”)
- Unknown number of others harmed by the global effects of ICE-9. (“return 0”)