"Ghosts" is the second episode in Season 1, and the second produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on September 29, 2011.
When they are given the Social Security number of a teenager who was killed two years ago, Reese and Finch begin to question the infallibility of The Machine. Meanwhile, Finch flashes back to The Machine's origin and how it was developed.
Origin of the Title
Ghosts, in famous folklore, are defined as dead spirits that reappear in front of a living person either with malevolent or benevolent intention. The most obvious meaning would be Theresa Whittaker's false deceased status and how it continues to destroy her life, but the title can also refer to Finch's best friend Nathan Ingram, whose death continues to haunt him to this day, as well as Finch's decision to intentionally ignore the irrelevant list, which caused the death of many people and haunts the lives of their love ones, most notably Jessica Arndt.
Main Plot Points
Person of Interest:Theresa Whitaker, a teenager who is believed to be dead and is being hunted because of her inheritance of her family's fortune.
Nathan Ingram is introduced in the early days of the development of the Machine.
Nathan learns of the "irrelevant" list and that Finch has been deleting it.
For the first time, Finch's given name, "Harold" is used. His fellow employees call him "Harold," and Reese uses the name as well.
Finch's security detail is visible when we see his car slowly trailing he and Reese in the cemetery at the beginning of the episode and at the dock shortly after.
Finch goes to great lengths to protect his cover, even putting up with a degrading supervisor although he really owns the company.
Finch shows his ability to compartmentalize his life when at the end he casually discards 17 years worth of his office possessions into a lobby trash can.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
MIA: missing in action.
86'D: to get rid of, originally for killing someone.
HR: Human Resource
Beginning with this episode, a "saga sell" title sequence is used. The opening features previously seen moments from “Pilot”, this episode, and “Mission Creep”, with Michael Emerson's voice over, and is designed to introduce the premise of the show to viewers. It is not unusual for such elements to be introduced in the second episode, which is the first to reflect changes made in response to the pilot.
Reese's now iconic black suit with a white shirt first appears in this episode. Early in the episode, he wears a dark grey shirt, which changes to a lighter grey one later in the episode. At the end of the episode, he is first seen wearing a white shirt with his black suit. Although the black suit and white shirt did not become a constant until “Judgment”, this episode features the early evolution of his trademark attire.
In the tracking shot at the beginning of the second flashback, the servers are computer generated.
According to a security camera, the events of this episode start on September 22, 2011. This was also the premiere date of “Pilot”.
In the video camera footage of Broadway, the movies "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Object of my Affection" are both being advertised. These movies were released in 1998.
When Reese is thrown out of Junior's we can see traffic backed up down the street. In the next shot, the street is clear.
When Reese surprises Finch at his office, the image on his screen is the property tax map for Brooklyn. Some time later, he claims to have just discovered this as a new lead.
In Theresa's police file, her Social Security number has 10 digits.
The mud splatters on Derek's face change locations and dry and then appear wet again as the scene moves along.
In the last scene when Reese is calling Finch, it's not raining in the shot of Reese, as we can see from the dry window, while it is raining when Finch leaves the building.
The assassin enters elevator "F" on the lobby floor, but gets off the elevator "G" on 7th floor
"The Truth" by Handsome Boy Modeling School (End of episode)
Interview notes collected by Maxine Angelis in her search for the man in a suit (“Bury the Lede”) confirm that Reese did not kill the assassins in the elevator but only knee-capped them, as implied by Detective Terney.
Reese shoots three people, one of them, the hit man, twice.
"You knew what we were building here. This thing looks for plotters, schemers. We built it to stop terrorists before they could act." (Finch)
"The best place to hide Mr. Reese, as you well know, is in plain sight" (Finch)
"I know what it's like to lose someone...and to feel the need to disappear" (Finch)
"Trust? That's not something I come by very easily" (Finch)