|“||I recognize, Mr. Reese, that there's a disparity between how much I know about you and how much you know about me. I know you'll be trying to close that gap as quickly as possible, but I should tell you, I'm a really private person.||”|
Harold Finch, also known by a series of aliases with bird-themed last names (such as Harold Wren or Harold Crane), is a reclusive billionaire software genius who built a machine that predicts future crimes and outputs either the victim's or perpetrator's Social Security number. His real first name has been confirmed to be Harold.
Young Harold is living in Lassiter, Iowa, with his father, who has begun to show early signs of dementia. He demonstrates an acute awareness of mechanics when he dismantles his father's truck engine [specifically the carburetor] to discover why it will not run, all in the short time that his father stepped away to take a phone call. He also displays an interest in the local birds.
Harold builds an early proto-computer that can repeat Morse signals that he inputs into it. He expresses a desire to create a machine capable of replacing his father's failing memory. His father's dementia continues to get worse. ("Lethe")
According to Fusco, Finch's earliest records date back to 1976, listing him as "Harold Wren". ("Wolf and Cub")
Harold's "Phone Phreaking" activities have brought him under the surveillance of the FBI, which has not yet identified him, but has begun to collect a dossier of his illegal activities. His father's condition has deteriorated to the point where he begins wandering away from home. A local police officer suggests his father may require institutionalization. Harold's father tells him he doesn't want him to avoid college because of him, but Harold tells him of a new electronic network that will allow the education to come to him. ("Lethe")
Harold later prepares to admit his father to a care center for the treatment of his memory disorder. ("Aletheia")
Harold is being investigated by the Department of Defense for an ARPANET Outage Data Breach resulting in his indictment for treason. Harold visits his father and tells him that men will visit him to tell him what his son has done and asks that he not believe them. Sadly, his father no longer recognizes him. Harold also presents his father with a book titled "Eastern Birds" by Roger Tory Peterson to help him remember the birds they used to spot together when Harold was a child, then kisses his father on the head before leaving. ("Aletheia")
Ingram informs Finch about the attack on the World Trade Center and reminds him that they had intentions to change the world when they created IFT, but instead, they only became rich and haven't changed anything. ("One Percent") Following the incident, the American government hires Nathan to build a machine that would predict future mass attacks on the United States, utilizing the digital feeds from the NSA through the newly enacted Patriot Act and unfettered access to personal information. ("Pilot")
Finch first boots and interacts with the first version of The Machine on New Year's Day, 2002, asking it if it can identify him, which it can. When he asks "Who am I?" the Machine indicates Admin which makes Finch very happy.
On February 16, Finch goes out on the street and talks to the Machine via a surveillance camera. The Machine signals him via his cell phone and he tells it that they're going to play hide and seek and tells it to buzz his phone once for "yes" and twice for "no". He asks the Machine if it understands, and his phone buzzes once, indicating that it does. He goes to multiple areas, continuously asking the Machine via his phone if it can see him, to which the Machine keeps buzzing his phone once for "yes". Finch goes into an Internet cafe, the Machine continues to see him via a laptop's webcam and reflections and can even count how many fingers he holds up when he asks by buzzing his phone three times, much to his delight. ("The Contingency")
On June 10, in an abandoned IFT office floor, Finch is building an early version of the Machine which consists of government feeds from the NSA, including e-mail, phone calls and surveillance cameras. This prototype covers only New York City, and Finch along with Ingram, intends on teaching the Machine how to sort the criminals from the civilians. ("Ghosts")
Finch and Nathan walk in the park, and Nathan talks about how he and his wife are still in a trial separation but don't want to talk divorce. He wonders how anyone knows when they've found the one special person in their life and Finch admits that he has no idea. They sit down at a bench and Finch uses a laptop to check in with the Machine and use it to provide a demonstration. He shows Nathan how the Machine has determined that a nearby man, an apparent homeless person, is actually a former violin prodigy with the Philharmonic who gave into drink. Finch explains that he has programmed the Machine to search for outliers. Nathan doesn't believe that level of programming is possible and Finch shows his partner that the Machine has detected that Nathan is dating a graduate student during his separation from his wife. He explains that he has programmed the Machine to understand human behavior by watching everyone, even its creators.
The Machine suddenly brings up a file on a nearby woman, Grace Hendricks, who is painting by the river. Finch can't find any anomalies in her history and suspects that there's a bug in the Machine's programming. Nathan comments that the Machine has good taste and Finch gives the woman a second look. ("The High Road")
Finch goes out into the streets of NYC and checks in with the Machine via his laptop. As the next step in its "education," he wants it to find out correlations between random strangers. As it works, it flags Grace as an anomaly again as she walks by. Finch assumes that it's a bug and checks her record, confirming that she has no dark or sinister past. He realizes that's the anomaly and that she has an interest in Charles Dickens just like he does. ("The High Road")
Finch goes to the park and buys his usual ice cream cone from the vendor despite the fact it's winter. The vendor has been keeping some ice cream just for Finch, his regular customer, and points out that Finch doesn't deny himself small pleasures. Surprised and pleased at the man's perception, Finch receives a text message from the Machine. It simply mentions Grace's name, and Finch goes over to talk to the woman. Finch meets Grace and offers her an ice cream. The two soon become a couple. ("The High Road")
Finch and Grace meet at a coffee shop and she talks about how she saw the famous painting The Red Tower when she went to Italy. She talks about how it inspired her to become an artist and explore mysteries, and she asks Finch where he's traveled. He admits that he made it to Venice after college but avoids saying anything else. ("Til Death")
Finch meets Nathan at a restaurant and his partner comments that he's running late. He jokingly asks if Finch had a date and then realizes that he did. Finch avoids talking about it and Nathan goes along with it, telling his partner that a little mystery goes a long way. Finch asks about Nathan's wife Olivia and Nathan admits that he saw her recently and couldn't even remember all of the lies that he told her. He tells Finch that the truth inevitably catches up with everyone. ("Til Death")
Grace is waiting for Finch at a restaurant when a bike messenger gives her an envelope. It's from Finch, inviting her on a birthday scavenger hunt. She eagerly sets out across the city, following the clues at each new location, and finally ends up at the Guggenheim Museum. Finch is waiting for Grace inside the closed museum. She thanks him for the birthday surprise but he says that it isn't over yet and takes her through the empty halls to the art gallery. Hanging on the wall is The Red Tower and Finch claims that an anonymous donor gave it to the museum. Smiling, Finch wishes Grace a happy birthday. Grace and Finch leave the Guggenheim and she realizes that he's upset about something. They sit down and Finch tells her that she should know what he does for a living. Grace assures him that nothing he could say would change her feelings for him, but suggests that he do it when he isn't upset. Finch agrees and Grace tells him that they'll discover the mysteries of life together, and then kisses him. ("Til Death")
At the same abandoned office floor from five years ago, Ingram confronts Finch about the Machine's way of sorting crimes - focusing on the mass-terror threats, while labeling smaller crimes as "irrelevant," and deleting them every night at midnight. Finch claims they built the Machine not to save "someone," but rather "everyone." ("Ghosts")
Despite the decision to not add back doors to the machine, after its shipment, Ingram speaks with Finch again, upset because they're not saving the lives of people that are in imminent danger. Finch wants both to move on and start working in something new, although his partner seems worried about the issue. ("One Percent")
On Day 3178 of the Machine's operation, or September 13, 2010, he proposes to Grace by hiding a ring inside "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. She says yes. ("Zero Day")
Finch would go on to tell Ingram about his engagement, only to follow him into The Library. He discovers that Ingram had created a backdoor into the Machine to give him access to the irrelevant list. Disheartened by this, Finch claims that Nathan has threatened everything he'd built, and promptly halts Ingram's contingency function. The operation terminates the same moment that Ingram's own number appeared, going unnoticed by either party. ("Zero Day")
Two weeks later (Day 3190), Harold asks why Ingram hasn't been in the office or returned his calls. Ingram claims he quit IFT, and is meeting a reporter the next day to tell him about the Machine. Harold asks what he can do to prevent this, and Nathan demands access to the irrelevant list once more. Refusing his request, Nathan says he will meet the reporter, and that Harold should meet him at the ferry terminal. ("God Mode")
The next day, Harold catches sight of Nathan at the ferry terminal before a car bomb detonates nearby. Nathan is killed in the blast, and Harold is severely injured. Awakening at a field hospital set up in a gym, Harold sees Nathan pronounced dead and two government officials confirming his death on the phone to an unknown party. Realizing who was responsible, Harold quickly escapes, but not before avoiding Grace who assumes his death upon finding a tattered and burned "Sense and Sensibility" among the personal effects of the deceased. Returning to the library, Harold resumes the contingency function and discovers Nathan's number was produced by the Machine. The irrelevant list is cleared seconds later at midnight. ("God Mode")
Later that year, Finch talks to a therapist, asking about grief. Finch says that he plans to do something "radical" in honor of Ingram, but the therapist advises against it. They bring up the topic of survivor's guilt, a feeling of responsibility for someone else's death. Finch's therapist tells Finch that he is not god, and cannot control who lives or dies, therefore making it not his fault that Ingram died, assuring him that his guilt will pass. Finch then asks if survivor's guilt ever passes if everything that happens is your fault. ("The Devil's Share")
According to him, he faked his death to protect Grace from the people who know of the Machine. Unbeknownst to her, Finch started watching her from afar and probably arranging work for her to support herself as a freelance artist. ("No Good Deed") According to X-rays analyzed by Megan Tillman, Finch had a spinal fusion surgery as a result of his injury during this time period due to the bombing. ("Cura Te Ipsum")
After finding Ingram's name on the irrelevant list and reactivating the Contingency function, Finch decides to help people. Finch upgrades Ingram's Contingency program so that instead of issuing the 9 digit SSN directly, it instead provides him with a code based upon the Dewey Decimal System. He receives the codes for 3 books he can find in the library and when he lines them up in order, the SSN is revealed.
Finch's first partner in stopping crime is Rick Dillinger. The man has a sense of humor and expertise in combat and marksmanship. However, their relationship is rather uneasy as Finch doesn't tell him about the Machine.
The Machine provides Finch with the number of Daniel Casey, who Finch has Dillinger follow. Dillinger observes that Casey is being followed by both an unknown man and the CIA, and two agents working for the latter confront Casey. Dillinger rescues Casey when shooters open fire and takes Casey to the Library.
Finch is frustrated by Dillinger's aggressive attitude and tells him to guard the Library from outside. He and Casey start a conversation which later turns into Casey explaining his story of how he was a government hacker hired to break into the Machine's code - the government tried to kill him after he discovered too much, but he escaped, took his laptop and went on the run. Finch is both fascinated and sympathetic and examines Casey's laptop, coming to the conclusion that it should be sold. At some unknown point in this time period, Finch creates and installs onto the laptop a virus that is intended to "free" the Machine. ("God Mode"). Casey promises Finch that he'll never tell anyone about him.
Dillinger reenters the Library, having secretly planted a microphone to listen in on their conversation. He says that the Chinese are interested in buying Casey's laptop and drugs Finch, takes the laptop and tells Casey that he should continue running.
Finch follows Dillinger to Central Park, where Dillinger points his gun at him - he thanks Finch for giving him and job and lowers his gun for that reason before leaving, telling Finch not to follow him. Nonetheless, Finch does and watches from behind a tree as Dillinger gives the laptop to some men before being shot in the chest. An ISA assassin fires at the Chinese buyers, prompting them to flee. The agent then shoots Dillinger dead as Finch watches in horror.
Finch then calls Casey, who tells him that he has already called a friend to arrange for his cover identities, and thanks Finch. However, Casey is then held at gunpoint by CIA agent John Reese, who has been following him.
Finch arrives midway through Casey and Reese's meeting and watches from afar as Reese lies to his partner that Casey is dead, misfiring on purpose, and then tells Casey that he is not a traitor and doesn't deserve to die. Finch is amazed at this and he begins considering Reese as a potential partner. ("RAM")
Finch hires an attorney to have Reese released from police custody before Carter can ID him after Reese defends himself in subway brawl. Finch then hires him to spy on every possible victim the Machine supplies, and prevent or save them from the upcoming attack. ("Pilot") After Reese discovers Finch's employment at IFT, Finch quits his job without any notice. ("Ghosts")
While investigating a person of interest, Finch meets homicide detective Lionel Fusco, who Reese has coerced into being his source of information inside the NYPD. ("Witness") Over time, Fusco and Finch's trust for each other grows to the point where they become allies along with Reese.
Finch decides to formally meet homicide detective Joss Carter to familiarize her with his and Reese's method of stopping crimes. He identifies a man about to be involved in a violent crime and suggests that Carter keep an eye on him. Carter later successfully stops the man from murdering somebody, and Finch informs her by phone, on the spot, that that is what he and Reese do. ("Super")
While assisting in the rescue of a person of interest, Finch is captured by the POI who reveals herself to be Root, and made herself a Person of Interest by placing her own life in danger of being murdered by paying HR, a ring of corrupt cops, to kill her, gambling her life that Finch would try to save her. ("Firewall") Successful in her gambit, she kidnaps Finch and takes him to various locations to try and determine the location of the Machine, and how to access it. He is later rescued by Reese, with help from Detective Carter and the Machine. ("The Contingency") ("Bad Code")
Finch also is introduced to Bear, a Belgian Malinois that Reese saved from an Aryan gang and kept as a pet in the Library due to a strict policy in his apartment regarding dogs. ("Bad Code") Finch is initially hesitant about keeping Bear in the Library, but eventually warms up to him and grows very fond of him, regularly taking him for walks and buying him dog accessories. Bear in turn assists Finch recover from the PTSD that he was afflicted with after his ordeal with Root.
At one point, Reese and Finch take on the case of Sameen Shaw and Michael Cole, two ISA operatives. Cole is killed by the government after he discovers that the government framed a man of being a terrorist, and Shaw goes on the run. Reese finds her and brings her to Finch, who explains his and Reese's system of preventing crimes. Shaw initially refuses to help them, but after Finch and Reese help fake her death, she accepts Finch's offer. ("Relevance") Over time, Shaw joins the team and becomes one of their allies. Shaw and Finch's relationship is rather comical in the way Finch is opposed to Shaw's violent and reckless methods, while Shaw ridicules Finch's seemingly unnecessary worry at the risks of a plan and is generally confident.
After Shaw is retrieved from Root following her kidnapping in order to help Root follow the orders of the Machine, Finch keeps Root in a secure room inside the Library to ensure that she doesn't cause further problems for the team. ("Mors Praematura")
After Detective Carter is shot and killed by HR lieutenant Patrick Simmons ("The Crossing"), a deeply saddened Finch is present along with Shaw and Fusco at her funeral. Reese, on the other hand, becomes very unstable and goes on a vengeful hunt for Simmons. Finch is forced to get help from Root to find Reese, who collapses from injuries sustained during the brief shootout with Simmons, and he is hospitalized. Shaw later informs Finch that the doctor said that Reese will be fine. Root, meanwhile, chooses to go back to her confinement in the Library to prepare for what she believes is "the greater battle". ("The Devil's Share")
In the aftermath of the war with HR, a disgruntled Reese leaves the team and heads to Colorado. Finch sends Fusco to find Reese while he and Shaw take on their next case. Finch is shocked to learn that the Machine's latest number is Arthur Claypool, his former MIT classmate. Arthur has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor that causes his memory to periodically falter. Shaw keeps an eye on Arthur at the hospital where he is being treated, and manages to eliminate threats from various organizations, including Vigilance, who want information carried by Arthur from his former work, which is revealed to be for the NSA.
Finch and Shaw take Arthur and his wife Diane to a hotel room where Arthur explains to Finch that after the government approached various software engineers to build a machine for them that would predict terrorist attacks, Arthur built a machine with the project name Samaritan, which was believed to have been shut down by the government after someone (Finch, unknown to Arthur) built a machine already. Finch is surprised to learn that there is a second Machine.
Arthur's memory falters again and Finch reminds him who he and his wife are. Arthur suddenly remembers that Diane is dead and he buried her two years ago. "Diane" reveals her true colors, identifying herself as Control, the head of the ISA operation and Shaw's former mysterious employer. Hersh and several other government men guard the room while Control reveals that Samaritan is still viable. She pulls out a gun and declares that whoever first tells her the location of their machine - Finch or Arthur - is the one that will leave the room alive. ("Lethe")
Root arrives and takes out the hostiles, allowing Finch, Shaw and Arthur to escape. Root, however, is captured by Hersh. Arthur takes Finch and Shaw to a bank where he has stored the drives for Samaritan. While Finch and Arthur are in the vault, Vigilance men led by Peter Collier raid the bank. Hersh also has a team that arrives but is unable to get in due to Vigilance's takeover.
Finch, realizing that Samaritan poses too high a risk and must be destroyed to ensure that the enemies closing in don't get their hands on it, convinces a dismayed Arthur to bid farewell to his creation. However, he also reveals to Arthur that he and Nathan did in fact build the Machine and that they have been saving lives. Arthur marvels at the fact that the Machine exists, and finally stomps on Samaritan's drives. Meanwhile, Vigilance prepares to blow a hole in the vault. Shaw is able to help them escape the vault, but they are caught by Collier's men and held at gunpoint. However, Reese and Fusco, having returned from Colorado, arrive and take out the team.
Later, at the Library, Reese says that the only reason he came back was because Finch was too valuable a friend to lose. He then announces that he's leaving the team. Finch tries to convince him to come back, but Reese still leaves.
Finch then gets a call from Root, who has escaped Control's clutches and now poses as a citizen. She tells him that the bank manager they were with at the vault was an impostor and that the real one was found dead prior to their arrival. Finch wonders who the manager they were with really is. The fake bank manager is revealed to be an operative of Decima Technologies, having stolen the real Samaritan drives and replacing them with fakes. ("Aletheia")
The Machine still automatically acts to get Reese back. While he is preparing to leave the team on an international flight, the Machine places him on another one in order to save Owen Matthews, a relevant number. Though initially reluctant, Reese saves Owen from numerous assassins with Finch's help and the flight lands in Rome safely. At a café there, Finch and Reese talk and Reese agrees to return to the team. ("4C")
Almost a month later, Finch first comes in contact with an anonymous phone caller who appears to be
interested in him and considers him a notable adversary. The man is the key perpetrator in the case of 911 operator Sandra Nicholson, and even after the completion of the case, the caller remains unidentified and still runs amok. He calls Finch using a phone relay they found earlier and warns that he will be after him next. Finch trashes the relay and dismisses the matter for the time. ("Last Call")
Finch crosses paths with Root again when he receives the number of Cyrus Wells, a janitor that she was protecting in her ongoing mission from the Machine. Finch believes he received Cyrus' number because Root is a natural threat to Cyrus simply upon being involved in his life, though Root denies it. During their meeting about the matter in a snowy Central Park, Root warns Finch that Decima plans to use Samaritan against the Machine, and also sends Finch an advertisement for a testosterone pill, giving him an additional clue on the location of an object she doesn't specify.
At Cyrus' apartment, he and Root are ambushed by shooters, and while Shaw fights them, Finch deciphers the advertisement and, using the clue Root gave him (the object being a book in the Library), identifies the attackers as Vigilance members. Reese, who aids them midway through the standoff, sees that Decima is also after Cyrus. Root and Cyrus manage to escape.
Later, Root and Cyrus are again attacked by Decima, and despite even Reese's assistance, Cyrus is taken. Following the kidnapping, Root comes to the Library and gives Finch a small chip that will aid her in preventing Samaritan from being activated. Finch wonders why she is no longer worried about Cyrus, and Root finally admits that she was responsible for ordering the hit that got Cyrus's friends killed in 2009, and her guilt is stifling her desire to help Cyrus now. Root decides that Finch can't help her and takes the chip she gave him earlier.
With the help of Reese and Fusco, Cyrus is rescued. However, a chip containing data used to activate Samaritan is still taken by Decima. At Finch's safe house, Root and Cyrus talk in the balcony, and Finch tells the team that they deserve their privacy and he decided not to place a bug there. Cyrus is set for a safer life while Root prepares to leave with Fusco - she tells Finch that the didn't tell Cyrus about her role in his past and that his beliefs about everything being "part of a greater plan" helps him. Finch says that she isn't wrong about the Samaritan threat and considers her help in future missions. Root leaves with Fusco, informing him that his smoke alarm will ring at 2:41 AM. Finch looks on as she leaves.
Meanwhile, the Machine shows the Samaritan data being uploaded and begins calculating the threats exposed. ("Root Path (/)")
Following the death of POI Leona Wainwright, Finch and Fusco travel to Washington D.C. to investigate her case after learning that she worked for the government. Finch plans to inspect the contents of a safe she has, which is taken to the FBI's evidence locker. He uses a special device to crack the safe and sees information on the government's Northern Lights program; Collier appears and demands the documents from Finch at gunpoint. He reads them, disgusted by how the government is authorizing mass surveillance and drone assassinations, also pointing out how he knows the Machine exists since Finch has been able to stop crimes before they happen. He takes Finch to discuss more privately, but Root arrives and opens fire on him, forcing him to retreat.
Finch and Fusco go with Root, who later informs them that Collier has disappeared and is unable to be tracked even by the Machine. She gets another intercepted radio message from Vigilance, and tells Finch that Collier gave out the "disseminate" order. Meanwhile, the Machine shows how Vigilance has leaked Northern Lights to the public.
Finch later talks with Root at the park, telling her that he will have to operate out of Washington D.C. since Vigilance is working there. Root suddenly gets an alert that all relevant numbers are being redirected to her, since Control shut down Northern Lights earlier. Finch asks if there is a problem, and Root tells him she has to leave. ("Most Likely To…")
Skills and TalentsEdit
- Computer expert: Finch is highly skilled with technology, as he was able to build a machine that watches through every camera, listens to every microphone, etc. He has also built several devices for Reese, such as bugs for listening in on people, SIM card readers to clone phones and a Bluetooth headset which allows them to be in contact. He claims to have built "some of the most advanced computer systems in existence". ("Dead Reckoning")
- Vast wealth and resources: As a billionaire, Finch has bought different types of corporations and buildings, like The Library and he has the resources needed to back cover stories and buy an interest in a company. He also has several business connections and it is implied that he uses them to help his former fiancée Grace Hendricks by making sure that she always has work and she's always taken care of financially.
- Anonymity: Finch is also skilled at being "hidden" from the world as he has kept most of his life a mystery and has had so many aliases, that Fusco believes that Finch himself doesn't even remember his real name. When he and Reese first worked together, Finch supplied him with six cover identities. Usually if a POI is put in a situation where they have to leave town, Finch is usually able to supply them with passports, cover identities, start up cash, etc.
- Encryption and decryption: Finch is skilled at creating and decrypting coded messages. He programmed the Machine to send him numbers in a code using the Dewey Decimal System with the books in the Library. When he was held hostage by Root, he left a message for Reese on a phone in Tap Code, which Reese later found and decoded.
- Counter-surveillance: Finch is also shown to be an expert in counter-surveillance tactics. When Reese and Shaw each first joined him, they each tried to follow him, only to lose him around a corner. ("Ghosts"), ("Nothing to Hide") He has also been able to detect even the most subtle interrogation tactics, such as when Reese asked what's good for breakfast at the restaurant they were meeting and Finch deduced that Reese was trying to figure out if he was a regular and thus, if he lived nearby.
- On a few occasions, Finch mentions that he previously lost someone, most likely either Nathan, since he was his partner and died, or Grace, since he had to leave her, or possibly both. ("Pilot") ("Ghosts")
- When asked why he tries to save people he states, "I have my reasons." ("Pilot") ("Cura Te Ipsum")
- It has been implied that he regrets building the Machine, as he mentioned to Caleb Phipps, while looking up at a camera, and therefore the Machine, that his "biggest mistake" lead Harold to him. ("2πR")
- After searching all known databases, the Machine recognizes Finch as [UNKNOWN]. It makes a note to check additional databases. The Machine later recognizes Finch as SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR at the end of ("Wolf and Cub") when Reese and Fusco are discussing him. The Machine recognizes him as ADMIN when Finch asks "Who am I?" in a ("The Contingency") flashback.
- It is suggested in "2πR" and later shown in a flashback in "Aletheia" that Finch was the hacker who exposed the code of the, at the time, military-controlled computer network ARPANET, leading to the eventual creation of the Internet, a feat he accomplished as "kid with a homemade computer". In "Wolf and Cub", Detective Fusco mentions that in a background investigation, he found out that 'Harold Wren', the name with which Finch enrolled in MIT in the '70s, was also a false name. This could mean that for his own safety and avoiding the suspicion of the government, he has been using false identities ever since he exposed ARPANET (although the 'Wren' alias extends back to at least 1976, while the ARPANET hack occurred in 1980). In a conversation with Nathan Ingram about Finch's intention to propose marriage to Grace, Ingram reveals that Finch is wanted for sedition. ("Zero Day")
- Judging from x-ray images Megan Tillman analyzed in "Cura Te Ipsum", it appears that Finch has had a cervical spinal fusion of the C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae, more precisely, a 2-level posterolateral fusion. In this type of fusion surgery bone graft is placed between the transverse processes in the back of the spine. To provide stability, the vertebrae are then fixed using metal screws or wires attached to a metal rod on each side of the vertebrae. As a result of this procedure and the preceding accident, Finch displays a range of physical disabilities such as the inability to turn his head, rigid posture, a limp, and possible chronic pain. Despite that, these injuries do not seem to limit Finch's mobility much in any way. He can be seen doing push-ups ("Mission Creep"), climbing stairs ("Pilot") and is frequently assisting Reese out in the field.
- Following his abduction and ordeal with Root, Finch appears to suffer classic symptoms of PTSD including irrational fears, panic attacks, and agoraphobia. The introduction of Bear serves as a healing device for Finch, who at first shows disdain for the new addition, but later covets and spoils him. In addition, some of Harold's other character traits are challenged by Bear such as his germaphobia and his desire for solitude. During the early episodes of Season 2 we can see see a noticeable transformation in the character of Finch that some may call humanizing. Finch, who has spent the last decade in hiding and usually went out in public accompanied by his private security detail, now has to walk Bear regularly. His germaphobia is apparent when he uses a tissue to pick up Bear's tennis ball, but in time we see him throwing the ball without any such protection. Additionally, Finch is shown getting much personal satisfaction from the feeding and care he provides to Bear. This may be due to the systematic way in which he goes about it. Further, for a man who has been on the run for most of his life and who deals now with the life and death of others on a regular basis, Finch is unable to take from Bear a squeaky toy that he bought for him because Bear enjoys it so much, even though it annoys him and interferes with his work. ("Bury the Lede")
- Main article: Harold Finch/Aliases
- As Norman Burdett, he works as a paralegal at Marmostein Ribner. His phone number is listed as (917) 555-0131. ("Cura Te Ipsum")
- As Harold Wren, he works at Universal Heritage Insurance. The address is 930 W 57th Street, Suite (unknown), New York, NY, 10019. The phone number is (202) 555-0112. ("Many Happy Returns")
- As Harold Crow, he works as a private investigator. His business address is 920 E 68th Street, Suite 500, New York, NY, 10065. The phone number is (212) 555-0179. ("Identity Crisis")
- As Harold Starling, he works as an Information Technology Manager at Rylatech. His employee I.D. number is 237412874. ("Trojan Horse")
- His current alias "Harold Finch" has been mentioned twice so far, by Alicia Corwin ("Firewall"), and John Greer ("Dead Reckoning") ("Zero Day"). He is usually called either "Finch" or "Harold", or uses a different alias.
- His aliases are often associated with birds, as shown with Finch, Partridge, Wren, Crane, Crow, Swift, and Swan as well as the previously mentioned alias, Burdett (which may be an anagram for the bird Red Butt).
- Other, more playful nicknames include "Glasses" or "Mr. Glasses" ("No Good Deed") ("The Devil's Share") ("Lethe"), "imaginary friend" ("The Fix") "tech support" ("Super"), "Mr. Four-Eyes" and "Mr. Vocabulary" ("Flesh and Blood") "Mr. Good News" (on Fusco's phone), and "the Invisible Man" ("Til Death") which were coined by Fusco. Root sometimes calls Finch "Harry". ("The Contingency") ("Most Likely To…")
- "Ghosts": Finch's days at IFT; introduces Nathan Ingram
- "Super": Finch watches Nathan talk with Alicia Corwin and Denton Weeks about the Machine, later explaining to Nathan how the Machine identified it's first number
- "No Good Deed": Finch and Nathan prepare to sell the Machine to the government; Nathan secretly creates the "Contingency" function
- "The Contingency": Finch training the Machine during it's starting years
- "The High Road": Finch continues training the Machine, and eventually meets his fiancée, Grace
- "Til Death": Finch's happy times with Grace; set during Grace's birthday
- "One Percent": Finch learns about the 9/11 attacks
- "Zero Day": Finch discovers the Library and confronts Nathan about the irrelevant list
- "God Mode": Finch's injury and Nathan's death from the ferry bombing, and how Finch is forced to hide from Grace
- "The Devil's Share": Finch sees a therapist, due to his guilt over the ferry bombing
- "Lethe": Finch's childhood; introduces his father
- "Aletheia": Finch's adolescence; continuation of his father
- "RAM": Finch's time working with Rick Dillinger and meeting Daniel Casey
- Finch grew up in Lassiter, Iowa, a fictional town near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the same birthplace as his actor, Michael Emerson. ("Lethe")
- While on set, the character is referred to as Harold Finch.
- Showed knowledge of ranging and windage when asked by Reese to spot for him while he engaged a diplomatic vehicle with a sniper rifle.("Foe")
- Is skilled at Chess. ("Triggerman"), ("Trojan Horse")
- Collects rare books (first editions),180 gram vinyl records and Xerox Alto computers (when he can get one).
- Doesn't drink coffee. ("Foe") He prefers Sencha green tea (with one sugar). ("Foe"), ("No Good Deed")
- Drives a black Lincoln Town Car with a New York license plate (LXQ-2038).
- His phone number or some other form of numeric identification is located in the first 3000 digits of Pi. ("2πR")
- Harold has a voicemail box number @ (917)-285-7362. Note this is not in the first 3000 digits of PI.
- Harold demonstrates good knowledge of large multiplication ("Matsya Nyaya").
- Harold either invented, or was instrumental in inventing social networking, to assist the Machine with establishing interpersonal relationships. He notes that it was difficult to link people together until he discovered they were more than willing to provide the information themselves. ("Identity Crisis")
- Appears to be interested in baseball. ("Til Death")
- Is an accomplished and skilled pilot. ("Proteus")
- Finch does not like guns. ("Pilot")
- Has the ability to tailor a suit. ("Risk")
- He does not like heights ("Risk")
- In the first two seasons, we never see Finch's current place of residence.
- Served as a Docent with the NYC Guggenheim Museum. ("Til Death")
- Is an expert at counter-surveillance as he loses both Reese and later Shaw who try to follow him. ("Ghosts") ("Nothing to Hide")
- He also knows how to fly/land a propeller aircraft. ("4C")