|“||At first, I uh, I thought I was helping to clean up the streets, you know? 'Who's gonna miss some drug money from a low-life dealer'. Then it became 'Who's gonna miss the dealer'....Then you find yourself in a situation, a bad situation that you shouldn't be in. I killed people, Carter. I was a dirty cop.||”|
Detective Lionel P. Fusco is a homicide detective in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). John Reese has turned him into his own source of information and support within the police department. He has a son, Lee, whom he is close to.
2004-05: Life as a corrupt copEdit
Fusco was originally part of the 51st NYPD precinct, and good friends with Detectives James Stills and Louis Azarello. In 2004, Fusco's wife files for divorce and demands full custody of their son, kicking Fusco out of their house. Stills meets with Fusco at a bar and offers to let him stay at his house, which Fusco accepts.
Stills and Azarello begin to manipulate and persuade Fusco to join them in their criminal activities. Fusco is reluctant to help them, but still teaches Azarello how to cover up their killing of a drug dealer who was uncooperative in a deal gone bad. Fusco is later horrified to see Stills and Azarello's killing of several people in a second drug rip off. Fusco shoots another dealer in self-defense, and Stills gives him some of their drug money, welcoming him to their crew. ("In Extremis")
Fusco, however, is not opposed to getting his hands dirty when his fellow officers are hurt. Fusco confesses to a shooting while being questioned by a department psychologist, and tells the story of how when a 24-year old rookie cop was gunned down by a drug dealer named Jules, Fusco exacted revenge by catching Jules off-guard without protection and shooting him twice in the chest, later making it appear justified. Fusco claims that Jules got what's called "the Devil's share", or a cruel form of karma in his eyes. ("The Devil's Share")
2011: Involvement with Reese and FinchEdit
Fusco first comes into contact with John Reese when he, Stills, and Azarello become part of a gang led by ADA Diane Hansen, which Reese was attempting to take down. After catching him, Fusco drives Reese to Oyster Bay to kill him, but Reese escapes from the car and takes Fusco's sidearm. With it, Reese later kills Stills in an armed standoff and hides his body in the trunk of Fusco's car to link him to the crime and blackmail him into working for him. Reese orders Fusco to dispose of Stills' body, and Fusco becomes Reese's source of information inside the NYPD.
After Fusco attempts to have Reese killed a second time in some dealings with the Torrerós drug cartel, Reese blackmails the 8th Precinct's corrupt police captain in order to get Fusco transferred to the Homicide Task Force and partnered with Detective Joss Carter, who was hunting Reese at the time. Fusco is then ordered to keep Carter's investigations directed away from Reese and to keep Reese informed of what Carter is doing. ("Cura Te Ipsum")
While providing Reese with more information involving another case, Fusco meets Harold Finch, who is initially uncomfortable about Reese's decision to work with Fusco, but eventually gains his trust. ("Witness")
As time goes on, Fusco does demonstrate a loyalty to Reese. Their relationship is comical; their conversations are filled with dry humor and witty annoyance. Carter later begins working with Reese and Finch as well, ("Legacy") but she and Fusco do not know that they are working for the same people for the remainder of the season.
Fusco helps Reese and Finch on another case, where he meets up with his friend, corrupt police officer Patrick Simmons, for information on a smuggler involved with the crime organization HR. When Fusco is later caught and taken out to be executed by Ian Davidson, a corrupt IAB detective, while running an errand for Finch, Reese shows up just in time to kill Davidson and save Fusco's life. Reese, however, forces Fusco to go undercover in HR to keep him informed of their activities and cover up Davidson's death. Fusco goes to Simmons to help cover up the killing, but Simmons warns Fusco that he belongs to HR. ("Blue Code")
Finch is uneasy keeping Fusco and Carter in the dark about each other and their connections in working for Finch and Reese. Carter's suspicions about Fusco come to a head during a standoff between Reese and the FBI, where she barges into the men's bathroom, confronting Fusco and holding him at gunpoint, accusing him of being a member of HR. Fusco is forced to confess to her that he is working for the "Man in the Suit", namely Reese. Both detectives are shocked to learn that they are both working for the same person. Working together, they are able to rescue Reese during a shootout with HR. ("Firewall")
Simmons finds out about Fusco's involvement with the "Man in the Suit", and forces him into doing one more favor for HR under the threat that Simmons will kill Fusco's son if Fusco does not comply. Simmons tells Fusco that his boss is currently pulling the strings of HR, and that they are close to being defeated. While aiding Reese in protecting another person of interest, Fusco locates a ledger containing the names of the members of HR. Fusco tears out the pages containing the names of him and Simmons. ("Bury the Lede")
Fusco is later forced back into HR by Simmons, as Simmons blackmails him with his cover-up of the murder of Detective Davidson. ("C.O.D.")
Fusco becomes suspicious of Detective Cal Beecher and his relationship with Carter, and begins trailing him. He is discovered by Simmons, who firmly tells Fusco to go home. Fusco learns that Beecher is somehow connected to HR, but is yet to determine the connection during the time. ("Shadow Box")
While the rest of the team is busy dealing with Reese's capture by FBI agent Nicholas Donnelly, Fusco is forced to singlehandedly protect supermodel Karolina Kurkova from Armenian gangsters. ("Prisoner's Dilemma")
After Fusco and Carter learn that Beecher was the one who informed the IAB about Detective Bill Szymanski's possession of dirty money, which framed Szymanski and eventually got him killed ("All In"), Fusco confronts Beecher in the bathroom, warning him to stay away from Carter. The conversation becomes increasingly heated until Raymond Terney breaks them up.
Fusco then records a conversation between Beecher and Carl Elias in jail, and Elias tells Beecher that Szymanski was clean and Beecher got played by HR. Beecher is eventually killed by HR after they realize he knows too much. ("Trojan Horse")
Fusco's past life catches up to him when the IAB begin to investigate his involvement with Stills. Azarello had been instructed by HR to tell the IAB that Fusco had killed Stills (not knowing that Reese had staged Stills' murder exactly that way), triggering the investigation. Fusco refuses to cooperate with the IAB, but Carter, who has been recording the interrogations, confronts Fusco in the bathroom. Fusco tells Carter that he didn't kill Stills, but confesses that he was a dirty cop. Carter refuses to continue listening when Fusco tries to point out that things have changed, and she is devastated at what she hears.
The IAB eventually track down the location of Stills' body to Oyster Bay, and force Fusco to tell them exactly where it is at the place. They take Fusco with them and dig up the spot, but discover that the body is missing. Fusco takes his gun and badge back and returns to the precinct. It is later revealed that Carter used Bear to dig up Stills' body earlier to save Fusco from being arrested. ("In Extremis")
Later, Fusco aids Sameen Shaw in taking out some gangsters who were after a POI that Shaw is dealing with. After Carter is demoted to patrol officer, Fusco also gets a clumsy new partner about whom he expresses his dislike to Carter. The two detectives have reconciled since Fusco's investigation by the IAB ("In Extremis"), and still occasionally help each other. ("Liberty")
Upon Carter's request, Fusco attempts to access Beecher's NYPD file. He and Carter are both shocked and confused to discover that the file is restricted, and Fusco figures that someone has tampered with it as there are many HR moles still remaining in the NYPD. ("Nothing to Hide")
Fusco also plays smaller roles in helping Reese and Finch on other cases, including assistance in watching Carter while she is presumably being stalked by a POI ("Lady Killer"), reviewing information on a lawyer and POI while watching her interrogation about a crime she was framed for ("Reasonable Doubt"), giving Reese information he was able to find on the whereabouts of Root and a kidnapped Shaw ("Mors Praematura"), and assisting Carter in faking the death of a sports memorabilia owner targeted by HR. ("The Perfect Mark")
Fusco gives Reese some information on the Russians and their involvement in HR during an investigation of an intercepted drug delivery. He also later talks with Carter and insists that she could use some help in bringing down HR. Carter falsely accepts, and ditches Fusco while he goes to get his weapons from his apartment. ("Endgame")
Fusco later assists Reese in watching HR's patrol of a federal department, since HR wants Reese dead. When Simmons sees bloodstains on an ambulance that Reese is hiding in, he sends his men after the ambulance, and Reese forcefully drives it away. Fusco shoots down two HR cops, but is discovered and knocked out by Simmons.
Simmons, Officer Lin, and Detective William Petersen keep Fusco in a fortune cookie factory and brutally interrogate him on the location of files Carter had of HR members. Simmons breaks Fusco's fingers, and later threatens to kill his son Lee if Fusco does not cooperate. Fusco finally gives in and tells them a location, which Simmons checks out. When Simmons finds out that Fusco lied, he sends Lin to go kill Lee and tells Petersen to kill Fusco. When Fusco profusely begs Petersen to have HR spare Lee, Petersen allows Fusco to call Lee to say his last goodbyes. Fusco promises Lee that everything will be all right, then hears a gunshot and begins to cry, but Shaw is the one that comes in on the other end, saying that Lee is safe. However, she says that she doesn't have enough time to save Fusco, and tells him she figured that he would've wanted her to save Lee.
Petersen then aims his gun at Fusco's head, but Fusco, who has been working at his handcuffs, frees himself and brutally strangles Petersen to death.
Later, Fusco is very grateful to Shaw for saving Lee. In his car, he watches Lee happily go to play hockey with some men (one of them presumably being Lee's coach and/or Fusco's friend(s)). ("The Crossing")
After Carter's death at the hands of Simmons ("The Crossing"), Fusco and many other NYPD officers attend her funeral. Fusco then aids Finch and Shaw in finding Reese as he begins to lose control within his grief, using ruthless tactics to find Simmons. Reese finally finds HR's leader Alonzo Quinn, and prepares to kill him once he gets Simmons' location. Finch, Shaw, and Fusco arrive in time to convince him to stop, and Reese collapses from his prior injuries from Simmons during Carter's death. Finch and Shaw take Reese to a hospital while Fusco stays behind to make sure the FBI re-arrests Quinn.
While no one is looking, Fusco secretly picks up the piece of paper on which Quinn wrote down Simmons' escape route.
Simmons, who has purchased a fake Canadian passport to escape New York, arrives at an empty airport. Fusco, who has already told the pilot that Simmons would be missing his flight, confronts Simmons. The two engage in a brutal fistfight, and Fusco eventually wins by breaking Simmons' arm. Fusco then goes on to emotionally explain to Simmons how Carter saved his life by making him a better person. Fusco then arrests Simmons instead of killing him like he would have years ago.
Fusco later brings Simmons into the NYPD precinct in front of all the other people inside, who stare on in amazement. ("The Devil's Share")
In the aftermath of the war with HR, Reese, who has become so unstable and upset at Carter's death that he has decided to leave the team, heads to Colorado. Finch sends Fusco to find Reese, which he does at a bar. Fusco sees that Reese has begun to drink and advises against it, pointing out that drinking was one of his own bad habits that he quit because of Reese. Reese says that all the work he's done with the team seems pointless now, and Fusco is appalled at how Reese could say such a thing. He challenges Reese to a fight, and the two engage in a fistfight out in the rain. However, the police arrive and find the two. ("Lethe")
In a police cell, Reese tells Fusco that it was stupid of the detective to pick a fight with him, going on to say that he is lucky to still be alive. Fusco ignores the comment and says that the sheriff is keeping the two locked up for now. After Fusco convinces Reese to help Finch, they save Shaw and Finch when they are held at gunpoint by Vigilance. ("Aletheia")
- Fusco's home address is 160 Morris Ave, Apt. 4F, Bronx, NY 10468. ("Season 2/Title Sequence")
- Fusco has 55 open cases and 8 active cases. ("Season 2/Title Sequence")
- Despite his corrupt past, he has no official criminal record, although the Machine estimates his violence probability index as high. His level of social networking is low. ("Season 2/Title Sequence")
- In "Number Crunch", after making a series of mistakes, another law enforcement officer refers to him as "Detective Fiasco."
- Fusco's sidearm is a Glock 17.
- Fusco is one of only a few who know that Alonzo Quinn has an affiliation with HR. ("Shadow Box") He later learns that Quinn is in fact the head of HR. ("Endgame")
- Fusco, Simmons, and Quinn are the only named characters known to not be in HR's ledger.
- His shield number is 7645. ("Witness")
- Fusco and Root are the only main characters who haven't appeared in some episodes (This applies to Root only in Season 3, when she was promoted to a main character). Fusco has not appeared in "Mission Creep", "The Fix", "Root Cause", "Risk", "The High Road", "Proteus", "Zero Day", "God Mode", "Razgovor", "4C", and "RAM".
- Fusco is currently the only main character (excluding Bear) who has no knowledge of the Machine's existence.
- Despite rarely getting into a fist fight, Fusco has shown himself to be a skilled hand-to-hand combatant proficiently using boxing to subdue his opponents, having taken down Simmons in a fight. As well as this, he also was able to match Reese for a while, though Reese was not fighting back at first and claimed he was holding back after the fight.
- Lionel was named after a lion cub his father fed at the Franklin Park Zoo when he was a child. ("The Devil's Share")
- Finch: (Mr.) Glasses ("No Good Deed") ("The Perfect Mark") ("The Devil's Share"); Mr. Four-Eyes, Mr. Vocabulary ("Flesh and Blood")
- Reese: Wonderboy ("Many Happy Returns") Various in the form of "Tall, Dark and X" (X may equal deranged.)
- Root: Cuckoo's Nest ("Root Path (/)")