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"Our mutual friend" is a code phrase used by the main characters in Person of Interest to avoid referring to either Finch or Reese by name in sensitive situations. It has also been used by Root to refer to the Machine. It is a commonplace American expression, but may also refer the English novel of the same name.

"Our Mutual Friend" is the last novel completed by Charles Dickens. It is widely considered one of his most sophisticated and complex works, combining psychological insight with social analysis.[1]

Unlike other works of literature, the book has never appeared on screen, but was referenced by a drugged Finch during a phone conversation with Reese. Finch says, "The plot turns on a case of concealed identity. How ironic." (“Identity Crisis”)

Occurrences

Witness
Finch: Hello, detective. I need to talk to you about our mutual friend.
Fusco: Who's this? And who the hell is our mutual friend?

Foe
Finch: Our mutual friend went after your perpetrator, and I haven't heard from him. Something's wrong.

Get Carter
Reese: Whose number came up?
Finch: Mutual friend of ours... Detective Carter.

Root Cause
Zoe: I am curious how you got my number.
Finch: Mutual friend. He assisted you on a... delicate negotiation with a certain pharmaceutical company.

Wolf and Cub
Fusco: All right, look... First you got me investigating our mutual friend. Now I got to babysit this disrespectful punk?

Blue Code
Carter: You do realize the man that shot John was just here?
Finch: Agent Snow doesn't know about me... Or my arrangement with our mutual friend.

Identity Crisis
Reese: Finch, I've got this end under control. We're preparing a surprise for our mutual friend.
Finch: Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens, published... 1864, '65. The plot turns on a case of concealed identity. How ironic.

Matsya Nyaya
Mark Snow: Do not talk to Agent Donnelly.
carter: Oh, you mean about our mutual friend. Why, you're afraid Donnelly's gonna get to him first?

Many Happy Returns
Finch: Well, if there was any evidence that threatened our mutual friend, I'm confident that you would find it before Donnelly would.
Carter: Are you suggesting I obstruct a federal investigation?

Firewall
Carter: Let me guess, I have to cancel my dinner plans.
Finch: Our mutual friend needs help, detective.

Dead Reckoning
Fusco: Have you heard from our mutual friends?
Carter: Why?
Fusco: Glasses sent me out looking for you and wonderboy last night.

Liberty
Carter: Oh. Our mutual friend.
Fusco: Looks like your day job just began.

RAM
Root: Daniel Casey, I presume?
Daniel Casey: How do you know that name?
Root: We have a mutual friend. [...] Like I said, [...] right now she needs your help.

Beta
Cop: Got a late-night collar here. Picked her up with two unregistered weapons.
Root: Hate to crash the party, but a mutual friend thought I could help in here.

References

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