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Episode 101: Pilot
On a New York subway train, a downtrodden, bearded and disheveled man sits alone, his head down. A gang of young men, led by Anton O'Mara approach him, taunting him, attempting to pick a fight. Reese easily overpowers them, with the attack caught by a security camera, his face surrounded by a yellow box.
At the police station, Detective Joss Carter talks with the man, who she believes to be a vet having reentry problems. He says little, answering her with a few cryptic words. Intrigued by him, she retrieves the man's finger prints from a plastic cup and is informed by a forensic tech that he is wanted in four different countries as well as in connection with a Queens missing persons case from 2008. Just then, a clearly high-priced attorney arrives at the station and points out the man as his client. Carter, now aware of the man's wanted status, exits the station just in time to see a Lincoln Town Car quickly pull away.
The next morning, the man is taken to the Queensboro Bridge, accompanied by Finch's private security. He is introduced to Harold Finch, who addresses him as Mr. Reese, and tells him he knows about Reese's past, including the work he had done for the government, and his presumed death. Finch offers Reese a new purpose in life, and a job.
Driving to mid-town New York, Finch shares statistics about the many deaths occurring in New York, claiming he has a way to foresee people involved in future crimes, though he does not know whether they will be the victim or the perpetrator. He points out Diane Hansen, an Assistant District Attorney who is at the top of his list, and asks Reese to follow her and protect her.
Reese refuses accusing Finch of being a bored rich guy and attacks Finch's men when they try to stop him. He retreats to his hotel.
At his hotel, Reese cuts his hair and shaves off his beard as he listens to the news reporting the search for a mysterious man involved in a subway attack. He falls asleep with the television on, "The Seven Samurai" playing.
Reese awakens to a telephone ringing, now in a fancier hotel room, tied to the bed. After being forced to hear a woman being murdered in the adjacent room, Reese breaks free and discovers it is a recording played by Finch. Finch reveals he knew about Jessica's death, and promises Reese a chance to save people in time.
In an abandoned library, Finch supplies Reese, now better dressed, with fake identities and introduces Reese to his list: a series of Social Security numbers, each belonging to a person who is linked to a violent crime. Reese, fascinated by the list, takes the ID's and money.
The two start following Hansen. Reese breaks into her house to duplicate her e-mail messages and other online accounts, as well as activating the microphone in her cellphone so they can monitor her conversations. Reese gathers enough information to shorten the list of supposed attackers to her colleague and ex-boyfriend, James Wheeler, and Lawrence Pope, a prisoner whom she is prosecuting for the murder of his fellow drug dealer. Hansen's case takes a sudden turn following testimony by a police officer who has revealed information that may lead to Pope's acquittal, with whom Hansen has an animated conversation in the hallway, as Reese watches.
Reese and Finch suspect Pope's gang is going after Hansen. After a physical confrontation in Pope's cell, Hansen is left unharmed, but Reese concludes that Pope was framed. Reese realizes that whoever is after Pope is also after Hansen.
Reese begins surveillance of Wheeler, who sneaks into Hansen's office and prints Pope's file. He decides to seek out Pope's younger brother, Michael, who saw the real murderers. He tries to persuade Michael to come with him, but Michael runs away.
Needing firearms, Reese tracks down Anton, the son of weapons dealer along Seamus O'Mara. After shooting and wounding all of Anton's gang and his father, Reese takes control of their weapons. Having earlier slipped his cell phone in Michael's bag, Reese overhears Michael being kidnapped. After rescuing him from his kidnappers, Reese discovers that the criminals are corrupt police officers. Reese uses the opportunity to take the badge of Detective James Stills, a leading member of the gang.
Reese observes Stills and a group of other corrupt police, including the one who testified at Lawrence Pope's trial at a diner, a Homicide detective named Lionel Fusco.
Reese meets Finch, accompanied by his private security, in Central Park. Reese shares his suspicions of Lawrence Pope being framed by the police officers. Asking about Finch's method of predicting crimes, Reese learns that when the World Trade Center was attacked, Finch was working at a lucrative job and was only concerned about making money. Following the attacks, Finch was hired to design a Machine that would detect possible terrorist activities. Since the Machine was programmed to prevent the next 9/11, any other crimes detected were deemed "irrelevant," and were erased nightly. In time Finch realizes this is a mistake, and he builds a back-door that enabled him to access the list of the "irrelevant" crimes. By communicating with the Machine, Finch is given a list of only the Social Security numbers of people involved in the future crimes.
At the 8th Precinct, Carter learns about the shooting at Seamus O'Mara's. One detail stands out: they were all shot by one man in a suit.
Following Lawrence Pope's murder in his cell, Reese spies on a meeting between Hansen and the corrupt officers in an abandoned alley. Reese discovers that Hansen is not a victim, but the ringleader, who orders them to "take care of Wheeler." Reese is caught by Lionel Fusco, another dirty cop. Fusco drives an unconscious Reese to Oyster Bay. Reese regains consciousness as they drive, and tells Fusco he now works for Reese. After warning Fusco, Reese detonates a flash-bang grenade causing Fusco to loose control. He rescues Fusco from the overturned car and uses Fusco's keys to release himself. After making sure Fusco is wearing his vest, Reese shoots him with Fusco's gun and leaves.
At Wheeler's apartment, three of the police officers, along with an ex-con they plan to frame, are about to kill Wheeler. Wheeler emerges from an his apartment with his son. Reese appears and takes Detective Louis Azarello hostage allowing an unsuspecting Wheeler and his son to leave unharmed. After a short standoff, Reese rescues the ex-con, with one officer, Doyle, wounded, and Stills killed.
In a courtroom, Hansen presents her evidence in a case. A recording of her meeting with the officers is played to the entire court room, Wheeler included. Hansen notices Reese, who leaves quietly.
Reese surprises Fusco, and tells him that the body of Detective Stills is in the trunk of Fusco's car. Since Reese killed the officer with Fusco's gun, Reese blackmails Fusco and recruits him as his mole inside the police force. Reese orders Fusco to bury Stills at Oyster Bay.
Reese meets Finch at the Queensboro Bridge. Finch wants him to make a decision whether to continue. Reese has only one question: why him? Finch explains the his options: the world believes both of them are dead and offers him a large sum of money to disappear. But if he stays, Finch tells him that his past will catch up to him and that they will both end up dead for real.
Reese stands alone watching Carter arrest Azarello. She presses him for information about Reese. Overhearing this, Reese knows Carter will attempt to track him down. He shuts off his earpiece and walks along a New York street, stopping at a corner to stare up at a surveillance camera before turning and walking away. The security camera which is revealed to be connected to a server farm, with rows upon rows of computers collecting information.