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2010

A young woman named Haley McNabb is being pursued by a hitman down a street while Finch tracks her, telling his partner where to find her. Haley is cornered in an alleyway, when the hitman is shot by Rick Dillinger. He introduces himself to Haley and explains that her boss sent the hitman to kill her because she knew he was embezzling and would testify in court against him. Finch reminds Dillinger that there's a second hitman and Dillinger casually turns and shoots the man coming down the alleyway. He then tells Haley that she should relax and have a drink with him after all of the stress, and she agrees.

The next morning, a wheelchair-bound Finch calls Dillinger at his apartment. Dillinger is in bed with a sleeping Haley, and complains to Finch that he needs a day off. Finch points out that the numbers don't stop coming. Dillinger later arrives at the Library and Finch explains that the new number is a computer programmer, Daniel Casey. He works for tiger teams breaching electronic security systems to reveal flaws in their firewalls. He disappeared two months ago and no one has been able to pick up his digital footprint. Dillinger wonders if Casey is dead and Finch assures him that they wouldn't have received his number if he was dead. Finch suggests that Dillinger make contact with Casey's old friend Lester Strickland, who spends his Saturdays at a bar watching horse races.

Dillinger goes to the bar and approaches Strickland, and finally asks him about Casey. Finch, listening in, is opposed to how direct Dillinger is. Strickland denies knowing anyone named Casey and Dillinger apologizes and leaves, but after pairing Strickland's cellphone. Outside, he tells Finch that he tried to spook Strickland to get him to call Casey.

As anticipated, Strickland calls Casey and warns him that Dillinger is the second person to ask about him. An hour ago, a man and a woman also asked Strickland about Casey. Casey says that he's going to remain out of sight until his meeting, and Strickland tells him that he'll have a package ready for him in 24 hours. Finch checks Strickland's background and concludes that he's providing a fake ID for Casey so he can go undercover. He then tracks the GPS on Casey's cellphone and gives Dillinger the coordinates.

When Dillinger goes to Casey's location, he discovers that Casey is at a hotel. The man and the woman that questioned Strickland are outside: John Reese and Kara Stanton. Dillinger sends photos of them to Finch, who immediately recognizes Reese and warns Dillinger that Reese and Kara are working for the CIA. Meanwhile, Kara and Reese wait for Casey to leave the hotel and discuss how they're under orders to bring Casey's molar to their superiors as proof that they've killed him. Kara talks about how Casey is a traitor who stole secrets from the government, when Reese easily spots Dillinger, assuming he's a former soldier and current mercenary. Kara suggests killing him, but Reese figures that leaving him alive will let them know what he's doing. Meanwhile, Casey emerges from the hotel and walks down the street. Reese and Kara follow him and Dillinger follows them. He starts to make his move when he sees Reese approaching Casey, only to realize that Reese is planting a tracking bug on the programmer.

Casey is followed to a café and Dillinger goes inside and pairs Casey's cellphone. A man identifying himself as Ian Banks with the SSCI sits down with Daniel. Once he identifies himself, Finch figures that Casey went to the SSCI because he learned about a traitor in the government. Meanwhile, Casey asks Banks how the SSCI will protect him, and Banks demands to know what group Casey identified and what evidence he has against them. The SSCI man is glad to offer protection to Casey once he tells what he knows. However, Casey is suspicious and asks Banks when the SSCI was founded. Meanwhile, Finch checks on Ian Banks and confirms that the man meeting with Casey is someone else.

When "Banks" can't answer Casey's question, Casey's suspicions are confirmed and he warns the man not to follow him before leaving. Dillinger goes after Casey, but Reese gets the drop on them. He demands to know who Dillinger is, and Dillinger claims that he's in security and Daniel is his client. Kara tasers Casey unconscious from behind and orders Dillinger to lower his gun. However, Dillinger draws a hidden knife and stabs Reese in the arm. Reese knocks him down, but before he can finish him off, the fake SSCI man and his partner open fire. As Reese and Kara return fire, wounding the second man, Dillinger escapes with Casey. The SSCI impostor, Lambert, runs off, and Reese and Kara realize that Casey has escaped, leaving the bug behind. Reese wonders why Casey would meet with the SSCI if he was a traitor, and Kara suggests they question the wounded shooter.

As Dillinger takes Casey away, he demands to know why Finch knew about Reese being a CIA agent. Finch avoids the question and tells him to concentrate on Casey, and Dillinger threateningly asks Casey for answers, much to Finch's discomfort. Casey says that a government representative hired him to breach a complex computer system hidden in the northwest USA. Finch becomes worried as he hears this information and demands that Dillinger take Casey somewhere safe. Much to his surprise, Dillinger brings Casey to the Library. Once Dillinger assures him that they weren't followed, Finch informs Casey that they're trying to help him. He talks to Dillinger privately and tells him to secure the perimeter so he can talk to Casey alone. Dillinger demands to know what's going on but Finch remains silent and a frustrated Dillinger leaves.

In Washington DC, Control goes to Special Counsel's office and demands to know why a simple execution has turned into a public gunfight. He admits that his people haven't been able to identify Dillinger but insists that they can use the CIA to eliminate Casey, covering their tracks and protecting Northern Lights. Control is angry that Casey couldn't hack into Northern Lights, and Special Counsel suggests that killing Nathan Ingram was a mistake. Control warns Special Counsel that he could meet the same fate if he fails her and leaves.

In New York, Reese and Kara take their prisoner to an empty office and question him. When he refuses to talk, Kara jabs wasabi into his gunshot wound and he screams in pain.

At the Library, Casey admires Finch's computer and realizes that he's off the grid. Casey shows Finch the laptop that he's been carrying and explains that the government hired him to try and hack the most complex computer system he'd ever seen. Despite his best efforts, the computer adapted to all of his efforts, but he still managed to find a backdoor into the system and download a few bits of code before it adapted again. Casey doesn't recognize the code because it is so advanced. He realized that the government hired him to hack the system because they couldn't get into it themselves, so he quit. They drugged him and tossed him in the back of a trunk. Casey woke up when the car crashed into a pole and managed to escape. He's been on the run ever since and finally called the SSCI.

As the two talk, they're unaware that Dillinger has planted a bug in the Library and is listening in. Meanwhile, Finch tells Casey that it's clear from Lambert's intervention that a third party knows about the computer.

That night, Lambert meets with his employer: Greer. Lambert tells him what happened and warns that the CIA has captured his partner. Greer figures that the man will take care of himself and tells Lambert to find Casey and bring him in, or pay the price.

Finch examines the computer code on Casey's laptop and then tells him that he's used the Darknet to make an offer to the third party: the laptop for Daniel's life. Dillinger is chartering a plane so that Casey can flee the country to avoid the CIA. Casey points out that Strickland is getting him a fake ID, but Finch provides one of his own and tells him to stay away from any known associates. Casey realizes that Finch is doing the same thing he is and knows all the tricks, and that he knows more about the computer than he's saying. All Finch will say is that anyone who comes into contact with the computer ends up dead or wishes they had, and Casey promises him that he would never tell the government about Finch or the Library if they capture him.

Meanwhile, Reese and Kara's prisoner refuses to talk and Kara threatens to take more extreme measures. Reese interrupts and says that he doesn't believe the prisoner knows anything useful. Kara is mildly disgusted with Reese and his qualms. Before she can protest further, the prisoner manages to stand up despite being tied to a chair, breaks through a window, and falls to his death. Realizing that their lead is useless to them, Kara wonders if Reese is going to call off the hunt for Casey. However, Reese assures her that he's going to find Casey and eliminate him.

Dillinger returns with tea for Finch and Casey, and says that the charter plane is ready to take Casey away. However, he then shows them the bug he planted earlier and admits that he lined up a deal with the Chinese to sell the code to them. Finch starts to object but then collapses, realizing that he's been drugged. Dillinger takes the laptop and advises Casey to run. Once Casey leaves, Dillinger leaves as well with the laptop. Outside, Casey calls Strickland and asks for his fake ID. Strickland agrees and hangs up... under the watchful eye of Kara, who has a gun on him. He tells Kara that Casey doesn't deserve to die, but Kara insists that Casey will get what's coming to him.

Finch wakes up and manages to get to his car. He calls Casey and offers to help him, but Casey doesn't trust anyone now except Strickland and hangs up. However, Reese locates Casey on the street and says that he has to kill him. Kara calls and asks if Reese has found Casey, and he says that he hasn't.

Lambert and his men break into Strickland's shop and find Kara using Strickland as a shield. She tells Lambert that they have Casey and Lambert offers her life in return for just a few minutes with Casey so he can interrogate the programmer. Kara shrugs, tells Strickland he wasn't going to live anyway, and opens fire. She kills Lambert's men, but Lambert himself escapes. Reese hears the gunshots and wonders what is happening. Kara drops Strickland's body and assures him that she's fine.

Finch tracks down Casey on the street and finds him with Reese. As he starts to call 911, Kara asks Reese what Casey's status is. Reese fires two shots and then tells Kara that Casey is dead. Once he hangs up, Reese tells the still-living Casey that he's realized that he's no traitor. He hands Casey a bus ticket and an address in Canada where he can find someone who will help him disappear. However, Reese says that first he needs Casey's molars to make his "death" look convincing and takes out a pair of pliers. Finch watches on in amazement at Reese's decision to spare Casey's life.

Later, Reese meets back up with Kara and assures her that everything has been taken care of. When he points out that they didn't recover the laptop, Kara says that they've been reassigned to Morocco and it isn't their business anymore. She tells Reese that they've made the world a little bit safer and they drive off.

Finch tracks Dillinger by his cellphone and confronts him in Central Park. He asks Dillinger to trust him but Dillinger says that he can't because Finch doesn't trust him or anyone else. Finch points out that some governments will kill to get the laptop and Dillinger can't handle them. Unimpressed, Dillinger considers shooting Finch, but decides not to, instead thanking him for the job and then running off. Finch goes after him and sees him meet with Chinese agents.

In Washington, Special Counsel tells Control that their agent killed Dillinger and the Chinese buyers.

As Finch watches, Special Counsel's agent shoots Dillinger and all of the Chinese agents but one. The survivor manages to escape with the laptop.

Special Counsel finds it amusing that his agent said that she would have recovered the laptop if she had been sent out more quickly. He tells Control that they can expect great things from her.

As Dillinger lies dying, his killer walks up to him: Sameen Shaw. She finishes him off and thinks she hears something in the bush. Dismissing it as nothing, she leaves and Finch breathes a sigh of relief.

Special Counsel informs Control that they've tracked the laptop to a software facility in Ordos, China. Control tells him to eliminate any loose ends by sending Reese and Kara to confirm that the device is there. They'll then destroy the device and both agents with a missile strike. Special Counsel tells her that he'll take care of it.

Finch gets out a shovel from his car and then proceeds to bury Dillinger.

Lambert meets back up with Greer and tells him that the laptop is in China. Greer tells him to take a team and recover the laptop from the Ordos facility.

The Machine forwards through a series of events leading up to the present, including Reese and Kara's mission in Ordos. (“Matsya Nyaya”)

2014

In the present day, Casey resides in a house in the Canadian wilderness, when he gets a knock on his door: it's Root. When Casey wonders who she is, Root explains that they have "mutual friends" and advises him to get his fake passport and money because he's taking a trip. She explains that Casey will go to Cartagena, Colombia, and meet up with a man named Greenfield. As Root talks, she sets up the cabin to explode. Casey wonders what she's doing and Root admits that she attracted the attention of some armed men, and they'll soon be there. When Casey wonders how she knows so much about him, Root says that their mutual friend needs their help.

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