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Episode 116: Risk
Finch is measuring Reese for a new suit that Reese will need to "mingle with the best and brightest" on Wall Street. The person of interest is Adam Saunders, a proprietary trader at Baylor Zimm, an investment bank, and Finch notes that Saunders was accused of insider trading by the SEC in the past, though nothing was proven. When Reese comments that he knows nothing about Wall Street, Finch gives him the book A Random Walk Down Wall Street and implies that Reese doesn't really need to study, just to look smart and wear the right clothes.
The Machine then parses one of Saunders' emails, which mentions his concerns about possible insider trading involving a master limited partnership called Tritak Energy, as well as an SEC document which says that its investigation into Saunders is closed with no charges, but that Saunders remains under scrutiny.
Reese, posing as asset manager John Rooney, meets Saunders and his friend, fellow broker Paul Ashton, at the firm with a large check from Finch to invest. While there, Reese, Saunders and the rest of the office watch the news report of the verdict in the trial of the head of Virtanen Pharmaceuticals. (“The Fix”) Saunders reveals that he has short sold stock in the company, anticipating a guilty verdict, a prediction that proves true seconds later. Reese comments about the risk taking to Finch and notes that he was unable to force pair Saunders' phone. That night, at a bar, Saunders and Victor, another trader at Baylor Zimm, take swings at each other over the transaction, while Finch breaks into Adam Saunders' apartment and discovers shoe boxes full of money, as well as information regarding Saunders' deceased mother and guardian uncle. Reese's continued surveillance reveals that Saunders is romantically involved with his boss, Sydney Baylor.
The next day, with Finch's assistance, Reese successfully force pairs Saunders' phone as the trader is approached by SEC investigator Doug Rasmussen, who warns Saunders that he is watching him for trading violations. Finch learns that Rasmussen spearheaded the insider trading charges against Saunders as well as the upper management of Baylor Zimm, although Saunders denied knowing of any wrongdoing, which Finch suspects was a lie to protect Sydney Baylor. Later, Reese follows Saunders to Queens where he meets with his uncle, Bob Sowoski, who operates a food truck. They discuss Bob's investments at Baylor Zimm, as he is concerned about the majority of his money being invested in Tritak Energy, a natural gas pipeline company investing in the construction of a gas pipeline from the south up to New York. Adam reassures his uncle, but later confronts Ashton at the firm about the matter, noting that most of the firm's clients and the firm itself are just as heavily invested in the company. Saunders and Reese meet the following night at an indoor golf range, where Saunders becomes irate after questioning by Reese about his family and the meeting with Rasmussen earlier in the day. As Saunders is driving Reese back, they are forced into an area where an attempt is made to crash Saunders' car. Reese recognizes this technique, funneling, and is able to save them by forcing Saunders to accelerate. Carter later examines the scene and finds that the equipment was stolen, as well as a garbage truck, three days prior.
Back at the Library, Finch monitors the money that was given to Saunders and tells Reese that most of it is also going into Tritak. Finch comments that Tritak recently received a huge boost from a buying frenzy originating out of Baylor Zimm and wonders if Saunders is being targeted for knowing about another case of insider trading. Rasmussen confronts Saunders again, who tells the investigator about the huge amount of money being poured into Tritak. Rasmussen tells Saunders to go back to Baylor Zimm and get him the investments' statistics. While there, he is summoned to the roof by a text seemingly from Sydney Baylor, and is then knocked out after getting there and almost thrown off the roof, but Reese is able to save him. As they take the elevator back down, Saunders tells Reese that when he looked into Tritak for his uncle, he realized how heavily invested the firm and its clients were in it, and drafted the email previously parsed by The Machine voicing his concerns about insider trading, but was told to keep quiet after the SEC began looking into the matter and consequently never sent the email to anyone, although he did ask Sydney Baylor about it. They proceed to her apartment and find her dead, with the scene staged to implicate Adam. Reese takes Adam to a homeless encampment, where Reese instructs him to stay. When Saunders protests, John informs him that he stayed there for four months. Reese gives Saunders a cell phone and instructs him not to use it until Reese calls him, while Saunders tells Reese to find Victor for more information about Tritak. Carter investigates the murder scene and when she points out that the murder weapon could have been staged by taking the champagne bottle from the trash and is told that the perpetrator would have to search the building's guarded basement, she realizes why the garbage truck was needed.
At the Library, Reese and Finch get word of a bill allowing shale fracking in New York being passed in the legislature, something that would eliminate the need for a natural gas pipeline and consequently deal a huge blow to a company like Tritak. The next morning, as the company's stock value goes into free-fall, Reese confronts Victor, who tells him that someone powerful was able to push the fracking bill through the legislature, making Reese question why they would build Tritak up so heavily only to have it collapse. When Saunders reads the news in the paper, he calls Reese and advises him that the stock is being short sold by someone at the firm. He then calls his uncle trying to reassure him about his investments, a call that is traced. That night, Finch breaks into Baylor Zimm and is able to determine that Ashton is the one involved in the illegal activity. Saunders quickly realizes that Ashton had to have a friend in the SEC to pull this off, so Finch follows him to a meeting with his cohort: Doug Rasmussen. A team of three hit men arrive at the homeless encampment, but fail to kill Saunders due to Reese's intervention. Back at the Library, Reese and Finch sort out these recent revelations and devise a plan to destroy the profits from the planned short sale. The next day, Saunders returns to Baylor Zimm and begins buying all of the sold Tritak shares on Finch's behalf to drive the price back up. When the police arrive, Rasmussen tries to run, but is stopped by Reese.
Reese returns to the homeless encampment where he thanks a woman, Joan, who helped him when he was homeless. Adam arranges for his uncle to feed the homeless people. Carter realizes that only Ashton is at the police station when she is told that the SEC agent died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she watches the tape of the arrest. She sees one of Elias' henchmen pick up the SEC agent and drop a phone in the trash. She retrieves it and takes it to Reese, who when he uses the phone, finds it answered by Elias.