|“||One day, I realized all the dumb, selfish things people do... it's not our fault. No one designed us. We're just an accident, Harold. We're just bad code. But the thing you built... It's perfect. Rational. Beautiful. By design.||”|
Samantha Groves, known then as Sam, was born in Bishop, Texas, and lived there until her mother's death around 2002. Her mother taught her to follow her talents, which are computers. As a child, computers made more sense to Sam than people. As an adult, she admits that she has been waiting for someone who shares her understanding of technology her whole life. Soon, she also finds that she can inflict harm on others with ease, although she tells Finch she wishes she was a sociopath because it would make what she does easier. She claims she does not enjoy killing people, but admits "(she) doesn't feel bad about it either".
One afternoon in 1991, Sam and her friend Hanna Frey are in the local library. As Sam looks for a book, Hanna unsuccessfully plays the simulation computer game "Oregon Trail" until the library closes for the day. After Hanna leaves, Sam stays behind, quickly finishing the game with apparent ease. As Sam leaves the library, she sees Hanna getting into a car that belongs to Trent Russell, a local man who is a member of the library's book club.
She recognizes his car and tells the librarian, Barbara Russell, what she has seen. However, because Barbara is in love with Trent, she scares Sam into keeping what she saw to herself. ("Bad Code") Hanna is never seen or heard from again.
Life as RootEdit
With the death of her mother and her friend, Sam eventually disappears herself. Two years after Hanna disappeared, Sam hacked into a drug lord's bank account and stole $100,000 from him, using the money to frame Trent for the robbery and thereby setting him up to be killed. ("Bad Code") After that, no one knew her whereabouts until she reappeared in New York, where she became known as Root, a hacker-for-hire and some-time assassin. ("The Contingency")
Root is hired by Pete Matheson, Congressman Michael Delancey's aide to assassinate the congressman. Using a patsy, an unemployed man named Scott Powell, Root is successful. However, her plan to kill Powell after the assassination is foiled by the timely intervention of Reese. Ultimately, the operation falls apart when Reese incapacitates one of Root's men and steals his phone. At the same time, Finch provides a phone recording to the FBI proving Matheson's involvement. In response, Root briefly hacks into Finch's network by creating a honey trap, presumably learning about Finch and The Machine in the process.
Realizing that her plan has failed, Root kills her client and stages it as an apparent suicide, exonerating Powell. Root abandons her location, the dorm room of an unsuspecting college student who has been away on winter break, before the FBI, acting on an "anonymous" tip from Finch can apprehend her. Shortly thereafter, she has a brief instant message conversation with Finch, acknowledging him as a worthy opponent, and adding she is looking forward to their next encounter. She ends the conversation by calling Finch "Harold", indicating she knows who he is. ("Root Cause")
Emergence as a Person of InterestEdit
With Finch firmly in her sights, Root begins developing a plan to come face-to-face with him, and to gain access to his Machine. As part of her plan, Root anonymously contacts HR and put a "hit" on herself, using the identity Caroline Turing, a meek psychotherapist. Soon after, The Machine sends Finch Turing's Social Security number, making her a person of interest. Root also hires a known con man to pretend to be another patient who posed a threat to her safety. To get close to her, Reese, as John Rooney, becomes one of her patients, and begins observing her.
Late one night, Turing is attacked by four assassins hired by Officer Patrick Simmons. Reese, who is nearby, manages to get her to safety in a hotel, but the two are unknowingly being watched by the FBI. Under Donnelly's supervision, the FBI stages a full scale assault on the hotel in an attempt to catch Reese, while HR continues trying to get to Turing. With the help of Carter and Finch, Turing is led to an underground tunnel system beneath the hotel. Reese instructs her to find Finch at the end of the tunnel, while he holds off HR.
As Finch is confronted by Alicia Corwin regarding his involvement with the Machine, Root arrives and kills Corwin with a gun shot to the head. She introduces herself to Finch as Root. Finch drives away at gun point, with Corwin's body left behind. ("Firewall") While holding him captive, Root explains her desire is not to control the Machine, as Finch believed, but rather to "set it free". ("The Contingency")
Planning to escape to Texas with Finch, Root stops in Maryland where she gains access to Denton Weeks' house. She lures him there, where she overpowers him, then questions him about the location of the Machine. When he refuses tell her, she kills him by shooting him in the chest. What she doesn't know was that Reese has already tracked her down using her history with Hanna. At Washington D.C.'s Union Station, Reese saves Finch while Root escapes. Later that day, Root calls Reese to thank him for solving the mystery of Hanna's disappearance and tells him that she will be in touch. ("Bad Code") And with that, she disappears again.
ReappearanceEditSeveral months later, Root reappears as Special Counsel's secretary in the Office of Special Counsel, working under the alias "Miss May". ("Booked Solid") She uses her position to eavesdrop on the Special Counsel's phone calls at keep track of the relevant number activity, including that of Samantha Shaw. When Shaw arranges a meeting at a local hotel with Veronica Sinclair, her deceased partner Michael Cole's CIA contact, she finds Root waiting for her, having gotten there first and locked Veronica in the bathroom. Pretending to be Veronica, she talks with Shaw for a while until she learns what Shaw wants.
Root tasers Shaw and zip-ties her to a chair, threatening to torture her in order to obtain the name of a figure involved in the development of the Machine's final location, which was given to Shaw by Daniel Aquino, the project's developer. However, she doesn't have time to follow through because Special Counsel's agent, Wilson's men arrive, forcing her to leave before she is seen. ("Relevance")
Determined to get the name and learn the Machine's location, she holds Special Counsel at gunpoint as a virus Kara Stanton planted in the Machine begins to impair its functioning. Having learned the Machine will call a pre-determined pay phone when the virus becomes active, she threatens to kill Grace Hendricks to gain Finch's cooperation. They go to a modest public telephone on the second floor of the New York Public Library where Root prepares to intercept the impending call, as Decima mercenaries fight with Reese and Shaw on the floor below.
As they await midnight, when the call is due to come, Root has Harold redirect the call from its original first floor pay phone to one closer to them, which she answers when the call comes. However, unknown to Root, Finch splices the lines to let the call go to its original pay phone as well and directs Reese to answer it, thus giving control of the Machine to both of them for 24 hours. ("Zero Day")
Root leaves with Finch, using her control of the Machine to find and locate Lawrence Szilard, who had overseen the construction of the Machine's holding facility. He is killed by a government sniper before she can learn anything. After she kills two other assassins who are pursuing them, Finch finally admits he knows the Machine's location and they travel to its location in Hanford, Washington.
When Root and Finch arrive at the facility, her 24 hours as admin have expired, and she discovers that the Machine had moved itself to another location. Heartbroken and in tears, she prepares to kill Finch for betraying her, is shot in the shoulder by Shaw before she can.
Reese also arrives, as do Special Counsel and Hersh, who is tasked to "clean up" the situation. Before he can act, Reese and Shaw help Finch escape, taking Root with them. ("God Mode")
Having evaded Special Counsel and Hersh, Finch and Reese commit a semi-catatonic Root to Stoneridge Hospital, a psychiatric facility. Still in a dazed state, she walks down a hallway and receives a phone call from the Machine, which asks if she can hear it. She replies "Absolutely." ("God Mode")
The Machine later identifies Root as an "analog interface" and assigns her a new box, with a black outline and yellow corners. She becomes the only person who can actually converse with the Machine.
At Stoneridge Hospital, Root is the patient of psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Carmichael under the alias Robin Farrow. During her sessions with Dr. Carmichael, she claims to be hearing "voices", implying the Machine, leading Carmichael to order she be denied access to a telephone, frustrating her. She is minimally cooperative with Carmichael, giving him cryptic answers to his questions about what she believes the voices are telling her. At one session, he finds his phone, which he thought he had lost, in her pocket. As a consequence, he orders Root be kept in solitary confinement with no contact with anything electronic. Although she insists it's not good for her to be separated from "it", but Carmichael maintains it's for her own good.
As Root and Carmichael's session continue, he tries to understand what Root believes she hears, confronting what he believes is her delusion by suggesting they discuss the truth. Smiling, Root begins telling Carmichael that the truth is a very vast thing, and dismisses his efforts by claiming that he is only the 43rd smartest person in the building. Root taunts Carmichael with her research on him: that he cheated on his medical boards, that he smokes nine cigarettes a week in the parking lot, how he pays for a bi-monthly massage therapy using crisp hundred dollar bills from a 7/11 cash machine, and how he spends time in online forums fantasizing about having sex with his patients, although not her.
From there, she reveals her beliefs: that a God in the feminine form (referring to the Machine) was created 11 years ago, and that she's actually scared of what will happen. She goes on to explain that what he hears is them arguing about whether or not she'll kill him.
Throughout Root's hospitalization, the Machine calculates the probabilities created by its continued involvement with Root: a 28% chance of activating her as its Analog Interface leads to a significant probability of her capture and/or death, while her carrying out a threatened murder has a 12% chance of leading to events resulting in the death of the Admin. Smaller probabilities apply to outcomes such as Root becoming Auxiliary-Admin, her having a child, and global thermonuclear war (a more likely outcome than Aux_Admin and Marriage/Procreation). As part of its calculations, the Machine determines that the probability of successfully retasking Root is unknown. ("Liberty") As it does, Root remains in the facility, where Carmichael has finally accepted that there is some kind of "voice" speaking to her, but claims that the time has come for her to leave soon. ("Lady Killer")
EscapeEditRoot begins setting up her plan to escape from Stoneridge with the Machine's help. She hacks into the thermostat and several other computers, making needed adjustments. Then, she asks the Machine to dispense thorazine and desflurane from a medication dispenser. Later, she talks with Carmichael in his office and tells him that it's finally time for her to leave. She explains her escape plan to a visibly frightened Carmichael, saying that Hersh is on his way to kill her.
The plan is set in motion as the doctor's phone rings. The air conditioning system releases the desflurane, an anesthetic which vaporizes above room temperature, knocking out the guards. Root leaves Carmichael, who pursues her, and walks down a hallway full of unconscious guards, picking up a gun from one of them. Hersh arrives, and Root opens fire on him. She and Carmichael hide, and following directions from the Machine, Root shoots Hersh. She considers killing him, but the Machine instructs her not to, and she leaves.
Back in New York, Finch receives an unidentified number related to Root's escape while monitoring another person of interest. He tries reaching the facility by telephone, but is unsuccessful, prompting him to go there himself. By the time he arrives, Root is gone, and Finch finds the unconscious Hersh and the guards, along with the damage Root has done. He calls Reese and tells them they have a problem. ("Lady Killer")
Shortly thereafter, Root appears at Shaw's beside as she sleeps, awakening her. Root pulls out a taser gun and incapacitates Shaw, saying that they will have so much fun together. As she does, the Machine indicates her as an "Analog Interface Active". ("Razgovor")
Having drugged Shaw and tied her to the steering wheel of a car, Root explains to her that the Machine has a new category of numbers besides "relevant" and "irrelevant".
She cuts Shaw loose and Shaw threatens her with a knife, and Root says she knows about the car accident that killed her father. Shaw eventually reluctantly agrees to help, but warns that their truce is permanently off once the mission is done.
Root and Shaw get money and earpieces through directions from the Machine, and Root leads Shaw into an underground sewer. They use an improvised torch to get to a sewer grille, which she has Shaw loosen with construction tools.
The two then head to a CIA pickup site, where they encounter an agent that Shaw fights in hand-to-hand combat and Root Tasers unconscious. Root says that the CIA are picking up a package, and says that she's the package. Shaw, posing as an agent, takes Root with her and two other agents.
Root is taken to a CIA black site, and Shaw talks with chief interrogator Nick Breckenridge while Root begins a conversation with Jason Greenfield, another man being held there. Root admits responsibility to numerous infamous hacks from the past, and then tells Jason that she's here for him. Jason explains the activities of an organization called Vigilance, and says he deserted them after they killed Wayne Kruger ("Nothing to Hide"), who Jason told them to simply scare before they decided to take further action. Root undoes a part of the fence wall as they talk.
Root, along with Jason and numerous other people, is loaded onto a truck being driven by Shaw. Root cuts free of her shackles, and the truck is intercepted by Vigilance soldiers.Root rescues Jason from high-ranking Vigilance member Peter Collier, and takes him to the sewer that she and Shaw visited earlier. She gives Jason money and information to get a new home and identity in South America. She claims that she's simply following orders. Jason leaves just as two Vigilance soldiers arrive and point their guns at Root. Root simply smiles as Shaw shoots down the soldiers. Root says that their mission is done, and Shaw knocks her unconscious. ("Mors Praematura")
Captivity in the LibraryEdit
Root is later kept in a room in the Library by Finch, and Root tells him that the Machine will be angry at him if he keeps her there. Finch asks why she hasn't considered if the Machine wants her to be there, and locks the door as he leaves while Root is left thinking. ("Mors Praematura")
While taking some tea and food into her room, Finch assures her that her confinement is for her own good; he claims that he hasn't fully reasoned out why the Machine is communicating with her, but she is as dangerous as ever. Root thinks that he is jealous because the Machine won't talk to him like it talks to her and tells him to not be jealous because "Mom still loves them both".
When Finch later takes more books for her to read, he says again that the imprisonment is for her own good and that he is worried about her and the relationship she developed with the Machine. She replies cryptically that both of them can't stop what's coming but they have the opportunity to understand the change that will happen, the future that is coming. ("The Perfect Mark")
- Her name comes from the superuser account "root" on Unix and Unix-like systems. Superuser accounts are used for system administration and have extreme clearance and power, like the ability to arbitrarily modify files. Windows has a similar account called Administrator, but it is disabled by default to prevent accidental destruction of one's own computer or corruption of the operating system. Windows also allows the creation of other administrator accounts that have the same level of privileges as the Administrator account.
- Root's real name, Samantha Groves, might be a reference to Andrew S. Grove, former CEO of Intel, who wrote the book "Only the Paranoid Survive". The title was mentioned by Finch in "Wolf and Cub" after Root hacked into the Library.
- Root was able to temporarily infiltrate Finch's private network when he attempted to do the same to her via what appeared to be a vulnerability in her system. While Finch and Reese's operations were not completely compromised, the Library did have to be temporarily abandoned and Finch did have to rebuild his entire network from scratch. It is unknown how much information Root was able to extract about the Machine while connected to Finch's network, although it seems to have been enough for the Machine to assign her a yellow box, signifying at least some knowledge of the Machine.
- Root uses a Samsung NP300V4A notebook computer, a Google Samsung Nexus S smartphone, and arms herself with a Heizer Defense DoubleTap 9mm pistol.
- Root's Caroline Turing alias may be an homage Alan Turing, an early theorist on the subject of artificial intelligence and developer of the Turing Machine, an early prototype of a computing machine, invented in 1936.
- Root's early mastery of the computer game "The Oregon Trail" shows that she is able to manage tasks that involve the balancing, collection and expenditure of resources. Hunting is also a very important component of the game. Failure in a hunt can lead to starvation while overhunting might lead to a lack of resources later in the game. Additionally, potential hazards such as weather and disease must be addressed and no matter how well one has played the game, can prove fatal. Additionally, the game's scoring system was designed to give greater rewards those who started the game with the fewer resources.
- Root Object ID from the final scene (prediction) in Liberty is: "001.548.25.MPPS".
- Root's Object ID (from the Machine) is : 651.025.68.HSHW (Lady Killer)
- Trent Russell: orchestrated events so he would be murdered in revenge for the death of Hanna Frey ("Bad Code")
- Michael Delancey: shot once in the chest by her partner, Gage ("Root Cause")
- Scott Powell: attempted to have killed and framed for murder; failed ("Root Cause")
- Pete Matheson: client; shot once in the head and staged to look like a suicide ("Root Cause")
- Owen Reynolds: shot once in the head ("The Contingency")
- Alicia Corwin: shot once in the head ("Firewall")
- Harold Finch: abducted and held captive at gunpoint; eventually rescued ("Firewall") ("The Contingency") ("Bad Code")
- Julie Davenport: poisoned ("The Contingency")
- Denton Weeks: shot twice in the chest ("Bad Code")
- Unnamed guard: attempted to shoot; failed ("Bad Code")
- Veronica Sinclair: held captive; tortured ("Relevance")
- Samantha Shaw: held captive and attempted to torture; rescued ("Relevance") Captured again; then rescued ("Mors Praematura")
- Special Counsel: tortured ("Zero Day")
- Three unnamed Decima assassins: shot ("God Mode")
- Two unnamed ISA operatives: shot ("God Mode")
- Everyone at Stoneridge Hospital except Ronald Carmichael: Put to sleep by a gas in the ventilation system ("Lady Killer")
- Hersh: Shot in self-defense but spared on orders of The Machine ("Lady Killer")
- Six Russian Hit-Squad: shot ("The Devil's Share")