|“||Wow. She certainly makes an impression.||”|
Sameen Shaw, also known as "Shaw" or "Sam", is a former operative for the U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity and Doctor. Prior to joining the team Shaw was part of an operation known as Catalyst Indigo, responsible for acting on relevant list intelligence delivered by the Machine, which she knew only as "Research".
Shaw was born with the first name Sameen. Her father was killed in an automobile accident when she was ten, but the name and location of her mother are unknown. ("Razgovor") Little is known about her childhood, but she was a resident in a teaching hospital before leaving medicine to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
Shaw has what she describes as an Axis II Personality Disorder, meaning she has little concern for her victims, along with a flat affect and few demonstrable emotions. As she removes a bullet from her abdomen after a failed operation, she explains why she left medical school, remarking ironically that she was "better at killing people than fixing them." ("Relevance").
In actuality, Shaw completed medical school and had begun her residency, where she was praised for her technical skills, but came under criticism for her lack of concern for whether her patients lived or died. She was deemed unfit to become a doctor. ("The Devil's Share")
Activity with the ISAEdit
While with the ISA, Shaw was partnered with Michael Cole, her tactical and surveillance support, who monitors her actions and communicates with her via a remote comm. During a mission in Berlin, Shaw and Cole locate a group of terrorists making a dirty bomb. Shaw enters their apartment, where she single-handedly kills the group before blowing up the apartment in order to cover her tracks. Mission completed, she and Cole are sent to New York by Control, the mysterious head of the organization she knows only as the Program.
In New York, Shaw meets with her handler, Wilson, who passes her the new Social Security number. A keen observer with paranoia gained from experience, she becomes aware of a man in a suit observing her. She is suspicious, but he soon walks away.
That night, while waiting for her target James Mercer to leave his apartment, she talks with Cole talks about how Research gets the numbers. Shaw believes Research is infallible, but Cole wonders if sometimes they're wrong, having discovered that on one of their previous missions, a money transfer thought to have been made to a man named Daniel Aquino from Hezbollah was actually made by the U.S. government.
When Mercer leaves his house, Shaw and Cole break in and access his computer, discovering e-mails with their names on them, a clear set-up. Seconds after Cole and Shaw see a warning message on the computer indicating that the house is a trap, the room is flooded with automatic weapon fire. Cole tries to protect Shaw and dies. Shaw fights back as Reese appears, saying that he's there to help. She shoots him in the chest before escaping, injured, in a hail of gunfire.
Shaw finds herself on her own, and injured, but is able to treat her wound with the assistance of a drug dealer she knows. Eventually, she calls Veronica Sinclair, a CIA analyst Cole had worked with, and Wilson, her handler, threatening to make Cole’s research public and demanding to meet Control.
Having recovered sufficiently, Shaw meets the woman she believes to be Veronica Sinclair, who tells her the government group responsible for the Aquino money transfer cover-up was the Intelligence Support Activity as part of a shadowy project called Northern Lights. As they talk, Shaw suddenly hears a noise from the bathroom and discovers the real Veronica tied up and gagged.
Before she can react, Root, who has been masquerading as Veronica, tases Shaw and ties her to a chair, threatening her with torture to get information about the name of the man who hired Aquino. Before Root can learn anything, Wilson's men arrive forcing Root to run. Shaw fights back, but is outnumbered. Reese arrives and rescues her before taking her to meet Finch.
Meeting Reese and FinchEdit
Reese takes Shaw to an empty office building, where Finch introduces himself. Shaw is guarded as he explains that they help people in trouble the same way she and Cole did. She is skeptical until he gives her Cole's number and her own. Shaw claims that her employers are good at finding people and she only wants to live long enough to find Control. Finch insists that she'll never succeed, and urges her to stop running. Despite Finch’s offers of help, Shaw tells him that Cole was one of the few friends she had and that she believes he deserved better. Finch gives her his number in case she changes her mind, but she returns it to him and walks away.
Soon after, Shaw meets Special Counsel at a party. He explains he is not Control, but he is as close as she's going to get. Shaw points out that they killed the one person she liked. Away from the party, Special Counsel explains that the Program and the need for secrecy to her. Shaw admits she would do the same and hands over Cole's research on the case, as Special Counsel realizes Shaw’s goals are the same as his. Shaw walks away, seemingly free. Suddenly, Hersh comes up behind her and injects her with poison. But Shaw does not die.
With the help of Carter, Fusco and Leon Tao, who poses as an EMT, Finch and Reese save her life. Finch points out that her employers wanted her dead, and now she is. This time, Shaw takes Finch's card when he offers it. ("Relevance")
Joining the TeamEdit
Some time later, Reese stands near the home of Cole's parents, where he finds Shaw; it appears he’s been looking for her for some time. She reveals that the government lied about Cole when telling his parents about his death, identifying him as a traitor. John warns her not to talk with Cole’s parents as she might put them in danger.
Soon after, Shaw abruptly appears in the Library, surprising Finch and thanking him for making Cole's death "publicly" noble. As they talk, she recognizes a photograph of Root and leaves with a list of Root's known aliases. ("Trojan Horse").
She returns some time later, now actively hunting for Root, to help Reese stop Decima from gaining control of The Machine. ("Zero Day") Shaw’s mission to find Root soon crosses over Reese’s to protect Finch, leading him to tell Shaw about the Machine. Together they follow Root and Finch across country to the base where the Machine is stored, only to find it has moved itself. Special Counsel’s arrival confirms her suspicions that the Program has betrayed her, and she leaves with Reese, Finch and an injured Root. ("God Mode")
Working with Finch and ReeseEdit
Now fully aware that the Program cannot be trusted, Shaw reluctantly allies herself with Finch and Reese. She works on her own terms, keeps her own schedule and refuses to carry a phone. ("Liberty") Shaw’s early role is largely tactical support providing back-up to Reese, Fusco and Carter as they work in close.
As she becomes more accustomed to working with the team, Shaw begins to take a more active role in missions, including serving as an undercover office worker ("Nothing to Hide"), as one of a group of women setting themselves up as targets for a predatory man ("Lady Killer"), as a member of a women’s book group in order to protect them ("Reasonable Doubt"), and simply as backup to help Reese protect another POI. ("The Perfect Mark") As she works with the team, she grows increasingly fond of Bear, eventually purchasing a metal studded collar for him.
Shaw finds herself unexpectedly central to a mission when she must protect a ten-year old Russian immigrant girl whose monitoring of her neighbors leads to her having recorded conversations between HR and Peter Yogorov while Reese and Finch stop the gunmen trying to kill her. The girl brings back memories of the death of Shaw’s father, and reminds Shaw of herself. Shaw finds herself growing attached, despite herself, and is moved when the grateful girl gives Shaw her grandfather’s Order of Lenin medal. ("Razgovor")
That same night, as she sleeps, Shaw is captured by Root, who needs Shaw’s skills to complete a mission Root believes the Machine has given to her. Root has learned about the car accident in which Shaw’s father was killed, and uses it to persuade Shaw to work with her. As she does, Shaw learns that the Machine has a new category besides "relevant" and "irrelevant" numbers”: “necessary” numbers, but does not learn what that means.
Root and Shaw infiltrate a CIA pickup site, where Root disguises herself as prisoner while Shaw poses as a CIA agent, allowing Root to help Jason Greenfield, a necessary number being held in custody, escape the place. After a confrontation with members of a privacy protection group Vigilance, Root sends Jason out of the country, as Shaw protects them. Their mission complete, Shaw knocks out Root, allowing Finch to recapture her. ("Mors Praematura")
Shaw secretly helps Carter in her quest to end HR, providing her with weapons that Carter uses to intercept one of the Russians' drug deliveries. She and Reese later hide and prepare to stop HR from executing the Russians, but the FBI arrive and arrest both groups after they receive a tip from Carter. ("Endgame")
Shaw has what she described as an Axis II Personality Disorder. Due to this, she usually shows little to no emotion, and if she ever does show emotion, it's usually anger. She admitted this to Genrika Zhirova, although in the end of that same episode, Shaw gave her a hug, albeit uncomfortably and reluctantly.
Due to her disorder, Shaw is almost completely unaffected by death. She's been like this since her childhood as when she was 10, she was in a car accident with her father, who didn't survive, and after being told he was dead, she understood fully and asked for a sandwich. ("Razgovor") This was also shown while she was still a doctor and told one of her patients' family that the patient had died whilst eating an energy bar.
Even though she's usually unaffected by this, Shaw is, at times, driven to a boiling point when a friend or ally is in trouble or killed. One perfect example of this is when Genrika Zhirova was kidnapped and Shaw was shot in the shoulder. A determined Shaw constantly refused to see a doctor as Finch requested and instead covered the wound with duct tape and performed a blood transfusion on Peter Yogorov to replace the blood she had lost.
Skills and TalentsEdit
- Marksmanship: Shaw is a highly skilled marksman with almost any firearm, including pistols, sub-machine guns, and sniper rifles. When first joining the team, Shaw mostly used a sniper rifle to lend support. She was even able to use her sniper rifle to shoot a man in the leg through a brick wall in the dark.
- Hand-to-hand Combat: Shaw is skilled in armed and unarmed closequarters combat, holding her own against opponents physically larger than herself with little trouble.
- Intelligence Training: Shaw was a member of U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity. She is trained in surveillance, information-gathering and counter-intelligence techniques. She has also received training in interrogation techniques.
- Medical Training: Shaw is a medical doctor, and described by her colleagues during her residency as "technically-brilliant," although her near-complete lack of empathy makes her unsuited for a career in medicine. She often performs emergency medical procedures on herself and others.
- High Intelligence: Members of intelligence agencies are selected for their intellect, creativity and memory skills, which are further honed by extensive training. The superior who dismissed her from her residency described Shaw as having 'a brilliant mind,' and she has an excellent memory.
- Personality Disorder: Arguably a talent given her chosen profession, Shaw's condition prevents her from feeling strong emotions such as fear or sorrow, although she seems to have little trouble being angry. Her flat affect and lack of visible emotion (outside of rage) are likely intimidating to others. Her impulsiveness makes her unpredictable.