|“||Well. She certainly makes an impression.||”|
Samantha Shaw, formerly known as Dr. Sameen Shaw, is a former operative for the U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity. 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, which she diagnosed herself. 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
During her earliest activities with ISA and the beginnings of Catalyst Indigo, she was tasked with intercepting and killing those responsible for the a laptop belonging to a runaway programmer named Daniel Casey. Among those killed were Chinese buyers of the laptop as well as Rick Dillinger, the man who sold it to them. During the firefight, one buyer escaped, but was deemed irrelevant to Control. Upon her report to Special Counsel, it was noted that "if she was sent sooner, she would have killed everyone." ("RAM")
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 Harold 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 backup 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 later saves Fusco's son Lee from HR, for which Fusco is deeply grateful. ("The Crossing") Shaw then begins to brutally interrogate criminals to find Patrick Simmons, the last HR member standing and the man responsible for Carter's death. After Finch is forced to free Root from her captivity in the Library to find a very unstable Reese, Shaw assists them in the mission, eventually getting Reese back once he collapses from injuries sustained from Simmons during Carter's shooting. She later informs Finch in the hospital that the doctor said Reese will pull through. ("The Devil's Share")
Reese becomes so upset at Carter's death in the aftermath of the war with HR that he decides to leave the team and heads off to Colorado. Shaw is forced to be Reese's replacement at the moment, and poses as a doctor in order to keep an eye on Arthur Claypool, their latest POI and a patient at the hospital that Shaw is at. Shaw meets with Arthur's wife Diane, who is upset at how Arthur cannot remember his own wife due to his memory loss symptoms.
Shaw and Finch escape the hospital with Arthur and Diane after Vigilance attacks the hospital looking for Arthur. Shaw engages in a brief gunfight with Vigilance member Peter Collier before escaping. Later, at a safe house, Finch talks with Arthur about Samaritan, the codename for a government machine that Arthur was building. When Finch tries to remind Arthur of who he and is wife are after Arthur once again goes through a loss of memory, Arthur suddenly remembers that his wife is dead and that he buried her two years ago. Diane then calls in a team led by Hersh, who hold Shaw, Finch, and Arthur at gunpoint. Diane reveals herself to be the mysterious Control, to Shaw's horror. She says that whoever tells her the location of the Machine - Finch or Arthur - gets out alive. ("Lethe")
Skills and TalentsEdit
- Marksmanship: Shaw is a highly skilled marksman with a range of firearms, including hand guns and sniper rifles. As a member of the team, Shaw routinely uses a sniper rifle to lend support. She was once able to use a sniper rifle to shoot a man in the dark through a brick wall. Unlike Reese, who utilizes the C.A.R. System shooting technique (Center Axis Re-lock) as a foundation upon which other shooting skills were built, Shaw is much more traditional in technique, stance, and so forth, likely an intentional difference to show her more "traditional" military history (USMC for Shaw, Army Infantry/Airborne/Ranger/Marksmen/Sniper/Special Forces("Green Berets")/1SFO-Delta for Reese).
- Hand-to-hand combat: Shaw is skilled in close quarters combat, holding her own against opponents physically larger than herself with little trouble. She, like Reese, exhibits an extremely high proficiency with numerous hand to hand combat styles, in particular Krav Maga.
- High tolerance for pain: Shaw has a high tolerance for pain. When Root threatened her with torture, Shaw simply replied that she "enjoyed this sort of thing." She has shown an ability to withstand pain enough to perform relatively painful procedures on herself, such as a blood transfusion or removing a bullet.
- Intelligence training: Shaw was a member of U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity. She is trained in surveillance, information-gathering (passive, active, and "forced") and counter-intelligence techniques. She has also received training in interrogation techniques, and shows a near inhuman resistance to physical, mental, and emotional torture herself (her SERE instructor must have loved her).
- 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 (although coming from someone in the field, it would be argued that it actually just means she would have made an excellent surgeon). During her residency she was described as having "a brilliant mind."
- Personal Weapons: Shaw uses a variety of handguns, but primarily relies on a H&K USP Compact in .45ACP with a laser aiming module(Season 2). Her secondary backup weapon is a Beretta Nano chambered in 9mm, also sporting a laser aiming module(her primary weapon in Season 3). She does however keep a large armory of long guns in her apartment, with much of her arsenal stored in a refrigerator.