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Sameen Shaw

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Missing info from: all episodes since “Allegiance
Sameen Shaw


Played bySarah Shahi

NameSameen (last name unknown)

AliasSameen Shaw
Sameen Gray



OccupationU.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity Operative (formerly)
U.S. Marine (formerly)
Physician (Emergency Medicine)(formerly)

ResidenceShaw's Loft, New York City, NY, USA

Familyunnamed father (deceased)
unnamed mother (unknown)

AffiliationU.S. Army ISA (formerly)
U.S. Navy (formerly)

AssociatesHarold Finch
John Reese
Lionel Fusco

First appearanceRelevance

Latest appearanceAsylum

The Devil's Share

Images (136)

Well, she certainly makes an impression.

— Reese

Sameen Shaw, also known as Dr. Sameen Shaw or simply Shaw, is a physician and 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".

Character BackgroundEdit

Shaw was born with the first name Sameen. Her father was killed in an automobile accident, but the name and location of her mother are unknown. (“Razgovor”) Shaw says her mother was an immigrant from Iran, and it is later revealed that someone risked their life to smuggle Shaw and her mother out of the country when terrorists attacked. (“Allegiance”) 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.

POI 0305 Sam

Sameen in 1993 (“Razgovor”)

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 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”)

POI 0216 S12

In Ahnaz Bekhti's apartment (“Relevance”)

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.

POI 0216 S8

Shaw removing the bullet. (“Relevance”)

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 ISA 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.

POI 0216 S10

Root threatens Shaw. (“Relevance”)

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.

POI 0216 S3

Shaw meets Special Counsel and Wilson. (“Relevance”)

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.

2x19 - Shaw library

Shaw at the Library. (“Trojan Horse”)

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

POI 0301 Shaw

Shaw and Fusco working together. (“Liberty”)

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.

POI 0302 Shaw

Shaw works at Lifetrace. (“Nothing to Hide”)

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.

3x05 - Razgovor

Shaw with Gen. (“Razgovor”)

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”, but does not learn what it is.

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”)

POI 0310 S5

Finch and Shaw at Carter's funeral. (“The Devil's Share”)

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 at the safehouse 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”) However, with a distraction from Root, Shaw escapes with Finch and Arthur.

When they go to a bank to retrieve the back up of Samaritan, they encounter Peter Collier and his team. To make matter worse, Hersh also arrives at the bank disguised as a SWAT team. She considers her options, but tells Finch that he and Arthur have to get out of the vault. Collier approaches the vault before Finch can escape with his friend, and he has no choice but to close the vault door. Finch maintains contact with her via cell phone and she tells him how to treat the bank manager's wound. She admits that she can't take out Collier and his men because they're the only thing keeping Hersh's team from storming the bank. She informs Finch that she has created a pipe bomb nearby, which will blow open an exit to the sewers. Finch says that it's reckless, but Shaw knows that they're out of options, and tells Finch to take cover with Arthur. Collier blows the vault open. As Finch and Arthur collect themselves after the explosion, two Vigilance men find them and prepare to shoot, but they are shot down by Shaw. With last-minute help from Reese and Fusco, they manage to escape the bank through the hole opened by Shaw's pipe bomb. (“Aletheia”)

She encounters Finch a few days later after Reese has left the team but is unwillingly stuck on a plane with a mission assigned by the Machine. He uneasily asks her to revisit the ISA, her former employers, and find out what they know about Owen Matthews. She realizes that Finch believes that Owen is a relevant number and he admits that it's possible and that he needs to know why the Machine sent Reese to help Owen. She goes to a travel agency and greets the clerk, Foster. He pretends that he doesn't know who she is, but Shaw points out that the ISA uses the fake agency to make travel arrangements for ISA agents, including Shaw and her deceased partner Michael Cole's trip to Berlin on their final mission. Shaw figures that Foster set up Owen's travel arrangements, grabs him, and chokes him until he talks. Foster admits that he doesn't know why Owen is a relevant. However, he did arrange for another ISA operative, Shaw's successor codenamed Indigo 6A, to be on the plane.

Upon hearing this, Shaw dresses up as a waitress at a restaurant where Hersh is eating. Once she's served him his food, Shaw sits down next to Hersh and tells him that she poisoned his meal with scopolamine, rendering him docile and causing amnesia. She demands to know who Owen is and Hersh explains that they set Owen up as the Sphinx in return of 30% of his profits, which they use to help finance the ISA. Since Owen is going public, Hersh's superiors figure he'll expose the ISA to the world, ruining their organization and thus making him a threat to national security. As Shaw begins to leave, the dazed Hersh asks if her current employers are treating her okay. Shaw says that they haven't tried to kill her yet and notes that she could have easily killed Hersh if she wanted him dead... and that it's a shame he won't remember anything she said. Using this information, Reese and Finch stop the plane from crashing and save Owen's life. (“4C”)

During a mission involving Cyrus Wells, the team encounters Root, who is also sent the same number by the Machine. Finch assigns Shaw and Reese to watch over both Cyrus and Root while he figures out the meaning behind the ad Root sent him earlier. While guarding Cyrus's apartment, Shaw spies a sniper in a nearby window and begins moving in that direction. Meanwhile, Collier and a group of Vigilance operatives arrive and fire at her. Shaw runs inside the building where the sniper is located and distracts the sniper as Root and Cyrus make their escape. She shoots the sniper in the leg and begins to interrogate the sniper, but she immediately takes cover as more Vigilance men fire at her.

In the ensuing standoff, Collier talks with her over a nearby radio, saying she is probably a betrayed ex-government operative. He says he has locked down the exits and that he can offer her revenge on the government in exchange for information on Samaritan. He quotes Benjamin Franklin: "join or die". Shaw tries to escape but is cornered by a number of vigilance operatives and Collier, who appeals to Shaw to consider the misdeeds of the government, including drone attacks, unauthorized interrogation and spying on the world. Vigilance plans to put an end to these violations. He offers Shaw a place in the organization for both revenge and a role in writing "new chapter in American history", but Shaw says that methods are as important as goals. By that standard, Vigilance is a group of terrorists, and she kills terrorists. She takes a metal pole and lashes out at the men while Collier calmly leaves. Shaw eventually escapes alive and returns to the library. She later rejoins Root, Reese, and Cyrus Wells at a safehouse. There, she checks a gunshot wound on Root's shoulder and gives her instructions on when to change the dressings. (“Root Path (/)”)

Finch sends Shaw to a warehouse to begin gathering information on Maria Martinez, an engineer working for the energy company HydralCorp. As Maria prepares a shipment of turbine blades headed for Kenya, Shaw jacks her phone and sifts through her contacts. There are many international contacts due to Maria's extensive work on energy facilities overseas. Suddenly, Maria receives a call from someone who greets her in Arabic and says "the package is ready" and "meet in the usual place in an hour". She tells her boss that she forgot about a meeting with a supplier and leaves. Fearing that Maria might be planning a terrorist act, Shaw and Reese tail her to a restaurant and listen as she meets with an Iraqi immigrant who is upset that his brother is being held in detention after landing in New York. Maria says she is trying, but cannot arrange a meeting with someone who could help. The immigrant hands her a padded envelope and says "this should open their eyes". With an exchange of farewells in Arabic, Maria and the immigrant part ways, and Shaw continues following Maria.

Maria heads to the Headquarters of the United Nations and takes photos of Rene LaPointe, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who is heading for his car. She plants a GPS tracker on the car and follows LaPointe to a diplomatic reception at a New York restaurant. Still fearing an imminent terrorist attack, Shaw prepares to intervene as Maria approaches LaPointe, but Maria merely presents him with a pile of paperwork demonstrating the integrity of Omar Risha, the brother of the Iraqi immigrant she met earlier. In the ensuing conversations, Shaw realizes that Risha was Maria's interpreter in Iraq. When she finally talks to Maria in person, she learns that Maria and Omar had become very close to each other, and they planned to marry after he arrived in the US.

Meanwhile, Finch and Reese discover that Maria's boss, Ken Davis, interfered with Omar's entry to the US. Omar discovered that Davis orchestrated the removal of six generators that should have been installed in a hydroelectric plant in Iraq. Maria escapes from Shaw in desperate hope of breaking into LaPointe's office and stealing documents that would prove Omar's innocence. Shaw, Reese, and Fusco arrive in time to rescue her from an assassin working for the French Foreign Legion. Omar and Maria are reunited. Their relationship reminds Shaw of her own parents. She tells Maria that her mother was an academic in Iran, and someone helped to smuggle her out of the country in 1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeini staged a revolution and took power. (“Allegiance”)

Shaw and Reese travel to a high school reunion where they pose as alumni to keep an eye on the newest person of interest. (“Most Likely To...”)

Going into HidingEdit

After the events of “Deus Ex Machina”, Shaw assumes the identity Sameen Grey, a sales woman in the cosmetics department at Bloomingdale's. Shaw and Reese meet again, and Shaw becomes part of a group of thieves led by a man named Romeo.

In “If-Then-Else”, Shaw kisses Root and is shot down by Samaritan's agents; however, it is unknown if she is dead or not.

In “M.I.A.” it's revealed that she is alive and is being held by John Greer.

In “Asylum”, Root sees Shaw being led out of Samaritan's base of operations. Later, she is seen in the passenger seat of a car, looking into the rearview mirror.

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 (U.S. Marine Corps for Shaw and U.S. Army for Reese, including Infantry, Airborne, Ranger, Sniper, Special Forces Soldier ("Green Beret"), and 1st SFOD-D Operator.)
  • 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 simple medical procedures on herself, such as a blood transfusion or removing a bullet.
  • Intelligence training: Shaw was a member of ISA. 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.


3x05 - Shaw's tattoo

Shaw's tattoo (“Razgovor”)

Notable victimsEdit

Start a Discussion Discussions about Sameen Shaw

  • Sam Shaw's name

    3 messages
    • The most recent episode (3x17 "/") had the machine display her name as "Sameen". I think the article should be changed to Sameen from Samantha,...
    • The article has already been renamed to "Sameen Shaw".
  • Samantha Shaw

    8 messages
    • The concept of Shaw having "special skills & qualifications" that were required by a Tier One unit - I think we can all agree on that one. 
    • Possibly. A lot of the guys the ISA recruits are veteran Army Special Forces Soldiers (mostly 18F). Does Shaw really bring something new to ...

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