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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)
The Machine

AssociatesHarold Finch
John Reese
Lionel Fusco

First appearanceRelevance

Latest appearanceReassortment

The Devil's Share

Images (141)

Well, she certainly makes an impression.

— Reese

Sameen Shaw, also known as Indigo Five Alpha, 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 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.

On October 2, 1988, she traveled with her father on a road trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.(“Mors Praematura”)

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 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. (“The Devil's Share”)

When Reese temporarily leaves the team, Shaw begins working with Finch full-time in his old arrangement, posing as a doctor in order to keep an eye on POI Arthur Claypool. Shaw and Finch escape the hospital with Arthur and his wife Diane after Vigilance attacks looking for Arthur. Shaw engages in a brief gunfight with Vigilance member Peter Collier before escaping. Later, at a safe house, Diane reveals herself to be Control as Arthur's memories of his real (now dead) wife return; Control calls in a team led by Hersh that holds Shaw, Finch, and Arthur at gunpoint, and declares she will only release them after gaining access to either the Machine or Arthur's own AI project named Samaritan. (“Lethe”) With no need for Shaw, Control orders her death, but 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, disguised as a SWAT team. Trapped in a vault, Finch maintains contact with her via cell phone, and she tells him how to treat a bank manager wounded by Collier. Unable to take out Collier and his men, as they're the only thing keeping Hersh's team from storming the bank, she creates a pipe bomb to blow open an exit to the sewers. Two Vigilance men are able to enter the vault, but Shaw shoots them down, and with last-minute help from Reese and Fusco, they manage to escape the bank through the sewer. (“Aletheia”)

She encounters Finch a few days later, who uneasily asks her to revisit the ISA, her former employers, and find out what they know about Owen Matthews, a potential relevant number that the Machine is forcing Reese into helping on a plane. She goes to a travel agency the ISA uses to make arrangements for its agents and greets the clerk, Foster. Shaw figures that Foster set up Owen's plane ride, grabs him, and chokes him until he talks. Foster admits that he arranged for 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, Shaw ends up in a solo standoff with Vigilance after taking down one of its snipers to save the team. Collier locks her in a building to smoke her out, and he appeals to Shaw to consider the misdeeds of the government who betrayed her. He offers Shaw a place in the organization for both revenge and a role in writing "new chapter in American history." Shaw decides that Vigilance's brutal methods overshadow any redeeming goals they may have, declaring they are terrorists and fighting back. Shaw eventually escapes alive and returns to the library, then meets Root to care for a gunshot wound she received. (“Root Path (/)”)

Next, Shaw works a number with Finch and Reese which brings back memories of her family. She reflects on her parents' bravery with the POI and later Fusco. (“Allegiance”)

Going into HidingEdit

When Samaritan comes online, Shaw assumes the identity Sameen Grey, a sales woman in the cosmetics department at Bloomingdale's. After a brief period of silence between the group, Shaw resumes working numbers with Finch and Reese. She also becomes part of a group of thieves led by a man named Romeo (“Panopticon”), which she later quits after they prove they aren't good enough. (“Honor Among Thieves”)

While on a mission to protect a POI, she is intercepted by ISA agent Devon Grice. They recognize each other, but Grice allows her to leave, trusting and respecting her against orders. He later attempts to delete surveillance footage of the incident to protect her, but Samaritan is able to recover this footage. (“Honor Among Thieves”) Using this information and Shaw's ties to Romeo's group of thieves, Martine begins to hunt her down, managing to trace her phone to Bloomingdale's. Though Samaritan still cannot recognize her due to the servers Root planted in Samaritan's hardware, Martine uses the footage to spot her and attacks. (“Point of Origin”) Shaw reveals gigantic weaponry she's kept in her stand the entire time she's worked at Bloomingdale's for such a moment, fighting back against Martine until she can escape the building, where Root is waiting to extract her on a motorcycle.

Her cover identity blown, Shaw must now stay entirely off the radar to avoid capture. When Reese gets into serious danger caught between Elias and the Brotherhood, however, she insists she must come to his aid, ignoring any threat to herself. Root decides she must sedate her and bring her back to the subway hideout forcefully to protect her. Though Root is able to keep Shaw safe in this manner, Scarface and other Brotherhood members are killed as a result. (“The Devil You Know”) Shaw only forgives the team for betraying her once Finch buys her her favorite sandwich.

When Samaritan and the Machine's standoff begins to escalate, she wonders if the AIs beginning to cooperate wouldn't be the best option, clashing with Finch's stern belief that AIs teaming up could lead to the end of humanity. After the situation continues to spiral, Shaw decides she cannot stay cooped up in hiding anymore and leaves the subway without telling the others (“The Cold War”), helping with numbers or in what other little ways she can.

When the rest of the team becomes trapped by Samaritan, Shaw must retrieve information from a Stock Exchange employee to assist them; however, she is forced to first talk down a suicide bomber affected by the Flash Crash of the stock market. With advice from Fusco, she succeeds and gets the intel in time. She then rushes to the Stock Exchange and crawls through 50 yards of air duct to reach the others, arriving moments before they likely would have been wiped out by Samaritan agents. She and Root defend the team as they all board the elevator to freedom, not realizing an override button must be pressed before the elevator will move. Shaw kisses Root before running to the button and sacrificing herself to give the others a chance to escape; she is shot down by Martine and taken captive, while the rest of the team is left not knowing if she even survived. (“If-Then-Else”)

In Captivity Edit

Days after the incident at the stock exchange, Shaw awakens in a hospital bed overlooked by Greer, who comments that she will need her rest for what awaits her. (“M.I.A.”)

She is later used as bait for a trap to capture Root; she calls Root with a phone that traces back to the asylum where Shaw is being held and which houses Samaritan's base of operations. When Root and Finch come to rescue her, Samaritan's agents move Shaw before they can find her; Root finds the coat she wore when she was shot and glimpses her being taken through the window. Martine tells Root that Shaw was subjected to months of torture before she eventually broke, implying that Shaw had been brainwashed into supporting Greer and willingly supported the plan to bait Root. Shaw is then seen looking pensively out the window of a car, and her mental state and allegiances at this time are unknown. (“Asylum”)

Since Shaw was captured during the Flash-Crash, she has been through 6,741 Samaritan simulations in nine months which have the goal of getting Shaw to lead them to the Subway and the rest of the team. In the 6,741st simulation, Shaw wakes up during an operation to insert a chip near her brain stem which apparently is for the purpose of making her more co-operative. She escapes the Samaritan facility and sails into New York. Shaw gets in touch with the team by pretending she is conspiring to murder someone, and Root finds her and helps to extract the chip before taking her to the safehouse (although she says it is "her place"). Root and Shaw sleep together that night. In the morning, Shaw confronts Root and Reese about them not trusting her and they launch into a plan to kidnap Greer, which is successful. They take him to a church which is a natural Faraday cage and find what they suspect is a Samaritan kill switch embedded in his arm. Finch and Root leave to test it while Reese stays with Shaw. Greer provokes Shaw by saying that she is really under Samaritan control and it is part of the plan, and she shoots him.

Reese suspects something is wrong and tells Shaw they won't go back to the Machine until they figure it out. Shaw shoots him and tells Root and Finch that Samaritan agents came out of nowhere. Root comes to meet Shaw and tells her to lead the way. Shaw takes them to a playground and holds Root at gunpoint, asking if she knows where they are, which could hint that it is the playground in Qatar that Lambert mentioned at the start of the simulation. Shaw confesses that she killed Reese and tells Root that when Samaritan's torture got too awful, she would take herself to this place, with Root, and she was her safe place. Shaw then says that she can't control herself any more and she turns the gun on herself. When she shoots herself, the simulation ends. The person in charge of the simulations informs Greer that although she committed suicide again, she did wait an extra hour before killing him this time. The simulation is initiated for the 6,742nd time. (“6,741”)

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”)

  • Shaw has a tattoo on her right forearm which can be seen in “Relevance” and “Razgovor”. It appears to be a Caduceus and the words "U.S. Marine". In “Nothing to Hide” and “Reasonable Doubt” the tattoo is missing.
  • Shaw is fluent in German as seen in “Relevance”.
  • Shaw is fluent in Farsi as seen in "6,741".

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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