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Episode 307: The Perfect Mark
Finch visits the office of a hypnotherapist named Hayden Price. Hayden asks Finch to select an image from a tablet that speaks to his emotion and he selects one of a flock of birds. Hayden hypnotizes Finch while Reese teases him through his earbud.
Back at the Library, Finch and Reese discuss Hayden's practice and his background. Finch tells Reese that the questions Hayden asked him were actually a veiled attempt to get personal information from Finch that could be used to access his banking accounts. Hayden Price is a con artist.
Finch brings tea to Root, who is now a prisoner being held in a specially modified room in the Library. Root tells Finch that he is upset that the Machine will not talk to him the way it does to her.
Finch has sent Hayden a pastry basket that has been bugged, since he was unable to bluejack his phone. Reese and Shaw listen in while Hayden treats a patient named Sykes, and they confirm that he is collecting personal information from him as well. His next patient is Sven Vanger, also known as "The Swede". Later, Hayden meets his girlfriend Natalie Boal for lunch in his office which soon turns romantic. Hayden leads Shaw and Reese to a park, where he meets with a disgruntled bank employee named Mr. Russell, who gives him $50,000. They follow him to a restaurant under renovation, where Hayden and Russell are surprised by a NYPD detective named Decker at gunpoint. Hayden resists, pulls a gun, and the two men shoot each other. Russell, visibly shaken, runs in panic from the scene. Finch demands to know why Reese and Shaw are not intervening, and Reese tells him to wait. Suddenly, Hayden and Decker come alive and joke about Russell. Hayden pays Decker his share, which is less than half the money they got from Russell. It seems he is scamming his own partner in crime.
Carter meets with Alonzo Quinn in a diner for breakfast, where they discuss the investigation into Cal's murder. She tells him that she believes HR was involved. Quinn offers her his assistance as the Mayor's Chief of Staff, but she declines in order to protect Quinn from danger. She departs to pick up Laskey and begin her shift while Quinn receives a text from Simmons asking if Carter is going to be a problem for them.
At the Library, Finch discusses Hayden's nefarious activities with Shaw and Reese. They decide to investigate some of his clients to try to determine who poses a threat to Hayden and Finch announces he needs to depart for his appointment with the hypnotherapist.
Hayden brings Harold out of hypnosis and Finch compliments him on his skills. After some prodding, Hayden becomes uncomfortable with Finch's questions and tries to get some information of his own, but Finch demures and departs.
Laskey meets with Simmons and Terney while Carter monitors the meeting from her car. Simmons orders Laskey to kill one of their associates and Terney takes him to point out the target. They arrive at an auction house, where Terney points out "The Swede". While Carter monitors the situation from outside, she observes Shaw and Reese walking down the street towards her. Shaw enters the building while Reese gets into the passenger seat with Carter. They discuss how their cases have crossed and each agrees to keep an eye on their respective targets and share information. Vanger purchases a Homer Wagner baseball card for $900,000 while Terney is surprised to see Hayden at the back of the auction.
Vanger returns to his store, where he tosses the supposedly expensive card into a cabinet while Carter watches and reports to Finch.
The Machine observes Simmons on the phone telling another man that the Swede's therapist is a con man instead of a real doctor, and says that they will kill him as well.
Hayden and Natalie return from dinner and Hayden surprises her with tickets to leave New York the next day, asking her to come with him. She agrees and they plan to meet first thing in the morning. Hayden returns to his office where he destroys his laptop and begins to shred his patient files. Suddenly, two hit men using the window washing rig descend to his level and open fire with automatic weapons. Only Reese and Shaw's timely arrival saves him from being killed. Shaw checks the ID on one of the bodies and learns that the hitman is a cop.
They take Hayden to their safe house, where they question him about his plans. Finch reports that Carter has confirmed that the dead cops were members of HR. Finch confronts Hayden about Vanger and his scam. Hayden tells them his history with Vanger and tells them he is done with the con, but cannot leave without Natalie as she is the only honest thing left in his life.
Finch asks Carter to investigate HR's money laundering scheme and she tells him she is meeting with her contact. That contact turns out to be Carl Elias, who explains to her how the HR money laundering scheme works. Back at the auction house, Vanger purchases a signed baseball for $4.4 million. He then sells it to a street vendor for $5. Elias explains that the items Vanger buys are all worthless fakes put up for sale by HR, and the laundered money goes straight to them.
In their car, Laskey and Carter discuss the HR scam and she orders him to take the next day off from work in order to trail Simmons.
At the Coronet Hotel, Reese escorts Hayden to meet a very upset Natalie. Finch, meanwhile, discovers that Hayden spoofed an email to Vanger in which he changed the auction lot number, and asks Reese to question Hayden. When Reese enters the room, Natalie tells him that Hayden went out the window.
At Vanger's store, Carter arrives to question him about the scam. He gets the drop on her with a shotgun but fortunately, Fusco shows up with a gun on Vanger. They tie up Sven and question him. He explains how Simmons coerced him into helping HR. She informs him that his doctor is really a con artist and that the ball he thought was worthless was really worth $4.4 million. Sven realizes that HR will kill him and begs them to help him. Fusco throws him to the ground and pours fake blood over his head while Carter snaps a picture and sends it to Laskey.
Simmons, realizing that HR has been conned into buying a real signed ball, calls Laskey to tell him to hold off on killing Sven, but Laskey lies and says that he has already killed him. Meanwhile, Hayden meets up with the street vendor and pays him $20 for the baseball.
Reese and Finch discuss how to track down Hayden, and Finch realizes that they only way is to track Natalie. They monitor a call he makes to her from a payphone. She demands to know what is going on and tells him she loves him but deserves the truth. Price confesses that he is a a criminal and a thief. He asks her to meet him at his office so they can talk and she agrees.
Quinn meets with Simmons at a groundbreaking ceremony, where he orders Simmons to find Price and get the ball back. Laskey takes pictures of the meeting from a distance.
Hayden is surprised by Reese and Fusco, who force him to return the ball. He only asks that he be able to call Natalie. Reese hands him the phone, but when he calls Natalie, it's Terney that answers her phone. He has her gagged and handcuffed in the back of his car and tells Hayden he will trade her for the ball. They agree to meet at the action house.
Meanwhile, Simmons meets with a crew of HR cops, including Terney, and tells them how they are going to take care of Hayden. He instructs Laskey to kill the girl after they confirm the ball is genuine. Hayden shows up and gives Terney the ball, and they go into the auction house to confirm the authenticity. The ball is proved to be a fake and Hayden is as surprised as everyone else. They are about to kill Hayden when Reese and Shaw show up and take out Terney and the rest of the dirty cops. Hayden is only concerned for Natalie. When he calls her to make sure she is okay, she reveals that she has been scamming him the whole time in a love con in order to get to the ball. He tells her that he really did love her and she responds "if you love something, set it free".
A distraught Hayden tells Reese and Shaw that he is ruined. They tell him that he can start his life over, but that he better do it in another city.
Terney informs Simmons that the "man in the suit" intervened and that the ball was a fake. Simmons becomes enraged and demands that Terney find Laskey and get the ball back or he will be killed. Terney leaves to go find Laskey.
Back at the Library, Finch goes to see Root before leaving for the night. He tries to get her to see the situation from his point of view, but she counters that she is a prisoner. He tells her that he is worried about her and her relationship with the Machine. She tells him that she is worried about him and that all she wants is to finish what he started.
Terney sits outside Laskey's apartment building leaving him a message. Meanwhile, in the lobby, Laskey is handing over the pictures he took of HR that day. She tells him that things are only going to get more difficult for him. Suddenly, Terney surprises them at gunpoint and tries to convince Laskey to kill Carter, but instead Laskey goes for his gun. Terney shoots him, and a second later, Carter shoots Terney in the chest. She checks Laskey, but he is already dead. She moves to Terney, who has slumped to the floor and tells him that he is going to die. She begs him to act like a cop and tell her who the head of HR really is, spreading some of the photos Laskey took on the floor beside him. Unable to speak, Terney makes a bloody mark with his finger on the image of Quinn at the groundbreaking ceremony. Carter stares at it in shock and disbelief as Terney dies and the episode ends.