Person of Interest (TV Series 2011–2016) - Plot Summary Poster



Showing all 5 items
Jump to:


  • An ex-assassin and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes. However, the details of the crimes--including the civilians' roles--are left a mystery.

  • A billionaire software-genius named Harold Finch creates a Machine for the government that is designed to detect acts of terror before they can happen, by monitoring the entire world through every cell-phone, email and surveillance camera. Finch discovered that the machine sees everything, potential terrorist acts and violent crimes that involve ordinary people. When the government considered violent crimes between normal people "irrelevant", Finch built a back door into the system that gives him the social security number of a person involved in a future violent crime so he could act. Partnered with John Reese, an ex-CIA agent, the two work in secret to prevent violent crimes before they can happen. Eventually their activities lead to being hunted by the New York Police Department, CIA Agents in pursuit of Reese who was listed as dead, a computer hacker named Root who wants access to the Machine, and government officials who want to keep all knowledge of the Machine a complete secret.

  • Wealthy genius software engineer, who generally goes by the name Harold Finch, is the mastermind behind the creation of an all-seeing machine. Finch and his front man Nathan Ingram devised the machine to sell to the US government, who are unaware of Finch working behind the scenes. The purpose of the machine is so that the government can spot acts leading to terrorism to prevent those terrorist acts from occurring. But what the government considers irrelevant in its use of the machine are acts leading to murder. As such, Finch, without the government's knowledge that he has a back door to the machine, wants to prevent those murders. The machine only provides the social security number of someone involved, Finch unaware if that person is the target or perpetrator. He enlists the help of an ex-CIA special operative who generally goes by the name John Reese to assist in his mission, Reese who is officially listed as dead. But as Reese in particular often uses non-legal means to achieve Finch's end goal, he is tracked by the authorities, who only know him as the man in the suit. They are also tracked by those who are thwarted by the pair in carrying out this mission, and by the few who know of the machine's existence and who have their own nefarious thoughts of what to do with the machine if they can get their hands on it.

  • A billionaire software engineer and an ex-CIA agent team up to prevent crimes before they happen by using an Artificial Intelligence known as "The Machine". At the same time they must survive being hunted by the Government and protect The Machine at all costs.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a wealth billionaire software engineer & genius, who generally goes by the name Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), created a Machine that is an all-seeing Supercomputer designed to detect acts of terror before they can happen.The Supercomputer simply called "The Machine" can monitor the entire world using pattern recognition Software by monitoring every cell-phone communication (using voice print technology), every email (using keyword filters) and surveillance camera (using facial reconciliation). Finch and best friend Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) devised the machine to sell to the US government, using Ingrams own company IFT in New York.

    The 2 friends make a deal that keeps Finch's animosity. Finch is a pseudonym as Harold is a wanted Cyber hacker due to something which happened in his youth in the 1970's. It's later revealed that when he's father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease young Harold built a prototype machine to replace his fathers failing memory, but needing to power the machine, he went and hacked into the governments network. Ingram acts as a front man so the government are unaware of Finch working behind the scenes. The purpose of the machine is so that the government can spot acts leading to terrorism and stop them before they can act. To prevent abuse of its capabilities by the government, Finch decided to program the Machine to only provide an identity of a Terrorist predicted to be involved in an imminent attack in the form of a Social Security number, but no other details of the future attack will be shown to the government. But a moral dilemma soon occurs when Finch and Ingram discover the machine not only searches for potential terrorist acts but also violent crimes that involve ordinary people such as murders, attempted murders and kidnappings. As with the Terrorists they only receive the social security numbers of the people involved and they will not know whether the POI (person of interest) is a perpetrator or victim. Knowing the government would considered violent crimes between normal people "irrelevant", Finch programmed the Machine to delete the "Irrelevant" list every-night at midnight but Ingram becomes guilt ridden and builds a back-door into the system and programs the machine to give him access to the social security numbers of people involved in a future violent crime before the midnight deadline deletes the list .But with only the social security number to go on it gets difficult to tell whose good and bad.

    Meanwhile whilst the Machine was in its testing phase it encourages Harold to talk to a woman named Grace Hendrix (Carrie Preston), who the Machine picked out as perfect match for Finch and soon they start dating with Finch considering proposing to Grace. But soon Finch finds out about what Nathan has been doing with the irrelevant list and is angry that Nathan is putting the project in jeopardy, so they fight. Nathan reveals he has decided to go public and tell the world about what he and Finch have done by talking to a reporter in a public place. However the government finds out and just before Finch turned of a computer screen, Ingram's picture pops-up but Finch does not see it. Before he can talk to the reporter the government stages a terrorist attack on a New York ferry, which was the meeting place Ingram had chosen. Ingram and the reporter are killed and Finch (whom turned up to see Ingram) ends up partially paralyze and goes into hiding, even from Grace. Finch later finds out the Machine knew about Ingram being a target and so changes his mind about helping the potential victims.

    Soon Finch hires a Blackwater mercenary called Rick Dillinger (Neil Jackson) whose only motivated by money and has different morals and ethics to Finch, Dillinger ends up getting killed when he betrays Finch and his objective to save lives by handing over a victim in exchange for money. Finch finds the perfect replacement in John Reese (Jim Caviezel) an ex-CIA special operative who was recruited by the CIA who were impressed by his skills he had learned in the army after quickly rising to the rank of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class, having been in the Army Rangers, the Green Berets, and Delta Force all of which he uses the skills acquired in those organizations in his mission with Finch. When Reese joined the CIA he believes he is helping hes country and is told there is no going back to his former life with the love of his life, Jessica Arndt, his neighbor and childhood sweetheart who Reese pushed her away to rein-list in the Army after the 9/11 attacks.

    Reese starts to have doubts about his work for the CIA and he is to retrieve a laptop that contains key data to the Machine (but Reese does not know this) in China. The CIA consider John and his CIA partner Kara Stanton (Annie Parisse) expendable and fire missiles at the their last known location. Reese survives and is officially listed as dead he returns to America and finds out that Jessica died in a car crash. But soon he finds evidence that she was being abused by her husband Peter Arndt (Jonno Roberts), whom she married after Reese rejected her. Reese meets up with Peter and it's assumed that Reese kills him.

    Reese then goes on a suicidal path and was on a subway ride to a prefect suicide spot but got into a fight with some Teenage punks. He is arrested for assault and is interviewed by a Detective called Jocelyn "Joss" Carter (Taraji P. Henson) who recognizes his fighting skills as being from the Army as she used to be in the Army herself as an Army interrogator. As she is interrogating him she takes his fingerprints and Carter finds that his prints have been at several crime scenes when he was with the CI, however, Finch has a lawyer spring John before she returns and Finch meets with him to offer him a job to help people. At first, Reese is reluctant and doesn't believe Finch's claims that he wants Reese to work him as a protector as Finch isn't forthcoming about the Machine but Finch soon starts to open up to Reese about it. Together the pair attempt to stop violent crimes before they can happen, with Reese taking on the moniker of the man-in-the-suit.

    The first number they work together is that of Diane Hansen (Natalie Zea), an Assistant District Attorney involved in an organized Drug ring of Corrupt Cops. At first, Reese and Finch assume she will be the victim of the cops but it turns out she is helping them. Reese is captured but manages to escape and takes the gun of one of the Corrupt Cops called Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman). Reese uses Fuscos gun to shoot the leader of the corrupt cops, Detective James Stills (James Hanlon), in self-defense after saving the real victim, another Assistant District Attorney, James Wheeler (Brian d'Arcy James), who was investigating Hanson. After taking the gang down and exposing Hansen as corrupt in a packed courtroom. Reese blackmails Fusco (who had escaped unpunished) into helping him track down leads involving the "Persons of Interests".

    Eventually their activities lead to being hunted by the New York Police Department's Homicide Task Force, led by Detective Carter, whom is revealed to be a good cop in a crooked department, after chasing Reese for several episodes he saves her life, when a mob boss puts a target on her, she then has a change of heart and joins them in there crusade. Early on in the series Reese arranges for Fusco and Carter to be partners to keep tabs on Carter when she was hunting them, after she changes her mind about Reese and Finch, Reese decides not to tell either Fusco or Carter that the other is working with him and Finch to protect them as well as keeping them both in the dark as to how they know about the crimes aka "the Machine". Whilst being partnered with Carter, Fusco starts to see what it's like to be a good cop and starts to redeem himself of his own free will over the course of the series.

    Meanwhile, when Carter was chasing Reese she managed to flag him up to the CIA who is now also after Reese. Led by Mark Snow (Michael Kelly) and his partner Tyrell Evans (Darien Sills-Evans), they want to finish the job to kill Reese. Also after Reese is the FBI led by Special Agent Nicholas Donnelly (Brennan Brown), who thinks Reese is still working for the CIA as a government hit-man after Reese got in the way of the FBI arresting a framed "Person of Interest". Soon a computer hacker named Root finds out about the Machine and decides she wants access to it to free it from human control.

    The team also face dangers from the government which is keeping all knowledge of the machine secret from the public. As the series progresses the Team (consisting of Reese, Finch, Fusco and Carter) called by fans of the Show as Team Machine soon gains additional members including a dog called Bear,a Belgian Malinois with military training whom Reese rescues from Aryan Nationalists, who were using him as an attack dog and Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi) a former ISA operative, originally an assassin working for "The Program", the section of the Government dealing with the "relevant" numbers found by The Machine. She begins to have doubts after one of her targets proves to be an engineer working for the government; the assassination is part of the cover-up that conceals the existence of The Machine. As a result, her partner is killed and she becomes a number. Reese and Finch save her life and she subsequently works for them on a regular basis.

    Team machine saves many lives, including Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco) a "fixer" who specializes in crisis management. Finch and Reese first met her as a person of interest who found out that a client of hers, a pharmaceutical company, was covering up the deaths of test patients. She ends up working with them on cases that require her skills. They also save the life of a man called Charlie Burton (Enrico Colantoni), only to discover he is a budding mob boss called Carl Elias. Elias is trying to take over the New York criminal underworld with the help of the crooked cops called HR. Elias was the one who tried to kill Carter and HR is who Fusco's gang was formerly affiliated with. Carter manages to get Elias arrested and with the help of the F.B.I, she manages to get a majority of H.R arrested. The only exceptions are the person in charge of HR, its second in command Patrick Simmons (Robert John Burke) and Fusco who had gone undercover in HR on orders of Reese to find out who was running the group.

    Its soon revealed that the Mayor's aid Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters) is HRs leader and he plans on recruiting more dirty cops. Although a majority of HR are placed in Prison and ties to Elias's crew are cut, Alonzo forges new ties to the Yogorov family who are part of the Russian mob led by Peter Yogorov. Quinn arranges for the charges against the Yogorovs to disappear before their trial by planting evidence against the cop investigating them, Organised crime Detective Bill Szymanski (Michael McGlone) and telling his godson Narcotics Detective Cal Becher (Sterling K. Brown) who mistakenly things the tip-off is legit. Beecher is currently dating Carter but doesn't know about his Godfather's role in HR. Carter finds the proof to get Szymanski cleared but he and an ADA called Melinda Wright who was about to prosecute the Yogorovs get invited to a sit down with Quinn who murders them then gets another cop, Detective Raymond Terney to shoot him in the shoulder to cover up his crime.

    Beecher decides to investigate the tip but when he gets to close to discovering the truth about Quinn, Quin has him taken out in an ambush during a fake narcotics sting. Carter then gets framed for killing on unarmed man by Terney and is demoted to beat cop.

See also

Taglines | Synopsis | Plot Keywords | Parents Guide

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed