Person of Interest: Season 3, Episode 17

/ (18 Mar. 2014)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 9.3/10 from 618 users  
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The Machine tasks Root to find a janitor who has a mysterious past. However, when her presence endangers him, the Machine sends his number to Finch as well.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Cyrus Wells
Billy Parsons
John Nolan ...
Danielle Di Vecchio ...
Captain Rosa Divecchio
Dr. Stephen Carr
Matthew Stocke ...
Joe Gately ...


The next number the Machine dispenses to Finch and the team belongs to Cyrus Wells, a custodian. His current blue collar job belies the fact that he has an MBA and was once a multimillionaire, that life and the money which he chucked on his own doing. What they also quickly learn is that the person who may figuratively pull the trigger on Cyrus, the target, is Root. Finch learns directly from Root that she has her own Machine driven mission with Cyrus, her tasks, unlike Finch's, which are laid out for her by the Machine immediately before she is to carry them out. All Root knows is that her overall goal is to protect the Machine, most specifically now from a competing Machine, namely Samaritan, which is close to being functional. Finch and Root will have to figure out if their Machine driven tasks are incompatible, especially as Root has demonstrated in the past that the death of someone like Cyrus is acceptable collateral damage. They both have to figure out who truly is after Cyrus ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Release Date:

18 March 2014 (USA)  »

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The name Root uses for her FBI credentials is "Augusta A. King". Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was a 19th century mathematician, who worked on an early theory for creating a computing device (the Analytical Engine). See more »


Root: [Regarding the machine] How badly did you have to break it to make it care about people so much?
Harold Finch: That didn't break it. It's what made it work. It was only after I taught the Machine that people mattered that it could begin to be able to help them. I'd like to do the same thing for you, if you'd let me.
See more »

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User Reviews

Root Path, episode title
20 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For some reason IMDb doesn't list the title of this episode - weird.

The emergence of Samaritan, Decima and Vigilance were not happy events for me; the addition of Root and Shaw were. Take on one hand, give on the other.

Unhappy because another show I love has succumbed to Soap-Opera-Plot and Evil-Recurrent-Villains and, in the process of closing HR, kills off Carter.

Happy, on the other hand, to see the addition of two such strong, positive characters every bit as capable of mowing down evil minions as Reese (or Dirty Harry).

In general, Person of Interest is doing a much better job of dealing with its SOP and ERVs than most of their victims and, to be fair, the battle between The Machine and Decima/Samaritan does provide justification for adding Root and Shaw while the Evil-Power-Hungry-Bureaucrats are the equal of HR as far as ERVs go but I still wish the show would return to its roots.

In a way, Root Path does: the SOP takes a back seat to Root's story, especially her connection to the 'subject du Jour', while Decima and Vigilance provide a plenitude of minions to be mowed down in shootouts equal to the best any Western has produced.

As satisfying as it is to see villains vanquished, the real story is the episode's theme of Sin and Redemption, expressed with all the nuance that is Person of Interest's stock in trade.

Amy Acker is outstanding as Root, emoting like a tear in a thimble, understating her own emotions yet letting them blaze out like a quiet sun, burning fiercely, subdued. Performance and role of a lifetime.

Sarah Shahi, is just as good, just as effective, as Shaw; a character almost as complex as Root though in a sledgehammer kind of way. Highlighting that effectiveness is the contrast between Shahi's Shaw here in Person of Interest and her role as Kate Reed in Fairly Legal. The two characters couldn't be more different and the fact that Shahi is capable of giving full measure to both elevates each.

And, of course, there are all of the show's signature bits, little codas and pieces of business that make it so fun to watch. The mere appearance of Bear on a leash should earn him (or her; they've never really said) an Emmy.

Person of Interest is a great show, good enough with episodes like this, perhaps, to survive SOPs and ERVs until it returns to single story episodes.

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