Person of Interest Recap: Harold Finch Is on Jury Duty with The Machine’s Next Number

by Alan Eggleston / February 11, 2015

When last week’s episode of Person of Interest (“M.I.A.”) concluded, Harold Finch called off the search for the team’s missing colleague, Shaw. Everyone had mixed feelings about not finding Shaw after a desperate search, but The Machine refused to tell Root where to find Shaw, and that distressed Root – so she left.

This week in “Guilty,” we find Harold and John Reece in a New York City restaurant back where they started: as a team of only two.

A Rejection

There’s been no word from Root and no new word on Shaw. Meanwhile, The Machine is still spitting out numbers. Yet, they feel they can no longer endanger the lives of others by bringing in new assets. In fact, Reece is wary of involving even Police Officer Lionel Fusco, who is his precinct partner and who has helped Reece ferret out the bad guys in serving The Machine.

Fusco tries to involve himself in a missing persons file that he finds on Reece’s precinct desk, but Reece tells Fusco “When I need your help I’ll let you know. We’re putting you on hold for a while.” Fusco is unsettled by the rebuff, but initially shrugs it off.

Later, Fusco again tries to investigate more on the missing persons, but Reece tells him more forcefully to forget about it – he can handle it. Fusco is miffed.

Reece’s visits with Dr. Coleman, the precinct psychologist, have gone as far as they can and she declares him sane, deciding to end the sessions. There’s some sexual tension here, the good-bye awkward. Embrace or shake hands? Reece later visits her unannounced and suggests they continue the sessions. She says to expect some tough questioning, because close members of her family were all cops, and she knows Reece is no cop.

What Dr. Coleman uncovers is that Reece distances himself from others because whenever he gets close to someone, he’s afraid of a loss. It’s a hazard of his profession – better not to become attached to anyone. But Dr. Coleman points out that friendship is a basic human need – no one can go very long without it. Reece decides maybe it’s time something new happens.

A Jury

Harold gets called to jury duty, where he meets another juror named Emma, a retired English teacher. Then The Machine identifies Emma as the next person of interest to help. Emma is a conundrum, however –  how did she get in the jury pool and why is she so determined to serve? Emma seems to answer jury pool questions in a way that ensures she gets on the jury.

Did she murder the victim (Caroline Mills) and so is Emma trying to get the defendant (Chad Bryson) convicted to cover her own crime? Reece does a background check on Emma but doesn’t find anything about her to indicate she might have murdered Mills. Or is Emma a “fixer” for someone else –  and for whom? Reece and Harold tap her smart phone and watch as she texts someone, receiving instructions. They reason she must be trying to acquit for Bryson.

When the judge releases the case to the jury for deliberation, Emma immediately offers to be the foreman. This woman is very determined to sway the jury.

Harold meets with Reece and Zoe Morgan, a former person of interest and a fixer herself whom Reece helped save in an earlier episode. They sort through all the evidence and come up with a strategy (and Harold a vehemence) to find Bryson guilty. When Emma begins to pool the jury for their thoughts, Harold immediately speaks up, saying that Bryson must be guilty and why. (Read more about Zoe Morgan here.)

Then Emma pools the jury again and everyone – including Emma – all agree that the defendant is guilty. Stunned, Harold realizes he has to become the lone dissenter. That surprises everyone else in the jury. “Perhaps I was a bit premature,” says Harold. “We should go through the evidence to be sure.” He needs to create reasonable doubt.

The jurors thought it was going to be a quick decision and are unsettled now that there is a holdout. One juror, in particular, Tim, becomes impatient as the process drags on and on.

With another pooling of the jury Harold finds another dissenter and the judge sequesters the jury. They are put up in a hotel for the night and all their electronics are confiscated. All broadband access is shut off. Harold can’t even communicate with Reece through his earpiece.

Zoe and Reece discover a document showing that Bryson’s company had been working on technology that it turns out will hurt people and Mills had been trying to stop the company from developing it. The CEO of the company, Freddy Mack, stood to make millions of dollars from the sale of the technology – he must be the killer.

Reece and Zoe find Mack’s hidden lair. It has a television monitoring events and photos of only 11 of the jurors. Mack has left but Reece realizes that Mack must be ready to act against Emma and Harold. Reece must act too.

The only way Reece can communicate with Harold is by shining a rifle targeting laser on Harold’s wall, which Harold initially mistakes as a threat – until he realizes that Reece is using Morse code to send him a message.

Meanwhile, Emma finds a paper on her pillow with the pictures of the jurors and Harold’s photo circled threatening Harold’s life if the defendant isn’t found guilty. Emma goes out to the balcony to try to jump to hear death, but Harold sees her and goes out to stop her. It’s her life or the life of someone who truly matters, she says.

Then someone springs on them from the dark. It’s Tim, and he attacks Harold with a shiv.

But Reece breaks in and wrestles with Tim until Tim goes over the balcony. Reece grabs Tim by the arm in time to save him and see that justice is done.

A Decision

Bryson is acquitted and after the trial, Mack tries to book a flight out of the country, when Fusco steps in to handcuff Mack and book him for the murder of Mills.

“Your perp is ready to go downtown,” Fusco says to Reece, clearly with a chip on his shoulder. “But let me guess: You’ll handle this.”

Reece doesn’t want to handle the discussion in public, but Fusco doesn’t care. He’s fed up with being put off. “Look, I get it. After what happened to Shaw you’re worried the same thing’s gonna happen to me. And you know what? It might. And I’m fine with that. You don’t get to decide what or who I’m willing to die for. I made my choice a long time ago. So stop shutting me out!”

Fusco walks out leaving Reece with a growing smile.

Back Where We Began?

The episode ends where it began, at the restaurant, Harold and Reece alone again.

They’re looking at the missing persons file from Reece’s precinct desk, with still no resolution to the case. Harold says he thought they were going to leave Fusco out of cases, but Reece says he tried, but Fusco keeps showing up like a fungus.

“We can’t bring anyone new into this, but we also can’t do this alone,” says Reece’s. Harold agrees, “I know all too well. After all, Mr. Reece, that’s why I hired you.”

And that’s where this excellent episode ends.

Some Afterthoughts

Question: There was sexual tension between Reece and Dr. Coleman when they initially said their good-byes. And he said it was time something new happens. Will we be seeing more of her in the future?

Question: Zoe Morgan has been a love interest for Reece as well as a helper in past episodes. Will The Machine’s assets bring her into the fold more since they can’t afford to bring in new assets?

Question: In a soundbite from next week’s coming scenes a new character says, “If Samaritan is hunting us, let’s hunt it back!” Will Harold and Reece bring in someone new anyway? Or is this another visit from a past person of interest?

Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10 pm Eastern/Pacific, 9 pm Central on CBS. A pre-program promo said three new episodes in a row!

Alan Eggleston A writer from the boomer generation, I was among the first Americans to grow up with television and even got my bachelors degree in broadcasting. My first professional job was working in a television station, working camera and then writing copy and promotions. A few years later I turned to writing for print and then adapted to the Internet. I love writing and I love good television and film - I hope it shows in my reviews.