Person of Interest Recap: The Trouble with Khan

by Alan Eggleston / April 8, 2015

Who could possibly want to turn Suliaman Khan’s life upside down? That’s the question for Harold Finch and John Reese to decipher in this week’s new episode of Person of Interest, “Search and Destroy.”

Who Is Khan?

Khan is the CEO of a multi-million-dollar computer security company, and his biggest success is a premiere virus protection program that is used on nearly every computer around the world, including businesses and governments. But for some inexplicable reason, someone has hacked Khan’s system and exposed all his personal and business files – the worst part, it has shown he has embezzled millions of dollars from his own company. But has he really?

The company is ready to fire Khan when he arrives to confront the board of directors. During the feisty meeting, Reese and Finch learn that the sum of the embezzlement is $400 million and that it centers around a new project that Khan has been working on to breathe new life into the company after the virus protection program has become bloated and stagnant. Yet Finch discovers that money was also siphoned from the company to pay for an excessive amount of diesel fuel, way more than the company might normally need.

Khan begs to look at the server power gauges to figure out what’s behind the hack, but the company board has him escorted off the property.

Khan Is on His Own

Later, Khan arranges to meet an old friend from the board to get his help re-entering the company to look at the gauges, but the friend says that Khan is too toxic – he’s on his own. Khan picks the friend’s pocket, lifting his employee badge. He enters company premises and barely gets a peek at the gauges before a guard discovers Khan. Reese is right behind to disable the guard and sends a photo of the gauges to Finch, who realizes that’s an incredible amount of power for just virus protection. Then the police arrive and Reese, who has no reason to be there as a police officer, must leave. Khan is arrested for trespassing.

Reese calls on the help of Detective Lionel Fusco to free Khan, who notes, “Someone has greased the skids on this guy,” because Khan is already on his way to the Riker maximum correctional facility. At Riker, Fusco tries to get Khan released as a witness for one of his own investigations, but the desk sergeant says no, “This guy has more problems than just trespass.” The files say Khan is wanted on warrants in multiple states. Khan’s record is being manipulated and he is being set up for a huge fall.

Reese Comes to the Rescue

Khan is whisked into a holding area full of dangerous looking inmates. One of them holding a smartphone receives an “eliminate threat” text with a photo of Khan and he comes after Khan. Reese suddenly shows up in a prison guard uniform and slugs away at the inmate and a others who step up to help him.

Next we see Reese and Khan in a correctional facility van fleeing Rikers. Prison guards are in pursuit. The van weaves in and out of traffic. Something is manipulating the traffic lights, which show green on all sides, letting them get through stops but also making the escape more dangerous. Eventually the van is hit and it rolls over. Reese emerges from the overturned van, when a black SUV pulls up. It’s Root:  “Hello there. Need a ride?”

Back at Finch’s safe house, Finch, Reese, and Root discuss what to do with Khan. They can’t keep him at the safe house – he knows too much about computers to let him learn about The Machine. Khan is still out from the rollover, but wakes up. He’s suspicious at first, but they convince him that they’re his only hope to stay alive.

The Trouble with Khan

When asked what the company gauges showed him, Khan says that the company has used 10 times the power it had ever used before. The hacker is some kind of “invisible hand trying to strangle me,” says Khan, “I know it’s an artificial intelligence trying to kill me, I just don’t know why.”

Using her laptop, Root identifies a secret company installation in a wooded area where aerial photos are blocked. The only way to find out what’s there is to make a road trip. Arriving there, Finch, Reese, Root, and Khan initially don’t see anything, but Root senses cameras and she helps Reese home in on them with his rifle, and Reese takes them out. The last one proves to be a Samaritan camera.

Then they realize they’re standing on a trap door. Opening it, they find a stairway to an underground installation. Inside is a computer center. Finch and Khan determine it’s a system run on diesel-fueled generators and the money diverted from the company is enough to run the generators nonstop for months. They see that the computer is an artificial intelligence running a search on computers worldwide. It’s Samaritan looking for something, and it’s time for The Machine assets to leave!

Samaritan Zeroes in on Khan

Finch, Reese, Root, and Khan emerge outside just as Samaritan agents arrive. There is a gun battle. Reese and Root pick off Samaritan agents, but one agent has been given permission by Samaritan’s chief, John Greer, to take out Root, and when she and Root both run out of rounds, they turn to hand-to-hand combat to battle it out. Cat fight!

Meanwhile, Khan has questions for Finch, but there is only so much that Finch is willing to tell Khan. And during the gun battle, Khan disappears.

Samaritan identifies Khan as a threat for elimination, and Khan is brought directly to John Greer. Greer briefly explains that there is an artificial intelligence taking over the world – a god – and Khan says he wants to look it in the eye – and Greer obliges him, shooting Khan point blank dead.

Samaritan Searches for The Machine

The episode closes as Finch and Reese realize that Khan’s anti-virus program is an unidentified file running on every machine in the world. Samaritan hacked Khan’s system to do a worldwide search on every computer in the world looking for that unidentified file hoping to discover it on The Machine and, thus, to identify The Machine. It failed. But how long before it finds another way to locate The Machine?

Some afterthoughts

Question: Why does an inmate have a smartphone in the retention cell? Don’t police confiscate those on booking? Plot hole?

Question: Reese showed up in the retaining cell to save Khan from the inmates. How did he get a prison guard uniform, and how did he get in that cell? Plot hole?

Question: Root suddenly appeared with an SUV at the perfect time to rescue Reese and Khan after they escaped Rikers. How did she know to go there? Did The Machine alert her or is this a case of “deus ex machina”? Plot hole?

Question: Khan attributes all his troubles to an artificial intelligence trying to strangle him. How did he come to that conclusion so early? Finch or Root might see that, knowing about Samaritan, but isn’t that a stretch for Khan to conclude?

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.