|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
John Reese (Jim Caviezel)
I went around the world looking for bad guys. But there were plenty of you right here all along.
- Above the Influence: Not with sex, but when Finch was high on Ecstasy and in a talkative mood, Reese opted out of it knowing the person would regret it in the morning.
- The Atoner
- Heartbroken Badass: His lover, Jessica, left him after he left for war without telling her, married someone else, and was accidentally killed by her abusive husband.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Carter can identify if he's involved in a case simply by hearing about a "man in a suit".
- This is to the point where when he instead wears a motorcycle jacket in episode 9, she suggests the suit is in the cleaners.
- Badass Longcoat
- Berserk Button: Seems to have a particular trigger for cases in which 1. a child is endangered, 2. someone he finds especially just is threatened, notably Carter, or 3. he encounters spousal abuse.
- Brains and Brawn: The Brawn
- Chick Magnet
- Lampshaded by a snarking Finch in "No Good Deed" when Reese fails to charm a receptionist into letting him in a building
"I'm surprised, Mr. Reese, that nice young lady seemed somehow impervious to your charm."
- Dark and Troubled Past
- Drowning My Sorrows: Before Finch finds him.
- Dynamic Entry: Loves these, especially when used on Fusco.
- Failure Knight
- Good Is Not Nice: especially towards Fusco.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Very self-aware of this though.
- Hurting Hero
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Reese occasionally reveals his wish to live a normal life but feels that it is beyond his reach at this point.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Jessica called him for help, but he was on a mission and couldn't be there in time.
- The Lost Lenore: Jessica is his.
- Meaningful Name: He is often addressed as "Mr. Reese", pronounced in a way that sounds like "Mysteries".
- The Stoic
- Would Hit a Girl
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: When a choice came down to either watching a child die from freezing to death or giving Elias the info he needed, he chose to save the child. Elias knew this of him as well. That's why he put Reese in the position.
Harold Finch (Michael Emerson)
I should tell you... I'm a really private person.
- The Atoner
- Badass Bookworm: The man chose an abandoned library to be his (and by extension, Reese's) base of operations and the shelves have been re-shelved with his books, and if he isn't working, he's usually reading. Badass not with fighting, but he's one badass computer hacker who, for example, hacked all of the cell towers in New York City, cutting off all cell communications except for which phones he chose. He also has walked right up to an influential leader of a corrupt cop ring and manipulated him into backing down from working with a mob boss, and completely bankrupted a corrupt executive's company.
- Berserk Button: If Finch finds out that you previously brought up a Number he was unable to save, God help you! Because while he may be averse to killing, he will not only ensure you will never be able to bring up another Number, he will take away from you what you love most.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Brains and Brawn: The Brains
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Finch very occasionally flashes these, most notably in "Flesh and Blood" when a corrupt cop asks him who he is.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome
- Creepy Good: Several of the other characters consider Finch this (most notably Fusco), which is understandable both because Finch stays as mysterious as possible and always seems to know more about you, what you're doing or have done than any person should be capable of.
- Dark and Troubled Past
- Deadpan Snarker / Disabled Snarker / Gentleman Snarker
- Distracted by the Sexy: In "Identity Crisis"
- Doesn't Like Guns
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Finch is a very well-read computer genius who prefers elegant tailored suits and is extremely courteous and polite ( except for when he's snarking Reese or Fusco ).
- Good with Numbers
- Guile Hero: When Finch wants to, he is quite capable of manipulating those around him, whether by their weaknesses or their virtues. And when it comes to corrupt businessmen he takes them down with ease and no small prejudice by manipulating information, finances, and the businessmen themselves.
- Guilt Complex: Feels personal responsibility for all of the numbers that the Machine brought/brings up, for any trouble that has come about because of the Machine, or any bad thing he feels he should have been able to prevent.
- Honorary Uncle: To Will Ingram.
- Hurting Hero
- I Have Many Names: He has multiple identities around the city - among them, software engineer, paralegal, and insurance executive, all of which are associated with different names. He apparently even went to college under an assumed ID, given that his college student persona appeared out of nowhere in 1976. Given that, it's quite likely that Harold Finch isn't his real name either.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: After he realizes that the government is willing to kill anyone who discovers the existence of the machine, he fakes the death of one of his various aliases so that if the government learned about him, they wouldn't know about and seek to harm his fiancee. However, despite the fact that he cannot be with her ever again (and in fact has surveillance programs in place to ensure that they never get with 100 yards of each other so that she'll never learn he isn't dead), it is implied that he is quietly using his various businesses to ensure that her illustration business has steady work.
- Jerkass Facade: Occasionally puts up a very formal, very prickly, very sarcastic one of these whenever he feels Reese is pushing too hard at finding out his (Finch's) past or personal life, or when he feels he has revealed too much about himself.
- Lampshaded in "Legacy"
Andrea: So, what's this boss of yours like?
Reese: Very manipulative, secretive. We've had some personality conflicts.
Andrea: I take it he has a lot of money.
Reese: He's one of those rich owner types, the kind you'd call strange if he didn't have so much cash. He's "eccentric."
- Knight in Sour Armor: Finch is paranoid and cynical about everyone and is usually the first to ascribe cynical motives to the current person of interest, yet he has a high moral code in regards to saving lives, is the driving force and moral compass in their team and - if there is no one else more capable around to help - will risk his life to help someone.
- MacGyvering: He made a WiFi antenna out of a Pringles can.
- Truth in Television: WiFi hackers use them all the time. It's incredibly easy and the schematics can be easily found online.
- Mission Control
- Mushroom Samba: Has one in "Identity Crisis" when the identity thief he mistakenly believes to be a POI slips him some Ecstacy. Hilarity Ensues.
- Non-Action Guy: "If someone should start shooting what am I going to do?"
- Properly Paranoid: The government will kill anyone who has any knowledge of the Machine who is outside a very limited circle, and the Machine's creator is at the top of that 'unapproved' list.
- Sharp-Dressed Man
- The Spook
- Talker and Doer: The doer in his and Ingram's business partnership, preferring to keep out of the limelight and concentrate on his work.
- Technical Pacifist
- Techno Wizard
- Trademark Favorite Food: Tea in general and Sencha Green Tea in particular.
- Unreliable Expositor: Where the Machine and his past is concerned the essentials of what he says are true, but he often lies or omits parts in order to avoid further explanation into more secrets. He's a very private person.
- Considering that the more someone knows about the Machine or himself, the greater the danger they're in or could put someone from his past in, his 'unreliability' is quite understandable.
Detective Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson)
I'm a cop. My life's always in danger.
- All a Part of the Job: The quote above, in response to Reese telling her she's in danger.
- Fair Cop
- Hero Antagonist: Until she joined Team Machine.
- Hyper Awareness: Often picks up on the subtle clues everyone else misses (e.g. noticing details in Jessica's autopsy that reveal she'd been abused in "Many Happy Returns").
- Last-Name Basis: Seems to prefer this greatly when directed toward herself. When Fusco asks what her first name is, she says "Detective."
- The Lost Lenore: it's heavily implied that she lost someone close to her; probably the father of her son Taylor.
- Mama Bear
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: The serious variation.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Struggles with this.
Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman)
I made some mistakes. Big ones. But things are different now. I'm helping people
- The Atoner: After working with Reese and doing some good, he's found that he much prefers helping people to being corrupt. He even gets angry that Reese forces him to be The Mole in a group of dirty cops, as it takes time away from which he could be doing actual police work.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dirty Cop: Before Reese got his hooks on him. It turns out he's still in contact with the other dirty cops he worked with, and is almost encouraged to kill Carter to help them out at one point.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's very eager to help Reese on a case involving a kidnapped boy, probably because...
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a son of his own.
- Friend on the Force: Not a friend, but close enough.
- Good Feels Good: He's discovered this working with Reese.
- The Mole: Reese is pushing him into this role among the other dirty cops on the force.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: by the end of Season 1.
- Punch Clock Hero: Reluctantly, at first.
- Punch Clock Villain: Before Reese showed up.
The Machine is everywhere. Watching us with ten thousand eyes, listening with a million ears...—Finch
- AI Is a Crapshoot
- Black Box: The inner workings of the Machine are never shown, to the audience or in-universe. Obstensibely, this is done so that no one's Fourth Amendment rights are being violated, because no human sees what the Machine does.
- The Computer Is Your Friend and/or Deus Est Machina: Depending upon how it answers the question Reese posed at the end of "Firewall."
- Hyper Awareness
- I Know You're Watching Me: It's been on the receiving end of these a few times.
- Instant AI, Just Add Water: As of "Firewall".
- Magical Database
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The Machine's operating system is heavily encrypted, there are no plans or documentation, and nobody in the government knows who really built the thing. This was a deliberate move on Finch's part, to prevent the government from replicating the Machine and abusing it.
- Sinister Surveillance
- Viewer-Friendly Interface: The graphics and symbols that appear on the screen when showing events from the Machine's point of view.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The symbols. White brackets indicate a person being scanned and/or monitored, and they lose the bracket when the Machine decides they're not relevant to current investigations; yellow brackets designate individuals who are aware of the Machine's existence (i.e. Finch, Reese, Nathan); red brackets indicate threats to the Machine; white diamonds are boats; green triangles are planes.
Carl Elias (Enrico Colantoni)
I am the evolution of organized crime.
- Affably Evil: Seems genuinely polite most of the time and is regretful towards John. He even seems delighted to hear from him on the phone at one point.
- Bastard Bastard
- Beware the Quiet Ones
- The Chessmaster
- Evil Counterpart: Again to Finch. Reese even mentioned that Elias made him think of Finch
- Even Evil Has Standards: He has his own code of ethics he works by. This is invoked by John to try and get him to help save a child's life because if Elias permits children to be kidnapped and sold in his city, he's just as evil as the scum he's fighting against.
- Hidden Villain: In the episode he's introduced.
- Parental Abandonment: He is the child of a mobster who never acknowledged him as a son and had his mother murdered.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He's pretty much devoted his whole life to avenging his mother's murder.
- Scars Are Forever: Has deep scars on the palms of his hands from when his father tried to have him killed.
- Would Hurt a Child: Elias claims he is personally against hurting children, but he's willing to at least appear to be willing to hurt them in order to get some much needed information out of John ("Baby Blue") and as potential leverage against various members of HR ("Flesh and Blood"). Does it to Carter by kidnapping her son in "Flesh and Blood."
Scarface (David Valcin)
Root (Amy Acker)
Come on Harold, we've got so much to talk about.
- Batman Gambit: As a means of getting to Finch, she had HR kill one of her aliases, trusting in whatever Finch used to help people would locate her alias and seek to help her get to safety.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When we see her in the season finale, she plays the part of a meek therapist who is being hunted down, giving no evidence of her true nature until we see her shoot a woman from behind and hold Finch up at gunpoint.
- The Chessmaster
- The Cracker
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: She hired HR to kill one of her aliases in the season finale.
- Evil Counterpart: To Finch, who she considers a Worthy Opponent.
- Samus Is a Girl: Until the season 1 finale, "Firewall," the only thing we knew for certain about Root was that she is a woman.
Mark Snow (Michael Kelly)
Remember: we're behind enemy lines here.
- CIA is Evil
- Consummate Liar
- Even Evil Has Standards: Shoots down L-O-S's suggestion of killing Carter, stating "We don't kill cops." before black-bagging him.
- The Men in Black
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Seems to be a favorite tactic of his, as he has so far done this to three of his operatives.
Simmons (Robert John Burke)
- Bald of Evil
- Dirty Cop
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has HR quit working for Elias once he discovers that Elias is keeping tabs on their families in case he ever needs to threaten them.
Donnelly (Brennan Brown)
- Inspector Javert: He thinks Reese has become a CIA psychopath-turned-mob hitman and is trying to bring him in.
Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco)
If you're going to do something wrong, do it right.
- Dating Catwoman: Her relationship with Reese has shades of this.
- Femme Fatale
- The Fixer
- Only in It For the Money: how she presents herself to the world; it seems she actually has a Hidden Heart of Gold
Cara Stanton (Annie Parisse)
In this job, you never go back.
Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen)
Everyone is relevant to someone.
- Death By Origin Story
- The McCoy: to Finch's Spock (before his death and Finch's subsequent becoming something of a McCoy/Spock hybrid.)
- Only Friend: To all appearances, Ingram was Finch's only friend.
- Posthumous Character
- Talker and Doer: The talker and face of his and Finch's company.
Jessica Arndt (Susan Misner)
Tell me to wait for you, and I'll wait.
Alicia Corwin (Elizabeth Marvel)
- The Atoner: She regrets being involved in setting up the Machine and wants to destroy it due to her fears about how it is being used and the people who have control of it.
- Boom! Headshot!
- Properly Paranoid: She knows the Machine is watching her, knows at least some of the ways that it might be performing said monitoring, and may be aware that it can act to protect itself should it figure out that she wants to shut it down.
- Sacrificial Lion: To establish Root's level of villainy.