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Season 1, Episode 13:
The latest number is Scott Powell, an unemployed construction manager who has sent threatening emails to a congressman and obtained a rifle licence. Reese and Finch believe he's planning to assassinate the congressman at a public event in the city, but when Reese tries to intervene at the last moment, they realise the shooter is someone else entirely: Powell is a patsy, set up as the assassin by a computer hacker. With the evidence against him, Powell is arrested by the FBI, forcing Reese to intervene and break him out of custody, which kicks off a city-wide manhunt. Finch attempts to locate the hacker who set up Powell -- a woman who goes by the name "Root" -- but she reverses the trace and starts destroying Finch's systems from the inside-out. To prevent Root from compromising everything, Finch destroys his set-up at the library and orders Reese to destroy his cell phone before going mobile with nothing but a laptop.
While Reese and Powell evade the shooter, who is determined to clean up the final loose ends, Finch calls in Zoe Morgan to help figure out who hired Root and the shooter to kill the congressman. Together, they're able to gather evidence on the congressman's business partner and forward the information to Carter while Reese dispatches the assassin and Powell turns himself in to the FBI so he can be exonerated. As everything returns to normal for the Powell family, Finch is contacted via IM by Root: she knows his real name, acknowledges im as a worthy opponent and looks forward to "the next time".
Tropes present in this episode include
- Conspiracy Thriller
- The Cracker
- The Ghost: Root, who is only ever seen from behind or as fingers typing on a keyboard. She clearly exists, yet is more meticulous about staying hidden than Finch.
- MacGyvering: Finch builds a Wi Fi antennae out of a Pringles can. Truth in Television, apparently.
- Samus Is a Girl: The only thing we know about Root is that she's a she.
- Ship Tease: Reese's story ends on a promise to buy Zoe a drink sometime.
- Shown Their Work: The episode has a very accurate portrayal of how computer security and hacking work, and used correct terminology throughout.
- Worthy Opponent: Those exact words are used by Root.