Harold Finch (Person of Interest)
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|Person of Interest character|
|Portrayed by||Michael Emerson
Parker Brightman (child)
Chris Bert (teenager)
|Aliases||Harold Crane ("Risk", "Triggerman", "Critical", "Til Death")
Harold Crow ("Identity Crisis")
Harold Gull ("Proteus")
Harold Quail ("All In")
Harold Starling ("Trojan Horse")
Harold Swift ("2πR")
Harold Wren ("Wolf and Cub", "Shadow Box", "Lady Killer", "The Devil's Share", "Provenance")
Norman Burdett ("Mission Creep", "Cura Te Ipsum")
Mr. Partridge ("The Fix")
Arthur Bellenger ("Ghosts")
Lucas Bennett ("Baby Blue")
Walt Trowbridge ("Judgment")
Mr. Kingfisher ("Allegiance")
Harold Martin ("Beta")
|Significant other(s)||Grace Hendricks|
Harold Finch is a fictional character from the CBS crime drama television series Person of Interest. He is mainly portrayed by Michael Emerson, with other versions of the character having been portrayed by Parker Brightman (child) and Chris Bert (teenager). Finch is a reclusive private billionaire software engineer who developed a machine that can isolate the Social Security numbers of people with either premeditated homicidal intent or who will be homicide victims, based on its analysis of surveillance data. He recruits John Reese, a former Green Beret and CIA operative, to help him prevent a violent crime related to the person of interest the Machine identifies. He is also known by a series of aliases, using various species of birds as the last name. A quirky and mysterious character, Finch tends to keep his personal life a secret as he rejects Reese's numerous attempts to learn more about him.
Born in Lassiter, Iowa, Finch's real name is unknown; however, his first name has been confirmed to be Harold. A child prodigy, he inherited newfound skills in the fields of mechanical engineering and computer science. During his teenage years, Finch explains to his father about the possibility of inventing a machine that can think and feel like a human. Prior to graduating from MIT, Finch and his classmate Nathan Ingram co-founded a company whose sole purpose is to use technology to help mankind and providing a better future. After the September 11 attacks, Finch has been called by the government to create the machine that can access vast amounts of personal information from every person by viewing government feeds, emails, phone calls, and surveillance cameras as the means to rule out potential massive catastrophic attacks. One night, Finch finds out that Nathan has created a backdoor into the machine, so he can try and save people from the "non-relevant" list. Finch shuts down the backdoor, but just before it shuts down Nathan's number arrives, of which both of them are unaware.
Having nothing but bitter sadness, Finch struggles to cope as Ingram intends to reveal the truth about the machine to the public eye; however, a suicide bomber blows up the ferry, thus killing Ingram along with thousands of innocent lives. Suffering from his injuries, Finch was taken to the homeless shelter that is set up as a hospital, as well as the other survivors from the ferry bombing. Realizing if anybody knows who created the machine, it could place everyone that he ever cared about in jeopardy. He allows his fiancée Grace Hendricks to believe he was killed in the ferry bombing and goes into hiding. Upon witnessing the machine's prediction of the suicidal bombing attempt at the ferry, Finch goes back to the secret library location where Ingram created a backdoor to the machine and reactivates it, and starts his mission to save the irrelevant numbers.
Beginning war on crime
Knowing that he can't do all of this alone, Finch recruits Rick Dillinger, a former Blackwater mercenary; however, their friendship is proven to be uneasy, due to their ethical differences. The machine provides Finch and Dillinger the number of Daniel Casey, a computer hacker who tests computer security systems. Dillinger observes that Casey is being pursued by multiple third parties, including Special Control and the CIA agents (revealed to be John Reese and Kara Stanton). Dillinger rescues Casey and takes him to Finch, which he persisted on not allowing anyone to see him (which he finally became comfortable greeting the potential persons of interest in later seasons). Finch became sympathetic to Casey's statement explaining that he is hired to find the location of the machine. Finch examines Casey's laptop and he concludes that it should be sold to the highest bidder (at some unknown point later in the season two finale, Finch creates and installs onto the laptop a virus over Decima's virus to set the machine "free"). Dillinger, who secretly planted a bug to listen in their conversation, decides to go rogue by drugging Finch and stealing the laptop.
Finch follows Dillinger to Central Park and watches from behind a tree as Dillinger gives the laptop to the Chinese buyers. After Dillinger gives the laptop to the Chinese buyers, an unknown assassin (revealed to be Shaw) fires at the buyers at first, prompting them to flee, before she shoots Dillinger right in the chest. Finch makes his way to Casey and Reese's encounter. Finch watches from behind as Reese lies to Kara, believing Casey is dead by misfiring on purpose. Reese tells Casey that he doesn't deserve to die and provides a safe passage in Canada. Finch begins considering to see Reese as a replacement for Dillinger.
Activities with John Reese
|“||I recognize, Mr. Reese, that there's a disparity between how much I know about you and how much you know about me. I know you'll be trying to close that gap as quickly as possible. But I should tell you... I'm a really private person.||”|
—Harold Finch, Pilot
After witnessing the demise of Rick Dillinger, Finch managed to track down John Reese, who lives as a long-haired, bearded vagrant. When Reese gets involved in a brawl in the subway, he is arrested and questioned by Detective Joss Carter. Finch gets him out of police custody with the help of a lawyer, who turns out to be one of Finch’s associates. Finch tells him that he needs a purpose and a job. He offers Reese a "chance to be there in time"; knowing that Reese’s skills could be useful in his crusade if he accepts the offer. Reese refuses, at first, then agrees with Finch's offer and begins on his first case to spy on Diane Hansen, an assistant district attorney.
As their first case progresses, Reese discovers corrupt police are involved, and realizes he's in a more complex situation than he expected. He presses Finch for more details about where he gets his information. Reese blackmails Detective Lionel Fusco to be their informant in the NYPD. When Reese completes the case, Finch told him, "The names never stop coming" (knowing that there will be infinite Social Security numbers and cases to solve, as he agrees to take on the job). As their friendship starts to evolve in the series, Reese becomes increasingly protective of Finch, particularly following Finch's kidnapping by Root (who tricks the Machine into thinking she is a person of interest). Reese gives Finch his dog Bear as a companion, but also as a means to protect Finch when Reese is not around.
For his part, Reese gives little if any indication that he sees Finch's injuries as a limitation, and has gradually drawn Finch into field work. Although reluctant at first, Finch has increasingly begun to assist Reese in the field, growing in confidence as he does.
Throughout the series, Finch displays his extraordinary expertise with computer hacking and advanced technology. As a result of his injury from the ferry bombing, he is unable to fully turn his head, has rigid posture, and walks with a limp. In contrast to Reese, he has lacked hand-to-hand combat techniques due to his physical limitations, but he prefers to use self-defense and a non-lethal weapon (such as a Taser when he stunned an NYPD officer inside the morgue in order to help Reese and Carter escape from HR).
- "Lethe", Season 3, Episode 11
- "Aletheia", Season 3, Episode 12
- "Ghosts", Season 1, Episode 2
- "One Percent", Season 2, Episode 14
- "Pilot", Season 1, Episode 1
- "Zero Day", Season 2, Episode 21
- "No Good Deed, Season 1, Episode 22
- "God Mode", Season 2, Episode 22"
- "RAM", Season 3, Episode 16
- "God Mode", Season 2, Episode 22
- "Firewall", Season 1, Episode 23
- "Masquerade", Season 2, Episode 3
- "Super", Season 1, Episode 11
- "The Crossing", Season 3, Episode 9
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