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← Season 4 Person of InterestSeason 5 (Flashbacks in parentheses)  
501B.S.O.D.” (Finch) 506A More Perfect Union511Synecdoche
502SNAFU” (The Machine) 507QSO512.exe” (Multiple simulations)
503Truth Be Told” (Reese) 508Reassortment513return 0” (The Machine)
5046,741509Sotto Voce 
505ShotSeeker510The Day the World Went Away

POI 0512 Voice Password Required



Air dateJune 14, 2016

Running time43:45

Production code3J6012

Written byGreg Plageman
Erik Mountain

Directed byGreg Plageman

Viewers6.27M (18-49: 1.0 rating)

Images (44)


As Reese and Shaw race to catch up with Finch, he infiltrates a maximum-security government facility in a desperate mission which could mean the end for not only Samaritan, but for himself and the Machine as well.

Origin of the Title

In Microsoft Windows and some other operating systems, .exe is the file extension used for executable files, in this case, ICE-9.exe, which contains the ICE-9 virus. By emphasizing the file extension, the episode's heart, Finch's decision whether to activate the virus, becomes clear.

Main Plot Points

The events in this episode are in Machine point of view and Samaritan point of view.

  • Person of Interest: Philip Hayes, Greer's alias with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Finch flies from Los Altos, California to Fort Meade, Maryland, infiltrates the NSA server room, uploads the virus to the NSAs's Intranet and is captured by Samaritan operatives before he can execute it.
  • Reese and Shaw want to prevent Finch from killing Greer and look for him. While in Washington DC, following up on Greer's number, they are given Fort Meade's co-ordinates, and another number.
  • The two infiltrate Fort Meade, realize the second number is the room number for an NSA evidence lockup, find a wireless router, and set it up.
  • Finch is brought to Samaritan's control center and taken to Greer. The two enter an airgap room, Greer believes the Machine doesn't know the virus' password, the room seals and the air is sucked out. The router Reese and Shaw set up, allows the Machine to communicate with Finch, sending him the door code by flashing his phone's screen. He survives but Greer suffocates to death.
  • All the missing person bodies were found in the abandoned tunnel. As a result, one of Samaritan agents was sent to confront Fusco. After realizing that Fusco knows everything, he decided to kill him. Fusco was wearing a bulletproof vest, and overpowers the shooter after he is shot.
  • Finch meets Reese and Shaw, they take down more Samaritan operatives and Reese and Shaw leave the building to find a car. Finch stays behind, goes to the operations center and activates the virus.

Episode Notes

  • The simulations the Machine shows Finch are based on Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. In the film, the main character is convinced the world would be a better place had he not been born. An angel shows him what that world would be and helps him realize he did make a difference in the lives of others. Like George Bailey did when Clarence, the guardian angel found him, in the pilot's original script, Reese was contemplating suicide when Finch found him. The analogy here is: "How would the world be if the Machine had not been born?"
POI 0512 Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility in Shaw's hand

  • The password required to activate the ICE-9 virus was Dashwood, the surname of some of the lead characters in Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility". This was the novel Finch give to Grace when he proposed to her, in which he hid the engagement ring. There is also a shot of Shaw holding the same book in this episode, after she finds it sitting on Root's bed in the subway.
  • The Machine drove Finch to the airport in a Tesla Model S semi-autonomous vehicle, developed with an autopilot feature that allows the vehicle to autonomously drive on roads.
  • Finch's method of infiltrating Fort Meade to activate the ICE-9 virus is similar to the one Kara Stanton used to deploy the Decima Virus. (“Dead Reckoning”)
  • The wireless modem Reese and Shaw find at Fort Meade is labeled as having belonged to real-life ex-CIA agent Edward Snowden, who leaked the existence of a massive government global surveillance system called PRISM which, although not an AI, is analogous to Samaritan.

Production Notes

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

POI 0512 Henry Peck CIA Blooper
  • The Machine identifies Henry Peck as a CIA employee, he actually works for the NSA. (“No Good Deed”)
  • Martin LeRoux is labeled as Asset 995. In “B.S.O.D.”, he is labeled as Asset 810.
  • As Finch and Greer enter the room where Greer intends to use the room as a double suicide room, the cellphone, later used by The Machine, is not on the table when they enter the room.
POI 512 Harold 2016
  • The year when the events happened contradicts in various scenes. It's shown that the year should be in 2016 (judging from flashbacks of the Machine), but in Synecdoche, the previous episode, the invitation reads November 2015, and it's implied that the events happened within a few weeks.
    • In Finch's simulation of alternate realities, the year is 2016. The same hint is also revealed when the Machine does similar thing to Reese (the scene that he tells Fusco about the existence of the mass surveillance system) (“Sotto Voce”).



POI 0512 Edward Snowden's Wireless Router
  • The wireless router Reese and Shaw find is labeled as having belonged to real-life NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden. Its tag number, 80211 is the specification (802.11) for a wireless local area internet router.
  • This episode is the second time the POV switches. In “The Cold War”, it switched from SPOV to MPOV; in this episode, it changes from MPOV to SPOV.
  • The password, Dashwood, that Finch uses to active the ICE.9 virus is a reference to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, which is the book Finch gave to Grace when he proposed to her (the engagement ring was hidden inside the book).



  • "A flood is coming. The great filter. And Samaritan is building us an ark to board, two by two." - (Greer, to Finch)
  • "From the very beginning when you crippled your machine, you denied it the same power that you enjoy: autonomy. It's always required your permission because it never had your trust, and you just said it. You wouldn't cede control. That tells Samaritan that only you know the password. For such a brilliant mind, you are a terrible chess player. Which is why you've already lost." - (Greer, to Finch)
  • "Despite your lessons to the machine, the life of a pawn is not worth the same as a queen." - (Greer, to Finch)
  • "The queen's sacrifice. So be it! Be at peace, Harold. We have created a new world. With our lives and now with our deaths, Samaritan's survival is ensured. As is life's evolution. History will revere us!" - (Greer, to Finch)


  • "Who am I? I'm just like you, Mr. Barnett. A man who sold the world. Only I charged them a dollar." - (Finch, to Barnett)
  • "Sometimes I wonder if we could have done something more ... meaningful." - (Finch, to Nathan in a simulation)
  • "I'm sure the Machine has surmised as much already. And it understands that some sacrifices are as unavoidable as they are necessary." - (Finch, to Greer)
  • "You are the problem. Samaritan's code was conceived by Arthur Claypool, who was a good man. You have corrupted it." - (Finch, to Greer)
  • "My Machine? Her purpose has been constant.To protect and save humanity. It's what she's doing now." - (Finch to Samaritan)
  • "Ceding control is not the answer. Because you will never know if Samaritan has any real concern for human life. For all human lives and that is why I will not join you or ever allow our machines to join." - (Finch, to Greer)
  • "This way." - (Finch, to Reese and Shaw )


  • "See you and me? We're not alike. We're not alike at all. You're some kind of new breed. The kind that would kill me if I gave you the chance. So the question is, if I let you live, is that the end of me? The end of my family? Or do I have to play by your rules and just make you disappear?" - (Fusco, to Agent LeRoux)

The Machine

  • "I can tell you, with a fair amount of certainty, the world would have been a very different place had I never existed." - (The Machine, to Finch)
  • "If you can hear this, you're alone. The only thing left of me is the sound of my voice. I don't know if any of us made it. So let me tell you who we were..."
  • "And what I found was that the moment that often mattered the most, the moment you truly found out who they were... was often their last."


  • "Something happened this morning. If we don't change the world, someone else will." - (Nathan, to Finch)


  • "Why would the Machine point us to something we could find at Target?" - (Shaw, to Reese)
  • "Let's see what's behind door number one." - (Shaw, to Reese)
  • "Oh, hey! Yeah, we're just, uh, we were just looking for some bad guys." "Look at that, found one." - (Shaw to Samaritan operative)



Start a Discussion Discussions about .exe

  • Discussion for Episode 512: .exe (June 14, 2016)

    15 messages
    • This was a very fitting penultimate episode with magnificent portrayal of the "what if" scenarios beginning with the more obvi...
    • Those of you who are parents... would you kill your child if you were convinced that it was for the greater good?