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← Season 1 Person of InterestSeason 2 (Flashbacks in parentheses) Season 3 →
201The Contingency” (Finch) 209C.O.D. 217Proteus
202Bad Code” (Root) 210Shadow Box 218All In
203Masquerade 2112πR 219Trojan Horse
204Triggerman 212Prisoner's Dilemma” (Reese) 220In Extremis” (Fusco)
205Bury the Lede 213Dead Reckoning” (Stanton) 221Zero Day” (Finch/Ingram)
206The High Road” (Finch) 214One Percent” (Finch/Ingram) 222God Mode” (Finch/Hersh)
207Critical 215Booked Solid
208Til Death” (Finch) 216Relevance
Bad Code

POI 0202 Main2.png



Air dateOctober 4, 2012

Running time43:46

Production code2J7202

Written byGreg Plageman
Patrick Harbinson

Directed byJon Cassar


ID(s) from IntroNonstandard Intro

Images (47)

It's how Root works. She set him up.

— Reese

"Bad Code" is the second episode of season 2, and the 25th produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on October 4, 2012.


The Machine delivers the number of a cold case that leads Reese ever closer to catching up with Finch and his kidnapper, Root.

Origin of the Title

Bad code refers to error-ridden computer programming code.

Main Plot Points

  • Root tells Finch again, she doesn't want to control the Machine. She wants access to it.
  • Reese and Carter go to Texas to trace Root's origins.
  • Finch remembers Denton Weeks from when Nathan sold the government the Machine. At that time, the Machine had identified him as a threat.
  • Root tortures and kills Denton Weeks.
  • Root makes headway in finding the location of The Machine.
  • Carter begins to trust Fusco.
  • Reese and Carter rescue Finch.
  • Root promises she'll be coming for Finch when the time is right.


  • This episode begins with Hanna Frey walking out of the library on April 15, 1991.
  • Root's past with Hanna Frey and Trent Russell as well as her subsequent actions is revealed
  • The Machine including all the US supply of payphones is loaded onto a train in the Bronx and shipped to Des Moines, Iowa where a Union Pacific train will take it to it's final destination Roper Yard in Salt Lake where it will be moved to an office building by the airport.

Episode Notes

  • Root and Hanna were playing Oregon Trail on an Apple IIe computer. Oregon Trail was developed for the Minnesota Education Computing Consortium (MECC), and used by elementary schools in the early days of home computing to teach school children about the realities of 19th century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail. Later, it was marketed to home users by Broderbund Software, which ceased updating the software when it was absorbed by Scholastic Books. More modern versions of the program eventually returned to the market across multiple platforms when The Learning Company bought Scholastic's software rights.
  • Although Root's full first name Samantha was never mentioned in the episode, she is listed as "Groves, Samantha" in Hanna's missing persons report.
  • Bad code, according to Root, is a person who is evil and can not change his or her nature. Finch later uses the term in the episode “Triggerman”.
  • To celebrate Person of Interest airing on Netflix starting September 1, 2015, asked Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman to pick a few of their favorite episodes. Nolan picked "Bad Code", because with Root's introductory storyline it helped show people what the show can do.[1]
  • In the previous episode, the Machine assigned Root a yellow box. During this episode, the Machine changes Root's box to red, indicating she represents an immediate threat.

Acronyms and Vocabulary

Bear is trained to respond to commands in Dutch, including:

  • Liggen: lie down.
  • Laat vallen: drop that (lit. let [it] fall).  

Production Notes

  • Locations identified as Bishop, TX were filmed in Congers, NY.
  • Jonathan Nolan's wife suggested Amy Acker for the role of Root, as she was a big fan of Acker's from Angel. She noted that Acker can appear innocent, and at the same time be very slippery, which showed great depth as an actor.[1]
  • In the last shot, Root's hair is back to her natural blond color to identify her with her childhood picture.

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • Bear chewed the spine of the book in one shoot and the other side in the previous shoot.
  • The Texas flag out side of Razorback Bar hangs upside down: red over white when it should be white over red.
  • Hanna shares same social security number as Gordon Kurzweil, the first relevant number from "Super". (498-00-3145).


  • "You're the man who sold the world....Just to the wrong people." (Root to Finch)
  • "Me? You think I was damaged? Some childhood trauma?... That is so sweet." (Root)
  • "She cannot get access to the Machine!" (Weeks)
  • "We always suspected the idiot in the tux couldn't have done it on his own." (Weeks)
  • "What did I say, Harold? Bad code." (Root)
  • "I told her, she was a nasty attention-seeking brat." (Barb about Sam Groves)
  • "Well, well. It seems I've underestimated your knuckle-dragging friend." (The first of Root's epithets for Reese as she always underestimates his intelligence.)
  • "I have a strict policy regarding rare first editions, namely, don't eat them." (Finch about Bear)
  • "He has expensive taste. I'm sure we'll get along." (Finch about Bear)


  • When meeting with Carter and Fusco at the beginning, Reese reminds them he promised to buy them a drink. After stopping Jablonski, Reese had suggested they have a drink together before leaving. (“Firewall”)
  • In the previous episode, Reese said Dutch "af liggen" to let Bear to lie down. However, when Fusco gives commands to Bear, he only says "liggen", which is merely meaning "after", so it doesn't follow his command and also makes Hersh to believe that Fusco can't be a threat.
  • This is the second time where The Machine gave the number of an "Presumed Dead" person's. The first one was Theresa Whitaker in Ghosts.
  • The photograph of Denton Weeks in the newspaper article comes from a scene in “Super” when he and Alicia Corwin visited Nathan Ingram in his office. Weeks is wearing the same clothes and Alicia Corwin's ponytail can be seen in the background.
  • That particular newspaper article was written by Maxine Angelis who would later become a person of interest in “Bury the Lede”.
  • Relton, MD, the small town where Reese tracked down Root to Weeks' cottage, doesn't exist in real life. On Reese's map it was placed where there's actually a small historical town named St. Mary's City.
  • Finch left a tap code on Davenport's phone indicating Root's escape route. One might notice that Reese omitted the letter "K" from his deciphering grid. When using tap code, the letters "C" and "K" share the same grid square which allows the alphabet to be represented in a 5×5 grid.
  • Amy Acker (Root) holds up a red apple and twirls it. This is an homage to the fact that she was concurrently starring as the Fairy Nova on Once Upon a Time. She uses the saying, "Rotten to the core," which is a key phrase in OUAT.