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401Panopticon 409The Devil You Know 417Karma” (Finch)
402Nautilus 410The Cold War” (Greer) 418Skip
403Wingman 411If-Then-Else” (The Machine) 419Search and Destroy
404Brotherhood 412Control-Alt-Delete 420Terra Incognita” (Reese)
405Prophets” (Finch) 413M.I.A. 421Asylum
406Pretenders 414Guilty 422YHWH
407Honor Among Thieves 415Q&A
408Point of Origin 416Blunt

4x12 - Ctrl-Alt-Del.png



Air dateJanuary 13, 2015

Running time43:42

Production code3J5412

Written byAndy Callahan

Directed byStephen Surjik

Viewers10.16 M

Images (35)


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"Control-Alt-Delete" is the 12th episode of Season 4 and the 80th produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on January 13, 2015.


Control, who oversees the handling of relevant numbers for the government, begins to question the methods and intentions of the Samaritan program. Also, alarming news reports of a pair of vigilantes rampaging through the Northeast begin to surface.

Origin of the Title

Control + Alt + Delete (usually abbreviated as Ctrl+Alt+Del) is a keyboard combination which is used to interrupt or make an attempt to interrupt some running program on IBM PC compatible computers. The computer's behavior in response to a Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination is determined by the operating system. Legacy versions of Microsoft DOS and Windows initiated a system reboot when the user pressed Ctrl+Alt+Del.

Main Plot Points

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

  • Reese and Root are aggressively tracking down Samaritan's agents in an attempt to get gather information about Shaw's fate.
  • Samaritan, via Gabriel, its human avatar, makes an attempt to contact the President of the United States.

Episode Notes

  • This episode principally follows Control, and the deployed ISA operatives Crimson 6, while the team is seen from Control's point of view. This is the second episode to break from the traditional formula, the first being Relevance in the second season, which introduced Shaw.
  • Mike Richelli, the White House Chief of Staff is introduced. The White House Chief of Staff answers directly to the President, and is the highest ranking political appointee in the U.S. The White House Chief of Staff has a range of responsibilities that vary from administration to administration, but principal among them are overseeing the White House staff, managing the President's schedule, controlling access to the President, serving as a Presidential advisor and confidante, and at times, informally representing the President. The White House Chief of Staff wields tremendous power, often second only to the President.
  • Fusco tells the tech monitoring Grice and Brooks that, "the Red Wings suck!" The Detroit Red Wings are one of the six original National Hockey League teams, and have won the largest number of Stanley Cup trophies (11) of any American hockey team. New York's team, the Rangers, are also one of the original six, but have only won the Stanley Cup four times, although they were the first American team to do so.
  • The fate of one winner of the Nautilus Challenge game (“Nautilus”) is highlighted: winner Yasin Said, along with a group of friends, was anonymously financed in order to develop code for a bioinformatics company creating climate-change models; after the completion of the task all four of them were targeted by Samaritan as possible terrorists.
  • In order to assure Control that the four relevant numbers were terrorists, Samaritan utilized common stereotypes: all four were Arab-born or Arab-American, payment was made in a way associated with a known terror group, and ambiguous evidence of terrorist activity was presented, and each was said to have purchased otherwise ordinary components that could be used to make a backpack bomb similar to those used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
  • Samaritan graphics show that there are multiple Samaritan assets inside the Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol building.

Production Notes

  • This is the third episode of the Person of Interest Trilogy. Writer Ashley Gable tweeted that the story actually comprises four episodes and will conclude in the next episode. The decision to market the episodes as a trilogy was very likely made by CBS.
  • This episode's "saga sell" introducing the show's concept is delivered by Control. This is only the second episode that doesn't feature Finch's voice, the first being Root Path (/).
  • This episode does not have a traditional person of interest. Although Control has received four relevant numbers that we follow through the episode, there is no indication Finch has received a number while the team hunts for Shaw, and that the Machine is still following their activities.
  • The opening of the episode includes the Machine reviewing the events of the previous episode for the audience. Just as Samaritan (rather than a voice-over) told us to stay tuned for the preview in the previous episode, the Machine shows us what happened "previously on…", replacing a voice-over in this episode.

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • When Control looks around the NYSE basement, she asks a security guard if any cleaning had been done before noticing wet paint. If the paint were wet enough for her to have run her finger through it as she did, she'd have been able to smell it, and would have known immediately that some sort of repairs had been made and painted over.
  • When Grice puts on the goggles, Brooks appears to be holding a rifle. But later, Brooks takes the same rifle out of the stroller and arms herself.


  • "The Violent Bear It Away" - Moby (when Control takes a tour through the New York Stock Exchange)


  • The President of the United States is referred to as POTUS. POTUS is a short-hand code-name for the President, which was popularized in the 1999-2006 television series The West Wing. The President, Vice President, their families and other key highly placed U.S. governmental officials have closely guarded call names used by the Secret Service to identify them. POTUS and FLOTUS (first lady), among others, have become the generic versions of these call names.
  • The scene where the agents stormed into the home looking for the suspects was actually shot on Halloween night. The street was blocked off for shooting, but the show put production assistants on either sides of the barricade handing out candy for the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood.
  • Root indicates that the rocket Reese used to intercept Control's vehicle might be the one she and Finch obtained in Wingman, as she says they were "saving it for a special occasion".
  • The Machine assigned Yasin Said a white box identifier when he boarded the train, which strengthens doubts about him and his friends being terrorist threats at all.
  • While watching the report of two people in ski masks wrecking havoc on Hell's Kitchen, Lionel states they are looking into persons of interest. This is the second time "Person of Interest" has been said in the series, despite the show's title. It was first mentioned by a TV news reporter in “Pilot” referring to John Reese.


  • "Can you consider for a second the possibility you've been lied to?" (Yasin Said, to Control)
  • "Let's go get Shaw back" (Reese, to Root)
  • "We gave you a marvelous car. Surely, you didn't think I'd let you drive it yourselves." (Greer, to Garrison)