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Episode Overview   Summary   POI   Cast and Characters   Crew    
  Person of InterestSeason 1 (Flashbacks in parentheses) Season 2 →
101Pilot” (Reese) 109Get Carter” (Carter) 117Baby Blue
102Ghosts” (Finch) 110Number Crunch 118Identity Crisis
103Mission Creep” (Reese) 111Super” (Finch) 119Flesh and Blood” (Elias)
104Cura Te Ipsum 112Legacy 120Matsya Nyaya” (Reese)
105Judgment 113Root Cause 121Many Happy Returns” (Reese)
106The Fix 114Wolf and Cub 122No Good Deed” (Finch/Ingram)
107Witness 115Blue Code” (Reese) 123Firewall
108Foe” (Reese) 116Risk
Mission Creep

POI 0103 Reese4.png



Air dateOctober 6, 2011

Running time43:28

Production code2J6203

Written byPatrick Harbinson

Directed bySteven DePaul


Images (35)

You're playing a dangerous game. I'm not sure I understand why.

— Carter, to Reese

"Mission Creep" is the third episode in Season 1, and the third produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on October 6, 2011.


When the Machine directs Reese and Finch to a former soldier with shady connections to a crime ring, Reese must infiltrate the gang, taking part in their heist. Meanwhile, Detective Carter is closer than ever to finding out who Reese is.

Origin of the Title

  • Mission Creep is an expression used to describe the expansion of a project or a program beyond its original goals, generally following success, which can eventually result in a disastrous end. Its origins are with the military during the Somali War, but it is now widely used. Notably, in this episode Reese successfully saves the number of the week, but towards the end, Elias is mentioned for the first time.

Main Plot Points

  • Person of Interest: Joey Durban, a former 107th Infantry Regiment (United States) soldier who drifts into a life of crime because he felt guilty for the death of a friend and fellow soldier and to provide for said friend's family.
  • Carter's investigation of the Man in the Suit continues.
  • Carl Elias is mentioned for the first time.
  • Finch takes a huge risk to save Reese.


  • Reese meets Jessica in an airport some time after their vacation in Mexico.
  • Jessica is now engaged to another man, but she promises to wait for Reese if he asks her to. He doesn't.

Episode Notes

  • Fort Drum is located near Watertown in upstate New York. It is a major embarkation point for units heading for battle in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • This episode uses Joey and Pia's relationship as a parallel to Reese and Jessica's.  In the episode, Reese does what he can to be sure Joey's has a better outcome than his own with Jessica, including advising Joey to give Pia the chance to be with him, no matter where he goes, something Reese never did for Jessica.  
  • The Person of Interest, Joey Durban, reappears during “Synecdoche””​ as part of a second team working for the Machine and operating in Washington, DC.

Production Notes



  • When the money falls to the floor during the casino heist, you can see small stickers on the bills indicating they are non-negotiable.
  • The Army file photo Finch uncovers for Frank Stephens indicates he was discharged when he was actually KIA.
  • All of the military identification cards for the various soldiers shown throughout the episode display their rank as PO2 - a Navy rank.
  • The first time Reese leaves Jessica in the airport and the second time that he leaves her in the airport are different. In the first scene, he tells her to be happy with Peter and walks past her. She only follows him with her eyes. In the second scene, she turns and speaks to Reese.
  • During the robbery of the NYPD lockup as Reese shoves Finch down after secretly speaking to him, the view seen by the Machine displays Reese with a white box designated for irrelevants instead of the yellow one the Machine designates to those who know she exists


  • This episode has the first mention of Carl Elias.
  • As MPOV, the bank robbers weren't marked with White box with red corners and crosshairs but with White box.
  • During the flashback, Reese was marked with Yellow Box, meaning that The Machine was reviewing archive video in real time.
  • The flashbacks in this episode were originally written for the Pilot.
  • This is the first episode where Fusco does not make an appearance.
  • James Carpinello (Joey Durban, the POI in this episode) in the real life is married to the actress Amy Acker (Root).


  • "You just left because you thought you would get killed over there and that that would hurt me. But I think the truth is that it was easier for you to be alone." (Jessica)
  • "That's one of the things you learn over there. In the end we're all alone, and no one's coming to save you."  (Reese)
  • "You can't cure someone of guilt." (Reese)