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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

4x06 - Pretenders.png



Air dateOctober 28, 2014

Running time43:28

Production code3J5406

Written byAshley Gable

Directed byStephen Surjik


ID(s) from IntroID.406/1028.14

Images (32)

A man is not a river. And you are not a king.

— Dominic, to Elias

[Suggest quote]

"Pretenders" is the sixth episode of season 4 and the 74th produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on October 28, 2014.


Reese, Shaw and Fusco must protect an unassuming office worker who stumbles into a dangerous conspiracy while moonlighting as fake detective. Meanwhile, Finch travels to Hong Kong as part of his academic cover identity.

Origin of the Title

This title, as is often the case, has two meanings. The obvious reference is to who so many of the characters involve pretend to be: Reese and Walter pretend to be cops, Finch, a professor and Scarface an FBI agent. But there is a second, deeper meaning, referring to the relationship between Elias, the leader of New York's underworld, and Dominic, the aspirant, or pretender, to his role.

Main Plot Points

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

  • Person of Interest: Walter Dang, a mild-mannered insurance investigator impersonating a detective to help a pretty colleague discover who murdered her brother.
  • Walter finds himself in grave danger when his investigation crosses over criminal activities orchestrated by The Brotherhood.
  • Reese must protect Walter and find the source of a cache of large weapons while maintaining his identity as a homicide detective, once again calling on Elias and Scarface for help.
  • Shaw is sidelined as technology support in the Subway, and must deal with a fretful Bear.
  • Finch travels to Hong Kong for a conference, where he meets Elizabeth Bridges, a technology company owner with whom he connects over a shared interest in mathematics.
  • Finch arranges for Elizabeth's laptop to be stolen in order to have something unknown installed on it.
  • Elizabeth speaks with a New York investor interested in funding her company. The investor works for Greer, suggesting Samaritan's interest in Elizabeth's work.
  • Elias openly thwarts a plan masterminded by Dominic and the two meet face-to-face for the first time.

Episode Notes

  • The person of interest, Walter Dang, can be described as a Mitty-esque character, referencing the 1939 short story "The Secret Life of Water Mitty". In the story, timid, henpecked husband Walter Mitty escapes his drab life by living a fantasy world in his head, where he is a skilled Navy pilot, a surgeon even the world's finest surgeons admire, or a crack shot with any kind of firearm. Since the publication of the story and the 1947 film adaptation starring Danny Kaye, the expression Mitty-esque has come to apply to characters, such as Walter Dang or more famously, Tom Ewell's character Richard Sherman in The Seven Year Itch, who live in a world of their own dreams to escape their colorless lives. Even Walter's beige suits and last name, suggest blandness, dang being the safe, inoffensive alternative to the expletive damn, a word he'd probably never dare use.
  • Professor Whistler's favorite equation, the Pythagorean trigonometric Identity (), expresses the Pythagorean theorem (of right angle triangles:) in terms of two trigonometric functions. In mathematics, trigonometric functions (also called the circular functions) are functions of an angle. They relate the angles of a triangle to the lengths of its sides. Trigonometric functions are important in the study of triangles and modeling periodic phenomena, among many other applications.[1]
  • Elizabeth Bridges' favorite equation, Euler's Identity (), is an equation that establishes the relationship between the five numbers 0, 1, e, π, and i as an equality. Euler's equation is an example of mathematical beauty, mathematics appreciated for its own aesthetic value. Unlike Finch's very functional equation, this one is highly aesthetic, establishing the difference between Bridges and Finch. Bridges' comments on the equation are often identical (or almost) to those of Keith Devlin in his 2002 essay "The Most Beautiful Equation".
  • Finch and Beth discuss deep learning. Deep learning is a machine learning method designed to develop more abstract models.

Production Notes

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • The transition at 4:50 shows a hat on Walter's desk, though Walter has just left the office wearing said hat.



  • Jessica Hecht, who plays Elizabeth Bridges, previously appeared in “The Devil's Share””​ as Finch's therapist.
  • The restaurant depicted in this episode 135-31 Curry Leaves Restaurant Inc. is not located in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is actually located on 135-31 40th Rd, Flushing, Queens, New York.
  • Michael Emerson did not write the Chinese characters himself.[2] Recognizing characters and being able to write them would require an advanced level of literacy in (traditional) Chinese script, similar to Finch reading Braille on sight in “Nautilus””​. The third character is actually missing some strokes. It is correctly (葉) printed on the delivery man's bike, but Finch apparently forgot to write the first four strokes. The character he wrote, 枼 (yè) is phonetically identical to 葉, both meaning "leaf", however, 枼 is an old character that is not being used in modern Chinese.


  • "We just stopped a homicide. Congratulations?" (Reese, to Fusco)
  • "Walter Dang appreciates your metaphysical sacrifice." (Finch, to Shaw)
  • "Chicago is a mess, John. It's like a damn Tarantino movie out there." (Elias, to Reese)
  • "Harold, Bear's gone all Belgian supermodel on me and won't eat." (Shaw, to Finch)
  • "Who's a good boy? You are, Bear. Now, eat your breakfast. Eet je ontbijt, okay?" (Finch, to Bear)
  • "The five most important constants -- e, i, 1, 0, π -- all linked together. It's like the secrets of the cosmos distilled into a sonnet." (Elizabeth, to Harold)
  • "Barret XM109" (Shaw and John in unison, to Walter's question about the weapon)
  • "How do you do that with your voice?" (Walter, to Reese)