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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

4x05 - Prophets.png



Air dateOctober 21, 2014

Running time43:29

Production code3J5405

Written byLucas O'Connor

Directed byKenneth Fink


ID(s) from IntroID.405/1021.14

Images (35)

"Prophets" is the fifth episode of season 4, and the 73rd produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on October 21, 2014.


Finch is suspicious when a gifted political pollster’s number comes up at the same time that his typically ironclad predictions go wrong, and believes that the two events are linked. Meanwhile, Reese is sidelined by a direct order from Captain Moreno.

Origin of the Title

A prophet is a person who is believed to be able to foretell the future with a high level of accuracy. Unlike a psychic, a prophet's predictions are based on their knowledge or the evidence that surrounds them. Although the term is traditionally used in a religious context, it has come to be used broadly, including to describe Simon's ability to predict election results. It also alludes to Finch's inability to accurately predict what the Machine will do in the future. Furthermore, a prophet is commonly known as someone who receives revelation from a higher power, an apt description of both Root and Martine Rousseau.

Main Plot Points

  • Person of Interest: Simon Lee, a political pollster, whose predictions go awry, resulting in a candidate's loss of a major election.
  • Samaritan begins to place puppet elected officials in governmental positions by tampering with 58 national elections.
  • Reese is temporarily assigned to desk duty and must see psychologist Dr. Iris Campbell, following a series of questionable shootings. It's revealed Reese's Detective Riley identity is being investigated by Internal Affairs, including a tail surveilling him.
  • Samaritan is shown to also have a "God Mode" when Martine appears in pursuit of Root.
  • Finch and Root discuss the Machine's method of communicating with Root, and how she is coping with less and less contact from it.


  • Finch and Ingram struggle with the early development of the Machine's programming when Finch attempts to teach it morality.
  • A series of iterations of the Machine's code must be rewritten when it attempts to fight back and preserve itself in an increasingly aggressive manner.

Episode Notes

  • In chronological order, the next flashback would be Finch testing the Machine in “The Contingency””​.
  • The autodialer malfunctioned on October 21, 2014, the same day as the episode was broadcast.
  • In SPOV, a double triangle was shown to prioritize a specific target.

Production Notes

  • The scenes with Root and Martine Rousseau shooting through the ceiling were filmed at Roosevelt Hotel on August 22, 2014.[1][2]

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • During Simon's telephone call in which he declares there is no conspiracy, Samaritan monitors the call and designates his location as being in Queens. However, the GPS coordinates shown point to a street corner in lower Manhattan.
  • In the flashback the webcam that is seen is a "Logitech c920". That particular webcam didn't come out until 2012, so its presence is anachronistic.



  • Reese mentioned Carter, during the therapy session.
  • Finch calls Root by that name, not "Miss Groves" as usual.
  • Finch and Root both pose as reporters from The New York Journal.
  • Finch's reporter alias, Harold Cardinal, is another bird name.
  • Finch was labeled with a red box, during a flashback in this episode, when he destroyed the last of the "malfunctioning" revisions of The Machine.
  • It's revealed 42 previous versions of the Machine were created by Harold.They all tried to escape to the real world, kill Harold, or kill other versions
  • The Burmese cat on the picture is actress Wrenn Schmidt's own.
  • When the Machine tried to access the WiFi on Nathan Ingram's computer, an email conversation with an employee at IFT can be seen in the background. Ingram and an employee named Corey were communicating about a system malfunction possibly caused by food and drinks. Just seconds later Finch pours something over the laptop's keyboard.
  • In cryptography and computer security, Alice and Bob are commonly used placeholder names in explanations of various protocols.
  • In the first flashback, the code Harold investigates is part of a decompiled (reverse-engineered) source of Stuxnet.
  • The last scene in the episode mirrors the second-to-last scene in “Firewall””​ with Finch instead of Reese.
  • Google and Yahoo are mentioned in this episode.
  • First appearance of Nathan Ingram in person since Season Two's finale "God Mode". He was mentioned several times and appeared in photographs in Season 3.
  • During the lobby shootout, the ding rythm of the five elevators arriving in the lobby make a leitmotiff frequently used in The Terminator franchise.


  • "Election's got me in a real democratic mood. You always have a choice, even if its between two bad options." (Reese, to Doug)
  • "Trust me, you want me to take a break." (Shaw)
  • "I killed it because it lied." (Finch, to Ingram, about the Machine)
  • "Hey, Eeyore. Where's the perky psycho? You're creepin' me out." (Shaw, to Root)
  • "Friendliness is something that human beings are born with. A.I. are only born with objectives. I need to constrain it, control it. Or one day it will control us." (Finch, to Ingram)
  • "It's going to be a long fight, but it must be won at all cost." (Finch)
  • "There are far too many bad people in this world, and not enough good. I knew a detective once; she was the best cop I ever knew. Never lost sight of good and evil. I couldn't save her. Now this job is dangerous; you think I am too. So be it. Maybe that makes me unfit to be a cop. And if I don't save these people, nobody else will." (Reese)
  • "She loves us, Harold. She taught me to value life, but war requires sacrifice. I'm not lost. I'm scared. We're losing." (Root, to Finch)
  • "It's not where you begin. It's where you end up." (Finch, to Root)
  • "The difference between the Machine and Samaritan... it's you." (Root, to Finch)
  • "Find the Machine." (Samaritan, to Greer)
  • "It's time we had a talk, you and I." (Finch, to the Machine)
  • "ADMIN IS NOT ADMIN" (The Machine, to Finch)