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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

POI 0217 BehindU.png



Air dateMarch 7, 2013

Running time43:40

Production code2J7217

Written bySean Hennen

Directed byKenneth Fink


ID(s) from IntroID.217/2451.11

Images (37)

I live those lives better than real people ever could... I do those identities justice.

— Alex Declan

"Proteus" is the 17th episode of Season 2, and the 40th produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on March 7, 2013.


After the Machine gives Reese and Finch six numbers at once, their search for clues leads them to a coastal town where they are forced to ride out a storm with a group of locals in a police station. However, as the weather rages outside, a sinister situation arises inside when they realize there is an unidentified killer hiding among them.

Origin of the Title

Proteus is a minor Greek sea-god, referred to by Homer as the "Old Man of the Sea". Proteus can see the future and will reveal it to any who catches him, but will also quickly change his shape, making him harder to detect. The title is chosen for several integrated reasons: because of the storm raging on the island, because the Machine can see the future, and because the serial killer changes forms of identity.  

Main Plot Points

  • The Machine fails to give a new number for three days. Finch realizes that it is being affected by Kara Stanton's virus as modified by Decima Technologies.
  • The Machine sends Reese, Carter, and Finch six numbers all missing person cases that were unsolved it is up to them to catch their killer.
  • Reese investigates one of the POI not yet reported missing, Jack Rollins, leading him to his property on Owen Island during a raging rainstorm. Meanwhile Finch finds Rollins remains in a furnace in his basement.
  • Carter finds the connection between all POIs is Special Agent Alan Fahey who identifies himself as such to Reese when they meet on Owen Island.
  • Communication lines and transportation are cut off to the island and when the killer sheds the Rollins identity, all the remaining few people on the island become suspects.
  • Finch flies in under the storm posing as a storm chaser and uses a seismograph as a polygraph. Finch realizes the killer is like a chameleon and changes to the identity of his victims.
  • Another person is murdered and in a twist ending, the serial killer has taken the identity of Special Agent Alan Fahey.
  • Throughout Carter investigates the previous victims and arrives on Owen Island with Cal Beecher in time to prevent another murder. This is the first time the Machine was unable to save any lives. Finch ends by saying, The storm is just beginning.
  • Some tension develops between Carter and Cal Beecher as a result of the revelations about the IAB investigations against him.

Episode Notes

  • The episode is set on the fictional "Owen Island" near the North Fork of Suffolk County.
  • "Owen Island" draws its name from the absentee host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. U.N. Owen in the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None, commonly also known as "Ten Little Indians", which provides the story structure as well. In the novel, eight people are trapped on a remote island and serve as prey to a killer lying in wait.  
  • Once Reese reaches the island, the episode's plot becomes a classic "locked room mystery" as favored by Agatha Christie. The episode uses Christie devices such as a dark and stormy night, a murder as the lights go out, and the killer hiding in plain sight among the guests.

Production Notes

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • After leaving the theater and just before the phone rings, you can see numerous people taking pictures of the actors from inside the shops as they walk by.
  • In Jack Rollins's house in Brooklyn, while Finch is examining the empty picture frames, Bear runs into the next room and barks in front of a hatch. A hand can be seen in the upper left corner of the screen giving commands. Bear also looks at the hand briefly.
  • When the fisherman shoots at Reese because he found his drugs, it has already stopped raining, but at the same time, the serial killer reveals himself to Finch in the garage and it's pouring outside.
  • The objects in the background in the webcam image as Carter talks to Vicki Winter are different than the actual items behind her. In the video on her screen there seems to be a lab coat hanging next to a window behind her while in the actual image, there's another desk and a computer screen.
  • The in-episode graphic that indicates the machine is being affected by Hurricane Sandy
    POI ProteusG9.jpg
    erroneously [1] classifies the storm as Gale force 9.  According to the Beaufort Scale, a storm with max winds of 71 km/h would be classified as Gale force 8. Further, the graphic incorrectly labels the speed as kph, rather than the correct label km/h. This is often seen when someone unfamiliar with the metric system converts from mph.
  • Ostensibly the ashes found in Rollins's Brooklyn house are those of Jack Rollins, but Rollins had been killed in Chicago about 18 months beforehand.


  • The films Finch and Reese see are Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, and Frances Ford Coppola's The Rain People. Rashomon is famously the story of four people each telling their version of one event, while the lesser known The Rain People is a thoughtful story of one woman's cross-country journey of self-discovery, starring Shirley Knight, James Caan and Robert Duvall.  In it, Knight's character meets a man named Killer, who has a past he's reluctant to discuss.  Taken together, the two films could serve as a metaphor for Reese and Finch.
  • As they leave the theater, Reese jokes that they should have seen Once Upon a Time in the West because it has fewer subtitles. Once Upon a Time in the West was made by Italian producer-director Sergio Leone, known for his so-called "spaghetti westerns" starring Clint Eastwood as the "Man With No Name."
  • The plane Finch flies through heavy rain to Owen Island and lands in the town square is described as a De Havilland Beaver. This is a legendary bush plane design which can be fixed with skis, floats, or wheels, for landing on snow, water, or tarmac. It is a STOL (short take-off and landing) aircraft.


  • "You built the machine, Finch. Can't you access it, you know, check under the hood?" (Reese)
  • "Tell me:  What do you know about making a body disappear?" (Declan to Reese)
  • "You have no idea; you're an amateur at this." (Finch to Declan)

Embedded Codes

Main article: Proteus/Embedded_codes