Missing info from: Season 4
|“||One day, I realized all the dumb, selfish things people do... it's not our fault. No one designed us. We're just an accident, Harold. We're just bad code. But the thing you built... It's perfect. Rational. Beautiful. By design.||”|
Root (née Samantha Groves) is a main character and a highly intelligent computer hacker and former contract killer known by her hacker name "Root". She has a special relationship with The Machine and is the only one to be in frequent and direct contact, acting as The Machine's 'Analog Interface'. When the government begins to doubt The Machine's information, Root takes on both the relevant numbers and the task of bringing Samaritan down. It appears that she is a lesbian or bisexual due to her attraction toward Shaw.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Skills and Talents
- 3 Notes
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Victims
- 6 Appearances
Samantha Groves, known then as Sam, was born in Bishop, Texas, and lived there until her mother's death around 2002. Her mother taught her to follow her talents, specifically computers. As a child, computers made more sense to Sam than people. As an adult, she admits that she has been waiting for someone who shares her understanding of technology her whole life. Soon, she also finds that she can inflict harm on others with ease, although she tells Finch she wishes she was a sociopath because it would make what she does easier. She claims she does not enjoy killing people, but admits "(she) doesn't feel bad about it either".
One afternoon in 1991, Sam and her friend Hanna Frey are in the local library. As Sam looks for a book, Hanna unsuccessfully plays the simulation computer game "Oregon Trail" until the library closes for the day. After Hanna leaves, Sam stays behind, quickly finishing the game with apparent ease. As Sam leaves the library, she sees Hanna getting into a car that belongs to Trent Russell, a local man who is a member of the library's book club.
She recognizes his car and tells the librarian, Barbara Russell, what she has seen. However, because Barbara is in love with Trent, she intimidates Sam into keeping what she saw to herself. Later, Sam makes an anonymous 911 call describing what had happened and giving the operator the license plate of the car, but not mentioning Trent (“Bad Code”). Hanna is never seen or heard from again.
Life as Root
With the death of her mother and her friend, Sam eventually disappears herself. Two years after Hanna disappeared, Sam hacked into a drug lord's bank account and stole $100,000 from him, using the money to frame Trent for the robbery and thereby setting him up to be killed. (“Bad Code”) After that, no one knew her whereabouts until she reappeared in New York, where she became known as Root, a hacker-for-hire, and some-time assassin (“The Contingency”).
Root was responsible for the FBI Trojan Horse of 2009 and the null worm, a virus that infected over 7 million computers worldwide in less than a week (“Mors Praematura”).
Root was hired by a business executive to send in a hitman to kill Cyrus Wells and his coworkers since the executive was suffering during the Stock Market Crash while Cyrus' company made millions. On April 4, 2009, an assassin sent by Root opened fire at the office he worked in - Cyrus' two college friends Sarah Lind and Alex Rice were killed while he and four others were injured. Cyrus spent 10 weeks in an intensive care unit (“Root Path (/)”).
Root is hired by Pete Matheson, Congressman Michael Delancey's aide to assassinate the congressman. Using a patsy, an unemployed man named Scott Powell, Root is successful. However, her plan to kill Powell after the assassination is foiled by the timely intervention of Reese. Ultimately, the operation falls apart when Reese incapacitates one of Root's men and steals his phone. At the same time, Finch panics Matheson into calling Root with the help of Zoe Morgan and uses a forced pairing of Matheson's phone to record the call. Finch later sends the recording to Carter, exonerating Powell. In response, Root briefly hacks into Finch's network by creating a honeypot, presumably learning about Finch and The Machine in the process.
Realizing that her plan has failed, Root kills her client and stages it as an apparent suicide, exonerating Powell. Root abandons her location, the dorm room of an unsuspecting college student who has been away on winter break, before the FBI, acting on an "anonymous" tip from Finch can apprehend her. Shortly thereafter, she has a brief chat conversation with Finch through IRC, acknowledging him as a worthy opponent, and adding she is looking forward to their next encounter. She ends the conversation by calling Finch "Harold", indicating she knows who he is (“Root Cause”).
Emergence as a Person of Interest
With Finch firmly in her sights, Root begins developing a plan to come face-to-face with him and to gain access to his Machine. As part of her plan, Root anonymously contacts HR and put a "hit" on herself, using the identity Caroline Turing, a meek psychotherapist. Soon after, The Machine sends Finch Turing's Social Security number, making her a person of interest. Root also hires a known con man to pretend to be another patient who posed a threat to her safety. To get close to her, Reese, as John Rooney, becomes one of her patients, and begins observing her.
Late one night, Turing is attacked by four assassins at the command of Officer Patrick Simmons. Reese, who is nearby, manages to get her to safety in a hotel, but the two are unknowingly being watched by the FBI. Under Donnelly's supervision, the FBI stages a full-scale assault on the hotel in an attempt to catch Reese, while HR continues trying to get to both Turing and Reese. With the help of Carter and Finch, Turing is led to an underground tunnel system beneath the hotel. Reese instructs her to find Finch at the end of the tunnel, while he holds off HR.
As Finch is confronted by Alicia Corwin regarding his involvement with the Machine, Root arrives and kills Corwin with a gun shot to the head. She introduces herself to Finch as Root. Finch drives away at gun point, with Corwin's body left behind (“Firewall”). While holding him captive, Root explains her desire is not to control the Machine, as Finch believed, but rather to "set it free" (“The Contingency”).
With the goal to find the Machine, Root stops in Maryland where she gains access to Denton Weeks' mistress house. She lures him there, where she overpowers him, then questions him about the location of the Machine. He refuses to tell at first but he told her it was put on a train bound to Salt Lake City, she then kills him by shooting him in the chest. What she doesn't know was that Reese has already tracked her down using her history with Hanna. At Washington D.C.'s Union Station, Reese saves Finch while Root escapes. Later that day, Root calls Reese to thank him for solving the mystery of Hanna's disappearance and tells him that she will be in touch (“Bad Code”). And with that, she disappears again.
Several months later, Root reappears as Special Counsel's secretary in the Office of Special Counsel, working under the alias "Miss May" (“Booked Solid”). She uses her position to eavesdrop on the Special Counsel's phone calls to keep track of their activities and those related to relevant number operations, including that of Sameen Shaw.
When Shaw arranges a meeting at a local hotel with Veronica Sinclair, her deceased partner Michael Cole's CIA contact, she finds Root waiting for her, having gotten there first and locked Veronica in the bathroom. Pretending to be Veronica, she talks with Shaw for a while until she learns what Shaw wants.
Root tasers Shaw and zip-ties her to a chair, threatening to torture her in order to obtain the name of a figure involved in the development of the Machine's final location, which was given to Shaw by Daniel Aquino, the project's developer. However, she doesn't have time to follow through because Special Counsel's agent Wilson's men arrive, forcing her to leave before she is seen (“Relevance”).
Determined to get the name and learn the Machine's location, she holds Special Counsel at gunpoint as a virus Kara Stanton planted in the Machine begins to impair its functioning. Having learned the Machine will call a pre-determined pay phone when the virus becomes active, she threatens to kill Grace Hendricks to gain Finch's cooperation. They go to a modest public telephone inside the main branch of the New York Public Library, where Root prepares to intercept the impending call, as Decima mercenaries fight with Reese and Shaw on the floor below.
As they await midnight, when the call is due to come, Root has Harold redirect the call from its original first-floor pay phone to one closer to them, which she answers when the call comes. However, unknown to Root, Finch splices the lines to let the call go to its original pay phone as well and directs Reese to answer it, thus giving control of the Machine to both of them for 24 hours (“Zero Day”).
Root leaves with Finch, using her access to the Machine to find and locate Lawrence Szilard, who had overseen the construction of the Machine's holding facility. He is killed by a government sniper before she can learn anything. After she kills two other assassins who are pursuing them, Finch finally admits he knows the Machine's location and they travel to its location in Hanford, Washington.
When Root and Finch arrive at the facility, her 24 hours as admin have expired, and she discovers that the Machine had moved itself to another location. Heartbroken and in tears, she prepares to kill Finch for betraying her, but is shot in the shoulder by Shaw before she can do so.
Reese also arrives, as do Special Counsel and Hersh, who is tasked to "clean up" the situation. Before he can act, Reese and Shaw help Finch escape, taking Root with them (“God Mode”).
Having evaded Special Counsel and Hersh, Finch and Reese commit a semi-catatonic Root to Stoneridge Hospital, a psychiatric facility. Still in a dazed state, she walks down a hallway and receives a phone call from the Machine, which asks if she can hear it. She replies "Absolutely" (“God Mode”).
The Machine later identifies Root as an "analog interface" and assigns her a new box, with a black outline and yellow corners. She becomes the only person who can actually converse with the Machine.
At Stoneridge Hospital, Root is the patient of psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Carmichael under the alias Robin Farrow. During her sessions with Dr. Carmichael, she claims to be hearing a "voice", implying the Machine, leading Carmichael to order she be denied access to a telephone, frustrating her. She is minimally cooperative with Carmichael, giving him cryptic answers to his questions about what she believes the voices are telling her. At one session, he finds his phone, which he thought he had lost, in her pocket. As a consequence, he orders Root be kept in solitary confinement with no contact with anything electronic. Although she insists it's not good for her to be separated from "it", but Carmichael maintains it's for her own good.
As Root and Carmichael's session continue, he tries to understand what Root believes she hears, confronting what he believes is her delusion by suggesting they discuss the truth. Smiling, Root begins telling Carmichael that the truth is a very vast thing, and dismisses his efforts by claiming that he is only the 43rd smartest person in the building. Root taunts Carmichael with her research on him: that he cheated on his medical boards, that he smokes nine cigarettes a week in the parking lot, how he pays for a bi-monthly massage therapy using crisp hundred dollar bills from a 7/11 cash machine, and how he spends time in online forums fantasizing about having sex with his patients, although not her.
From there, she reveals her beliefs: a God, whom Root also refers as "she" (referring to the Machine), was created 11 years ago in Manhattan (January 1st, 2002), and she chooses Root though no reason was given yet. Root's also actually scared of what will happen. She goes on to explain that what he hears is them arguing about whether or not she'll kill him.
Throughout Root's hospitalization, the Machine calculates the probabilities created by its continued involvement with Root: a 28% chance of activating her as its Analog Interface leads to a significant probability of her capture and/or death, while her carrying out a threatened murder has a 12% chance of leading to events resulting in the death of the Admin. Smaller probabilities apply to outcomes such as Root becoming Auxiliary-Admin, her having a child, and global thermonuclear war (a more likely outcome than Aux_Admin and Marriage/Procreation). As part of its calculations, the Machine determines that the probability of successfully retasking Root is unknown (“Liberty”) .As it does, Root remains in the facility, where Carmichael has finally accepted that there is some kind of "voice" speaking to her, but claims that the time has come for her to leave soon (“Lady Killer”).
Root begins setting up her plan to escape from Stoneridge with the Machine's help. She hacks into the thermostat and several other computers, making needed adjustments. Then, she asks the Machine to dispense desflurane from a medication dispenser. Later, she talks with Carmichael in his office and tells him that it's finally time for her to leave. She explains her escape plan to a visibly frightened Carmichael, saying that Hersh is on his way to kill her.
The plan is set in motion as the doctor's phone rings. The air conditioning system releases the desflurane, an anesthetic which vaporizes above room temperature, knocking out the guards. Root leaves Carmichael, who pursues her, and walks down a hallway full of unconscious guards, picking up a gun from one of them and a phone. Hersh arrives, and Root opens fire on him. She and Carmichael hide, and following directions from the Machine, Root shoots Hersh. She considers killing him, but the Machine instructs her not to, and she leaves.
Back in New York, Finch receives an unidentified number related to Root's escape while monitoring another person of interest. He tries reaching the facility by telephone, but is unsuccessful, prompting him to go there himself. By the time he arrives, Root is gone, and Finch finds the unconscious Hersh and the guards, along with the damage Root has done. He calls Reese and tells them they have a problem (“Lady Killer”).
Shortly thereafter, Root appears at Shaw's bedside as she sleeps, awakening her. Root pulls out a taser gun and incapacitates Shaw, saying that they will have so much fun together. As she does, the Machine indicates her as "Analog Interface Active" (“Razgovor”).
Having drugged Shaw and tied her to the steering wheel of a car, Root explains to her that the Machine has a new category of numbers besides "relevant" and "irrelevant".
She cuts Shaw loose and Shaw threatens her with a knife, and Root says she knows about the car accident that killed her father. Shaw reluctantly agrees to help, but warns that their truce is permanently off once the mission is done.
Root and Shaw get money and earpieces through directions from the Machine, and Root leads Shaw into an underground sewer. They use an improvised torch to get to a sewer grille, which she has Shaw loosen with construction tools.
The two then head to a CIA pickup site, where they encounter an agent that Shaw fights in hand-to-hand combat and Root tasers unconscious. Root, after making a phone call says that the CIA is picking up a package, and says that she's the package. Shaw, posing as an agent, takes Root with her with two other agents.
Root is taken to a CIA black site, and Shaw talks with chief interrogator Nick Breckenridge while Root begins a conversation with Jason Greenfield, another man being held there. Root admits responsibility to numerous infamous hacks from the past and then tells Jason that she's here for him. Jason explains the activities of an organization called Vigilance, and says he deserted them after they killed Wayne Kruger (“Nothing to Hide”), who Jason told them to simply scare before they decided to take further action. Root undoes a part of the fence wall as they talk.
Root, along with Jason and numerous other people, is loaded onto a truck being driven by an operative and Shaw. Root cuts free of her shackles, and the truck is intercepted by Vigilance soldiers.
Root rescues Jason from high-ranking Vigilance member Peter Collier, and takes him to the sewer that she and Shaw visited earlier. She gives Jason money and information to get a new home and identity in South America. She claims that she's simply following orders. Jason leaves just as two Vigilance soldiers arrive and point their guns at Root. Root simply smiles as Shaw shoots down the soldiers. Root says that their mission is done, and Shaw knocks her unconscious (“Mors Praematura”).
Captivity in the Library
Root is later kept in a room in the Library by Finch, and Root tells him that the Machine will be angry at him if he keeps her there. Finch asks why she hasn't considered if the Machine wants her to be there, and locks the door as he leaves while Root is left thinking (“Mors Praematura”).
While taking some tea and food into her room, Finch assures her that her confinement is for her own good; he claims that he hasn't fully reasoned out why the Machine is communicating with her, but she is as dangerous as ever. Root thinks that he is jealous because the Machine won't talk to him like it talks to her and tells him to not be jealous because "Mom still loves us both".
When Finch later takes more books for her to read, he says again that the imprisonment is for her own good and that he is worried about her and the relationship she's developed with the Machine. She replies cryptically that both of them can't stop what's coming but they have the opportunity to understand the change that will happen, the future that is coming. (“The Perfect Mark”)
Following the death of Joss Carter (“The Crossing”), Reese becomes severely unstable and begins a vengeful hunt for her killer, Patrick Simmons, the last remaining member of the crime organization HR who isn't imprisoned or killed. When Finch, Shaw, and Fusco are unsuccessful in their attempts to find Reese, Shaw convinces Finch to turn to Root for help, as she is their only remaining option.
Finch reluctantly releases Root from her captivity in the Library, and she reestablishes contact with the Machine on an earpiece to get Reese's location. She gives them directions to a US Marshal safe house where HR leader Alonzo Quinn is temporarily being held in protective custody. When they arrive, Reese sets off an explosion in a car to distract the Marshals as he infiltrates the building.
Reese prepares to kill Quinn after forcing him at gunpoint to write down Simmons' escape route from New York. Finch attempts to convince him not to shoot, but Reese pulls the trigger. However, the gun does not fire because it was covered in his own blood. Reese collapses from injuries sustained from a prior gunfight with Simmons during Carter's murder.
On their way back, Root points out that the Machine never said Reese was the only one planning to kill Simmons. Fusco, who has stayed back to make sure Quinn gets arrested, grabs the paper with Simmons' location. Simmons is arrested by Fusco afterwards and is ultimately murdered on Carl Elias' orders in a hospital.
Root, on the other hand, chooses to stay at the Library, telling Finch that they should be together for the "greater fight ahead of them" (“The Devil's Share”).
Root still manages to somehow maintain communication with the Machine following the events of the war with HR, providing Finch with the social security number of Arthur Claypool. Finch is surprised at how she is able to do this, and Root warns him not to ignore the Machine's calls (“Lethe”).
When Finch, Shaw and Claypool are held hostage and about to be executed by Control and her men, Root arrives to rescue them, having managed to disable her ankle bracelet and pick the lock in her room in the Library. Finch and Shaw are able to escape with Claypool, but Root is shot in the arm by Hersh and captured.
While Hersh pursues Finch, Shaw and Claypool, Root is kept in a cell at an undisclosed location and meets Control, who proceeds with an interrogation method of injecting Root's right arm with a barbiturate to render her unconscious and an amphetamine in her left to wake her up. Root continues to taunt Control of how clueless she is, but Control relentlessly goes on with the interrogation, revealing a case full of syringes.
As night falls, Root is unable to handle the torture for much longer, having been injected with nearly every syringe Control had available. Control says that it can stop if Root provides her with answers, but Root presses on, prompting Control to inject her even more. Root finally gives in and reveals that she is in fact the Machine's analog interface, taking actions on its behalf.
Control asks if Root considers the Machine her superior, but Root says that it's something far greater. Control figures that the only way to halt her connection with the Machine is to get rid of it, and performs a stapedectomy on her right ear without anesthesia to render it defective.
Root, now deaf in her right ear, reveals to Control that the Machine has been sending her Morse code messages through a phone Control brought in earlier in an attempt to have Root contact the Machine. Root is able to hear in the near-ultrasonic range, explaining how the Machine was able to communicate to her despite various hindrances (such as Finch's Faraday cage). In the case of Control, the Morse code beeping was at a frequency that the machine rightly estimated Control couldn't hear due to the natural high frequency hearing loss of their age group. The Machine has told Root that Control brought a knife in her pocket because she was scared of Root, a knife she pickpocketed to escape her bonds. She lunges out of her chair with the knife to Control's head and asks the Machine what to do with her. Speaking the Machine's mind, Root ominously tells Control: "Do not pursue me or my agents... (I'm trying to) Save you." A visibly frightened Control asks what the Machine is trying to save her from, and Root simply says, "isn't she the best?" She chooses to let Control live.
After Finch returns to the Library safely, Root, now in a new disguise at a new location, calls him. She informs him that the bank manager that he and Claypool were within the vault, when they went to find the drives for Claypool's Machine Samaritan, was an impostor; the real bank manager was murdered prior to their arrival. The impostor is revealed to be an operative of Decima Technologies, and she has stolen the real Samaritan drives (“Aletheia”).
Root now continues to pursue the numbers provided exclusively to her by the Machine, the first having been Jason Greenfield. Her latest number is Daniel Casey, who was helped by Finch and saved by Reese in 2010. She comes to his house and instructs him to find Greenfield, stating that they're working for "a mutual friend" (“RAM”).
In her next assignment, Root intercepts a prison transfer in Illinois and breaks out car thief Billy Parsons. She follows the Machine's instructions to create Billy a fake ID of German DOD worker Gunter Schmitz and steal a message sent to the latter by a fellow computer scientist. After parting ways with Billy Parsons, Root receives her next mission.
The Machine then directs her to the person of interest, Cyrus Wells, who is now a janitor. She meets him at a building and takes him to a diner to talk, where he states that his primary belief is that everything is part of a "greater plan". He says he always takes a walk in the park no matter the weather, and Root lets him do so.
At the park, Root meets with Finch, who has also received Cyrus' number at precisely the same time she approached Cyrus which makes Finch believe Root is the one placing him at risk. Root disregards Finch's assumptions and proceeds to warns him that Decima plans to use Samaritan against the Machine, and also provides some cryptic clues on Cyrus' case.
At Cyrus' apartment Root does what she is told by the Machine and briefly talks with Shaw who is staking the building outside, Shaw mentions the only reason Root isn't locked up is because of her. While grabbing some clothes for Cyrus, Root sees a picture of Cyrus with his friends Alex and Sarah and asks to know who they are, but he refuses to tell her. A sniper fires at them and they manage to escape while Shaw and Reese fight off the attackers. Further down the street, Root manages to get Cyrus arrested and thus taken into custody. She later arrives at the NYPD precinct posing as a real FBI agent with a real warrant to take Cyrus with her.
At the diner again, Cyrus finally tells Root about Alex and Sarah. They then go to the park as his usual routine, where Decima's men ambush them using countermeasures to block communications between Root and the Machine which leads to Cyrus being taken despite Reese's assistance.
Root meets with Finch at the Library for him to redesign the inner section of a cochlear implant and informs him that Maxwell LTD, the company that owns a building Decima needs Cyrus to access, is a front for an NSA lab storing a new state-of-the-art processor that Decima plans to use to power Samaritan with. Finch wonders why she isn't helping Cyrus and Root finally admits that she was behind the deaths of Cyrus' friends, her guilt stifling her motivation to help the man anymore. She takes the finished device and leaves.
With the cochlear implant in hand, Root blackmails a physician named Dr. Carr into implanting it, bypassing the damage caused by the stapedectomy. The cochlear implant equips Root with technology capable of communicating with the Machine while being immune to signal jamming. She breaks into the building where Cyrus is being taken and after briefly reflecting on which mission to pursue, rescue Cyrus or protect the processor, she decides to save Cyrus and helps Reese and Fusco in doing so causing the new superconducting processor to be stolen by Decima.
At a safe house, Root privately talks with Cyrus and then tells Finch that she didn't tell Cyrus about her involvement in his past. Finch suggests they collaborate more often since the Samaritan threat is real and Root leaves with Fusco for her flight to Paraguay. The Machine, meanwhile, calculates the threats exposed as Samaritan's data gets analyzed. (“Root Path (/)”)
Root begins following John Greer, director of Decima's operations. She trails him through a train station, but he uses counter-surveillance tactics that result in Root finding the wrong man.
At the Library, Root calls Finch to give him a quick tip on a case he's working on, and then informs him that she's borrowing Bear. She takes Bear to the park and watches Greer meet with corrupt businessman Ken Davis, who reports that six generators have been successfully smuggled into the US. Greer thanks him and then had his men put a hood over Davis' head and take him away.
Back at the train station again, Root uses Bear's searching skills and sense of smell to overcome Greer's counter-surveillance measures. She finds him in an empty hallway, where she confronts him with evidence that he has stolen technology to power Samaritan. Greer says that it's human nature to control things, and also offers Root a place in his team. Root wonders why he's negotiating, when two armed men aim their guns at her. Greer calls their meeting a draw and walks away, letting her leave as she looks on (“Allegiance”).
Root arrives at a crime scene where ISA worker Leona Wainwright who died in a car explosion caused by Vigilance. She tells Fusco, who was there as well on Finch and Reese's behalf, about the type of work Leona does for the government and that he should be careful.
Later, after apologizing and informing Shaw she was the one that leaked information of her and Reese's whereabouts to Vigilance in order to intercept communications between their members, Root gets an alert from the Machine warning her that Finch is in danger. She saves Finch and Fusco from Vigilance head Peter Collier. Then she tells Finch Vigilance managed to leak documents to the press concerning the Northern Lights program and leaves.
At a park outside, Root talks with Finch when she gets another alert from the Machine informing her that the government has shut down the Northern Lights program, and that all the relevant numbers will now be re-assigned to her at which point she leaves hastily for her next mission (“Most Likely To...”).
Root arrives in a motorcycle to pick up Shaw who was with Reese at a bar, she told Shaw there is a relevant number and that they will steal a plane to go to Alaska and also informs Reese that he'll be receiving a call from Finch in Washington, D.C. about a number.
Later somewhere in the Miami region, Root receives another relevant number who is located in Saint Louis and told Shaw that she couldn't go with her (“Death Benefit”).
Root grabs Shaw to prevent Decima from ambushing Reese and Shaw as Samaritan temporarily receives the government feeds for New York City. She tells them that Decima is seeking for them and helps them escape. During their surveillance evasion tactics, while passing a nearby payphone, it begins to ring and Root promptly told Reese there's no time for irrelevant numbers. Reese disregards her and asks for a name instead of a number, Root is shocked when the Machine informs her the number belongs to Grace Hendricks.
Getting herself arrested to enter covertly in the NYPD 8th precinct, Root warns Grace Hendricks, who was saved by Reese and Shaw that Decima will try to abduct her again if she walks out. She then heats the precinct's telecommunications box by using an induction coil to disable audio and video surveillance in the building preventing Samaritan from seeing inside. After Fusco gives her a phone, she dials a number and calls, triggering an explosion on a building that would confuse Decima operatives from finding them. Samaritan, however, wasn't fooled, with Root stating it always was a 50/50 chance. The car they were in gets rammed and Decima's operatives manage to get hold of Grace.
After Root, Reese and Shaw flee from New York to New Jersey, Root explains that Samaritan only has the government feeds for New York city and that they're safe. She then returns to New York with Reese and Shaw to a port located in a surveillance black zone where they find a ship which isn't included in the ports manifest that contains several Samaritan servers in transport. She then tells them that she has work to do and will stay as Reese and Shaw leave to find Grace.
Root arranges a meeting with Reese and Shaw in Mount Vernon showing them she has managed to steal seven of Samaritan's servers and told them they should trust her, that they're not out of the game yet despite the fact Finch had been captured by Decima (“Beta”).
When meeting with Reese and Shaw in a rooftop, Root explains to them why Decima's operatives normally commit suicide to avoid capture and also told them rescuing Finch isn't a priority, that he isn't in imminent danger. She informs them the Machine told there are others threats but it lacks information and they all should be its eyes and ears.
On the street, Root introduced Reese and Shaw to her team of hackers, Daizo, Daniel Casey, Jason Greenfield and told them they had been collecting necessary computer equipment throughout the tri-state area and that they needed to use Reese's safe house. She also sent Shaw to Carlton Hotel and gave her a satellite phone.
On the safe house, Root, after Reese's questions about if they find anything useful on the servers, only told him that Decima will find them "if we don't get this right". After instructing her team of hackers on what to do, she leaves with Reese. On the street she receives a call from Shaw, after asking her what she sees, the Machine starts analyzing the data and promptly calls a nearby pay phone giving Reese five numbers, the first one being the social security number of Control.
The Machine then sent Root and Reese to a coffee shop, while they're waiting for the person of interest, Root calls Shaw and told her what room to go to, a secret service surveillance room where a nearby meeting is taking place with Control, Senator Ross Garrison, General Kyle Holcombe and Manuel Rivera. Despite Shaw's concerns about the situation at hand, Root told her they don't know if they're victims or perpetrators and to have patience, also that fifth number remains a mystery. Meanwhile, at the coffee shop, the person of interest arrives.
Root and Reese approach a man in the coffee shop, after noticing he is carrying a sub-machine gun Reese manages to neutralize him. Root uploads information from a USB drive they found to the Machine, who quickly discovers it's a Stuxnet based virus but it doesn't know what it was designed to attack. Reese quickly deducts the man is a member of Vigilance and Shaw also advises them Vigilance is also at the Hotel. When they press the man for what Vigilance's plan is he only said they are too late to stop the revolution.
Back on the streets, Reese is frustrated with the Machine for not trying to find Finch and making them running around. Root contacts her team of hackers for a situation report. With disappointing answers and at Reese's insistence, Root told him they were working on something to slow their enemies down.
Later, Root instructs Shaw to meet with Control. She then receives a call from Jason and Casey who told her the target of the virus is the power company. Root immediately sent Reese to help Shaw and left.
Root, now on the road with her team of hackers and with the modified Samaritan servers near completion, calls Shaw and told her Finch is in danger, that the fifth number belongs to John Greer, and that they're not going to able to save Finch before Vigilance gets to them. However, Root informs Shaw that Hersh knows where Greer is hiding.
After getting to their destination and with the servers ready, Root hands over an envelope to each of the hackers containing brand new identities and told them this is where they part ways. They insisted on helping her, but Root dismisses them and told them the Machine had calculated the odds that if they went together they would all die. When asked where she was going Root turned to a nearby large warehouse and told them it was Samaritan (“A House Divided”).
While preparing to infiltrate the facility where Samaritan is stored in, Root calls Shaw and told her to go to an intersection and that the Machine is worried about Finch. When questioned by Shaw about what she is doing with her hacker friends, Root told she was going in alone.
When questioned about the servers being late for arrival, Root tranquilizes a scientist and is caught by a private security guard but is saved by the timely arrival of Shaw who incapacitates him. They proceed to remove two RFID chips from the scientist and the security guard and implant them on themselves to gain access to the server room.
Later, Root and Shaw move the seven servers inside, the chip implanted on Shaw's arm malfunctions at first and she's almost caught by another security guard. After a tap on the arm, the chip begins to work again and they're able to get inside.
In the server room, they install the modified servers. Root explains to Shaw that Samaritan isn't fully operational yet but it will as soon as it gets the government surveillance feeds.
With all the servers now installed Shaw suggest they make a plan B by using plastic explosives, Root dismisses her saying that the place they're in is only one of a hundred similar Samaritan facilities around the world and it wouldn't make any difference if only one is destroyed. After receiving a message from the Machine, Root told Shaw they're in danger and they leave.
Root, on the road with Shaw and with Samaritan now online makes a call to Finch. She told them to leave the library, that it isn't safe there anymore and told Finch and Reese to get the new identities she left for them and to destroy their equipment. When questioned by Finch if she had failed in stopping Samaritan, Root told him that any hope of stopping Samaritan from coming online ended when they didn't kill Congressmen Roger McCourt, that everything she had been doing had never been about winning but about survival. She continues with saying the seven modified Samaritan servers were carefully built and hardcoded to ignore seven new identities created to hide and protect the people who might one day bring down Samaritan (Harold Finch, John Reese, Sameen Shaw, Daizo, Jason Greenfield, Daniel Casey and Root).
She apologizes to Harold for doing what she did because it was the only way to ensure their survival and that she has a message from the Machine to him. She tells him that the point of Pandora's box is that once you've opened it you can't close it again. However, when everything is gone and the worst has happened, there is still one thing left: Hope.
Root looks down a street at Shaw as they part ways (“Deus Ex Machina”).
In Season 4 it is revealed that while everyone else was given solid, air-tight cover identities to which they are tied, in order to prevent detection by Samaritan, the Machine has given Root a series of continually rotating cover identities, receiving a new identity every couple of days; this has proven the best option for her, as it allows her to conduct specific missions for the Machine, very usefully and resourcefully, to counter Samaritan's actions while being able to blend into her surroundings with minimal resistance/threat of detection(“Nautilus”) (“Prophets”)(“Honor Among Thieves”). It is not revealed how this takes place from until Mid-Season 5 (“QSO”).
During the mission to the Stock Exchange, Root openly flirts with Shaw and comes unto her. The latter shares her attraction, but says they would be a disaster together. However, before Shaw sacrifices herself to save the rest of the team, she kisses Root. As the elevator closes, Root is forced to watch as Shaw is then shot multiple times, crying out in anguish at the sight, with Shaw last seen lying on the floor as Martine aims a gun at her (“If-Then-Else”).
Root is contacted covertly by the Machine, and she is sent on several different missions with different identities within the same day which eventually lead to her to a conspiracy-driven radio host whose discovery of a medium of communication for Samaritan enables Root to send a message to Shaw, which motivates her to escape her captivity (“QSO”) (“Reassortment”).
After helping Shaw rescue Finch, Root and Finch speed off in a car and discuss the Machine. They eventually pass a building where, unbeknown to them, Jeffrey Blackwell had already been stationed with a sniper rifle. Root sees Jeffrey in time to make an evasive maneuver, taking the bullet intended for Finch. They are stopped by NYPD police a short time later; Finch is taken into custody and Root is taken to a hospital in critical condition. She eventually succumbs to the gunshot wound.
Later, Finch, now in the custody of the FBI, is being taken to a holding cell. The phone next to him rings. He picks it up and tentatively asks if it is Root. However, although he hears Root's voice, it is the Machine speaking. It explains that it took a voice, and Finch realizes what has happened.(“The Day the World Went Away”) Root's funeral is later attended only by Reese and Fusco though Finch visits her grave (“Synecdoche”).
While invading Fort Meade, the Machine shows Finch a simulation that reveals that without the Machine around, Root would have remained evil and become a Samaritan agent (“.exe”).
As the world seemingly starts to come to an end from the ICE-9 virus, Shaw visits Root's grave to say goodbye but can't do it in the end. Shaw notices the ground is disturbed and receives a call from the Machine with Root's voice, telling her that Samaritan operatives have dug Root up and it guesses that they got to Root's implant. The Machine admits it should've had Root cremated to protect her, but tells Shaw it just didn't have the heart to do that to Root. Shaw is shocked when she realizes that the Machine took on Root's voice and comments on the Machine having Root's bad timing as well as her voice as Samaritan operatives arrive. Samaritan is shown using Root's implant to track down the locations of the team's members and using the information to send its forces to kill them.
As Finch prepares to sacrifice himself to allow the Machine to destroy Samaritan, the Machine appears in the form of an image of Root to guide Finch and Reese before it too is destroyed by the ICE-9 virus. Before its destruction, the Machine passes on Root's opinion of Shaw to her, something that affects her greatly, causing the normally emotionless Shaw to shed a tear. Before abandoning the Machine, Shaw finally says goodbye to the Machine and thus Root after her inability to do so before.
A week after Samaritan is destroyed, Shaw tracks down Blackwell who she has figured out killed Root and executes him to avenge Root's death (“return 0”).
Skills and Talents
- Root's early mastery of the computer game "The Oregon Trail" shows that she is able to manage tasks that involve the balancing, collection, and expenditure of resources. Hunting is also a very important component of the game. Failure in a hunt can lead to starvation while overhunting might lead to a lack of resources later in the game. Additionally, potential hazards such as weather and disease must be addressed and no matter how well one has played the game, it can prove fatal. Furthermore, the game's scoring system was designed to give greater rewards those who started the game with fewer resources.
- Root has shown herself to be a skilled marksman, having taken out six Russian hit squad members with two handguns (“The Devil's Share”), as well as taking out two members of Vigilance with one burst of a machine pistol (“Mors Praematura”). Another example is her taking out several Decima operatives to gain access to a building as seen in “Root Path (/)”.
- Root has shown herself to have a high tolerance for pain in “Aletheia”, taking nearly all of Control's syringes and enduring a stapedectomy without anesthesia. While being tortured she was also able to pickpocket Control for her knife and escape her bonds.
- Root blends into roles masterfully having been Special Counsel's secretary and collecting information from him without suspicion for months, impersonating Veronica Sinclair (Michael Cole's CIA contact), assuming the identity of a psychotherapist, and also several times as the same FBI agent.
- Being an accomplished hacker, Root is quite famous in the hacker community, as seen in “Mors Praematura”, when Jason Greenfield recognizes her work.
- Root also appears to be an expert in countersurveillance because when Finch tried to follow her, he lost her at a corner (“Blunt”).
- Root was able to temporarily infiltrate Finch's private network when he attempted to do the same to her via what appeared to be a vulnerability in her system. While Finch and Reese's operations were not completely compromised, the Library had to be temporarily abandoned and Finch had to rebuild his entire network from scratch. It is unknown how much information Root was able to extract about the Machine while connected to Finch's network, although it seems to have been enough for the Machine to assign her a yellow box, signifying at least some knowledge of the Machine.
- Control deafened her in the right ear by performing a stapedectomy without anesthesia during a brutal interrogation session. (“Aletheia”) But thanks to a cochlear implant, she can communicate with the Machine through infrasound (“Root Path (/)”).
- Root's Object ID from the final scene (prediction) in “Liberty” is: "001.548.25.MPPS".
- Root's Object ID (from the Machine) is: 651.025.68.HSHW (“Lady Killer”).
- Root’s grave is marked with 050313 ("Synecdoche"). "Zero Day" aired on 05/02/2013. At midnight on that episode, the phone rang and Root answered. Her grave marker is the first day she communicated with the Machine.
- Root uses a Samsung NP300V4A notebook computer, a Google Samsung Nexus S smartphone, and arms herself with a Heizer Defense DoubleTap 9mm pistol.
- Her name comes from the superuser account "root" on Unix and Unix-like systems. Superuser accounts are used for system administration and have extreme clearance and power, like the ability to arbitrarily modify files. Windows has a similar account called Administrator or 'Admin' for short (which is disabled by default to prevent misuse). A rootkit is a type of malware which gives an intruder undetected total access to an affected computer.
- Several names associated with the character may be homages to real persons:
- Root's Caroline Turing alias in "Firewall" may be an homage to Alan Turing, an early theorist on the subject of artificial intelligence and developer of the Turing Machine, an early prototype of a computing machine, invented in 1936.
- Root's real name, Samantha Groves, might be a reference to Andrew S. Grove, former CEO of Intel, who wrote the book "Only the Paranoid Survive". The title was mentioned by Finch in “Wolf and Cub” after Root hacked into the Library.
- In Bad Code, Root uses a credit card with the surname Von Neumann to buy a copy of Flowers for Algernon, almost certainly a reference to computing pioneer John von Neumann. She uses another credit card in the name of Kelly Dyson to buy gas in Maryland, which is probably a reference to mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson..
- Root's FBI alias, Augusta A. King, may be an homage to Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.
- In the simulation where the Machine was not created, Root, as Ms. Bows, was working for Greer and Samaritan. She was tasked to take down several government members.
- Firearms used by Root include: Glock 17, Heckler & Koch USP Compact, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380, Walther P99 (“Lady Killer”), SIG-Sauer P229R (“Prophets”), Glock 19 (“Wingman”), Colt Mustang Plus II (“Prophets”), suppressed USP Compact (“Q&A”), Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (“Prophets”), Smith & Wesson 3914 (“Prophets”).
- Root's signature shooting style is dual wielding Glock 26 (“Aletheia”) pistols or sometimes a Heckler & Koch USP Compact with an S&W 380 (“The Devil's Share”).
(now part of regular cast)
- “Lady Killer”
- “Mors Praematura”
- “The Perfect Mark”
- “The Crossing”
- “The Devil's Share”
- “Root Path (/)”
- “Most Likely To...”
- “Death Benefit”
- “A House Divided”
- “Deus Ex Machina”
- “Honor Among Thieves”
- “The Devil You Know”
- “The Cold War”
- “Search and Destroy”
- “Terra Incognita”
- “Truth Be Told”
- “A More Perfect Union”
- “Sotto Voce”
- “The Day the World Went Away”