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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
The Devil You Know

4x09 - The Devil You Know.png



Air dateNovember 25, 2014

Running time43:27

Production code3J5409

Written byErik Mountain

Directed byRichard J. Lewis

Viewers9.04 M

ID(s) from IntroNonstandard Intro

Images (22)


Whose guardian angel are you this time?

— Elias

"The Devil You Know" is the ninth episode of season 4 and the 77th produced hour of Person of Interest. It originally aired on November 25, 2014.


Reese and Finch are caught in a power struggle for control of the city’s gangs when Elias is targeted by Dominic, the ambitious leader of The Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Root and Shaw disagree over how to handle a new threat from Samaritan.

Origin of the Title

The title is drawn from the old axiom "better the devil you know than the devil you don't": when in a bad situation with no good options, go with the bad option you know about rather than the bad option you don't. This would appear to apply to Reese and Finch, who must choose between allying themselves with Elias and helping him maintain his role an organized criminal, or staying out of the situation and letting events transpire as they may, regardless of the consequences.

Main Plot Points

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

  • Root helps Shaw escape from a Samaritan operative, but Shaw's cover is blown.
  • Reese warns Elias that his life is in danger and protects Elias from being shot by one of his own men.
  • Elias takes Reese and his second-in-command Anthony to his old orphan asylum transformed into an office for Elias' accountant Bruce.
  • Dominic and Link attack there.
  • Dominic shows his knowledge of Roman history to Anthony.
  • Person of Interest: Carl Elias. Previously a target of the Russian mafia, the old-school mobster now finds himself in the sites of new-world drug lord Dominic and The Brotherhood.
  • Elias's boyhood relationship with Scarface, Anthony is explored.
  • Elias tries to save John by giving himself up.
  • Dominic presses Elias for the combination of the safe.
  • When Elias accuses Dominic of hubris, Dominic is clever enough to realize it is a trap.
  • The safe explodes Killing Anthony and Dominic's men.
  • Elias starts a war to revenge his friend's death and those who turned on him.
  • Elias ends by saying Invictus Maneo, I remain unconquered.

Episode Notes

  • Elias' safe combination, 10 30 74 alludes to October 30, 1974, the day of the boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. Foreman, at that time undefeated world heavyweight champion was defeated by Ali just before the end of the eighth round, with Ali employing his "rope-a-dope" strategy (which Reese references) . The event became known as The Rumble in the Jungle. Earlier in the episode, a photograph of the fight between George Foreman and Michael Moorer is shown hanging on the wall at the restaurant where Elias meets Gino.
  • Near the end of the episode, Dominic reminds Link that "the game within the game" is important, a reference to the philosophy of New York Knicks star Walt Frazier. Frazier wrote that the key to the success of a championship basketball team was not only how they play the game on the court, but how the team worked together that lead to success. Frazier emphasized the importance of old-school skill, coordination and timing over the flashier moves and showmanship of modern players as the key to winning. To Frazier, a successful team respects itself, its leadership and its opponent, a belief that Dominic embraces but Link has yet to learn.
  • Fusco refers to Root and Shaw as "Lucy and Ethel". Lucille Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, a pair of housewives inclined to find themselves in the middle of comic adventures, are the two main female characters in the 1950s CBS sitcom "I Love Lucy".
  • Elias's quote, "Sun Tzu would be impressed." acknowledging Dominic's strategy of studying his enemy and finding out their greatest weakness refers to Sun Tzu, a 5th-century BC Chinese general and strategist, and author of "The Art of War". Considered one of the seminal studies of military tactics and strategy, it has influenced western military procedures into contemporary times. First translated into English in 1905, it has been translated multiple times and studied widely by both military and non-military strategists. Both Sun Tzu and "The Art of War" were heavily referenced in “Wolf and Cub”.
  • The ending shot of Elias walking down Brighton Beach is a throwback to the ending scene of “Witness”, except this time, Elias walks alone and in the sunset, to symbolize a lone king fighting for his dying empire.
  • Elias and Anthony demonstrate a knowledge of some Latin. They are both Italian and Latin is very similar to Italian and derived from it.

Vocabulary and Acronyms

  • Morior invictus (Latin): Death before defeat (lit. I die undefeated). Scarface's last words.
  • Invictus maneo (Latin): I remain undefeated. Elias's final line, about the future.

Production Notes

  • Other than in “Panopticon”, Bloomingdales did not give permission to film on location. Instead, the shootout between Shaw and Martine was filmed at Bergdorf Goodman. [1]

Bloopers and Continuity Errors

  • After the building explosion, during the SPOV images, the time of the next image (14 FL BALC) is "-1:-1:-1", then 00:00:00 to 00:00:02 while the actual image is like a (fast-foward) morning to afternoon.



  • In Finch's phone, there are 5 numbers present:
    • (347)-555-0167 - (Dominic)
    • (917)-555-0164
    • (347)-555-0172 - (Elias)
    • (347)-555-0193
    • (718)-555-0122


  • "I'm guessing the psycho blonde wasn't there for our free tote bag promotion." (Shaw)
  • "Guess the young lion is looking to be king." (Reese)
  • "If you don't tell me where John is right now, I'm not going further. Samaritan's goons can just come and blast us to the next dimension." (Shaw, to Root)
  • "You've still got some power, Elias. Question is, what are you gonna do with it?" (Dominic, to Elias)
  • "Guy like Elias knows there's more to playing the game than just money. There's the game within the game." (Dominic)
  • "And Anthony, Anthony saved my life more than a few times over the years. What kind of man would I be if I didn't tried to return the favor." (Elias)
  • "I already got a crew. And a boss I'd lay down my life for." (Scarface)
  • "A question you better ask yourself. 'Cause someday, you might find yourself sitting in a chair looks a hell of a lot like this one." (Scarface, to Link)
  • "You can end me all you want. Right after your nap." (Root, to Shaw)
  • "The world is a violent place, Harold. It always will be. Best we can hope to do while we're here is protect those closest to us." (Elias, to Finch)
  • "I gotta give you credit. You studied your enemy, you infiltrated my organization, you identified my weakness and you exploited it. Sun Tzu would be impressed. But I've learned something over the years. While it's important to know your enemy's weakness it's just as important to know your own. Do you know yours, Dominic? Hubris." (Elias, to Dominic)
  • "As the Romans said, 'Morior Invictus.'" (Scarface)
  • "You, Martine, must now be Samaritan's eyes. So I'm expanding your capabilities. Happy hunting." (Greer, to Martine)
  • "It's like I told you. There's always a game within the game." (Dominic & Link conversing)
  • "Anthony died protecting me. It's up to me now to make sure that his sacrifice wasn't in vain. You told me you wouldn't help me fight a war, John. Well, sometimes a war comes to you. When it does, you can either fight or be vanquished. I'm gonna see that Dominic answers for Anthony. When that day comes, you and Harold would be wise to stay out of my way." (Elias, to Finch & Reese)
  • "Invictus Maneo." (Elias)