The Machine seems to be able to generate innumerable fake identities for Root as she gets too close to be being spotted by Samaritan.

Why can't The Machine do the same of Finch and Reese? They do get a new identity but they don't change identities as frequently as Root does

I understand Reese might want to keep his "hobby" activity at NYPD and doesn't want to risk exposing his cover identity. But what The Machine could do is that give Reese a new identity as he goes for his mission and as soon as he finishes his mission give back his 'Riley' cover.

I say this because season 5 episode 7 showed that Samaritan is unable to recognize Root, but is able to recognize her behavior and considers her a threat, and as soon as The Machine gives her a new cover identity, she is out of the spotlight of Samaritan. Since Samaritan is unable to recognize a their faces, as in previous season Root creates a loophole in Samaritan for Finch,Reese,Root and Shaw.

2 Answers 2


I don't think this is ever really explained, just handwaved. But you can turn the question around and ask "Why was the machine able to generate multiple ID's for Root but not for the rest of POI team?" One possibility: as a master hacker Root had already laid the foundation for ID switching (deleting her digital footprints, maintaining a list of available Social Security numbers, etc.) some time before the events of the show. The Machine only had to expand on what Root was already doing.

Another possibility: The Machine is using different methods for spoofing Samaritan: hardened deep-cover for Harold and Reese, and a more superficial floating cover for Root. A third method may be in place for Shaw, more suitable for her less-than-legal cover jobs.


Finch tries to keep a distance between him and the Machine - he uses the numbers but tries to do everything else himself from investigating why the targets are in danger to infiltrating himself and Reese into the targets' vicinities. Root is all in for the Machine, eager to obey it completely and treat it as a newborn God. This difference in relationship leads to a difference in what the Machine does for Finch as opposed to for Root - Finch takes help from the Machine when absolutely necessary- Root takes help whenever it is offered.

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