I skipped season 3 and 4 of Person of Interest and directly started with season 5.

When Root goes to the radio station to save Max, we see that she is directly in contact with the Machine. Now how can she be sure that it is the Machine that is talking, and not the Samaritan pretending to be one?

Why is Samaritan not trying to eliminate John/Finch/Root?

  • 4
    It's a shame you skipped those seasons - the answers are all there. Also, it seems you're asking two separate questions: about Root being sure it's the Machine, and about Samaritan not targeting them - you can only keep one. May 9, 2017 at 10:29
  • Also, which moment in the episode exactly do you have in mind? I will give a better answer then. May 9, 2017 at 11:04
  • @Gallifreyan thanks for edit :) There are many moments throughout the season but to sate one, consider when root is talking to Machine while shooting for some documentary just before the Machine guides her to the radio station. Now how can root be sure that Samaritan isn't listening the conversation especially when root mentions Shaw several times.
    – kn330
    May 9, 2017 at 15:35
  • Added the part about private conversations; if you could find a video of the scene you have in mind, maybe I could be of more help. May 9, 2017 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


Samaritan can't detect their communications because it doesn't know how they're talking - it simply isn't wired to listen to that frequency. In the first episode of series 4, "Panopticon", the team uses a network of VHF TV antennae, which used to belong to The Brotherhood (Dominic's gang); they're not using Internet, or satellites, or cellular technology - simply put, the network they're using is so ridiculously simple and outdated, it's not a place Samaritan would look at; I'm not even sure Samaritan knows this could be done (I certainly didn't), and if it does - it can't tap into it because there's no physical way to do it, and there's most probably encryption.

Samaritan can't target Team Machine directly because of the flaw they introduced to it in the culmination of season 3, "Deus Ex Machina". You can view the relevant scene here:

To put it shortly, they were unable to stop Samaritan from going operational - so they settled for preventing it from targeting themselves, by hard-coding a protocol to ignore the identities of 7 people into it, so Samaritan doesn't recognise them as Finch, Root, Shaw, or Reese (and the 3 hacker guys Root hired).

You can actually see, in the title sequence as seen through Samaritan's eyes, that it acquires the targets just for a second, but is then promptly overridden by a "classification error".

That doesn't mean Samaritan is not looking for them: it just can't use the cameras and all that tech. Its agents are constantly looking; in fact, it becomes a plot point that the four heroes must not in any way come in touch with their former identities - Finch does that in episode 10 of series 5, "The Day The World Went Away", to no good consequences.

When Root does the same, she's recognised at once:

"You can just call me Root, bitch."

  • This explains a lot about why the cameras not identifying them as threats. What about the speech analysis? These characters continue to communicate with each other using their real names, why would Samaritan not catch that?
    – kn330
    May 9, 2017 at 15:39
  • Presumably, they covered that as well - the problem only starts when they openly display same behaviour as in their previous lives (or see the Root way ^). May 9, 2017 at 15:55

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