Starting with some events in S3E19 of Person of Interest, The Machine's status is changed significantly. With the

ending of the Northern Lights program, The Machine lost access to Control and her agents.

But The Machine maintains access to the same surveillance feeds she's always had, so she was able to continue predicting Relevant numbers just as she's been supplying Irrelevant numbers. A few episodes later in S3E23,

Samaritan comes online permanently, and provides Control with Relevant numbers.

What happens to the Relevant numbers The Machine predicts now? Does Samaritan produce the same numbers so The Machine doesn't do anything, and Control takes care of them? Or does The Machine supply these numbers to other off-screen agents, like Root's group that we saw late in season 3?

2 Answers 2


To review one important aspect of how The Machine functions: There are three interfaces, the digital interface for "relevant" numbers that goes to "control" under Project Northern Lights, the second digital interface that Finch and Ingram added whereby The Machine provides "irrelevant" numbers, and the analog interface where The Machine communicates directly with Root via her ear implant.

The Northern Lights project has been shut down by season 3. The Machine was created primarily to provide "relevant" numbers, so it presumably continues to generate them, but it is not clear whether the digital/relevant interface has been shut down or is merely being ignored.

When Samaritan came on-line, The Machine issued a new set of "irrelevant" numbers (via the digital interface) - those of all of its operatives (Root, Fusco, Finch, Reese, Shaw).

Since then, The Machine has been in a fight to the death with Samaritan and communicates primarily through the analog interface with Root. It has issued a few numbers through the digital interface, but many of those have been attempts to counter Samaritan operations or recruiting efforts.


Harold Finch: The numbers never stop coming. You should know that up front. (S1E1)

The whole function of The Machine is to provide "Relevant" numbers. That's what it was created for. So, yes, it generates them. Whole another question is: does it report them to anybody except our rogue group? No, the Northern Lights is shut down.

Samaritan will not generate "Relevant" numbers, but instead gives full intelligence on the targets. As was the deal with Greer.

Conjecture: While the war continues, "relevant" list is getting "irrelevant", as long as it's not affecting survival and it intertwines with "irrelevant". And, above all, "relevants" are SEP.

  • Update to answer: latest episodes show Samaritan DOES NOT provide "Relevant" information only... Show is getting better by the week
    – AcePL
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 12:14

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