Synopsis for 5×05: Team Machine learns about a program called Shotseeker, meant to identify crime related sounds around the city in order to dispatch police to investigate. However, it turns out that they don’t investigate every crime, and there may be some serious cover-ups occurring, putting the number of the week at risk.
Finch and Reese worked on a new number, a young man by the name of Ethan Garvin. He was a “listener” of sorts for a program called Shotseeker, which was designed to use cameras and microphones all over the city to pick up sounds related to crime, like gun shots. Reese had a perfect excuse as a detective to check out the police run program, and observed it in action. As Garvin’s shift ended, he lied about where he was going and John followed him.
While watching his son’s hockey practice, Fusco was approached by Elias’ money man, Bruce. Since Fusco was the last person to see Elias alive, Bruce wanted answers. He wanted to know who it was that had killed him, because he planned to seek revenge like Elias had done for Anthony’s death. Fusco told him he didn’t know, and then Bruce lowkey threatened his son. Not taking well to that, Fusco told him to back off.
Back at the subway, Finch explained to Root that he’d created a baby Samaritan based on source code he’d been able to put together. He had also done the same to the Machine, both stored on disconnected laptops. He had plans to let these miniature versions have it out through a mediating laptop to see if the Machine would be able to find any sort of weakness in Samaritan’s system. Root wanted to see the results, but after Finch started it he told her he would be the only one to see. If she wanted him to take risks and do whatever it takes to win, then she needed to let him do it on his own terms.
Reese followed Garvin to an apartment complex, the home of a med student who had disappeared a few nights before. Garvin appeared to be trying to find her, and ruffled a few of the neighbor’s feathers in the process. He cornered one of the neighbors and gave her his phone number, asking her to please call him if she thought of anything relating to the med student’s disappearance.
He then busted into the apartment of the missing woman and shot three shots into her fireplace. Reese followed him in, told him to drop his weapon, and the kid tried to explain what he was doing. Three nights previous, Shotseeker had picked up gun shots from that very apartment. However, the program categorized them as firecrackers. He took John back to see on Shotseeker that the sound actually matched gunshots, but Shotseeker had covered it up and labeled it as something benign so as to not to draw attention to whatever happened in that apartment.
Reese planned to investigate the missing person’s case when Fusco grabbed him and pulled him aside. He told him he needed to tell Bruce what really happened to Elias, because if he doesn’t, then Fusco will in order to protect his son. Reese agreed, pawned the kid and the case over to Fusco, and went to presumably find and have a chat with Bruce.
The Machines in the subway continued to battle it out, Samaritan’s victories stacking up against the Machine’s lack of wins.
Fusco went to check out a few things with Garvin and the Shotseeker program tried to frame Garvin while they were out. Thankfully Fusco was there and able to flash his badge to keep the kid from getting shot, but it was clear that someone wanted Garvin dead. Investigating further into the missing medical student, they had found she was working on inventing a way of freeze drying food that would make it so they could pack, ship, and feed millions without the food going bad. A for-profit company had approached her about buying it, but she had planned to give the strategy to a non-profit she volunteered with. That decision came just days before she disappeared.
Finch found that the non-profit’s files had been hacked by the for-profit company, Harvesta, which made the CEO of that company look good for the disappearance.
Meanwhile, Reese tracked down Bruce, disarmed his men, and hopped into the car with him. He told Bruce to back off of Fusco, and to let Elias go. It would be better if he just went back into the shadows, though Bruce was not having it. He then threatened Bruce and told him he’d kill him if he ever went near Fusco again. That ended that nice little chat, and Reese returned to the case.
Garvin explained that the disappearance was the first one he’d dealt with while working on Shotseeker where he knew the person, and the fact that she’d disappeared and no one was looking into it didn’t sit right with him. He received a text from the med student’s neighbor who wanted to talk, so he and Reese made their way back to the apartment complex. When they got there, however, they found Mary on the ground shot and her assailant still in the apartment.
Reese pursued the shooter out the door, leaving Garvin to stay with Mary since Fusco was set to show up on the scene. As Reese watched the shooter drive off, he got clocked in the back of the head and taken by a man who said “their boss wanted to see him.” He collapsed and was gone, and when Fusco showed up and realized it he marshaled the NYPD to help find Reese. While that happened, Finch dug further into the Harvesta and Shotseeker hacks and realized that all trails led straight back to Samaritan. There was a hard drive with the research on it that Samaritan’s people had been looking for, because the information on it had been classified as a threat.
Root went in search of the hard drive while Finch tried to find Reese. The earlier assailant showed up at the police station and tried to kill Garvin, but got taken down by Fusco. Across town Root stumbled upon one of Samaritan’s men looking for the hard drive and found it first, then had a face off with him. It turned out to be Blackwell, the man from a few episodes back that Samaritan had recruited after he was unable to get a stable job due to his criminal past. He didn’t know who or where Reese was, and didn’t seem to understand what Root meant by Samaritan, but eventually both of them bolted when the police showed up on the scene. Root had secured the hard drive.
Reese turned up in Bruce’s custody and Bruce appeared to think he had the upper hand. Finally Reese agreed to tell him what really happened, but not until his men were out of the room. They needed to minimize the number of lives at risk. Bruce refused, Reese took out his men, then told him they could talk. Once he had his phone back he called Finch and let him know he’d meet him at the safe house because Bruce wanted answers.
Finch dug into the hard drive and found the research Samaritan wanted to bury. He hesitated, but eventually disseminated it to major medical journals and got the target off of Garvin’s back. They still didn’t know why Samaritan had fought so hard to hide the research.
At the safe house, Bruce was shown that Elias was alive. Elias told him to back down, and explained that they were in way over their heads. Bruce refused, told Elias he should know him better than that, and that they would not just roll over and let their enemies win. He’d take on whatever challenge he needed to head on to continue what they had built, and left Elias on that note.
Reese called Fusco and let him know he was alive, and Fusco wanted to talk more about what was going on. Reese asked if they could talk about it the next day, clearly wanting to stall. Fusco had no idea what he was going to get himself into, and the detective insisted he was going to find out one way or another. After he got off the phone with him, he asked Finch how the simulations were going and Finch shared the grim outcome: no wins, hundreds of thousands of attempts, and a bleak outlook.