'Person of Interest' Recap: Revenge of the Data Tracking Victims
'Person of Interest' Recap: Revenge of the Data Tracking Victims
Candice Block Lombardi
Candice Block Lombardi
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
On last week's Person of Interest season 3 premiere, Shaw both aided and upset the team's dynamics, while Root chatted nightly with the newly-freed Machine as if it were her BFF. For viewers hoping to see more of last season's heart-pounding fear, this week's episode "Nothing to Hide," delves deeper into the real-world paranoia of the wrong people getting their hands on our ever-expanding personal data footprints.

This week is about stalking, stalking, stalking. Finch and his dog, Bear, are up early walking to work. Shaw follows a few feet behind, trying to follow him. Finch manages to lose her. Reese catches up to Shaw and says that Finch likes privacy. "You can't blame a girl for trying," says Shaw.

Finch calls Shaw and, noting it is a beautiful day for a walk, asks them to join him back at the library.

Carter's Thinking of Calvin

Carter places flowers and looks at the grave of Calvin T. Beecher, reminding us of her pain in his death and her quest to solve his murder (last week revealed a makeshift case board in her coat closet). Alonzo Quinn, the secret leader of HR who killed Beecher, approaches Carter. She recognizes him only as Cal's godfather who spoke at his funeral. Quinn says that the Chief is keeping him apprised of the case, and Carter says she believes there is more to the case than it appears. 

Carter leaves, saying that her shift is about to start, and shakes Quinn's hand. Realizing she is still looking into the case, Quinn then turns and makes a call out of Carter's earshot, regarding her comments: "It's me. I think we still have a problem." Meanwhile, Carter calls Rosco and asks him to check into the case on the database.

Person of Interest: Wayne L. Kruger, Life Trace Founder and Data Broker

At the library, the team learns that the Machine has turned over the number of Wayne L. Kruger as this week's person of interest. Kruger is the founder of Life Trace, a people search service. The company acts as a data broker, collecting and selling personal information from public records and ways that individuals reveal themselves online.

Does that sound like the Machine? "The Machine only reveals social security numbers, no other information," says Finch. (That is what he thinks, but last week we saw that Root believes the Machine is revealing private information about her doctor at the mental hospital and can debate with her on issues such as whether he can kill her doctor. What is the truth?)

Nothing to Hide

Finch sends Shaw undercover as a well-dressed employee at Life Trace, hoping that Shaw will not kill anyone unless necessary. Shaw rides the elevator with Kruger up to his floor and sits at one of the many desks in an expansive office space.

Kruger enters a conference room and hands one of the clients a box wrapped in baby blue. The client opens the box and pulls out a baby rattle. Kruger congratulates the client. Stunned, the client thanks Kruger, but says that they only told immediate family. Kruger says that the man's wine consumption dropped to nearly nothing and his milk and cheese increased -- Life Trace tracked his customer loyalty card at his supermarket. 

Kruger, smiling, says the company is working toward a future where everyone's needs are met because all of the information is out there. These days people know that their data is out there, continues Kruger. "Those crying the loudest about privacy are trying to hide something," he says.

(Not only does this sound like the all-knowing machine, but it's also reminiscent of this summer's real-world debate over government tracking of private citizen data -- issues that the writers plan to address more and more this season.)

Kruger then pulls up his own profile from Life Trace up on the flat-screen. "Anyone can look me up and see I've got nothing to hide," he says.

"People who say they have nothing to hide almost always do," says Finch.

Carter Back on the Beat

Carter is unhappy about being back on the day shift, but doesn't want to stay up all night. She is also unhappy with her rookie partner. Her rules: no questions, and don't touch my radio.

Crashing the Anniversary Party

Shaw is jumpy as a desk-jockey. She grabs the leg of Carl from maintenance as he tries to empty the trash can under her desk. We get a good look at his face and name-tag (for later).
Kruger's assistant, Hayley, lets him know that she tried to book his restaurant reservation for his anniversary party on his credit card, but it was declined. He walks into his office and says to his associates regarding Hayley (this quote is shallow and sexist, but relevant later, and I'm not censoring this show for you, please don't judge me), "Sometimes I wish I had an assistant whose qualifications were more than a nice piece of a**."

So we are starting not to like our spying, sexist Person of Interest today.

"Wanna go to a party, Shaw?" asks Reese.

"Only if you promise to wear something pretty," she responds.

In a posh dining area, Reese and Shaw stand on the balcony. Kruger begins to thank his guests for arriving at his anniversary party, while Shaw guzzles truffle quail eggs. Meanwhile, Finch is researching Kruger and notes that he suppresses Life Trace negativity, scrubbing from the internet such details as bad press and lawsuits.

In front of the dinner guests on a big screen, a slideshow rolls a montage of Kruger and his wife with happy moments from their wedding and marriage. There is happy music, and the word "LOVE" in capital letters appears on the screen. The music is sweet and the montage continues to roll. Amid the amore, the TV viewing audience can tell something is about to go seriously wrong... 

Suddenly, the screen rolls bedroom moments of Kruger and someone who is likely not his wife. 

Then back to his wife's bridal dress shots and then ... more bedroom. The word "LIES" and "PRIVACY" scroll and his own voice: "I've got nothing to hide." 

Kruger stops the film. "Is this somebody's idea of a joke?"

He turns to his wife, "Sweetie, listen..." She smacks him and then leaves.

Kruger turns to the crowd, who stare in silence. "What are you all looking at? Go home, party's over!"

Reese and Finch agree that after his credit cards and now his marriage, they need to find who is doing this to Kruger before he kills or is killed.

Down the Rabbit Hole (or Free-Falling Elevator Shaft)

Shaw calls Finch. Noting she hasn't hurt anyone yet today, Shaw says she knows who hijacked Kruger's anniversary party. There was a woman dressed as a waiter that no one knew. Finch looks through the people who have been victimized, including one Chloe Harper, who lost her life to someone who wanted to trace her down and used (more on this later). The mystery waiter turns out to be Karen Mills of Queens. Finch reaches out to Carter. 

Carter pulls Karen Mills over under a bridge, telling her partner that she's being pulled over for rolling to a stop. When the woman rolls down her window, Carter asks her why she is coming after Wayne Kruger. Mills says she got a package in the mail: an anonymous DVD with instructions on how to get back at Kruger. She says that he ruined her life: she was a paralegal at a law firm when she met her fiance. One day, the firm's assistants were looking up people on Life Trace and found pictures of her taken by her ex in his bedroom. Her fiance called off the engagement. Mill took her chance to get back at Kruger by allowing him to feel the humiliation that she felt (taking a love for a love).

Carter lets Mills off with a warning and asks her to take the package to Detective Lionel Fusco at the eighth precinct. Reese doesn't think she will have anything to do with the attacks; that would likely be from whoever sent the package.

Back at the office, all of Kruger's cards are cancelled. Kruger turns to his assistant, Hayley, and asks her to get the accountant on the line. Hayley, however, is packing her personal items into a box. When Kruger asks what is going on, she plays a voice message on her office phone. The message is Kruger's familiar sexist line: "Sometimes I wish I had an assistant whose qualifications were more than a nice piece of a**."

Kruger turns in the hallway and sees his clients are leaving; they don't think Life Trace is the best partner for them after all. Kruger returns to the conference room. "What the hell happened?" The Life Trace website has been hacked and Kruger's mug shot is on the home page as well as details of his past bankruptcy, DUI and an arrest warrant from college.

"Wayne, we think it might be best if you took some time to sort out personal issues," says his coworker. When Kruger notes that this is his company, his coworker counters, "And now you're the face of it, and that's now a problem."

The company had already voted that Kruger take a leave of absence while it considers its options. Kruger's neck veins are about to pop, as he swears he will find who is doing this to him.

Kruger's company is pulled from him. He gets on the elevator and receives a cell-phone call telling him he needs to understand what he has done. Shaw heads to the elevator and pushes the button to follow him, but the elevator shaft is hacked and begins to freefall. Shaw reports this to Finch, who says, "Modern elevators do not freefall, Ms. Shaw."

"Tell that to Kruger," she says. Someone disabled the auto safety. On a screen in the elevator scroll, there are words such as "GREED."

The elevator lands at the ground floor and Kruger is also rolling on the ground, beat up but alive. Reese is running down the steps to chase him. Kruger manages to get out and get in his SUV and pull a gun out of the glove compartment. He speeds away, and Reese runs after him.

Finch notes that someone has taken Kruger's money, company and marriage, and now wants to take his life. It's vigilante revenge: Finch and Shaw look over the class action lawsuit and see that there is another person who lost their job and bank accounts after Life Trace conflated his profile with that of a serial rapist who had the same name. Over 200 people are named, and Shaw questions whether the person of interest is worth their time. Finch notes that he did not entertain that question with Shaw.

There Will Be Blood

Carter and her partner are at a crime scene where a victim took six bullets. Her partner begins to tear up, and then throws up. Carter turns away, muttering, "Rookies." She called Rosco, who tries Beecher's file, but now it is listed as classified.

Reese is following Kruger, who's calling his client back and would like to arrange a meeting. His dashboard screen is compromised, with heavy metal and the infidelity videos from earlier. The hacker took control of the steering, speeding the car and then flipping it over.

Reese comes to the door. "Bet you could use a lift," he says.

Reese takes Kruger to Finch, who explains that people from the class action lawsuit are after him. Kruger said that the case was settled, but Finch notes that the settlement was not to everyone's satisfaction. Reese and Finch note that Chloe's mom was lead plaintiff but her father was not identified. Shaw recognizes him as a man who was posing as a janitor, Carl, because until three months ago, he worked at an aerospace firm.

Finch sends Reese to Life Trace and Shaw to the apartment. Kruger gets a call about the deal and decides to leave and make the meeting, despite the fact that he is covered in blood. Finch traces the call online and sees that Kruger is not the first to hear the message, and someone will be waiting to kill him. Kruger says he has too much riding on it and breaks an urn over Finch's head, knocking him out.

Reese finds Carl's locker and sees he has been stalking Kruger. Meanwhile, Kruger meets Carl in a lobby, puts a gun to his back and brings him into the client meeting. Kruger is a total mess, and one client remains who says the rest of the team sent regrets because the CEO wouldn't reconsider. Kruger then pulls the gun in the open, points at Karl and says that he humiliated him and that's why the deal went down.

They struggle, and Carl gets the gun. Carl says Kruger is guilty because when they requested that his company remove Chloe's information from the database after her ex tracked her down using the data three times, she was killed. Kruger tries to apologize; Carl does not accept. Reese enters and convinces Carl not to shoot Kruger because that's not how Chloe would want him to honor her memory. Carl gives the gun to Reese, who hands a picture over of him and Chloe.

But ... the client, Colier, shoots both Reese and Kruger!

He thanks Carl for reaching out because he sent the means to exact justice and he had the courage to act. He asks Carl to leave. 

Colier stands over Kruger and says ominously, "I think you understand now what is lost when your privacy is stripped away ... People have chosen action over apathy to take back what men like you and the government have stolen. This was a lesson, the first. We were just going to scare you, but that wouldn't change anything, would it?" Colier shoots Kruger in the face.

Reese is shot in his bullet proof vest, so he is okay.

Carter's partner says that he had heard about her work with the homicide task force and how she took down cops. He jumped at chance to train under her but now gets the feeling she doesn't want to help him. She smiles: a dispatch comes in, and she hands it to her partner to respond.

Colier referred to Kruger's death as a lesson, the first -- will this start a blood-bath over leaked data?

Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CBS.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)