Person of Interest: s01 e16 – Risk


It’s all in the suit…

Almost wholly straight procedural, and almost entirely a two-hander involving our central characters, Mr Reese and Mr Finch, operating under pseudonyms, John as his usual John Rooney cover, now as an asset manager for an anonymous, one might say private, client, and Harold identifying himself at the appropriate moment as Harold Crane (Finch, Wren, Crane: there’s a theme here).

This episode took us into the world of high finance and Wall Street, the Number of the Week being Adam Saunders (Matt Lauria), proprietory trader with securities firm Baylor Zimm. Adam’s a stereotypical Master of the Universe, flash, arrogant, smug, the complete push-‘im-off-a-rooftop deal that you’re all set to loathe and frankly can’t really warm to, exceptthat beneath the high-living, fast-driving, bombastic exterior, Adam’s got where he is not by privilege, but hard work: diligence, research, hard thinking. His abilities are evidenced by a tie-in to episode 6, ‘The Fix’, as Robert Vertannin’s trial comes to a guilty verdict that only Saunders has correctly anticipated, leading to a pefectly legal short-sale that brings the firm – and his boss and secret lover Sydney Baylor (Noelle Beck, who I mention only because she’s good to look at) – a profit of $100,000,000.

But Adam’s been investigated, unsuccessfully, by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Wall Street Watchdog, and inspector Doug Rasmusseen is still harassing him. The thing is, there is something going on, something illegal aimed at making at least $3000,000,000 off an illegal short-sale, only Adam isn’t involved: as a proprietory trader, he only uses the firm’s money, not clients’, and it is actually illegal for him to even look at their money, let alone advise on it.

But Adam was brought up by his Uncle Bob after his mother died and his father was out of the picture. Bob Sowoski’s a fast food van man who, with Adam’s help, has eexpanded from one to six trucks. His money’s with Baylor Zimm, with one of Adam’s friends, a good broker, but he’s getting concerned at how much of it is being tied into energy firm Tritak.

As well he might be. Baylor Zimm haave invested heavily in the company, where no-one else has. Adam’s acted illegally in even looking at the figures and he’s concerned. Something’s going on that doesn’t add up, except it adds up to someone trying to kill Adam.

Which is where John and Harold come in.

Suddenly, it all starts to accelerate. Sydney is murdered and Adam framed. John hides him in the homeless ghetto where he took refuge until the series started. A Fracking Bill unexpectedly passes the New York Senate, ruining Tritak. Stocks tumble, money vanishes. It’s an insider trading deal, a set-up, between Adam’s ‘friend’, Paul Ashton, and… SEC Inspector Doug Rasmussen. And it’s foiled by ‘Harold Crane’ giving Adam the money to start buying heavily into Tritak, sending the share price back up. The short sale relies on buying the shares back at the bottom of the market, but the bottom’s now rising unstoppably.

Enter the Police. Carter’s been on the scene peripherally already but there’s once again no part for Fusco. She’s there to question Paul, but Paul’s on his own. Apparently, Rasmussen’s been found dead in his apartment, suicide, couldn’t face the thought of prison. But he was arrested, alongside Paul?

And that’s when the episode stepsaway from being an isolated procedural. Carter views the CCTV footage, homes in on the cop who puts Rasmussen in a car, who talks on a mobile phone and dumps it in the trash. the cop’s got a scar on his face, makes it look like he’s smiling. We recognise him, oh yes, we recognise him.

And Carter brings the phone to John, who rings it. A man on a New York street, who wanted$300,000,000 to fnd something big and important, answers it cheerfully. “Hello, John,” says Carl Elias. “It’s been a long time…”