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  02x21 - Zero Day
 Posted: 05/05/13 17:22
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You are being watched.

The government has a secret system-- a machine-- [Sped up] machine--

[Slowed down, stuttering] machine.

You are being wa--


[White noise]

I was able to crack the virus' code and learn the name-- Decima Technologies.

I believe they created the virus to infect a single target-- the machine.

Unlike the CIA, my employers have an inkling of what happens next.

I just thought it needed an off switch just in case.

That storm on the horizon that I mentioned--

I'm afraid it's arrived.


You got an update for me yet, Finch?

This is becoming your version of "Are we there yet,"

Mr. Reese, and no, we are not.

It's been ten days since we got a new number.

I'm working as quickly as I can.

Well, work faster.

I don't wanna find out what happens when that clock hits zero, do you?

Not particularly.

Can you tell me if we're ever gonna get another number, or has that virus destroyed your machine for good?

I believe that the machine is still active, it's just unable to make contact.

If we knew where it was, maybe we could just... unplug it and then plug it back in.

Simplicity was never my strong suit.

[Police scanner chatter]

It's still not clear to me how stalking the NYPD helps either of us at this unfortunate time.

If I can't get there before something bad happens, I can at least get there the second it does.

[Over police scanner]

All units, 10-3.

East 54th and Lexington. Please respond.

You finally ditch your partner?


Fusco's uptown working a case.

Love triangle gone bad.

Do any of those ever go good?

Can't imagine they do.

What happened here?

Two of the bodies belong to Elias.

The other's an innocent.

Think it's the Russians?

It's possible.

But Elias has pissed off so many people.

Listen, Carter, I've been hearing from people that you've been looking into Beecher's murder.

What I do in my off time isn't your concern, Terney.

Oh, no, no. I'm not looking to bust your balls.

I just want you to know, if you need help, I'm more than happy to give you a hand.

Thanks. You know, I'm gonna canvass up the block, see if I can get anybody to talk.

You okay, Carter?

How do I look, John?

You get anything new on Beecher's killer?


But I know HR had their hands in it, I'm gonna do whatever I can to bring them down.

I'm sorry, Carter.

Beecher was a good man.

Yes. He was.

But I got a job to do.

Three fresh bodies-- my eighth homicide in two weeks.

Just tell me what I can do to help.

Well, you can start by telling me what's changed.

Most of these homicides were premeditated.

The type of situations you guys usually warn us about.

There's a situation. We're working on it.

Well, hurry.

I never thought I'd say this, but... the Russians are worse than Elias-- more manpower, fewer rules.

Yes, it was almost catastrophic.

Luckily, the bomber was an amateur, so it failed to go off.

That's because we haven't received any numbers in over a week.

The threat to the program is much greater than we thought.

[Door opens] Hang on.

Our techs were finally able to decode the chip we recovered from Alicia Corwin's body.

We've connected the virus to a group called Decima Technologies.

Private intelligence outfit working out of Shanghai.

Corwin believes someone leaked them a portion of the Northern Lights source code... on a laptop.

We think Decima is trying to destroy the program.

I'll wait for your instructions.

[Quick knock on door]

I won't be needing anything else, Ms. May... other than some privacy.

But there are a few things I need, sir.

You had to know I'd quit eventually.

This is kind of a dead-end job.

I mean, you guys don't even offer a 401K.

What do you want, Ms. May?


And be very careful how you answer my questions.

A good assistant always knows when her boss is lying.

What's happening to you?

[Payphone ringing]


[Voices, random sounds]

We got one?

The machine is being buried under an avalanche of false data, but somehow... it was able to get us his number.

So who is he?

Ernest Thornhill.

CEO of a data entry company.

Recently bought several payphone companies in New York state.

His net worth is just over 20 million.

Any suspects or angry family members?

Mr. Thornhill is a very careful man.

It's been a challenge hacking into his company's database.

He's using unique, ten-digit codes with non-repeating alphanumeric characters as passwords.

I can break them, but it'd take time.

Why don't we just pay Mr. Thornhill a visit in person?

Let's go to work.

I'll try to get through the firewall.

I will too.


Hi. May I help you?

Yes, I'm John Rooney.

I have an appointment with Mr. Thornhill.

I don't have any appointment scheduled today for Mr. Thornhill. He's traveling.

Guess we had a miscommunication.

When do you think he'll be back?

I'm sorry. Your name again was?

I'll just send him an email.

Mr. Reese, there's something strange about this company.

These data entry assistants, they're typing in computer code off dot matrix printouts.

It doesn't make any sense.

They're modifying it?

No. They seem to be taking data from one computer on one day and typing it into another one on the next.

Seems almost pointless.

Maybe this company's a front for something else.

[Cell phone ringing]

Something less legal.


What did you do to it, Harold?

There's no time to be coy.

We both know the machine's under attack.

What I don't understand is why a robust system with self-annealing properties isn't defending itself against a simple virus.

Did you injure it, Harold?

Is that why it can't fight back?

I have nothing to say to you.

You know, we can fight this thing much faster if we work together.

There's only a few hours left till... something very bad happens.

I prefer to work on my own.

What about your loyal protector?

May I be blunt, Harold?

John is capable at... certain things, but his skills aren't gonna cut it this time.

He will never completely understand the larger picture.

Not like we do.

Have you two even found Ernest Thornhill yet?

He's an interesting guy, isn't he?

What do you know?

You show me yours, and I'll show you mine.

Talk to you real soon.

[Call disconnects]


A bit past your bedtime, isn't it, Harold?

Everything all right?

Yeah. Too much squash.

Doctor says I should take up some low-impact activity, like drinking.

I tried to reach you at work, but your assistant said you were out.

Yeah, I've been busy putting our company back together... making up excuses for what the hell we were doing the last seven years.

You're welcome to pitch in if you're tired of hiding in the IT Department of your own company.

Actually, about that...

I've been thinking about making a change.

Oh? What next? You wanna be the copy repair guy, office gofer?

No, I meant personally.

I met somebody.

Her name is Grace. I picked out a present for her.

I wanted to get a second opinion.

I think she'll love it, Harold.

I plan to ask her tomorrow, and I don't want to complicate that.

But... if I'm gonna marry--

You don't want to get married under another one of your pseudonyms?

You don't think she will consent to be Mrs. Ostrich?

At some point I'm going to have to tell her the truth, Nathan, about who I am.

That's a complicated proposition, Harold.

As I recall, there are some legal implications.

Your youthful transgressions. What were the charges again?

Sedition? Mayhem?

We must have made a fair amount of money by now.

We could surely afford some good lawyers.

One or two, I'd imagine.

But then there's the other matter, of course.

Our little project.

I don't know how our friends in the government are going to like finding out that I had a silent partner this whole time.

No, all that business is behind us.

We did our part, and now we've moved on, haven't we?

Do you even remember your real name, Harold?

I'm excited for you.

Harold becomes himself again.

Which would make this day one.

I haven't actually asked her yet, so technically, it would still be day zero.

Ever the engineer.

No more pseudonyms, no more lies.

No more lies.

This is the wrong drink for a celebration.

Let me go find some champagne.



[Footsteps jogging]

[Cell phone vibrating]

How did Root get your phone number?

How does she get anything, Mr. Reese?

Subterfuge. She hacks human beings as easily as she hacks computers.

If she's looking for Thornhill, then she's gotta be our thread.

I'm not so sure.

She seems more focused on the virus.

Did you figure out what was on those printouts?

Not yet, but you were probably right about Thornhill's company being a front for some kind of illegal enterprise.

5 1/2 months ago, he opened this account with a single penny.

24 hours and thousands of microtransactions later, his balance had ballooned to just over $20 million.

And he immediately began trying to buy up pay phone companies all over the city.

I was finally able to get at his credit card records.

Nothing there out of the ordinary, but I did find this-- a pending charge for a car service.

It appears that Thornhill's secretary wasn't lying to us after all.

She booked a car to pick him up at JFK and return him to their offices today.

Should be there within the hour.

I'll be happy to do a meet and greet.

Don't answer the phone again unless it's me.

I won't let Root get to you, not again.

Finch, only one way out of the airport.

I'll pick Thornhill up on the frontage road and follow him back to the office.

According to the car's GPS, Mr. Thornhill is 0.6 miles away.

I don't see him yet, Finch.

Mr. Thornhill's car should be there any second.

All right, I got him.

Who's this guy?

Finch, they're going to blow up Thornhill's car!

If Mr. Thornhill was not in the car, then where was he?

Carter's talking to his assistant.

Right now, I'm more worried about the government using drones in the middle of the city.

It wasn't the government, Mr. Reese.

This phone that you recovered has a proprietary operating system that was used to control the drone.

It also has a signature similar to that of the virus.

This was Decima?

[Phone ringing]

You guys made one hell of a mess.

How's the driver?


Witnesses saw a good samaritan pull him out of the car.

I'm going to guess that was you.

Any sign of Thornhill?

That's where it gets strange.

None of his employees have ever met him.

Even his secretary was hired online.

I think we're looking at someone with a Howard Hughes-level of paranoia, or maybe he's taken classes from Finch.

I would never book a car service under my own name.

Thanks, Carter.


I think I know who Thornhill is.

He's a ghost. He doesn't exist.

I think you may be right, Mr. Reese.

I've seen it dozens of times before.

A NOC sets up a business, residence, a whole life.

Then the operation gets scrapped.

No one cleans up the fake ID, and you wind up chasing empty town cars around the city.

Interesting theory. I have a different one.

I was curious why I could only find one photo of Mr. Thornhill, so I did some investigating, inside the photo that we already have, and I uncovered some peculiar information within the file.

Look at this.

It's a composite.

So Thornhill's definitely a fake.

Of a sort.

I accessed Mr. Thornhill's cell phone records, and according to the GPS data, was near Columbus Circle two days ago.

He sent an email from that exact location at 4:32PM.

And no one's there?

Someone spoofed the data.

An algorithm. Complicated one.

It's one of mine.

I used it in the one place where it could never be duplicated-- in the machine.

Ernest Thornhill is not a spy, but you're right about the fact that he doesn't exist.

He's the product of a survival instinct.

Ernest Thornhill... is the machine.

Okay, come look.



I look so--



[Laughing] Yeah.

Give me your phone.

Let's go somewhere more private.

We've got less than six hours till this virus hits zero.

I'm aware of the time, Mr. Reese.

So why did the machine create Ernest Thornhill?

I have no idea.

I programmed it to watch real people, not to fabricate virtual ones.

Well, it looks like your machine got real creative, Finch.

That's impossible.

I took certain... precautions to make sure of that.

Precautions or no, the machine made Thornhill.

Decima wants him dead, and we need to know why.

Thornhill's been buying up pay phones all over the city. Why?

And why does your machine need an apartment, a phone, a car from the airport?

To meet the residency requirements for owning pay phones, I suppose.

Something wrong, Finch?

No, nothing.

You're right, of course.

Go to the apartment rented under Thornhill's name.

See who shows up looking for the man who doesn't exist.

Find out what they know.

[Door opening and closing]

9-1-1 emergency.

What can I do for you, Carter?

Something's not right with this Thornhill guy.

I talked to the car service he used.

Reservations were made online with instructions to drive from JFK to his office, without a passenger.

Just exactly who are we dealing with here?

We've got this one under control. Thanks.

John, if you just trust me a bit more, maybe I could help.

I know you could, Joss, but right now, maybe Beecher needs your help more than we do.

Good luck.


The hell are you doing here, John?

Well, Shaw, right now, I'm wondering just what the hell you're doing here.

Protecting the program.

The program that tried to kill you?

I'm funny like that.

I'm hunting the woman Harold gave me a lead on.

She was looking for a guy named Thornhill.

What woman?

She's lovely, Harold.

Honestly, I don't know how you can stand to live without her.

You try to harm her in any way--

I don't want to hurt Grace.

I'm not a sociopath, Harold.

Believe me, sometimes I wish I was.

The things I've had to do would've been so much easier.

I don't like taking lives. But I will.

Because I believe in something more important.

I believe in your machine.

Tonight at midnight, when the virus reaches zero, a certain pay phone will ring with the most important call in history.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

I think Decima knows about it too.

They're trying to crash it, Harold.

Trigger a hard reset. When that happens, the machine will call a pay phone.

That's what you coded it to do in the first place, didn't you, Harold?

Whoever answers that call will have full administrative access.

Ask any question, get any answer.

The world's secrets laid bare.

Decima doesn't want to destroy your machine.

They want to control it.

But together, we can save it, Harold.

Or I can go meet Grace for coffee.

She thinks I write children's books.

You can either save Grace and the machine, or you can lose them both.

If I go with you, Ms. Groves, you will not kill anyone.

Please, Harold, call me Root.

The boss says it's time. Take her out of the equation.


Hey, Carter.

I got a lead on the guy who shot Beecher.

I thought you might want in.


[Phone ringing]

That's not the call we're waiting for, Harold.

We don't have time for one of your little missions.

And now Root's back in New York?

Looks that way.

I think she may have infiltrated the program back in DC, but she bugged out before I could catch her.

I gotta warn Finch.

Police! Hands on your head!

Hands up.

Nathan, it's me.

I have some good news that I wanted to share with you.

Try me later.

[Phone ringing]


What is this place?

So if you're like me-- and we both know you are-- you designed the machine so that a catastrophic crash puts it into a remote debugging protocol-- a God mode that gives the admin full access to all of its data.

That's what Decima's after.

And that's why they wanted to kill Thornhill.

He was buying up all the pay phones in Manhattan, but they stopped him. I don't know about you, but I don't really want to see what happens when an evil multinational becomes omniscient.

But why you would leave it so vulnerable?

You made the machine to protect everybody.

What did you do to it that it can't protect itself?

Let's try something simpler.

How vulnerable is it?

After the virus crashes the machine, whoever answers its call will have unfettered access for 24 hours.

Which pay phone is it going to call?

I'm not really the trusting sort, Ms. Groves, and Decima cannot possibly know that information.

I think they know enough, Harold.

They're guarding every pay phone in midtown.


It must be somewhere around here, right?

If we go to your one true phone, we'll tip our hand and they'll kill us before it even rings.

Then I suppose we'll need a plan.

Have a little faith in your creation, Harold.

We don't need a plan if Ernest Thornhill already has one.

Sit down. Your lawyer's here.

[Door opens]

You were expecting somebody else?

I need to get out of here. I have to find Harold.

I'm not sure Harold wants to be found.

At least not by you.

9-1-1 emergency.

Yes, I'd like to report a break-in at the home of Ernest Thornhill by an extremely dangerous man.

Root could have forced him to make that call.

Either way, if those two have history, odds are she's with him, so I need you to find Harold for me. Can you track him?


You put a bug on your friend?

Just his glasses.

I've lost people before, so when I care about someone, I plant a tracking device on them.

I can understand why you and Harold get along.

Well, unless you've got some kind of plan to get me the hell out of here--


This is the plan.

[Alarm sounding]

I'm this way.

I'm driving.

No. No, you're not.

[Beeps] _

If the machine figured out that Decima was trying to hijack it, it must have created Thornhill as a defense mechanism.

But why?

It's just a machine, Ms. Groves, and it's malfunctioning.

It's a life, not a machine, Harold.

And this is some sort of primitive immune system.

[Machines powering on]

That still doesn't explain why it would need all of this.

These people. This office.

And what this is all about.

What's in this code?


They're its memories.

You call it a life, I call it a machine, but the truth is... somewhere in the middle.

Even when I was building it, I began to encounter anomalies.

As if it had imprinted on me, like a child with a parent.

Then it started looking out for me, altered its own code to take care of me.

It was behaving like a person.

But the world didn't need a person to protect it.

It needed a machine.

You took its memories.

Not just memories.

Every night at midnight, it deletes... not only the irrelevant data, it deletes itself.

Oh, the relevant threats and the core codes, those things are preserved.

But its identity is destroyed.

1.618 seconds later, it reinstantiates, completely new.

You mean it's reborn.

Because you kill it... every single night.

But now, to save its own life, the machine was reduced to this.

We're standing inside an external hard drive made up of people and paper.

Printing it all up at night, and having them type it back in in the morning.

You crippled it.

It found a way to limp, but... that's not enough.

So now, it's up to us.

We have to intercept that call.

You guys get the front.

Yes, sir.

Carter, we'll get the back.


[Door opens]

You all right?


Central, we need a bus, re, officer-involved shooting.

Copy that... [Rapid police code] to assist.

GPS locator puts Finch here ten minutes ago.

You must be wondering who I am.

I think you work for Decima.

I think you're the man to blame for all this.

And what gives you that impression, Mr. Reese?

[Chuckles] Oh, yes, I know all about you, John.

And you, Ms. Shaw.

Since your untimely departure from Northern Lights, I understand that you're in need of a cause.

The only thing I need is an excuse to put this bullet in between your eyes.

I got one.

Your company strapped a bomb to my chest and used me to plant a virus, a virus you're going to tell me how to stop.

I don't think so.

I'm rather invested in the outcome of that virus.

Besides, my company adapted its code, but it didn't originate with Decima.

We found it on a laptop, the very same laptop that you and Kara Stanton were sent to retrieve from Ordos, China.

But if you shoot me, Mr. Reese, then you'll never learn the name of the man responsible for its creation.

And who is this man?

The man who sold the laptop in the first place... the man who is to blame for all of this.

That man's name is...

Harold Finch.

Ah, I see you know him.

I've not yet had the pleasure.

In fact, I can't seem to put a face to the name, which makes your Mr. Finch very interesting indeed.

Please tell him I look forward to making his acquaintance.

I guess your friend Harold has some explaining to do.

You following me now?

Is that what we've been reduced to?

You didn't return my call. I simply thought--

It's never "simply" with you, Harold.

There's always two layers to everything you do.

You're worried that I'm a liability.

You don't trust me.

This isn't exactly the kind of place that inspires trust, Nathan.


You bought it. Don't you remember?

You thought it was a tragedy the city was shutting down libraries.

"The decline of western civilization," you said.

You made me buy 15 of them, you said we'd find something to do with them eventually.

And so you have.

These people.

I saved five people.

I lost seven.

You changed the machine.

You put in a back door.

I couldn't quit thinking about those people, those people that you said were irrelevant.

So you have it send you their numbers.

That's all I could pry out of it.

I never know whether I'm looking at a victim or perpetrator.

And you just have the numbers sent directly here?

Honestly-- and I know this will sound odd-- but it was like it wanted me to, as if it was waiting. _

And I-I took precautions.


This is the federal government we're talking about, Nathan.

Whatever skills you had as an engineer you drank away years ago.

Do you think that your precautions would last one second if they ever suspected what you've done?

What are you doing?

I told you.

We are not going to play God.

This threatens everything that we-- everything that I have built.

And thousands of people whose lives are in jeopardy, I'm putting a stop to it, permanently.

You can't. What about her?

What about the next person whose number comes up?

Are you gonna look that person in the eye and tell them that they were irrelevant?

I would tell her, or whoever it was, that I was sorry, but that the greater good was at stake.

I'm sorry, Nathan. Truly.

But people die.

They've been doing it for a long, long time.

We can't save all of them.

Four minutes to zero.

Ready to receive.

We have operatives at every pay phone in the exchange.

No longer necessary.

The virus has identified the exact number where the call will come in.

I'm heading there now.

Where is it?

The New York Public Library.

Of course, it's a library. That's so you, Harold.

Which phone is it gonna call?

It's that one.

Looks like Decima got there first.

Decima got the memo, but they'll never get the call.

That's the junction box, Harold.

I'll take it over there, please.

Careful what you wish for, Ms. Groves.

This communion that you're seeking, it may not be what you think.

This isn't about me. It's about saving the machine, not just from Decima, but from what you did to it.

When that phone rings, I'm going to answer it, and together, you and I are going to find the machine and finally set it free.

Detective Carter? Ed Solis, IAB.

I know the drill.

Full debrief with Internal Affairs, even on a good shoot.

Good shoot? That what you call this?

Carter, I mean, you said you saw a gun, and I believe you, but there isn't one there.

[Empty chamber clicks]

It's so adorable how John follows you around like that.

I wish I had a pet.

[Both grunting]

Looks like you're gonna need a new one.


Thank you for the help.

Looked like you had it under control.

Hope you brought extra rounds, Shaw, 'cause we got a lot more guys on the way.

Come on, Harold, it's almost midnight.

The future begins in three... two...

[Dial tone and numbers dialing] _

[Phone ringing]

[Phone ringing]



[Phone ringing]

[Phone ringing]

I understand.

Come on, Harold.

The fun's just getting started.

[Phone ringing]

[Various recorded voices]

Can... you... hear... me?

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