Root Cause (Person of Interest)

"Root Cause" is the thirteenth episode of the first season of the American television drama series Person of Interest. It is the 13th overall episode of the series and is written by Erik Mountain and directed by Richard J. Lewis. It aired on CBS in the United States and on CTV in Canada on February 2, 2012.

"Root Cause"
Person of Interest episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 13
Directed byRichard J. Lewis
Written byErik Mountain
Produced by
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byTeodoro Maniaci
Editing byMark Conte
Production code2J6213
Original air dateFebruary 2, 2012
Running time44 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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List of episodes


Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch (Michael Emerson) are alerted to Scott Powell (Myk Watford), a dedicated family man and city construction project manager, who was laid off in the face of budget cuts advocated by Congressman Michael Delancey (Victor Slezak). They find out that he has secretly applied for a weapon permit and is sending death threats to Delancey; they conclude that Powell is planning to assassinate the Congressman. However, as Reese tries to intercept Powell, Finch realizes that the evidence against him has been planted, and they are unable to stop the real assassin from killing Delancey.

Powell is arrested by the FBI in the face of overwhelming evidence, forcing Reese to help him escape. With the help of Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco) (last seen in "The Fix"), Finch identifies Peter Matheson (Damian Young), Delancey's business partner and chief of staff, as the man who hired the assassin and a hacker to kill Delancey and frame Powell, thereby covering up Matheson's corruption. Finch acquires a recording of a conversation between Matheson and the hacker, exonerating Powell. After Matheson is found dead, the hacker, identifying herself as "Root", admits to Finch that she had him killed to tie up loose ends. Root acknowledges Finch, by name, as a worthy adversary.



In its original American broadcast, "Root Cause" was seen by an estimated 15.10 million household viewers and gained a 3.3/9 ratings share among adults aged 18–49, according to Nielsen Media Research.[1] This was a 4% increase in viewership from the previous episode, which was watched by 14.40 million viewers with a 3.2/8 in the 18-49 demographics.[2] With these ratings, Person of Interest was the second most watched show on CBS for the night beating The Mentalist and !Rob!, but behind The Big Bang Theory, second on its timeslot and fourth for the night in the 18-49 demographics, behind Grey's Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory, and American Idol.

Critical reviewsEdit

"Root Cause" received generally positive reviews from critics. Keysha Couzens of TV Overmind wrote "Last night, Person of Interest was back to being the kind of show that makes it required viewing. In fact, the team behind POI delivered one of the better episodes of the season by telling the story of a family man down on his luck set up to be a patsy in a political assassination."[3]

Luke Gelineau of TV Equals wrote "Person of Interest returned this week with 'Root Cause', another solid episode that was mildly entertaining, but failed to really push the overarching story forward in any real way."[4]

Sean McKenna of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.8 star rating out of 5 and wrote "Person of Interest has really found its groove, combining pure fun action with a well-paced and suspenseful plot. It makes for a fantastic ride that has me looking forward to next week to see both Finch and Reese in action, simply saving the world, one POI at a time."[5]


  1. ^ Gorman, Bill (February 3, 2012). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'American Idol,' 'Big Bang Theory,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Office,' 'Mentalist' Adjusted Up; 'Rob' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Gorman, Bill (January 20, 2012). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' Tops 'American Idol' 1st Half Hour; 'Office,' 'Mentalist,' 'Grey's' Adj. Up; 'Person,' 'Rob,' 'Parks' Adj. Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Couzens, Keysha (February 3, 2012). "Person of Interest 1.13 "Root Cause" Review". TV Overmind. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  4. ^ Gelineau, Luke (February 2, 2012). "Person of Interest "Root Cause" Review". TV Equals. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  5. ^ McKenna, Sean (February 2, 2012). "Person of Interest Review: Clash of the Computer Titans". TV Fanatic. Retrieved November 22, 2017.

External linksEdit