The Number of the Week is uptown hypnotherapist Hayden Price (played by Ken Cosgrove out of Mad Men). Finch is in the field again this week, and while posing as a patient he discovers that Price is hypnotising his clients, then getting personal information out of them which allows him to access their bank accounts. Which isn’t all he’s up to by any means: Price, in fact, is a remarkably industrious and inventive conman, with multiple fingers in lots of pies.
Reese and Shaw follow Price, and meantime Carter is investigating an HR lead, which takes her to Swedish art dealer Sven Vanger, a money launderer for HR and, as it happens, a patient of Price’s. There’s a lovely moment where Reese and Carter’s paths intersect: a quick exchange of intel, a deadpan fist bump, and they move on. And some of the show’s terrific array of supporting players get a scene or two as well: Finch still has Root locked up, and they converse edgily about The Machine; Carter still has Elias hidden away; and Fusco gets to offer an “expert” opinion on a baseball purportedly signed by the ’22 Yankees, worth $4m, or not, as the case might be. The baseball is crucial to Price, Sven, HR, and someone else, in ways which I can’t begin to reveal without spoiling the whole episode.
There is, in short, a lot going on. But with an episode about a con it’s the plotting which is crucial, and ‘The Perfect Mark’ is engineered like a Swiss watch. I watched the last few minutes – which involved the final twists in the con, a couple of not-insignificant deaths, and a bloodstained fingerprint on a photo of the head of HR – with a huge smile on my face. When an episode is as good as this, all you can do is sit back and admire it. Person of Interest is presently* incapable of putting a foot wrong.
*by which I mean 18 months ago