On Person of Interest, no main character remained in the dark about the Machine longer than Fusco (Kevin Chapman). Why did it take him so long?
Despite being an important ally across all five seasons of Person of Interest, Fusco (Kevin Chapman) didn’t learn the truth about the Machine until there was only a few episodes left in the series. The other main characters purposely avoided Fusco finding out what was really going on.
Fusco’s association with the team began in the Person of Interest pilot episode when Reese (Jim Caviezel) forced him to be an informant for him. When the Machine would provide Reese and Finch (Michael Emerson) with a number, they’d typically turn to Fusco to assist with their investigation. Fusco reluctantly used his connections on the police force to help Reese and Finch whenever they asked for it. Fusco helped them without knowing the real source of their information. In time, Fusco developed an appreciation for the work he did with the team, and evolved into a willing ally. But when his involvement went beyond being just an informant, Reese and Finch continuously kept the truth hidden from him.
In Person of Interest season 5, episode 9, Reese finally took Fusco aside and told him everything, even though Finch appeared doubtful that this was the right move. Why did the team wait so long to tell him? There’s actually more than one reason why Fusco remained in the dark longer than all other main characters. First of all, Finch was extremely protective of the secret of the Machine. He preferred to hide it from everyone, but made an exception with Reese because he knew he had to trust someone, and he wholeheartedly believed that Reese could handle it. Root (Amy Acker) was originally a villain who discovered the Machine’s existence, Detective Carter (Taraji P. Henderson) found out on her own, and Shaw (Sarah Shahi) was told by Reese because her story was directly related to the Machine. Hiding the truth didn’t work with the others, but it was possible with Fusco, who they were able to keep at arms-length.
Furthermore, they didn’t have any reason to trust him at the beginning of the series. Fusco was a dirty cop, and it took some time for him to grow as a character. But even when trust was no longer an issue, there was still the matter of Fusco’s safety. Fusco had a son, and Finch understood that knowing about a system as complex and invaluable as the Machine would put Fusco and his child in great danger. For Reese and Finch, Carter’s death in season 3 was a powerful reminder of that.
The situation worsened in Person of Interest seasons 4 and 5 when Samaritan emerged as the team’s biggest enemy. Like the Machine, Samaritan had eyes everywhere and had identified certain targets it regarded as threats to its existence, forcing characters like Reese to adopt new identities. The same could have happened to Fusco if he knew the truth. With Samaritan around, it became increasingly important that Fusco remain unaware of the Machine. Reese only told him when it reached a point where they felt they couldn’t keep lying to him. Fusco ended up accepting Reese’s explanation, and didn’t waver in his devotion to Reese, Finch, Root, Shaw, and their mission. Unfortunately, by the time Fusco was brought fully into the fold, there wasn’t much time to explore this new dynamic with the team.