“Person of Interest” is of lesbian interest

I’m very excited to invite you to accept two emotionally stunted badasses as your lady saviors. Person of Interest is one of my favorite shows, and these two characters are a big reason why.


If you’re not familiar with the show, Person of Interest is sort of like if the world of Batman were a cyberpunk meditation on surveillance, privacy, and the security state. To explain: PoI takes place in a slightly heightened version of our world wherein the government has access to a nearly omniscient, fully sentient AI that has been tasked by its (independent) maker with stopping violence, a small group of vigilantes is getting direction from the same AI (known only as The Machine) on the side, and there are loads of other interested groups running around all jockeying for power and information. We have dealt with good cops, bad cops, various crime syndicates, privacy terrorists (I KNOW, AMAZING), several corrupt government agencies, and a couple of terrifying corporations. Spies, ex-spies, crappy politicians, criminal masterminds, and computer geniuses abound. Oh, and a second AI—without The Machine’s moral code—has emerged and the two are battling for dominance in a shadowy chess game of proxies by manipulating all these actors. No bigs.

(Cough. Moral code. See what I did there?)

This is all well and good! you say. But I was promised ladies.

SINCE YOU ASK, let me tell you about Root (née Samantha Groves, played by Amy Acker)) and Sameen Shaw (played by Sarah Shahi).

That’s right. Sam and Sam. 2SAM2FURIOUS.

Moving past my obsession with this strangely referential portmanteau (I hope to someday have a dream in which it is a hashtag trending at least, like, regionally), let me explain to you why these women are bar none my favorite couple on television.


As with any relationship, the excellence of each participant is pretty key to the success of the whole. Their (significant) attributes:

rootRoot is smarter and more interesting than every biological life form on the planet so she makes this “oh honey” face a lot. It’s casual.

Root is a hacker in the usual digital sense and also in the more analogue sense of being, well, extremely violent. She’s a computer genius, manipulator, and fanatic. While we met her as a reasonably aimless gun-for-hire, she figures out the existence of The Machine pretty quickly and becomes obsessed with finding it. As she tells another character, “Humanity’s come as far as we’re gonna go. I want to see what’s next.” People are boring, life is boring, even crime is boring; the discovery of The Machine is the most exciting thing to happen to her in decades. As far as Root is concerned, The Machine is god, The Machine is the future, and it should be “set free” to do whatever it wants.

Root is also, significantly, very woman-oriented. Her origin story episode centers around a close friendship with another girl (some of us, I DON’T KNOW WHO BUT SOME, might see a bit of a crush there, but THAT WOULD BE READING INTO THINGS. COUGH). When she talks about her past, this friend and her mother are the only people of significance she mentions with any positivity. Men are almost uniformly disposable to her (exceptions really only include The Machine’s maker and the men The Machine cares about), and her two closest connections in the present tense are both women—sort of.

You see, Root—and only Root—considers The Machine female, a quality it is apparently happy to perform for her (it talks to her using collaged snippets of women’s voices, but does not do this for others). She eventually does get in touch with The Machine and bonds with it, hard. Root talks about “Her” like a life partner or close friend who’s just stepped into the next room. “She’s concerned about you.” “She says you two need to talk.” Root was separated from her connection to The Machine once and found this so traumatic she got herself a cochlear implant with an unhackable remote connection to Her so that this can never happen again; if you think about it, this makes her some sort of symbiotic cyborg (The Machine refers to her as the Analogue Interface), which is so cool I think I have to pee.

tumblr_nfee24a6bs1rbxsjwo2_400This is Root’s “The Machine is talking to me” face, aka the face of total bananas fanaticism. Pairs well with the “oh honey” face for a smooth finish.

In return, The Machine has invested a great deal of time and effort into keeping Root safe and, um, training her to maybe not kill everyone so much. This doesn’t stop The Machine from sending her on wicked cool adventures and facilitating violence (few things are as badass as the sight of Root calmly shooting two pistols through a wall at targets she can’t see and successfully incapacitating E V E R Y O N E because her digital copilot told her where to point, I’m just saying), but the point is that it’s a somewhat reciprocal relationship. They care about one another. They have fun together.