As Reese and Sam sit in a diner, Reese watches a newscast about the continuing Northern Lights scandal. Sam is more to glad to see that her former employer is in trouble, but Reese notes that the government will eliminate anyone that knows about it rather than risk further leaks. They then go out and confront two men in an alleyway, Ray and Julio. Reese pays them a million dollars and they hand over bags of cocaine. However, Reese then warns both men that the other one plans to betray him and take all the money. Ray and Julio draw on each other and Sam and Reese knock them out. Sam scatters the drugs on their unconscious bodies while Reese calls Fusco to arrest them.
As Reese and Sam walk away, Sam doesn't see Northern Lights' problems as their concern, since they're still getting irrelevant Numbers. Reese wonders who is handling the relevant Numbers... just a Root pulls up on a motorcycle. She tells Sam that they have a relevant in Alaska and needs her help to steal a jet. As Sam gets on behind her, Root listens to a transmission from the Machine and tells Reese that Finch is going to call. As soon as she leaves with Sam, Finch calls and Reese, unsurprised, tells him that he's on his way to DC.
When Reese arrives at Finch's hotel room, Finch says that they have a new Number and he lives in DC. Reese wonders if Samaritan will give them trouble, but Finch figures that if the rival surveillance computer were up, they'd be dead. He warns Reese that Samaritan has none of the safeguards that he built into the Machine, and that Decima could do whatever they want with it. When Finch checks the new Number, he discovers that it's Congressman Roger McCourt of Illinois. McCourt is the head of the House Rules Committee and has spoken against government surveillance. Both Decima and Vigilance could want him dead.
Reese and Finch begin surveillance on McCourt, and Finch warns that since McCourt's aide Leslie handles all of McCourt's calls, they may have trouble getting close enough to McCourt to listen in on his conversations. Reese points out that McCourt is entitled to Secret Service protection. When Finch points out that McCourt has no reason to suspect that he's danger, Reese fires several rounds in McCourt's vicinity. As McCourt's driver, Duran, gets McCourt into his SUV, Reese tells Finch to drive away.
Later, Reese temporarily disposes of a Secret Service agent and takes his ID, and Finch provides a new photo and makes sure that he's assigned to McCourt. Finch then provides Reese with the information on the original Secret Service agent so that he passes McCourt's casual questioning. As they get in McCourt's SUV, Reese clones McCourt's phone.
At the capital, a union leader named Bruce Dunphy approaches McCourt and complains that he's selling out the Machinists Union. Unruffled, McCourt tells Dunphy that he's set it up so that if the union doesn't sign their current contract, they'll get a bigger one later that year. Surprised, Dunphy apologizes and Finch admits that he's impressed with McCourt's finesse.
At an art museum in DC, Senator Garrison meets with Greer. Greer quickly proves that he knows about Garrison's involvement with Northern Lights despite the senator's denials, and warns him against Collier. He then offers the U.S. government the Samaritan system, one that will do what the government tells it unlike the Machine. When Garrison warns Greer that a new surveillance system would be too controversial, Greer assures him that he can eliminate any opposition.
That night, McCourt goes to dinner and Reese hangs back with Duran. Finch checks McCourt's background and tells Reese that the Congressman has no apparent enemies or red flags in his personal life. A poorly-dressed man walks into the restaurant and heads toward McCourt, and Reese move to intercept him. However, Duran stops him and McCourt ushers the man to his table. Duran tells Reese that McCourt has a standing offer to any homeless person to join him at any restaurant at any time, and Finch confirms the Congressman's offer. Reese spots a tall man, Carlson, watching McCourt from outside and goes after him. Carlson gets into a SUV and Reese sends the license plate to Finch.
In Miami, Root and Sam are drinking together at a seemingly-empty bar. When Sam wonders if taking out relevants is all Root does, Root tells her that she will soon have preparations to make. The Machine sends her a new message and she tells Sam that she has to head for St. Louis, and the Machine needs Sam somewhere else. Root leaves without saying anything further, and Sam makes sure that all the black marketeers in the bar are still unconscious.
That night, Reese is outside McCourt's office when he hears sounds of a struggle from inside. He shoots off the lock and busts in, only to discover that the noises are from McCourt and his mistress... Leslie. Reese suspects that McCourt's wife could want him dead, but Finch checks her emails and discovers that she and her husband have an "arrangement." Finch has also checked the license plate and discovered that it was rented by one of Decima's shell companies.
As McCourt prepares to leave for the evening, Reese spots Carlson and two of his men nearby. Carlson calls Duran and tells him that Reese isn't Secret Service, as Finch listens in and warns Reese. Duran goes for his gun and Reese knocks him out, and the Decima operatives open fire on Reese. Reese takes out the two underlings and then drives off with McCourt.
When Finch rendezvouses with Reese, he discovers that Reese has tied up the Congressman. Finch warns that all of the law authorities in town are searching for McCourt, and Reese figures that they need to dump their car. Finch directs him to the offices of the American Beef Consultants, a company that he bought a week ago so he could use for a safe house. They tell McCourt that they're to help as security consultants, and Finch warns that Decima sent men to kill him. McCourt doesn't believe it and insists that he's never heard of Decima.
More Decima operatives break into the building and open fire. Reese takes them out and they realize that someone planted a tracker on McCourt. They destroy it, go outside, and prepare to hotwire a car. However, Carlson arrives and opens fire again, while police sirens sound in the distance. Realizing that they only have minutes at best, Reese steps out to get a clear shot and returns fire. Carlson prepares to kill him, but Sam arrives in a car, sideswipes Carlson, and tells Reese and the others to get in.
Reese tosses Carlson in the trunk and Sam drives away with the group. When they wonder how she found them, Sam explains that Root called her five minutes ago. When they come to a blockade, Reese warns that they can't back away without looking suspicious. He has Sam drive into a nearby suburban neighborhood and drags Carlson out of the car, and they break into a house where the owners are on vacation.
While Sam secures Carlson to a chair, Finch takes McCourt to the study to question him. The Congressman insists that he hasn't done anything as chairman of the Rules Committee to help Decima or anyone else concerning surveillance systems. Finch then checks Carlson's cell phone and discovers that Decima gave him orders to protect McCourt. When they question him, Carlson finally says that he and his people were watching McCourt, but no one came after him except Reese and Finch.
Reese and Finch confront McCourt with the new information and Finch checks McCourt's stock portfolio. He discovers that McCourt has been using insider stock tips to make himself wealthy, all in the last two weeks. When Finch threatens to call the SAIC, McCourt finally admits that he made a deal with Decima. They asked him to fast-track the surveillance legislation in their favor and offered him the stock tips. However, McCourt insists that he thinks they're the best people for the job because the government can't keep a secret.
A police car drives by outside and Sam warns Reese and Finch that they need to make a move and soon. Reese finally realizes that the people Decima is protecting McCourt from is them. He asks Finch if the Machine would give them a Number so that they would kill them, and Finch admits that it's possible if the situation was bad enough. He only believes his creation would do it if sacrificing one life would save untold more. They realize that the Machine believes something so bad is coming that only killing McCourt will stop it.
Rather than kill a man, Finch tells McCourt to call off his deal with Decima. He warns that if Decima can access the NSA feeds and give the information to Samaritan, they can abuse the information no matter what McCourt thinks. McCourt doesn't believe it and figures that once the controversy dies down, people will be happy to be protected. When Finch tries to pay him to stop the legislation, McCourt insists that he's protecting his country by giving it a reliable surveillance system and refuses to renege on his deal.
Realizing that nothing short of death will stop McCourt, Finch goes back and tells Sam and Reese that he didn't create the Machine to kill. Reese points out that the government has been killing relevants, but Finch insists that while McCourt may be corrupt, he's no terrorist. Reese asks Sam to back him up, and she admits that she would easily have killed McCourt a few months ago. However, hanging out with Reese and Finch has mellowed her. Sam likes saving lives... and she figures that the best way to do that is to trust the Machine. She suggests that they trust the Machine as far as killing McCourt as well.
Reese is ready to kill McCourt, and points out that when they failed to act in the past, people like Carter ended up dead. When Reese asks Finch if he's willing to let Decima win, Finch refuses to kill no matter what. Considering, Reese draws his gun and goes into the study where McCourt is sitting.
A few minutes later, the police storm the house. They find McCourt on the couch... alive.
Reese, Sam, and Finch escape through the forest. The police give chase and fire at them, hitting Sam in the leg. Reese helps her to their car and they drive away.
Later, Garrison meets Greer at the museum again. When the senator says that his colleagues won't agree to accept Samaritan, Greer suggests that they let him demonstrate its capabilities before they make a final decision. He asks for access to the NSA feeds in New York City for 24 hours, and he in return he will deliver a terrorist to them.
In New York, Reese and Sam make their way down the street. Policemen are on the lookout for them and they're forced to take cover. Finch is nearby and looks at a nearby surveillance camera with a combination of suspicion and disappointment.
At the museum, Garrison receives a call and Greer advises him to answer it. It's McCourt, who tells Garrison that he will make sure the Samaritan legislation passes smoothly through the Rules Committee. Garrison agrees to get it passed on the Senate side.
Later, Greer returns to his base. His head programmer, Virgil, tells him that the beta test is coming online. As the NSA feeds start delivering information, Greer tells Virgil to find Finch.