Slight time shift in my January Memes! Sorry!
I really love Harold and Shaw’s relationship.
They had a contentious start to their working relationship-- not as contentious as Harold’s relationship with Root, that’s a category all on its own.
One of the reasons why I love their relationship was how unexpected it was. They didn’t have the best of beginnings but their start was not the worst thing ever (yes, okay I’ve been watching Galavant).
They clashed on almost everything. Harold seemed to expect the worst from Shaw and Shaw in turn seemed to be testing her limits with Harold and John. More Harold than John when she realized as long as she kept her shooting away from center mass John was okay with everything else.
To be honest, I wasn’t fond with how the writers decided Harold and Shaw would clash and yes, this is something I lay on the writers feet and not the characters. I knew they would clash at the beginning and I thought the scene in Trojan Horse was the preview to the type of dynamic we would see in season 3.
I loved their scene in Trojan Horse they were both snippy and snarky at each other while still maintaining a kind of cool attitude and that would be the norm for season 3.
This is why I was irked with how the writer’s decided to write Harold and Shaw’s prickly early work relationship, thank goodness they eventually course corrected.
Introducing Dillinger (RAM) helped too. Dillinger wasn’t just a counterpoint to John but a warning for Harold. I think Harold was afraid Shaw would turn into another Dillinger.
Razgovor was the beginning of a turning point in their working relationship where Harold realized Shaw can be trusted to, if not care for, take a Number’s safety personally.
Shaw realized Harold wasn’t a hardline kind of boss who would slap penalties at her for failing but it was in Lethe and Aletheia when their working relationship turned for the better.
IMO the two-parter was important for Harold and Shaw, it was important for Harold to learn to trust and rely on Shaw and for Shaw it gave her a glimpse into Harold before he was the reclusive billionaire.
After the two-parter Harold seemed to trust Shaw a lot more and he seemed more comfortable around her, Shaw also seemed to ease up around Harold and she started to tease Harold more in a similar but slightly different way she did with John.
One thing Shaw also learned to do is how to ‘speak Harold’. Initially Shaw had a difficult time getting Harold to approve any of her plans because to him they seemed brash (Shaw actually took time to explain her plans to Harold, whereas Mr. International Spy would just steal a truck and t-bone another car). By season 4 Shaw got Harold to play along to scare the barista and the green light for stealing from a security company.
In season 4 I think because of Shaw’s job as a make up counter girl Shaw and Harold got to spend more time together. After all being a thief isn’t a full time gig either, and professor would have some free time too.
Harold and Shaw planned how to approach a Number (Wingman) and Harold was comfortable leaving all the tech support job to Shaw when he was away in Hong Kong (Pretenders) and Harold’s become familiar with Shaw’s favorite sandwich at Park’s (The Cold War).
I think Harold became fond of Shaw despite her penchant for appearing out of nowhere to give him a minor heart attack, and her way of consuming his top shelf liquor like water or her ‘binary moral compass’.
I’d like to think that they bonded over good food and chemistry -- although that’s a topic Shaw discussed sparingly because she wouldn’t want to be branded as a ‘nerd’. I also think she didn’t mind the other responsibilities that came with a dog like washing Bear (somehow, Detective Riley is always out chasing a perp), walking Bear, and feeding Bear which I think Harold appreciated.
One of the things I regret is that they didn’t show us more of Harold’s grief at losing Shaw, understandably the focus was on Root and later on John but they did show the effects losing Shaw had on Harold:
Claire: “You wouldn't just leave me here for dead.”
Harold: “That may have been true once, but that was before I lost someone, someone dear. She's gone now, and I won't risk losing anyone else.”
(Eventually, of course, despite knowing it was a trap Harold can’t just leave Claire even if he was angry he can’t make himself walk away because of the possibility that Claire can be helped. But the mere fact that Harold almost did leave Claire was big.)
Person of Interest has a lot of interesting relationship dynamics within the team but Harold and Shaw have a special place in my heart.
I think at the end of the day Harold and Shaw are similar, the way John and Root are similar to each other, but they’re more subtle in their similarities. For one I don’t think they both need an outside impetus or direction to be driven into something, they have a certainty about who they are that is not easy to shake.
And I really the POI Noir photo above I think the photo encapsulates everything I love about Harold and Shaw.