Chief of New Scotland Yard and Minister of Investigations, which has become the "Nose", Finch is a pragmatist who sides with the government of Norsefire because he would rather serve in a world of order than one of chaos.
He is nevertheless honorable and decent, and trusted by the Leader because he is reliable and without ambition. He eventually achieves his own anagnorisis and self-knowledge, expressing sorrow over his complicity with Norsefire's atrocities. Unlike his superiors, he is a basically good man, a dedicated police officer committed to upholding the law and protecting society. While he is (perhaps willfully) unaware of the full scope of Norsefire's crimes, including state terrorism and genocide, it is implied that he is troubled by what little he does know of, such as the Party's possible role in the death of his family during the regime's initial rise to power.
A peripheral member of Chancellor Adam Susan's inner circle of lieutenants, Finch is charged with hunting down and arresting "V", a masked terrorist who has destroyed the Old Bailey, Houses of Parliament, and several other government buildings.
Finch becomes obsessed with capturing V as the mysterious terrorist systematically kills off Susan's lieutenants, including Dr. Delia Surridge, whom he had occasionally dated. His repressed doubts about the government he serves become harder to ignore as the investigation wears on, however, especially after he reads Surridge's diary and learns of the horrors V suffered in the Norsefire-operated Larkhill Resettlement Camp. He is also deeply troubled by the increasing prominence in the Party of Peter Creedy, an amoral, power-hungry opportunist. In his desperate bid to discover how V's mind works, Finch ingests LSD while visiting the concentration camp at Larkhill, allowing him to understand V's sense of liberation. Nevertheless, he is still determined to find and catch V; while Finch understands why V has been leading his vendetta against the government, Finch still believes him to be a murderer first and foremost.
V seeks Finch out after Susan is assassinated by Rose Almond, and engages him in a final confrontation in an abandoned Victoria Station, in which Finch shoots and mortally wounds him. It is too late to stop the plan, however; V's accomplice, Evey Hammond, takes over his mantle and blows up 10 Downing Street herself.
With British society falling into chaos, a lonely Finch decides to leave the city, and the final panels of the graphic novel show him walking northward up the M1 motorway into the darkness and an uncertain future.
In the filmEdit
In the 2006 film adaptation, Finch is played by Stephen Rea.
Throughout the film, Finch is told by the Chancellor Adam Sutler to ignore his own "feelings" towards the investigation. State visual surveillance leader Conrad Heyer states that a military report indicates that V will likely attack Parliament from the air. Finch suggests that V will use an underground train instead. Sutler ignores Finch's report and military defense prepares for an airborne attack. However, it turns out that Finch was correct and Parliament is destroyed by V's funeral train.
At the end of the film, Finch discovers the train that V is planning to use for the attack. However, V has already been mortally wounded by Creedy and his men, and he only sees Evey Hammond putting roses on V. He initially tries to stop her from going through, but relents (due to his hatred for Norsefire's crimes, which he uncovered through his investigation) and allows the train to blow up Parliament.
Finch attends the blowing up of the Parliament with Evey Hammond. His further life is unknown, though an image shown while Finch is describing his vision at Larkhill earlier in the movie may suggest that he and Evie might end up together.
He is at one point referred to as Edward Finch (an error on the part of Helen Heyer).