Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Numb3rs

I thought it was long since time to review Numb3rs. The series will resume its 6th season this Friday on CBS - shortened from 22 to 16 episodes, and likely to be canceled, according to industry intelligentsia - which would be a shame. Numb3rs is the only show I know that presents full-fledged mathematical and scientific theories, with a unique cast of engaging characters. Charlie (David Krumholtz) could probably give a pretty good exposition of infinite regress in philosophy and numerical sets, and it would play a decisive role in a life-and-death case that his brother Don (Rob Morrow) and his team were pursuing for the FBI.

The last episode in the Fall - 6.10 - shows how good Numb3rs can be. Don and the team may have a solid lead on the D. B. Cooper case, the most famous unsolved hijacking and robbery on the books. Cooper jumped out of the plane with anywhere from 200,000 to 1,000,000 dollars. Neither he nor most of the money have been found.

Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) of Battlestar Galactica plays the presumed Cooper, and the show is worth seeing just for that. But add into that Henry Winkler as a retired cop that Don has had dealings with before, Judd Hirsch as Don and Charlie's father Alan, some unresolved issues over the Vietnam War, and you have a pretty fine, even riveting, hour of television.

In fact, I think the show has been improving over the years, and this season is the best yet. David (Alimi Ballard) and Colby's (Dylan Bruno) have become more clearly defined, Charlie's fiance Amit (Navi Rawat) is looking better than ever and has a more prominent role in the cases, and the music is great. Dylanesque Blitzen Trapper had the closing song - Furr - for 6.10.

Numb3rs also has memorable occasional supporting characters. In addition to Henry Winkler, Lou Diamond Phillips checks in as Agent Ian Edgerton a few times each year, and was the focus of one of the best episodes of the series - "Hostage" - in the Fall.

About the only ingredient Numb3rs lacks is a female agent as captivating and powerful as Ziva on NCIS. The women agents have been good, but they've been transferred in and out at least three or four times in the series, and their stories therefore have not been told as well as David's and Colby's.

But this is a small tick in what is otherwise a highly original, exciting, and enjoyable series. I know that ratings are king, Numb3rs has not had the numbers this year, and six years is a respectable, excellent run, but I hope CBS continues the series. I'll certainly be reviewing every episode starting this Friday and from now on.

Meanwhile, here's a little of Blitzen Trapper's Furr ...






The Plot to Save Socrates


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