I started watching Numb3rs a couple of seasons ago after my mom convinced me to give it a shot. I was afraid that it was going to be just another police procedural or CSI-like copycat following in the footsteps of other popular primetime broadcast crime dramas. While Numb3rs is similar to these dramas, it’s just not the same. The show has fun characters, interesting plot lines, and puts a good spin on the police procedural; really, who thought that math could be so much fun to watch?
Numb3rs follows the unorthodox adventures of by-the-book FBI Agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) and his mathematician brother Charlie (David Krumholtz), a professor at the fictional California Institute of Science (CalSci). Charlie works with his brother as an FBI consultant, using complex mathematics to help solve crimes. The series also focuses on the unique dynamics and relationships between Charlie, Don, and their father Alan (Judd Hirsch).
Season five picks up three weeks after the end of season four, with pending issues about Charlie’s security clearance to work with the FBI. Charlie gets his clearance reinstated, and new Agent Nikki Betancourt (Sophina Brown) replaces Megan Reeves (Diane Farr) after Megan’s departure at the end of season four. Liz Warner (Aya Sumika) turns down a promotion while Alan finds himself coaching CalSci’s basketball team. As the season goes on, Charlie focuses more on his FBI consultation work, and after his colleague and girlfriend Amita (Navi Rawat) is kidnapped and rescued, Charlie proposes to her.
The characters of Numb3rs are fairly well drawn and feel complex and real. For me, the most enjoyable part of this show is watching Charlie use his nerdy skills to help Don and other FBI agents solve crimes. Charlie is such a well-played, fun character — even when he goes off on mathematical tangents I sometimes have trouble understanding, Krumholtz makes the math flow naturally while still discussing key plot points in a way that makes sense (well, much of the time). While the other characters surrounding Charlie do a good job, they tend to feel like cardboard and seem more stereotypical for the genre and don’t stand out as much. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the added element of Charlie’s unexpected (and sometimes exaggerated or unbelievable) mathematics, the series would fade into the mass of CSI rip-offs.