FBI Special Agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) recruits his mathematical genius brother Charlie (David Krumholtz) to help the Bureau solve a wide range of challenging crimes in Los Angeles. The two brothers take on the most confounding criminal cases from a very distinctive perspective. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt (Peter MacNicol) is Charlie's friend and colleague who urges Charlie to focus more on his university studies than on FBI business. Don and Charlie's father, Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsch), is pleased to see his two sons working together, but fears their competitive nature will lead to trouble.
"Everything is numbers," states Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz) in the pilot of Numb3rs, a satisfying (and educational!) new crime drama. Executive-produced by brothers/film directors Ridley Scott (Gladiator) and Tony Scott (Top Gun), it's like CSI with algorithms and probabilities instead of blood spatter and DNA swabs, which separates it from the slew of gruesome forensics-centered cop shows currently on the air. In this case, it's a brains-vs.-brawn matchup: a brilliant math professor (Krumholtz) consulting on crimes for an FBI agent (Rob Morrow) who happens to be his older brother. While Don, Morrow's character, busts the baddies with his team of agents, Charlie's scribbling formulas on chalkboards and statistically deducting a rapist's next target by comparing his pattern to a sprinkler system. (Yes, it sounds geekier than it is). As the show progresses, Charlie--not yet desensitized to people's fates relying on his findings--takes it harder and harder when his hypotheses don't always result in justice. It sounds very cerebral, but the cops and robbers concept plus brother-to-brother dynamics make it all go down easy. There's an unpretentious way the premise is executed, which ends up making math--get this--fun.
The DVD set features episode commentary by cast and crew, and a peek at the unaired pilot that starred many different actors (including Anna Deveare Smith and Michael Rooker) who were dropped when the episode was overhauled. Morrow, who wasn't even in the pilot, was cast later with Judd Hirsch as their father to replace the original (blonder) actors because, as producers admitted, casting Krumholtz as Charlie took the family in an "ethnically specific direction." The jokes also abound in a behind-the-scenes featurette, where Morrow defines the series as "Rain Man
plus an extra Jew." --Ellen A. Kim
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