Until a few months ago, I had never heard of this series. I live in England where it is not widely known. I first learned about it when I was flicking through the recommendations on Amazon.com (well done to Amazon by the way, great feature, they sometimes seem to know my tastes better than I know myself!) and after reading the online reviews I was compelled to order season one, though I'D NEVER EVEN SEEN AN EPISODE!
I absolutely love detective / action programs and am an avid fan of the likes of 'Bones' and '24' and never miss an episode of 'House MD' (which I've included in this review since as every House fan knows, they solve illnesses instead of crimes but the format is the same). So I firstly, decided to give 'numb3rs' a chance because the new approach of 'maths' (as we English call it) to solve crime seemed intriguing.
Secondly, I noticed that Ridley and Tony Scott had put their names to it, which to me gave it excellent credentials since I am a fan of both their work, especially Ridley Scott since I loved his work on 'Gladiator' and 'Kingdom of Heaven'.
My final reason for buying the boxset could be construed as a bit of a shallow one, that is I've had a bit of a soft spot for Rob Morrow since 'Northern Exposure', I also knew him to be a good actor, honestly.
Cutting a long story short, I got season one and after watching only two episodes I immediately pre-ordered season two, I enjoyed it that much.
So, to the series itself. The stories are excellently written and the more you watch, the more addictive it becomes. All the characters are well rounded (not just the key ones) and you actually care what happens to them which to me is the essential to a good drama. You see their interactions while solving the case, but also when its finished, the key characters seem equally as close to one another.
The main premise of the program is that there are two brothers (both equally lovely in their own particular way, purely from a female perspective). The older, Don Eppes (played excellently by the afore mentioned Mr Morrow) is an FBI agent who calls upon his younger brother Charlie (or to give his full title Professor Charles Edward Eppes) to help him solve his cases through maths. Charlie (played by the very attractive David Krumholtz) is a mathematical genius who uses equations and algorythms in order to for example, decide the next target for a robbery or the whereabouts of a suspect. Don't be put off by the idea of all those sums however, being something of a mathsphobe myself (my brain tends to shut down in self defense when comfronted by too many numbers) I still found it fascinating and all the complex stuff is explained using methaphors and symbolism making it really easy to follow.
Though ultimately, the plot focuses on the pursuit of the guilty, the series is also largely about family, in its many guises, be it the Eppes family itself, the close knit FBI team or Charlie and his colleagues at the university. Special mention should be given to Judd Hirsh as Don and Charlie's father, Alan Eppes, who helps bridge the gap between his two sons, who are in many ways different but also in may ways alike. Hirsch plays the part with warmth and is a perfect balance for his offspring, always trying to see things from both their perspectives and find common ground to heal the ever diminishing rift between them.
Season two, is as good as if not better than the first. There have been some changes, Sabrina Lloyd's character has been replaced by Megan Reeves (played by Diane Farr) and there has been an introduction of a new character, an FBI agent played by Dylan Bruno, but both fit in very well and help rather than hinder the show. The supporting cast is also brilliant. It is good to see that Lou Diamond Phillips, reprises his role as Agent Edgerton from the first series, in the episode entitled 'Toxin'. Here's hoping that we see more of this character in future series as Phillips is a great actor. Colin Hanks also makes a memorable appearance as Charlie's mathematical rival, Penfield in 'Convergence'. How Charlie spars with his 'nemesis' is really humourous as they try desperately to get one better than each other. Another particularly good episode is 'Rampage' which without giving too much away, looks at how Charlie's life is affected when he suffers a brush with death in a place that he normally considers safe, and how he must overcome the fear to help Don.
In conclusion, I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a show where you have to go through the process of solving a crime with the cast members, to take the journey with them as it were, to find the bad guys. If you like the idea of a different approach to crime fighting and want to watch an intelligent, interesting program filled with likeable characters and interesting plot twists, give it a go. ALL THE VARIABLES IN 'NUMB3RS ADD UP TO A TRULY REWARDING VIEWING EXPERIENCE!