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A kind of softer, gentler, politically correct CSI - a relaxing watch but very predictable
on 28 November 2007
I rather liked the first season of Numb3rs and I certainly do not regret watching it, but let it be said, that this is NOT a master piece.
The show is about two brothers who happen to work together for FBI, solving federal crimes in Los Angeles. Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) is a senior agent of FBI, a still young but already very experienced veteran who also worked in the past for US Marshals. His younger brother, Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz) is a civilian and has a regular work at one of California universities but he also consults for FBI - and he is a very appreciated asset, because he is a genius in mathematics. The brothers work well together, although there is a little tension between them, resulting from the days of their childhood, when Charlie, being the genius kid, was getting much more attention from the parents...
Street wise Don and mathematically gifted Charlie are a great team. In this season they mostly work with agent Terry Lake (Sabrina Lloyd), a cute young blond woman, soft in speech but very tough in a gunfight and agent David Sinclair (Alimi Ballard), a very ambitious, smart and physically powerful black man. One of Charlie's students, Amita Ramanujan (Navi Rawat) occasionally helps in the mathematics - she also has a powerful but totally hopeless crush on her professor.
Eppes brothers have lost their mother to cancer but their father, Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsh) is still with them and they still orbit around his calm and wise presence. The last significant character is dr Larry Fleinhardt (Peter MacNicol, of "Ally McBeal" fame) - a genius astrophysician, a treasure of wisdom and a delightful comic character.
Now, "Numb3rs" are not "CSI" or "Law and Order". The stories are very soft - which means that bad guys get caught and punished (they always confess!) and families of victims get closure and consolation. All the main heroes are nice and good people and they almost never make mistakes (although they can be misguided by people who lie to them). Political correctness is respected to the letter - bad guys are pharmaceutical companies, ex-Green Berets, traumatised veterans of Iraq War, white racists, etc. Good guys are whistle blowers, environmental activists, etc. Stories are also VERY predictable - I am not very smart, but still I almost always could guess who did it in the middle of the episode.
Humour is moderately present - Peter Mac Nichol and Jude Hirsch provide most of it. Surprisingly, Charlie, who is a slightly removed from reality genius, is very little used in humouristic moments, although the one episode in which he plays Scrabble is a really good moment - as a total mathematician he is close to dyslexia...
All in all, this is a nice, soft and gentle thing - but very, very far from the reality and not on the same level as great criminal shows like "CSI", "Law and Order" or "Without a trace".