My husband and I watched the pilot of the television show “Numb3rs” last night. It’s about two brothers: the older one works for the FBI, while the younger one is a math whiz and a youthful prof at an eminent university. The younger one sees the entire world as numbers, and ends up helping out the older brother in solving a serial killer case by analyzing the data according to the application of mathematical principles.
My kind of show. I love geeky premises that involve the application some specialized skills that others don’t have and require the characters to think through the problem before acting upon it. I also love it when a show sets itself the challenge of being bound by certain concepts or principles that have to be obeyed as part of the crime solving process.
Except it rarely works that way. Numb3rs is a case in point. To disclaim: I’m not a math person. Nonetheless, even I had a bit of a problem with the solution to the pilot (warning: spoilers in the next two paragraphs. Skip them if you don’t want to know specifics about the pilot).