A successful CBS offering about to head into its fifth season on the air, "Numb3rs" was created by Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton. While Heuton and Falacci lack much in the way of resumes (this is Heuton's first listed project, Falacci's second), they are backed up by a team that includes producers Tony and Ridley Scott.
The series stars Rob Morrow ("Northern Exposure") as Don Eppes, an FBI special agent working in Los Angeles. He is often assisted by his very different younger brother, Charlie (David Krumholtz, from "Slums of Beverly Hills") - a mathematics genius and professor who consults with the FBI when his knowledge is required to solve a case. Don is accompanied by a team that includes Colby Granger (Dylan Bruno), David Sinclair (Alimi Ballard), Megan Reeves (Diane Farr) and Liz Warner (Aya Sumika).
The opening episode of the fourth season, "Trust Metric" (directed by producer Tony Scott), continues where the finale of the previous season left off. One of the members of the team has been arrested for being a spy for the Chinese, and it's up to Don and Charlie to try and recapture the agent when he escapes and figure out what the true story is behind the operation. Even after the story is over and the agent returns, distrust still lingers.
Aside from "Trust Metric", some of the highlights of the season include: "Robin Hood" (Don and Charlie track a thief who is giving his takings to charity), "Primacy" (a case leads the team into the world of alternate reality gaming), "Tabu" (things aren't what they initially seem when a wealthy heiress is kidnapped), "Graphic" (the team investigates the theft of a graphic comic book), "Chinese Box" (a former FBI subcontractor takes a team member hostage) and "When Worlds Collide", the season finale.
The series does deserve credit for its general aim to be moderately more thought-provoking than the average drama series. The show does do a nice job integrating the mathematics and formulas into each of the plots, and while the explanations have been smoothed out in order to quickly and smoothly deliver them to the audience, they have not been watered down too greatly. Some of the supporting performances are a bit of a mixed bag, but leads Morrow and Krumholtz carry the series nicely (and Judd Hirsch is enjoyable as Don and Charlie's father.)
The season was shorter due to the writer's strike.
62. 4- 1 28 Sep 07 Trust Metric
63. 4- 2 5 Oct 07 Hollywood Homicide
64. 4- 3 12 Oct 07 Velocity
65. 4- 4 19 Oct 07 Thirteen
66. 4- 5 26 Oct 07 Robin Hood
67. 4- 6 2 Nov 07 In Security
68. 4- 7 9 Nov 07 Primacy
69. 4- 8 16 Nov 07 Tabu
70. 4- 9 23 Nov 07 Graphic
71. 4-10 14 Dec 07 Chinese Box
72. 4-11 11 Jan 08 Breaking Point
73. 4-12 18 Jan 08 Power
74. 4-13 4 Apr 08 Black Swan
75. 4-14 11 Apr 08 Checkmate
76. 4-15 25 Apr 08 End Game
77. 4-16 2 May 08 Atomic No. 33
78. 4-17 9 May 08 Pay to Play
79. 4-18 16 May 08 When Worlds Collide
VIDEO: "Numb3rs" is presented by Paramount Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is a little inconsistent, but much of the running time looked pretty terrific. The show's sleek, slick style is done justice by the presentation, which - more often than not - showed very good sharpness and detail. The episodes look impressively smooth and clean, with very little in the way of flaws: a trace of pixelation is seen once or twice, but the episodes otherwise look fresh and crisp. Colors are intentionally subdued in most scenes, but appeared accurately presented. Black level remained strong at all times, as well.
SOUND: The show is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The show's audio is generally dialogue-driven, but occasional action sequences do open up the audio moderately, with surrounds kicking in some mild sound effects and ambience. The surrounds could certainly stand to be used more frequently and effectively, but for a TV series, this is a satisfactory sound mix. Audio quality is fine, with crisp, natural dialogue and well-recorded effects.
EXTRAS: "Crunching Numb3rs: Trust Metric" is a nearly hour-long, five-part documentary looking into the making of the first episode of the season, directed by Tony Scott ("Crimson Tide"). The documentary is produced by Charles De Lauzirika, the frequent collaborator who has been behind many of the excellent "behind-the-scenes" documentaries found on the DVDs for both Ridley and Tony Scott's films. The documentary is a no-nonsense look at nearly every aspect of this larger-than-normal episode, from Scott's decision to helm the episode to the staging of the episode's action sequences to post-production decisions and everything in-between. While commentaries would have been very nice, this excellent, in-depth documentary is an outstanding substitute.
Final Thoughts: "Numb3rs" is a solid drama from CBS, lead by excellent performances from Morrow and Krumholtz. The DVD set for season 4 offers very good audio/video quality, as well as one stellar extra. Recommended.