Television


Prime-Time Series Review

NUMB3RS

CBS Friday Nights at 10 PM ET

The episode I saw could actually be called SN3AK3RS (in case you didn’t get that “Sneakers” was a theatrical Robert Redford vehicle about computer security and hacking, that was an outstanding production).

No More Secrets. That was the catch phrase in Sneakers and that’s what this episode of NUMB3RS was about. A math guy (guest star, Neil Patrick "Doogie Hoser, M.D." Harris) who solved a major theorem that allows you to break encryption of large numbers by easily isolating the primes. (Yeah, like that’s how it really works!)

This show, which is garners raves from critics (and it’s not a bad show) is all about how math or numbers are used to solve crimes to do crimes. The reason for this is that the big FBI guy (Rob Morrow, who used to be the neurotic Doctor in “Northern Exposure” before he thought he’d make it big as a movie guy and came back to small screen like the guy in CSI: Miami, because he couldn’t make it big in movies) has a brother (David Krumholtz, who's credit include roles in the feature films "Ray" and "The Things I Hate About You" -- but is probably most remembered as Santa's assistant, "Bernard," in the Tim Allen "Santa Clause" feature film franchise) who is a math whiz (and co-star of the show) and gets his school professor chums (which includes “Ally McBeal” alumni Peter McNichol) involved with the FBI team from time to time.

This show is about street smarts, school smarts and FBI smarts all working together to reach the climax of a given case at hand.

Also involved in the show is a time factor, like 24 hours, which ticking clocks superimposed over the screen at vital points in the action.

And there is some action in this show, including good FBI capture scenes (lifted, in this one show, from “The Fugitive” feature film).

There are a lot of derivative things like this (and the lift from “Sneakers” in this particular script) in a show that’s basically well cast, written and well produced. If they can keep up the thin “hook” line of math and numbers each week without getting to trite this show has a lot of potential and staying power.

Also in the cast is the excellent Judd Hirsch (from Taxi and "Independence Day") as father to Morrow and Krumholtz, Sabrian Lloyd and Alimi Ballard as fellow FBI agents on Morrow's team.

Morrow did an excellent job in the episode I saw and proves he's larger than his role in "Northern Exposure" (plus he also did a very good job in the few features he co-starred in).
-- E.R.D.

 






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