Season 5 Episode 12


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 16, 2009 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
138 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Don and his team must race to save the hostages being held on a hijacked bus.

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  • Math solutions take too long

    You have a good basic premise here. A mixture of Diehard and Speed. Kidnappers abduct a bus load of tourists on the streets of LA and demand a big payoff. A cop on vacation in plain clothes is aboard and sneaks a live streaming video off via his smartphone. LAPD and FBI follow the bus and try to figure out the bad guys' game plan. Charlie must hack the bus' auto-drive computer system then create a heat signature identification program to give the police snipers a bird's eye view of their targets.

    Sounds great, right? The software hacking works just fine, but that sniper ID bit just bombs. Charlie ends up spending valuable time just postulating what he might do to save the hostages' lives without actually doing anything. We don't need a Charlie-vision explanation while there are guns to people's heads and a clock running out. But instead the writers stumble through their formula to give that unnecessary exposition of (A) Charlie postulates a theory, (B) proposes a consultant angle for the solution, and (C) waits for authorization to do anything.

    Then in the midst of writing his program (which he does at CalSci instead of FBI offices... WTF?!) Amita pops in for a "you gotta do something about your dad and Larry" talk. Excuse me? There are people's lives at stake here. In a real crisis those sterile academic issues are put on hold. Not doing so makes the characters look cold and unlikable.moreless
  • Don and the team are in a battle against time as they try to save a group of tourists taken hostage on a bus.

    This episode is entertaining and very compelling. I can understand why so many reviews for this episode are so positive. David Krumholtz and Rob Morrow are terrific (as usual) so there are many positive things to say about this episode. However as I watched it, I kept being reminded of the classic 1974 action film "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three." So many devices from that excellent film are recycled here. The ransom has to be delivered in one hour, old bills with random serial numbers and one hostage will be killed for every minute over the deadline. Average.moreless
  • unique episode

    I watched this episode last night on Tv and i was very pleased with it, this episode had a great and simple plot which i really enjoyed, it was good to more brilliant work by Charlie and Swat getting involved, what i really liked was how the criminals tricked the FBI, also the "cop and his wife" being in on it the whole time. But what i didn't get is why have blanks in a gun? i also liked the decoy effect with the buses and how Don was willing to not comprimise all this made the episode very good.moreless
  • An absolutely superb episode with a compelling story and great acting from the regulars and guest stars.

    If you haven't seen "Jacked" yet, I recommend you stop reading my review right now…

    Okay, all set? This episode is beyond any doubt way up the chart as one of the best "NUMB3RS" has to offer. It has all the ingredients to make it memorable. First there's the crime itself: a bus hijacking without a clear motive that keeps the viewer interested and guessing. What could this small group possibly want? It has to be more than the money right? Then you have the lead hijacker, played so well by Fisher Stevens. He had a wild temper, sometimes bordering on rage, which had me wondering when he would eventually fly off the handle and begin shooting his hostages. The crime and the lead hijacker were a perfect combination, adding great intrigue to the episode.

    There is also a "Chalie Vision" in this episode that had me laughing pretty hard. He explains a mathematical principle by likening it to a poker game. In the vision, Charlie is dressed in appropriate card dealer attire, while Don and the lead hijacker are seated at a card table, dressed to the nines, smoking fat cigars. Seeing the story's antagonist and protagonist out of context from the plot as opposing stoic card sharks was a brilliant moment of humor. It might even have been a way to foreshadow that the crime was not as threatening as we'd been led to believe.

    Finally, there was a moment in this episode where I said out loud, "Oh no," while feeling the same dread and despair that was clear on everyone's faces after they found out the bus they'd been pursuing was empty save for the driver. That was one heck of a twist, and the emotional reactions from the actors following it were perfect. Some of the cinematography after the empty bus reveal also expertly contributed to the moment's despair.

    It's episodes like this one that keep me watching every week and make me so relieved that "NUMB3RS" continues to defy the curse of the Friday 10pm time slot.moreless
  • Amazing episode. Not perfect, but definitely great.

    Good stuff first, not so great stuff later.

    The casting for the bad guy was absolutely spot on. I felt that he would definitely go through with his plans (this was before the bus was discovered to be empty). Everyone was great in this episode, no one was too vital or sitting in a corner doing nothing while the rest of the people solved the case.

    Unfortunately, I can't give this episode a ten. I really wish I could give it a 9.8, because that would be much closer to what I feel about it. The bus being empty was, for some reason or another, predictable, and I wasn't all that surprised when they ran on and found just the driver. That's not the only reason it wasn't perfect, but it was one of the bigger ones. But, still, great episode. Completely recommended.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Math used in this episode:
      Volume Rendering
      Inverse Game Theory

    • Opening Numb3rs:
      4 HOURS

    • When the FBI SWAT team begins to follow, the bus is passed by a black car parked on the street in front of a telephone pole. Minutes later, two SWAT cars pass by the same car in the same spot a second time.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Don: Any idea how these guys are connected?
      David: Well they're not, Don. I mean their arrest records read like a travel log all over the country. Haven't been able to find a common denominator.
      Colby: And a crew like this, these guys they don't hook up over MySpace.

    • Charlie: Nothing's unhackable.

    • Alan: Well, here's a toast. To rabbit season.
      Larry: To duck season.
      Alan: I like rabbit season.
      Larry: Duck season.
      Charlie: (to Amita) You want a recount?
      Amita: Thinking about it.

    • Larry: Eppes-Fleinhardt Paradox...
      Alan: Fleinhardt-Eppes! (grins) Wait a minute. Did you just trick me into taking second position?
      Amita: It's like the time that Bugs Bunny tricks Daffy Duck into declaring duck season by declaring rabbit season. And then Elmar Fudd shoots Daffy Duck and his beak spins around, and... (giggles) It's really very funny, hehe... Am I alone here?

    • Colby: Don, you made the right call. I mean, you could have never known.
      Don: If I hadn't have called for the shot, he wouldn't have pulled the trigger.
      Colby: You can't be inside the guy's head.
      Don: That's my job.

    • Alan: I stopped by Vilosky's engineering class for a chat, and uh, he's on board for the cow manure fuel cell idea.
      Larry: Ooook, well, I had a similarly spirited discussion with Breicher in astrophysics. He suggested we better model our efforts after Paul Davy's cosmic thing at Arizona state.
      Alan: Well that's a bit head in the clouds, don't you think?
      Larry: Well, as opposed to poo on the table...
      Charlie: Guys, this isn't the time!

    • Charlie: Who voted me team leader?
      Anita: (referring to Alan and Larry) They did. Don't look at me, I voted for myself.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Air Dates:

      The Netherlands: April 19, 2009 on Veronica

      Norway: July 2, 2009 on TV2

      Czech Republic: June 9, 2010 on TV Nova

      Finland: May 8, 2012 on Sub

    • Music used in this episode was "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by The Ting Tings and "You Are I Am" by The Ride.


    • Len Walsh: And what if this turns into Waco?

      The Waco Siege took place on February 28, 1993 when the ATF attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch east-northeast of Waco, Texas. A 51-day siege by the FBI ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the compound. 86 Davidians and 4 agents died.