Season 1 Episode 12

Noisy Edge

Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 06, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
205 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Don and Agent Weston of the NTSB investigate eyewitness accounts of a mysterious unidentified object flying dangerously close to downtown Los Angeles that has raised concern of a terrorist attack. After Charlie is recruited to help with the investigation, it is discovered that the flying object is part of a new technology that could revolutionize air travel. But the investigation takes a turn when they learn that the lead engineer is found murdered.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Review

    The scene between Charlie and Anita was the best this episode had to offer, yet that scene was still a little less then it could have been. They were both flirting with the same idea of him no longer being her teacher and I think that the show should have finished it with a kiss / something. Perhaps they were saving it for the season finale, maybe not.

    I thought the case was pretty random. A possible UFO / terrorist attack that turned out to be pretty much nothing important. The son killing his father in the long run was another random twist, with us only finding out with 2 minutes left in the episode.moreless
  • A UFO was spotted by several different people, and its trajectory puts it on course to go right into downtown L.A., specifically to the Staples Center. Det. Alan Eppes and the crew fear this may be a terrorist attack, but the object mysteriously vanishesmoreless

    This episode was pretty good, and even had a couple series plot-forming events. Charlie's relationship with Dad is strengthened as Charlie is taught to play golf. Also, Charlie's now former student Amita is staying around. As for the main plot line of the episode, I felt this was quite interesting, especially the "squish-squash" mathematics, and the layered radar screens that created a once undetectable aircraft into a decent picture of the aircraft itself. However, two things could have put this episode over the top. First, a scene on how this vertical take-off craft works (theoretically) by mathematics would have been neat; they could also have created video of the take-off and trip of the craft in a flash-back. Even if it was all done by computers, that would still be pretty awesome to see.

  • Unbelievable storyline, that was so idiotic, that I almost stopped watching.

    An unidentified, unknown aircraft has been spotted hovering over L.A.

    I followed the story until one point, where it got so stupid, that I only kept on watching because of the characters. The story - for me - was no longer worth it. The point, where I almost quit, was when Charlie layered the signals of various radarsystems and thus created a 3-dimensional image (!) of the object, which then was used to scout out the aircraft.

    The story culminates, when the pilot of the unknown aircraft is found dead on a junkyard whilst still sitting in his crashed plane. Prior to this finding Charlie is looking for the place, where that plane is located and comes up with some 'mumbojumbo' (one of my favorite terms by Dr.Kelso of 'Scrubs') of "things so obvious, You don't recognise them" - which then is to look for that plane on a junkyard!?!? Why would the investigators have left out the junkyard in the first place?

    I could go on and on about such stupid twists of this story but I won't.

    Watching this episode I got the impression the producers desperately tried to fit in much more complexity (of the story), than they could handle in roughly an hour. All of which does not go unnoticed and makes the plot loose its plausibility.

    Watch it for the characters and the good play but not for the story...moreless
  • For TV elitists, this may com across as "eh", but the average fan of Numb3rs old and new, this was a great episode for several reasons...

    Alright, so building on the fact that I began watching this show because of a class project, I'm fairly surprised how enjoyable this show has been for me.

    I've watched every episode thus far, and I particularly liked this one. Not my top three favorites but it's up there.

    What I liked About this episode:

    * There was more of a developing (potential) romance between Amita and Charlie.

    Okay, for those who find Amita boring OR unnecessary in the plotlines, I have to just utterly disagree. One of the underlining themes for Charlie in this show is to illustrate the other side of his genuis; human behavior, the one aspect that is rarely if ever "eloquent". Through his relationship with Amita you see not only the respect he has for her, but admiration for her own talent. You see a romantic side of Charlie. I mean it's completely stereotypical for the "math geek" tbe portrayed as the underdog or "loser in love". But that's not the case with Amita. There's a good sense of chemistry between them.

    * Larry! I love it whenever Larry gets a chance to be in an episode. I love how he is also Charlie's mentor, showing him how to think outside of the box.

    But I've got to wonder, I mean I'm not too familiar with various math or physics circles, but is there some kind of rivalry? Either way, they're both fascinating.

    What I Didn't Like:

    The plotline was thin, and it wasn't as riveting as previous episodes. There wasn't anything too surprising, or riveting. Strange consider it was a precurser to the season finale.

  • Charlie and Don investigate an unidentified aircraft. Who cares. Then this romance between Charlie and Anita. Makes Charlie too ordinary. Also, didn't like the way they made fun of Larry. He's great as Charlie's mentor.moreless

    The story line was boring. Who cares about this plane. I like it much better when they're solving real crimes. It's too soon in the series for Charlie to get matched up. And she's so boring. If he's with a mathmatician where is tension? Rob Morrow was great as always, but he didn't convince me that he was upset about this plane. Don needs a female partner who is a character. Street wise and cynical but funny. Not serious. Someone to play off of.moreless
Ethan Embry

Ethan Embry

Blake Gosnell

Guest Star

Gloria Reuben

Gloria Reuben

Erica Quimby

Guest Star

Benjamin Jay Davis

Benjamin Jay Davis

Air Force Captain

Guest Star

Navi Rawat

Navi Rawat

Amita Ramanujan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Opening Numb3rs:
      6,950 SMALL PLANES IN L.A.

    • The Math:
      Conditional Probability Distribution
      Fourier Series
      Combinatorics - A field of mathematics that studies data structures in computer science.

    • In the beginning Charlie claims that "every problem has a solution" and that "if there is any limitation, it's got to be in the mathematician, not the math". But in 1931 the mathematician Kurt Gödel found his so-called incompleteness theorems, which basically demonstrated that any finite axiom-set, the mathematical basis, must be incomplete and thus there will always be problems without a solution. This theorems together with later works by Alan Turing ended the so-called "Hilbert's Dream" of a complete and consistent math and seriously shook the foundations of the mathematical world at that time, so it is strange that Charlie, who is supposed to be a brilliant mathematician and often corrects misstatements made by people in his surrounding, would make a statement that contradicts this groundbreaking mathematical discovery.

    • Air traffic control radars do not, in normal operation, look for reflections off the aircraft (A "skin paint"). Rather, they send out much lower power transmissions than that would require, which are picked up by a transponder on the aircraft. The transponder transmits a reply, which the ATC radar uses to identify the flight.

      An aircraft without a transponder, or with it turned off, will not show up on ATC radar in the first place.

      This was even *mentioned* early in the episode, and yet, later on, they're all talking about how all the different radar systems "tracked the flight".

    • In the scene where the military liaison "Leader 1" is speaking with air traffic control, a close-up of a radio scanner appears on the screen with the following frequency "866.6125." This frequency is a public safety frequency used mostly by police. If Leader 1 had actually been talking to air traffic controllers, he would have used a military UHF frequency in the 225-400 AM range instead of the 866 FM public safety range.

    • When Alan hits the golf ball in the first golf scene, he doesn't even hit it but Charlie still calls out nice shot!

    • The military officer in the opening tells Don Eppes there are F-16s patroling the area looking for the UFO. However, the fighter jets shown in the opening are not F-16s. One giveaway was their general shape. They resembled F-18s. Also, there is a scene showing the jets flying past and away revealing the afterburner in the night sky. These jets had twin-engine afterburners while F-16s are single-engine jets. The script doesn't match the special effects.

      The reason why the characters talk about F-16s and we see F-18s is because the script was written with the F-16 references. When the effects company that did the jet fighter footage finished its work, F-18s had been substituted for the F-16s - most likely because the same company did the effects for JAG and there were a lot more F-18 models, which are Navy fighters.

    • In the original flight of the plane in the first scene, it's the same graphic footage used over and over.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Don: What's up?
      Charlie: Just grading tests for my non-linear dynamics class.
      Don: Glad to see you're taking my advice and having some fun.

    • Larry: When you first told me you wanted to run an advanced conditional probability distribution application, I was delighted. Naturally, I assumed we're about to attempt a model of my theory concerning the distribution of gravity waves.
      Charlie: I'm sorry, Larry.
      Larry: But no. Little did I realize that my slender budgetary resources were being used to finance a UFO hunt.
      Amita: I think the more accurate term is "Unexplained Aerial Event."

    • Charlie: (about golfing) You know, I'm- I'm the king at basketball, I- I can snowboard, I'm the best at video games, I'm even getting over my fear of rock climbing, but I still... I can't hit this little white ball.

    • Alan (on golf) : There's no math involved... it's all rhythm.

    • (Alan is trying to teach Charlie to play golf, but Charlie can't get it)
      Charlie: Golf balls have to follow the rules of physics just like any other object!

    • Charlie: If there's any limitation, it's got to be in the mathematician, not the math.

    • Alan: (after Charlie gets frustrated that his math doesn't make him a better golfer) Golf balls don't always do what you expect them to.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Blake Gosnell, the plane designer character who goes missing in the experimental aircraft, was actually named after a friend of Cheryl Heuton from high school who went on to become a physicist.

    • This episode was rated TV-PG (LV).

    • International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: August 11, 2008 on TV Nova
      Slovakia: October 21, 2009 on JOJ

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Hluková stopa (Noisy Trail)

    • Crew Clarifications: Walter 'Bud' Scott (1st Company Grip), Isabel Harkins (Head Make-Up), Liz Radley (Video & Computer Playback Supervisor), Donna Trousdale (Assistant to Barry Schindel), Bain McEldowney (Assistant to David W. Zucker).


    • Episode Title: Noisy Edge
      The title of the episode comes from a form of radar detection that seeks out non-metal objects by way of tracking the noise they leave on the boundary of the scope.

    • Larry: The fact remains, we may not be alone.
      Larry references the tagline from Steven Spielberg's 1997 film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, "We are not alone."