Numb3rs

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

8
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 23, 2005 on CBS
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
314 votes
8

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT

To help capture a serial rapist-turned-killer, FBI Special Agent Don Eppes recruits his genius brother Charlie, who uses a mathematical equation to identify the killer's point of origin by working back from the crime scene locations.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Very good start to a very good series.

    10
    The pilot episode of NUMB3RS is still the highest rated one on iTunes, as well it should be. It introduces Special Agent Don Eppes, and his mathematical genius brother, Charlie, and how they over come their differences as adults, and catch a serial rapist. This show also introduces the other member of the Eppes family, the boys father, Alan. You can definitely tell where Don and Charlie get their drive and their passion for what they do from. This was a very good start to the best TV show on TV, one that should be on for many many seasons to come.moreless
  • good start

    8.5
    It's hard to judge this pilot because I saw the fourth season before I decided to go back and watch the first. Anyways, the pilot always has to introduce the premise of the show and the characters. I didn't like how they introduced Don, but I liked how they introduced Charlie. The father didn't have much of a role and was pretty pointless in this episode. Larry was fine. The case was interesting, but nothing special. Just a serial rapist. What makes this show different is that Charlie uses math to catch the killer. It was interesting seeing his thought process and how he was angry when he thought it was wrong. Overall, solid start to the show.moreless
  • Brilliant!

    10
    I totally love this show. My favourite character is Charlie, for so many reasons. But the idea for this show is absolutely brilliant... using Math to solve FBI mysteries. Being a math person myself, I can understand the significance of what Charlie does for the FBI. Math is something that the world relies on, not onl uses. So this show, incorporation that knowlegde into it, has created a beautiful base on which to start a show. The characters are well done. Loved all relationships. I also must compliment the Numb3rs writing staff on Charlie's entrance. Perfect! I honestly done have the words to commend this show like I would like to, but I guess I can leave it at... this show is awesome!moreless
  • Review

    8.8
    I thought it was a good start for the series and I thought that the math connection was kind of cool to. Being able to trace back to the point of origin from where the crimes were committed was a really cool connection. I thought that the character devolopment could have been a little better, letting us get to know some of the characters a little bit better then we got to. All in all I thought it was a good pilot and I think the show will continue to blossum from its very good start. Very good. Need Wordsmoreless
  • Like all pilot episodes it had strong spots and weak spots.

    7.0
    The weak points first... It was far too dramatic sometimes. Not with the episode plot but with the characters. Some of the actors, Sabrina Lloyd especially, should have been toned down in their performances. There were several scenes with the FBI gang at work which felt far too dramatic with the characters. "Nobody could do this better than you" speeches were just all over the place. We get it. Don is a good agent but his superiors don't always see it. They're trying to portray the lead characters as really great, but they should have been a bit more subtile. They should also have toned down the music in some scenes, it was over the top in a few scenes. Another weak point was the constantly occurring shots of Charlie looking at the sprinkler and then they added some cool effects. Cool the first time, old news by the third time.



    As for the strong points... It's an interesting spin on the crime solving genre. It feels fresh and interesting. It's also nice to see an attempt to make math cool... The cast members who weren't overacting were really good, I especially liked David Krumholtz' performance. Judd Hirsch and Navi Rawat had their characters toned down, a huge relief when other actors were over the top, and Peter MacNicol was charmingly quirky without being annoying or out of place. And the episode seemed almost entirely free of Jerry Bruckheimer stuff, which was a breath of fresh air. I don't mind the CSI shows having Jerry Bruckheimer written all over them since they were kind of the pioneers, but far too many shows have copied them and it's getting tiresome. This episode was not yet another "copycat". Aside from the cool effects whenever Charlie saw a water sprinkler, the episode was more similar to early 90s crime shows than the 21st century ones. I found that refreshing.



    All pilot episodes have lots of weak spots. It takes a while to define the characters, for the actors to settle in the roles, and for a show to find it's own style. This pilot episode had enough strong spots to keep me interested. I'll definitely be watching more episodes.moreless
Anthony Heald

Anthony Heald

Walt Merrick

Guest Star

Kate Norby

Kate Norby

Karen Silber

Guest Star

William O'Leary

William O'Leary

Roland Haldane

Guest Star

Navi Rawat

Navi Rawat

Amita Ramanujan

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Opening Numb3rs:
      0600 TIME
      594-E4 MAP GRID
      772-04 CASE NUMBER
      1 MURDER VICTIM

    • The Math:
      Geographic Profiling
      Probability Theory
      Eleven-dimensional Supergravity Theory
      Projectile Motion

    • The setting in the pilot where they find and kill the rapist is the kitchen of the historic old Ambassador Hotel, just yards away from where Robert Kennedy was shot.

    • This episode has many hints in the background as to the problem of the episode Charlie is focusing on. If you look closely, you'll see several sprinklers in the backgrounds of many scenes.

    • At the beginning of the episode Don is driving a silver Mitsubishi 4-door sedan, license plate number 4Q49902.

    • Charlie's middle name is Edward, and he does not have a driver's license.

    • Alan has a bird, but this is the only episode in which it is seen.

    • In this episode, and throughout the first season, the laptop computers used by Charlie and the FBI are Dell Inspirons.

    • The technique Charlie uses to find the criminal is known as Criminal Geographic Targeting, more commonly known as geographic profiling. Former Detective Kim Rossmo of the Vancouver Police Department is one of the pioneers of this technique, and his company, Environmental Criminology Research, has developed a computer program called "Rigel" that performs exactly the same kind of analysis Charlie uses in this episode. It is in use by the RCMP, the ATF, and Scotland Yard.

    • With a winning chance of 1 in 41 million, playing 20 tickets a week, even after 40,000 years, the chance of winning the lottery at least once would only be around 63.7%, and not a guaranteed win as Charlie seems to indicate with his calculation.

    • In the original pilot, they are watching a Red Sox game, and Nomar Garciaparra is batting.

    • The first victim is described as having "no wounds or ligature marks," although she has a brand on one cheek and rope burns on her wrists.

    • When they're in the arcade, Larry still has two credits on the game he is playing, and yet he digs quarters out of his pocket, as if he needs to put in more quarters to continue to play.

    • The word "anomaly" is misspelled on a map that Charlie shows to Don. That came about because while they were shooting the scene, the director Mick Jackson suddenly decided he wanted that word written on the map. There weren't any prop or art department people around at the time, so David Krumholtz wrote "anomoly." It was then established that Charlie is not a good speller, which is common among mathematicians.

    • At the end, when the woman with a bag over her head is shown, her face can be seen through the bag. If she'd had the bag over her face as she was killed, the bag would have been foggy because of her breath.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Amita: (to Charlie after he rides an aerodynamic kart with no propulsion) 21.07 seconds, 68.3 miles per hour. No one would ever guess you don't have a driver's license.

    • Larry: Charlie, you're a mathematician, you're always looking for the elegant solution. Human behavior is rarely ever elegant.

    • Larry: Here's a discussion: Why is it we remember the past and not the future?
      Charlie: That's a tough one, Larry.

    • Amita: Actually, I'm spoken for, Mr. Eppes. Back in Madras my parents arranged for marriage to a family friend. A nice Hindu banker from Goa.
      Charlie: Really? Getting married...
      Amita: God no, he's a total ass.

    • Charlie: Sorry, I was busy working on something. I know I'm supposed to be going through some equations for you.
      Larry: Yes, I had wondered if I had gotten the time wrong, or the place, or, uh, quite possibly, the dimension.

    • Larry: Evariste Galois. Brilliant mathematician, not unlike yourself, tackling the hardest problems in his day, but he got distracted. He got caught up in politics, in romance...
      Charlie: I know where you're going with this...
      Larry: ...and at the age of twenty he was killed in a duel, and who even knows what he might have accomplished.
      Charlie: I would say I'm actually pretty good at avoiding duels.

    • Larry: And Charlie... when you're working on human problems, there's going to be pain and disappointment. And you've gotta ask yourself... "is it worth it?"

    • Don: This is different... it's not about numbers.
      (He walks away.)
      Charlie: Everything is numbers.

  • NOTES (13)

    • The opening theme came from "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads.

    • The song to which Charlie is listening on his headphones while working on the first equation is "Inertia Creeps" by Massive Attack.

    • When the FBI is checking out all the names of the 50 men in the area, some of the names on the board are members of the crew.

    • While the pilot was being filmed at CalTech, the producers were using some offices in the astronomy building. One of the set designers unplugged a computer that just happened to be the one computer that downloads data from the Hubble Telescope, which took the Hubble offline for about 90 minutes. On the same day, CalTech also got word that one of their physicists won a Nobel Prize, so they were in a good mood and very nice about the computer mishap.

    • In the pilot, Charlie's office is a room at CalTech dressed to look like a professor's office. It was Mick Jackson's idea to hang the little prism in the window.

    • Navi Rawat's character, Amita Ramanujan, was named as homage to Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), the East Indian math genius.

    • There were two pilots. The unaired first pilot was set in Boston, with Charlie at MIT. Don was played by Gabriel Macht and Alan was played by Len Cariou. The family surname was Emrick. The FBI boss had a much larger role, and was played by Anna Deveare Smith. The character of Terry was a smaller role, and was played by Jennifer Bransford. Don's partner in the first pilot was a man, played by Michael Rooker. The actors who were in both pilots were David Krumholtz, Peter MacNicol, Alimi Ballard, and Navi Rawat.

    • The episode was originally set to air on January 28th, but was pushed up to Sunday the 23rd following the NFL's AFC Championship Game.

    • This episode was rated TV-14 (V).

    • Crew clarifications:
      Walter 'Bud' Scott (1st Company Grip), Jordan Sheehan (Assistant to Ridley Scott), Pete Toumasis (Assistant to Tony Scott), Tom Moran (Assistant to Tony Scott).

    • International Air Dates:
      Sweden: April 29, 2005
      New Zealand: July 20, 2005 on TV3
      Brazil: August 7, 2005
      Australia: August 15, 2005 on Ten
      Germany: September 5, 2005 on SAT 1
      Netherlands: September 17, 2005
      United Kingdom: October 5, 2005
      Czech Republic: May 26, 2008 on TV Nova
      Slovakia: October 2, 2009 on JOJ

    • International Show Titles:
      Czech Republic: Vražedná čísla (Murderous Numbers)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Sériové vraždy (Serial Murders)

  • ALLUSIONS (4)

    • Larry: Evariste Galois. Brilliant mathematician, not unlike yourself, tackling the hardest problems in his day.

      Évariste Galois (1811-1832) was a French mathematician. He made major discoveries in the analysis of polynomials and was the first mathematician to link group theory and field theory, which were until then disconnected mathematical areas.

    • Charlie (explaining the math to Walt Merrick and other agents): Let's do an elementary demonstration.

      This is part of a quote by Richard Feynman, a late physicist of CalTech, who said: "Let's try an elementary demonstration, and when I say elementary, by no means do I mean elemental"

    • Charlie: Say I couldn't see the sprinkler…
      The sprinkler example was based on an article in Popular Science magazine written by Dr. Kim Rossmo.

    • "I don't know Karate but I know Ka-razy."
      Charlie's t-shirt in the final scene has this quotation on the front. It is a misquotation that has made a lot of money for many people. The quotation comes from a lyric in the song "The Payback" on James Brown's 1973 album The Payback. The correct lyric is, "I don't know Karate, but I know Kai Razor." Kai is a brand of straight razors, and hiding razors in a mouth is an old form of fighting, or prison fighting now.

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