Season 1 Episode 6


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 25, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
210 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


While consulting with the NTSB at the scene of a wreck, Don learns that this tragedy is one of a series of recreated accidents involving railroad negligence. As is the pattern with the previous train wrecks, an undecipherable numerical code is left at the site, which Don recruits Charlie to solve. Don's investigation leads him and his team to a dangerous standoff with their suspect, who has surprising ties to the railway system.


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  • A man is waging a war against the railways, and a seemingly unbreakable code may point to his identity...

    For me, this is a quintessential episode of "Numb3rs," and it shows the series firing on all cylinders. The balance of crime and family dynamic (the ending at the Eppes home is beautiful) is pitch perfect, and having a strong script doesn't hurt, either.

    I have felt that more recent episodes of "Numb3rs" have stretched for Charlie to be incorporated into the investigation, so in "Sabotage," it's great to see a crime and evidence that directly calls for Charlie's help. I know it's only TV, but it's hard to swallow when Charlie is practically a junior G-man working on all kinds of crimes. For one thing, it's nice to see Don and his team arrive at a crime scene without Charlie in tow. It's only when they see the case requires a mathematical analysis that they call Charlie. Lately (most of Season 3, throughout Season 4), Charlie is already there, a part of the arrival team. I like the approach in "Sabotage" because it marks a distinction between cases where the FBI needs Charlie's help, and cases where they don't.

    This was a suspenseful episode. I liked the cat-and-mouse game between the saboteur and Don, and Charlie's reactions in the climax when he feared for Don's safety felt genuine.

    It all adds up to a very solid hour for "Numb3rs."moreless
  • Review

    I thought this episode was the best episode of numbers that the show was realeased yet. From learning about Charlies secret crush on Anita to solving a case at the same time - this was without a doubt the best Numb3rs episode yet. Charlies secret romance with Anita is something that I think we all saw coming at some point in time. They work together so closly and shes thrown a lot at him in terms of flirtation. I look foward to the next episode where something may begin to blossum.

    The case in this episode was also one of the better ones. The "math code" which turned out to be nothing but a fake was kind of cool. The only part I didnt like was Don just grabbing the guy and forcing him not to push the button, that seemed a little farfecthed to me, but it was a good episode.moreless
  • So this episode was about trains. Always cool.

    Trains are always a cool topic for a TV show. You get the "old west" feel without having to break out the cowboy hats and saddles. Numb3rs did a great job of it in this first season episode.

    This is the first episode where we truly get a demonstration of Charlie's genius. In previous episodes we had seen him work on equations and even somewhat seen the genius in "Charlie vision," but with the number grid at the beginning of the episode we see just how good he is in a short amount of time.

    And Don in tight jeans is never a bad thing.moreless
  • A perfect example of using mathematics as a problem solving tool.

    Now that was an excellent episode! Excellent story, a perfect example of using mathematics as a problem solving tool. But also some great character moments, with some lovely humour thrown in.

    Some great personal moments – Charlie’s distress at realising he put Don in danger, their dad commenting that Charlie wants to impress Don, Charlie’s sweet awkwardness with his assistant, Larry’s far too linear analysis of his love life.

    Don is starting to think like Charlie when he figures out the drivers licence numbers. Charlie's obviously rubbing off on him.

    This was intelligent, interesting, sweet and funny. A really great one.moreless
Colette Kilroy

Colette Kilroy

Jim's Mother

Guest Star

Bobby Preston

Bobby Preston


Guest Star

Jeffrey D. Sams

Jeffrey D. Sams

Mark Sutter

Guest Star

Navi Rawat

Navi Rawat

Amita Ramanujan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • Opening Numb3rs:
      101,424 TRAIN ACCIDENTS
      2,112 DERAILMENTS

    • The Math:
      Kasiski Examination
      Fibonacci Sequence – The Fibonacci Sequence, in a boiled-down form, is the math equation consisting of specific numbers. These numbers are interesting in that they occur throughout both nature and art.
      Cryptography – The conversion of information from its normal form to an incomprehensible format.
      The Golden Ratio – Also called the golden mean, 1.61803 is a number considered aesthetically perfect in nature.
      The Beale Ciphers – According to legend, a treasure in gold was hidden and the location given to an innkeeper along with three coded letters that resulted in an 1820 treasure hunt. For years, people studied them until the code was finally cracked, but no treasure was ever found.

    • The information on Don's California driving licence:

      8111 Aguacate, Los Angeles, CA.
      Sex - M. Hair - Brown. Eyes - Brown.
      Height - 5,11. Weight - 160.
      Date of Birth - 07/15/67.
      RSTR - 35,36,38,41.

    • The original nickname for Frank Milton was Cricket.

    • Handing the note to Don, someone says "Looks like a code." Actually - it looks like a cypher.

    • When ducking into the math department to hide from his new girlfriend, Larry glances at all the numbers on the board and says, "Number theory?" before offering to help. Charlie points out Larry hates number theory.
      Very little of mathematics has to do with actual numbers. Mathematicians try to avoid numbers whenever possible. The only branches that really concentrate on numbers are "arithmetic" (which is what most of us call "math" in school) and "number theory".

    • Larry's logic regarding his 'perfect event' is flawed. Good sex is not a random event; whatever factors lead to the first incidence would still be present, so there would be a high probability of it occurring again.

    • Does it not seem odd that with almost everyone wired to a headset, only Don, Terry and David are the ones who make it to Frank? A little "too TV predictable."

    • Watch the books Charlie flips through when he's talking with Alan. The books change position frequently without him touching them.

    • The accident they inspect is a recreation of a wreck in Utah, but they focus their time on a wreck on a remake in Seattle. Why not focus on the current wreck?

    • In the first scene, when the caller hangs up on the cell phone, you can see the camera man in the reflection of Lloyd's sunglasses.

    • At the end of the episode, close-captioning read "Stay tuned for scenes from the next episode." However, this was not heard on audio and no scenes were shown, as there are no new episodes scheduled for at least a couple weeks.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Charlie: It's not a code. It's a story told in numbers.

    • Alan: Is that Amita sitting in the car out front?
      Charlie: Yeah. We just stopped by for a minute so I can check this text on encryption and code breaking.
      Alan: And you left Amita waiting in the car? No. No. This is not the way we treat people, Charlie. You bring her inside, you at least offer her something to drink. You know, like an adult.
      Charlie: We just stopped by for a second.
      Alan: You came in 15 minutes ago, Charlie.

    • Alan: Well, it seems like your new math consultant is working out nicely.
      Don: I gotta tell you dad, I can't think of anyone who could have helped us the way Charlie did in this investigation.
      Alan: You just remember how Charlie is. Can't seem to quit a problem. He's still working on the same one he's had since grade school.
      Don: And what's that?
      Alan: Trying to impress his big brother.

    • Don: I want you to know I don't take for granted what you do.
      Charlie: I never thought you did.

    • RR Investigator: If it is a code, it's unbreakable.
      Don: I wouldn't count on it.

    • Charlie: Math is the real world, okay it's everywhere, okay. Can I show you? You see how the petals spiral? The number of petals in each row is the sum of the preceding two rows, the Fibonacci Sequence. It's found in the structure of crystals and the spiral of galaxies and a nautilus shell. What's more, the ratio between each number in the sequence to the one before it is approximately 1.61803, what the Greeks call the Golden Ratio. It shows up in the pyramids of Giza and the Parthenon at Athens, the dimensions of this card. And it's based on a number we can find in a flower. Math is nature's language... its method of communicating directly with us. Everything is numbers.

  • NOTES (7)