Season 1 Episode 4

Structural Corruption

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 11, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
233 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


After an engineering student at CalSci is found dead from an apparent suicide, Charlie convinces Don to launch an investigation after he reads the student's thesis which asserted that the architecturally magnificent Cole Center in Los Angeles is structurally unstable. Although reluctant at first, Don and his team discover that the student's findings were correct and uncover a dangerous and surprising conspiracy. Meanwhile, Alan prepares for a first date and convinces Don and Terry to join them, hoping they might rekindle their old romance.


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  • If you're looking to see why "Numb3rs" breaks the crime show mold, look no further.

    "Structural Corruption" shows a perfect example of why "Numb3rs" is in a whole other class compared to other prime-time crime series. We've got strong characterization, a mystery that is more complex than it first appears, and the family dynamic among the Eppes men.

    A suspicious suicide sets Charlie's investigative mind working, and for a change he goes to Don for help in trying to find out why (and if) a student took his own life. I was surprised to see where the story went (the rebar construction, etc.) and found it to be a refreshing change of pace from most murder/rape of the week shows. The ending was particularly powerful, as the truth about the death comes out. David Krumholtz can toss the math jargon off with aplomb, but he especially shines in scenes when the clinical, detatched Charlie gets bowled over with an emotional truth.

    Plus, the fantastic (and usually sorely underused) Judd Hirsch gets a chance to shine as he prepares for a date (and tries to weedle Don and Terry into one as well). Sabrina Lloyd and Rob Morrow had such great chemistry - I would have loved to see their relationship grow and develop over the course of the series. It's too bad she left the show just as it was starting to get going.moreless
  • Review

    I thought this episode was a lot better then the first three just becuase it did a much better job dividing the time between the case and the characters personal lives outside of the FBI.

    Finding out that FBI partners Don and Teri had once had a fling and that Don still consideres his best time to be spent with her was interesting to know. Watching the two interact about the past in the car was both a comical and much needed scene to understand the twos connection when it comes to working with one another.

    I liked Charlies role in this episode, needing to find a reason beyond Montgomerys death. Even though he was wrong about the suicide not being a suicide, he did wind up taking down a bigger case in the process.moreless
  • Unorthodox, but I like it.

    This is the first episode I've seen of Numb3rs. I have to say it shows promise. Certainly an unusual premise but it works.

    The storyline was interesting and the personal side was nice, without going overboard. This is the first time I've seen Rob Morrow since Northern Exposure and I must say I like him here. His character is the balance to his brother's eccentricity. I liked the way Don doesn't just blindly believe Charlie's theory, instead he works to prove or disprove it, without wasting FBI resources on a hunch.

    I've seen better but this was very solid. Good enough that I will make a point of watching it next week.moreless
David Hunt

David Hunt

Elliot Cole

Guest Star

Gibby Brand

Gibby Brand

Dr. Michael Sabello

Guest Star

Alyson Reed

Alyson Reed

Eva Salton

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • Opening Numb3rs:
      150 FEET
      15 MPH

    • The Math:
      Foucault's Pendulum.
      Occam's Razor
      Fluid Dynamics

    • Don and Terry dated each other earlier in their careers.

    • Alan and his wife met in the lunch line at work.

    • The exterior shots of the fictional Cole Center are of the Figueroa at Wilshire Building, located at 601 S. Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, California.

    • Running down the lead on the "shadow crews" Terry finds a man submitted to the ER at 2:30 am. The picture of the hispanic man they pull is the same as the picture of one of the suspects living in the Silver Creek area in the pilot.

    • The computer simulation doesn't really make sense. Simulations don't come out of nowhere. If the writer of the simulation didn't know about the flawed welding, the program wouldn't simulate the flaw and the simulated building wouldn't collapse. If the writer did know, why didn't he say so and save everybody else the trouble of looking for the flaw again?

    • Some of the objects on Cole's standing desk move around without him touching them. Look closely at the folders between shots.

    • There's an injury to Finn's arm, but it's never answered as to what really caused it.

    • How did Charlie manage to get to the upper 3rd of a 30+ floor building in the middle of the night?

    • When Don is talking to Terry about the double date, watch the way the sun shines on both of them from both camera positions. You can see each side was filmed in the afternoon at different parts of the day.

    • When we see the overhead shot from the bridge, the ground looks clean except where Finn fell. When Charlie brings Don in later, there's a bunch of dirt scattered all over the ground. Not to mention no police tape. Suicide is a crime, and would still render an investigation, and the area taped off. LAPD must not know how to keep a crime scene in tact.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Alan: I sure hope you like duck.
      His Date: Oh yes I do, I have two, Paddles and Mr. Waddlesworth. Oh my God, I don't eat it!

    • Terry: It's a cat and dog thing, some guys like women that can handcuff them.

    • David: There's no conclusive forensic evidence.
      Don: Yeah, well, that's what confessions are for.

    • Larry: Can I tell you a story?
      Charlie: Yes, please, as long as it's not another parable from the lives of the great mathematicians.

    • Bob Mazelli: FBI? What'd we do wrong this time?
      : What did you do wrong last time?

    • Larry: In twenty years of teaching I have never received evaluation comments like these. Boring. Me. Intellectually, uh, inaccessible.
      Charlie: I thought we came up on this hike to get your mind off this ridiculous thing.
      Larry: I mean, one- one student even said I'm out of touch in cutting edge thinking in multidimensional theory. I mean, that one alone kept me up at night.

    • Alan: Look, it's my first date in over 35 years. I would like it to be memorable instead of low key.
      Don: Low key and memorable aren't mutually exclusive. You know what my favorite date ever was? Pepperoni pizza at a laundromat.
      Alan: Yes, which explains the conspicuous absence of grandchildren.

  • NOTES (9)


    • The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis
      The basis for the story was a real situation of an actual case of structural compromise in the Citicorp Center, a Manhattan skyscraper.

    • Don: It's Occam's Razor, you know. The simplest answer is usually the right one.
      Occam's Razor, which Charlie explains at the end of the episode, states (in a simple form) one should not make more assumptions than are needed.