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Season 1 Episode 3


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 04, 2005 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
253 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Various people in the Los Angeles area with seemingly nothing in common become extremely sick and die on the same day, and Don fears bioterrorists may have released a deadly virus into the environment. While he tries to discover whether anyone is behind the outbreak, Charlie tries to locate the point of origin.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • More information on the unfortunate life of the Eppes men after the death of their mother/wife.

    The plot of this story is interesting enough; a flu virus that could turn into an epidemic just like it did in the early 20th century. However, the subplot is all about how Charlie is dealing with not spending more time with his mother before her death. In order to sort of make up for what he didn't do with his mother, Charlie helps discover a vaccine for the virus, just in time to save it from being an epidemic. It also shows how close Charlie and his mother really were, enough so that she understood why he spent the last six months of her life working on an unsolvable math problem. A mothers love really goes on forever.moreless
  • Review

    This episode was really boring compared to the first two episodes of the season. I didn't think they did anything as far as character devolopment goes and I thought the case this go around was the most boring of the three that we have watched so far. I thought the virus itself was a boring storyline, with only 20 people becoming infected like that. Over the course of a couple of days that virus would have spread out a lot more then simply just 20 people, maybe closer to the upwards of hundreds or even thousands. I really want to get to know these characters well and I dont think this show has begun to do that yet outside of cases to solve.moreless
  • "Various people in the L.A. area with seemingly nothing in common start to become extremely sick and die on the same day."

    Okay, I washed my hands after watching this episode. As if my germ phobia was not bad enough.

    I have seen only the first four episodes of this series, and I believe this one to be the weakest of the four. The episode is well written and entertaining, but I did not find the arrest of Dr. Clarence Weaver, played by J.K. Simmons, believable. Would a scientist be so religious and release a deadly virus into the environment?

    However, “Vector” is a fine example of this television series. I found it entertaining and topical. I kept thinking about the threat of the avian flu becoming a pandemic.

    I love this series. I am hooked!

  • Bird flu....

    Brilliant epsiode with relevance to todays agenda. The spanish flu is realeased into the general popluation, this is the same as the human bird flu. The show hits so close to home and reveals scenarios that could occur today in real life and what scientist are sometimes like. Defintely one to watch
  • What if a deadly virus were actually released into a major metropolitan area? This tried and true premise takes a turn here, and we find out that once again math saves the day.moreless

    It all boils down to Patient zero. Who is the first person to catch the disease? Math helps to solve this mystery of course. Forget all that. The shining star in this show is the character interation. The jock brother versus the geek brother is a great device and this episode displays its well.The supporting cast only begs one question: How did they get the guy from Taxi and the guy from Ally McBeal in one show? To top it all off, the guest stint here by the yellow M&M, I mean J.K. Simmons, is outstanding.moreless
Elizabeth Connors

Elizabeth Connors

Claudia Kramer

Guest Star

CCH Pounder

CCH Pounder

Lt. Lee Havercamp

Guest Star

Anjul Nigam

Anjul Nigam

Dr. Renfro

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • Opening Numb3rs:
      4 COUNTIES
      30 CASES
      6 DEATHS

    • The Math:
      Viral Vector
      SIR Model
      Patient Zero –  A term used to describe the first known carrier of a disease. The term was first used during the smallpox epidemic.

    • Charlie has had top level clearance in National Security for almost five years. He'd earned the position after doing work for NSA years ago and had kept it a secret from Don the entire time.

    • Jessica Avery is sometimes referred to as Janice Avery.

    • Charlie and Lt. Lee Havercamp are reviewing the structural identities of the two viral strains, by superimposing them over each other, claiming that it will take months to find the difference between the two strains.

      However, the two structures shown are DNA helixes, and they are based on the DNA sequence. So the whole thing is meaningless, they wold not have access to those structures without knowing the DNA sequence, and thereby the differences.

      And Lt. Lee Havercamp starting to talk about recognizing protein patterns from a nucleotide structure is rather meaningless, unless she is able to translate the DNA sequences in the structures to a protein sequence on the fly, which is more than unlikely.

    • Why doesn't the team question Dr. Weaver when they question Grolsch and the female researcher? Wouldn't the FBI consider everyone with access to the virus a suspect until they've proven otherwise?

    • How did Weaver manage to spread the virus using an aerosol can without getting himself infected? He didn't appear to be wearing a face mask or anything to protect himself. Are we really to believe he would put himself at risk?

    • When Don first talks to Grolsch, the dialog suggests that he said the virus was out. But a few moments later, they act surprised he knows. What brought up the Spanish Flu in the first place then?

    • Havercamp tells Eppes and Lake that Joshua (the kid in the van) got ill on Saturday. If it was a Saturday, then why was the mom taking all the kids to school and Josh trying to finish his homework?

    • The two kids (David and Ryan in the credits) get out of the minivan to go to class. But when they head out, they don't shut the door. Few shots later, mom is racing to the hospital. Who shut the door?

    • Once the bus station has been identified as a possible point of origin for the virus, the Hazmet team go in clad in special suits and breathing equipment. Yet just a couple of feet away are many of the cast team, with no preventative measures. Spanish flu is an airborne virus and could easily have infected those very close.

    • When Gerald is talking to Linda in the bathroom, the audio to Gerald's mouth doesn't match his face. He isn't talking, the audio is dubbed in.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Don: (about the Spanish flu) What did they do in 1918? How did they stop it?
      Terry: Nothing. There is no cure.

    • Terry: (to Don about Charlie) You were speaking terrorism, he was speaking math.

    • Larry: When we met just now, was I going out or coming into the library?
      Charlie: You were coming out.
      Larry: My memory needs a memory. All right.
      (He turns to go back into the library.)
      Charlie: Larry, you were coming out!

    • Larry: Charlie, you're making the assumption that these people know their field as well as you know math, and that's an assumption I find tremendously problematic.

    • Charlie: How do you forgive yourself if you're wrong?
      Don: You don't. We can't be wrong.

    • Charlie: I wish we could make Dad just stay in the house for a couple of weeks.
      Don: Yeah, well, good luck with that.
      Charlie: What? I've gone months without leaving the house.

    • Charlie: Larry, do you have a minute?
      Larry: Yes, because we all have the same number of minutes at all times, do we not?

  • NOTES (6)


    • The Spanish Flu:
      There is much discussion of the 1918 outbreak of this flu, and they say that 600,000 people were killed in the US, though the actual figure is usually presented as 675,000. It is interesting and horrifying, though, to note that in just 18 months, the virus killed anything from 50 million people to 100 million people, depending on which figures you take, and because it was a worldwide pandemic, right at the end of the war, it's probably impossible to estimate the exact number. It's also interesting to note that this flu killed more people in that time than those killed in World War I or those killed in the four years of the bubonic plague. The virus also targeted the young and healthy, whilst most flus go for the young, old or weak. And as a last note, during the 25 or so years that AIDS has been around, 25 million people have died. The same number died in just 25 weeks of the Spanish flu.