'Somebody's Killing the Great Geeks of America' is by no means a 'Riptide' great, but it is a vast improvement over the awkwardly paced and not-that-likeable previous episode, 'Conflict of Interest'.
The plot is not a classic, but fair – although I did feel it was a bit stretched out later on, which does knock my overall rating of the episode down slightly.
But as with many 'Riptide' stories, it is not so much the plot itself that is the hook, but more the little character moments - and there are plenty of them on display here. The always watchable Murray has some good scenes (and, being an early episode, the Roboz is features a lot), and it is a nice touch that Natalie, the woman the trio are helping, hates Nick after he copied her answers in a geometry test in high school – although the inevitable "making up" scene later on is a little grating (I thought it would have been quite fun if, even after they had solved the case, she went on disliking him).
I wasn't sure about the inclusion of the silly, clunky "Pi joke" – and check out the overacting actress who nearly laughs her head off when Nick tells the joke to her in the final scene; giving it all she's worth as if this is her big chance to be "spotted".
Of note with this episode is the gang's vehicle: Cody's vintage "Woodie" station wagon. Presumably the producers / writers realised that the trio needed a bigger form of transport, as Cody, Nick and Murray (as well as whoever they were helping and the Roboz) couldn't all fit into Nick's Corvette every episode, and tried this station wagon. It is only ever seen in a couple of episodes, before they decided on the GMC Jimmy.
After being a totally dislikeable a-hole in 'Conflict of Interest', here Lt. Quinlan is starting to mellow (if you can call it that) into more of a tough-talking buffoon than the out-and-out jerk he appeared in that episode, which works much better; if he had retained the attitude he had in 'Conflict...', he would have quickly become extremely irritating for us, the viewer, but here, the character is actually quite amusing in his own way.
I hadn't watched my off-air recording of this episode very much. As with 'Conflict of Interest' previously, when Channel 5 here in the U.K. broadcast the episode in 1998 (in their middle-of-the-night timeslot for the show), they chopped it up for time (though not as severely as with 'Conflict...'). They later suddenly repeated this same episode during their initial run of the show for some reason, but it was in the same edited down version as the first showing. But even so, it warmed me to the series a lot more than 'Conflict of Interest' did (especially when bearing in mind that 5 never broadcast the Pilot), and finally watching it in complete form on DVD, I've come to like this episode a bit more.
All-in-all, definitely not one of the best episodes of 'Riptide's run, and things still feel to be warming up at this stage, but it has a fairly interesting plot, and is much better than 'Conflict of Interest' (but then, what isn't?!). Although not a high-end score, I give this one a reasonable 8 out of 10.