Revenge of the math nerds - NUMB3RS

By Murray Bourne, 17 Oct 2005

I saw an episode of "NUMB3RS" last night. The show is about an FBI agent who uses his mathematician brother to solve crimes. It is apparently "based on real cases" according to the official NUMB3RS site (which is no longer available).

Things I liked:

  • Mathematics is respected and even elevated to something useful (The mantra "We all use math every day" was repeated a few times, and there was grudging respect given to the main mathematician character).
  • Some familiar actors in new roles (Anthony Heald from Boston Public and Peter MacNicol from Ally McBeal)

Things I didn't like:

  • The rather corny frantic 'back of the envelope' calculations that the mathematician was doing on his blackboard. Not so realistic.
  • The use of the term "equation" throughout (as in 'Must be a great equation' when they solved the crime) rather than "model".
  • Peter MacNicol's character and acting was very weak...

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