Paramount // 2006 // 1020 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Cynthia Boris (Retired) // September 26th, 2007
2 DAYS TO LIVE
While it is true that we all use math everyday, I personally try to avoid it as much as possible. The only time I don't avoid it is Friday nights at 10 when I turn on Numb3rs for my weekly visit. Who knew math could be so compelling and action-packed? Brush up on your game theory and get out your calculator, it's time for Numb3rs: The Third Season.
Don and Charlie are brothers. Don (Rob Morrow, Northern Exposure) is a senior agent with the Los Angeles bureau of the FBI. Charlie (David Krumholtz, The Santa Clause 2) is a genius math professor at a local university. Together they take on some of the toughest crimes in the city while still squabbling like the siblings they are. This high-tech cop show uses a variety of interesting camera angles and digital techniques to incorporate Charlie's theoretical world with Don's world of violence and human emotion. And it's as much about family as it is about the crimes. That's what makes the show so very watchable week after week.
The third season arrives with more changes and shifts in the supporting cast. Kathy Najimy (Sister Act) comes on board as Charlie's superior and love interest for Allan (Judd Hirsch, Taxi). Amita (Navi Rawat) is bumped up to professor, widening her role as Charlie's love interest and math partner, while Larry (Peter MacNicol, 24) leaves the series for a bit as he shoots off into space.
Over at the FBI office, you'll notice Megan (Diane Farr, Rescue Me) spending more time behind the desk this season as they fought to hide the actress's real-life pregnancy. David (Alimi Ballard) and Colby (Dylan Bruno, The Rage: Carrie 2) both step it up a notch with episodes dedicated to their characters. And the lovely Aya Sumika comes in for eight episodes as both a love interest for Don and an extra hand in the FBI office. Also, watch for the return of Lou Diamond Phillips (Hollywood Homicide) as sniper expert Agent Edgerton.
Here are the episodes you'll find in this box set:
* "Two Daughters"
* "The Mole"
* "Waste Not"
* "Killer Chat"
* "Nine Wives"
* "Finders Keepers"
* "Take Out"
* "End of Watch"
* "One Hour"
* "Pandora's Box"
* "Burn Rate"
* "The Art of Reckoning"
* "Under Pressure"
* "Money for Nothing"
* "The Janus List"
This season of Numb3rs was fraught with challenges but you wouldn't know it from just watching the episodes. Producers had to deal with Diane Farr's pregnancy, which they decided not to write into the show, Peter MacNicol leaving to work on 24 for several episodes, Rob Morrow working on a movie during one full episode, and the integration of two new characters.
The two characters, both female, help balance out the high testosterone level in the series, but have no fear, this is not the softer side of Numb3rs! The show still kicks butt at both the action and intellectual levels.
The series opens with a two-parter and a very out-of-character guest star. Seventh Heaven's David Gallagher plays one half of a spree killing team, a young man so in love with his teacher he'll do anything, even kill, to please her. Though it's a stand-alone episode, Don's actions have real consequences further down the line. This same tactic is used a few episodes later in "Mole," with Colby having to face the fact that a friend of his may be a spy. So while it isn't usually the case, you will want to watch these episodes in order. The incredible season finale will make much more sense if you haven't skipped any shows along the way.
Incredibly, with all the murders, shootouts, and explosions, this show also manages to touch the heart. "Provenance" deals with the theft of art treasures by the Nazis, but there's a human side to the episode that brought me to tears. Then there's "Killer Chat," about a predator who's killing predators, and "The Art of Reckoning," about an assassin who wants to come clean -- both well plotted, engaging stories that keep you hanging on to the very end.
For something completely different, check out "One Hour." This real-time episode follows team members as they attempt to deliver a ransom and recover a kidnapped boy. What's truly unusual about the episode is the construction. Don is in a therapy session and he's asked to talk about each member of his team. As he talks, we get to see that team member doing what they do best. By the end of the episode, Don is talking about how much his team needs him in order to do their jobs, but we've just seen that this isn't true at all. They've captured the kidnappers and recovered the boy before Don even comes to the office that afternoon. It's a clever and engaging piece of storytelling, one that allows each of the supporting characters in the show to shine.
And then there's the season finale, a must watch if you plan on tuning in for the new season. It's a lollapalooza!
Turning to the DVD itself, we have the usual foldout that fits into a plastic overlay sleeve. It's bright orange this time so you'll notice it on the shelf next to the first two seasons. The navigation screen makes great use of Numb3rs' signature style and opening with the foursquare of information standing in for the four episodes per disc.
The special features are nice but not all that abundant. The Season Three overview is an interesting look at the changes this season, many of which made me all the more impressed with the quality of the show. "Eppes Central" is a featurette about switching from shooting the Eppes house on location in Season Two to an in-studio set in Season Three. The best feature is the most innocuous sounding, the house tour. The tour is supposed to be conducted by David Krumholtz and he's quite excited about it, until Morrow and Hirsch horn in on the action. Krumholtz's pouting and Morrow's eye rolling is all so familial, it's hard to believe they aren't really brothers. Great fun.
Not much to complain about, but the commentaries are ordinary, as is the blooper reel.
Numb3rs is not a show you watch while you're reading the newspaper or eating dinner, or flipping back and forth to the game. The puzzles are intricate and if you turn away for a moment, you'll be completely lost. Lucky for you, you won't want to turn away. For a cerebral crime drama, Numb3rs packs a real wallop. Even though I'd already seen the season finale, it still had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat when I watched it on the DVD. Action, smart writing, warm and inviting characters, and a family element -- it all adds up to another fabulous season.
Sadly, the court is still wading through the 900-page statistical analysis that was delivered along with the DVD, something about a Curtate Cycloid? Looks like I'm going to need a dose of "Charlie Vision" in order to figure this verdict out.
Review content copyright © 2007 Cynthia Boris; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 1020 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio Commentary on 5 Episodes
* "Crunching Numb3rs: Season 3" Featurette
* "Eppes Central" Featurette
* Set House Tour
* Blooper Reel
* Official Site
* Numb3rs Season One Review
* Numb3rs Season Two Review