Math is a divisive subject with students. Some breeze through it, while others struggle. But you don't have to be a numbers person to love Numb3rs. The crime series centered around two brothers, one an FBI agent (Rob Morrow), the younger a brilliant college math professor (David Krumholtz). The Eppes brothers paired their skill sets to solve crimes, with the help of their respective colleagues.
Let's take a closer look at Numb3rs.
The math is legit.
Programmers often scoff at the "hacking" shown in movies and television. Numb3rs worked hard to avoid such gibberish with the assistance of math consultants. All the equations shown on whiteboards are valid. Wolfram Research served as a primary consultant and partnered with the show to put up all its on the internet. You can still dive into the show's math at numb3rs.wolfram.com.
The idea for the show was inspired by Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Husband-and-wife creative team Nick Falacci and Cheryl Heuton were attending a lecture given by Bill Nye in 1995. "The Science Guy" was talking about the importance of turning children on to the joys of math and science. Thus, Heuton and Falacci brainstormed the idea for Numb3rs. Bill Nye would later guest star on the show.
It was filmed on the campuses of Caltech and USC.
Much of the action on the show takes place at the California Institute of Science, "CalSci." Don't send in an application — it does not exist. The CalSci setting was a mish-mash of two campuses, USC and Caltech. The towering Millikan Library at Caltech frequently turns up, as does the Town and Gown ballroom at USC.
It was originally set at MIT.
The pilot episode was filmed twice, in two locations, with two different casts. The original was set in Boston. According to the script, the show took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, MIT was not having it. "We contacted MIT, and their answer was they’re not in the film and TV business," Heuton explained in an interview, "which was kind of disappointing."
The original pilot also had an entirely different star.
Oh, the Boston location was not the only significant departure from the end product. The episode also starred Gabriel Macht as Don Eppes. Morrow replaced him when the show relocated to Los Angeles. Macht went on to star in Suits for USA.
Image: USA Network
Dylan Bruno has an engineering degree from M.I.T.
Dylan Bruno played FBI agent Colby Granger on the show. His incompetence at math is a running joke. Ironic, as Bruno is perhaps the most mathematically inclined of all the cast members. He graduated from MIT with a degree in Environmental Engineering. Conversely, David Krumholtz, who plays the math whiz, failed algebra twice in high school. Hollywood!
Amita is named after a legendary Indian mathematician.
Navi Rawat plays another brainiac on the show, Amita Ramanujan. The character's name is a nod to Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), the untrained genius who revolutionized mathematics. Perhaps you know him by his groundbreaking theorems on continued fractions. Or perhaps not.
Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz are both the children of dental hygienists.
They played brothers and it turns out the had a somewhat similar background. Both of their mothers worked as dental hygienists. No wonder they have such nice smiles.