Four Seasons [1981]

Fascinating cases, friendship dynamics and trust metrics all add up to another compelling season of television's smartest procedural show. The season gets off to an explosive start with a Very Special Episode, complete with blazing action set pieces and even a Big Name Star (Val Kilmer!) right out of a Tony Scott blockbuster, which figures as Scott, who co-produces Numb3rs with brother Ridley, helmed the episode. The truth about agent Colby's (Dylan Bruno) loyalties is revealed, and he is tentatively and warily welcomed back into the fold, although Sinclair (Alimi Ballard) feels particularly betrayed. Mathematics (duh) figure heavily in this season's convoluted cases, including the death of a woman in a rising young movie star's bathtub, an immersive interactive video game, and a street race that spins out of control. Concepts such as partition congruence and Byzantine fault-tolerance may soar over most viewer's heads, but as the movie star admiringly observes, it's "way cool" when professor Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz) measures towel absorbency to determine the size of the bathtub killer. Numb3rs divides its time between casework and the human equation. Charlie's older brother and FBI team leader Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) is haunted by the death of a woman in witness protection, loses one girlfriend, but regains another, Robin (Michelle Nolden reprising her second season role). Eccentric professor Larry (Peter Gallagher) has returned from space and is now living in a monastery. Psychological profiler Megan (Diane Farr) ponders a career change. It's a particularly eventful season for Charlie, who becomes a bestselling author and relationship guru after his book on friendship dynamics is marketed as a self-help tome. One harrowing case involving a kidnapped reporter hits close to home when intimidating thugs cloud his mathematical prowess. He also undergoes FBI training ("I'm in pursuit of a burgundy-ish, sort of merlot-coloured… what model car would you say that is?" he radios in during a training exercise). In the game-changing season finale, Charlie and Don, the "brothers who became friends," are on opposite sides of a case involving a Pakistani scientist friend of Charlie's who is suspected of being a terrorist. No episode commentaries this time around, but five featurettes go behind the scenes of the Tony Scott episode. --Donald Liebenson

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