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Working out the 'Numb3rs'

April 5, 2009 |  4:00 am
Numbers The last three episodes of the offbeat police procedural " "Numb3rs" have featured a curious secondary story line.

Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz), the casually brilliant mathematician at the show's core, has decided to apply his mathematical skills to the most unlikely, and unworthy, of causes: the winless basketball team of CalSci, the university where he's a professor. This is a hapless bunch: short, uncoordinated, untalented. But Charlie believes that, as with all things, this is a problem that can be best addressed by number-crunching.

Charlie is aided in this fool's task by his father, Alan (Judd Hirsch), and his mentor Larry Fleinhardt (Peter MacNicol), making for a comic trio of flat-footed rationalists trying to dissect a game that's as much about art and luck as skill and form. Shooting free throws underhanded, they decide, is a far more reliable choice than the traditional method, and they name plays with mathematical lingo, much to everyone's confusion.

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