Now entering its fourth season on CBS [10/9C], Numb3rs continues to mix character, procedural and science [mathematics] elements in its own unique way to provide some of the quirkiest material of any of the far too many procedurals on TV. This season, Executive Producer Tony Scott steps behind the camera to direct Trust Metric, the season opener – and the conclusion to the sorta/kinda cliffhanger of last season’s finale.
At the end of last season, FBI Agent Colby Granger had been discovered to be a Chinese spy and was carted off to prison. As Trust Metric Begins, the members of Don Eppes’ FBI team are trying to figure out how Colby was able to get away with it right under their noses for three years. Don, especially, pores over the tape of Colby’s confession, trying to make sense of it – and feeling like something is just wrong with the confession.
Charlie Eppes [David Krumholz], too, is bothered by the situation, but has returned to his teaching duties with renewed passion following the return of his best friend and former mentor, Larry fleinhardt [Peter MacNicol] from his NASA mission. He’s comfortable enough with his former protege and now girlfriend, Amita Ramanujuan [Navi Rawat] that they share a kis between classes.
Larry has taken refuge in a Buddhist monastery to reflect upon the amazing experiences he had while in space – but is not entirely unhappy when Agent Megan Reeves [Diane Farr] visits.
Then, after receiving an unusual visitor while in prison, Colby and his old friend [and fellow spy for the Chinese], Dwayne Carter are sprung from a transport vehicle and the rest of Don’s team are on the case. Charlie drags Larry away from the monastery [Larry’s not putting up too much of a struggle], and soon everyone up to and including the Eppes Brothers’ dad, Alan [Judd Hirsch] is working on (a) determining where Dwayne and Colby might be heading and (b) whether or not Colby is actually a traitor.
The dilemma is epitomized by Colby’s partner, Agent David Sinclair [Alimi Ballard], who is ready to shoot Colby, but has a nagging suspicion that his partner might not be dirty. Fittingly, when Colby’s status is clarified, it’s Sinclair who gets the biggest moment.
Trust Metric refers to Charlie’s mathematical formulae that evaluate whether or not someone can be trusted – and it contrasts with the various team members’ gut instincts. The episode – written by Ken Sanzel – is all about trust: the trust between the Eppes brothers; the trust between alan and his sons; the trust between Larry and Megan – and Larry and Charlie. Mostly, though, it’s a bout the trust between partners Colby and David.
Tony Scott’s direction is full value. The episode is a splendid balance between quiet character moments and electrifying action. That balance may be a hallmark of the series, but Scott adds a little extra zip to it and the result is a mini-movie that satisfies on both levels. The addition of Val Kilmer as the casually evil Michael Kirkland pays off in spades. Kilmer is riveting – just like a really good villain should be.
Final Grade: A