Parents' Guide to


By Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Smart crime drama OK for teens.

TV CBS Drama 2005
Numb3rs Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

Good for learning about math, but definitely not for kids!

I was going into Numb3rs thinking it was going to be on the kiddy side, more or less focusing on the math aspects of crime solving and stuff like that. But I’m only a few episodes in and holy crap! This show is WAY more intense than I thought it was going to be. Second episode, within the first few minutes there’s a Heat style shootout! Another moment there’s a situation like, “Oh, the bad guy is pointing a rocket launcher at us? Good thing we have a sniper to shoot him in the head!” Although there’s nothing gory that I’ve seen so far, this is nothing like the nickelodeon style “hey lets learn about math” kinda show I was expecting. For teens and adults, Numb3rs is pretty good, but definitely a pass for kids if all you want to show them is a math learning kid’s show.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
age 15+

Will introduce adults and teenagers to a new way of thinking about math.

"We all use math every day", goes the opening line in the first season. Especially Charlie Epps. His brother Don, an FBI agent, thought that the FBI could use someone like Charlie, who's highly skilled in mathematics. NUMB3RS shows how math is sometimes used to solve crimes. In one episode, for example, when a college student died it was at first thought to be a suicide. But when Charlie did all his calculations it was concluded that the death happened because of some faults with a building. In what turned out to be the final episode mathematics even enabled Don to find and get back his gun! While some may find the show nerdy, everyone can benefit from watching the show. While parts of each episode will go over viewers' heads unless they've taken up serious study of mathematics, they'll see nevertheless the role math sometimes plays in solving crimes. As for the violence, while it's more intense than that in crime dramas of the 70s or 80s, it isn't really any more intense here than in many other crime dramas today, and it only lasts briefly in this show. Certainly it isn't anything that teens haven't already seen. (Even if parents disapprove of or forbid such shows, teens hear about them from kids at school or family gatherings or perhaps even from teachers.) In summary, I'd highly recommend NUMB3RS, as it introduces viewers a new way of thinking about math. But don't get the wrong idea. In October of 2005, at the start of the 2nd season, David Krumholtz (Charlie) told TV Guide that children as young as 6 were watching. NUMB3RS isn't for kids that young! Kids at that age should be learning about numbers from SESAME STREET or CAPTAIN KANGAROO! I'd give this show a red light for 11 and under, a yellow light for 12-14 and a green light for 15 and up.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (11 ):

This series is a refreshing take on the primetime crime drama. The storylines are current (in one episode, an Iraqi woman attempting to out Saddam's henchmen is murdered) and the acting is quite good. Viewers get a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the FBI and the unusual ways its agents go about solving crimes. If teens can get past the sometimes violent crime scenes, they'll find Numb3rs highly enjoyable.

TV Details

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