A newly married couple is driving along the highway. They stop at a roadside station. They don’t have a lot of money to buy anything with and pull a gun out of the glove compartment and a shotgun and hold it up and steal a customer’s car. The man behind the till reaches for something and the man shoots him. The woman shoots the two customers before they leave.
Police show up to the scene and the FBI follows. David and Colby bring Don up to speed. Megan is inside going over things. The young man left a poem in the beer fridge. Ian Edgerton arrives. He’s been following them and tells the team that the young man is Buck Winters and the woman is Crystal Hoyle. They have committed 11 crimes over the last 17 days, all violent. Hoyle was Winter’s teacher and they had started a relationship earlier in the year. Winter’s dad found out. He tried to put a stop to it and they killed him. Megan finds out that Hoyle had a sealed juvenile record on a drugs charge in LA, but the Texas school system didn’t know and she was able to get a job at the school. Don wants to get Edgerton’s information to Charlie.
At CalSci Charlie is laying on a bed of nails with a giant cinderblock on his chest. Larry is just about to smash the block with a sledgehammer when Don and Edgerton stop him. Larry smashes he block and Charlie is fine. They bring Charlie up to speed. Charlie thinks they missed a point on Edgerton’s map of sightings and crimes.
Megan and Colby are reviewing the security footage from the roadside shop. Megan profiles the couple. Her file says that she ran away at age 15 then was arrested a short while later for the drugs charge. After that she cleaned up her act until she met Winters.
David gets off the phone. Charlie’s hunch paid off. They found a violent bar robbery near the area that Charlie thought there should be something where the assailants fit the descriptions of Hoyle and Winters. Edgerton doesn’t think it was them since there was no bragging or name drops at the crime like the others, but the Don and David think that maybe they needed to keep quiet. They look into connections between either Hoyle or Winters in the area.
Hoyle and Winters are travelling along in the stolen car. Winters is listing off all the places he wants to see in LA, but first Hoyle needs to make a stop at a Porsche dealership. At the Eppes’ house Don stops by and finds Alan looking at condos. He isn't sure how to Charlie. Back at the dealership the two hold up the manager, Pierce Brenner. He knows Hoyle. She shoots him and Winters doesn’t understand why. He gets the keys and they take his car.
Megan and Edgerton are at the crime scene. They go over the particulars of what’s there. Edgerton finds a frozen burrito wrapper (Winters' snack of choice) and they note that they don’t usually stalk their targets. Megan believes that something has changed since they hit LA that is linked to when Hoyle was a teen.
Charlie and Amita are out for dinner. He is going on about the case. He’s afraid to know what her decision regarding Harvard is so he has been rambling. She hasn’t taken them up on their offer, but rather took the position at CalSci. She hopes that it’s a good opportunity not just for her career, but also to give them a chance to have a relationship.
Alan is talking to Larry about getting a condo and telling Charlie about his plans over a game of chess. Larry tells Alan that after he sold his house the previous year he’s been couch surfing and such. He’s intentionally ‘without an address’, not homeless. He’s finding it great even though he’s had to explain the virtues of his life choice to Megan a few times.
Megan joins David in a surveillance van outside the home of an old friend of Hoyle’s from the early 90s. She had called Lydia Campos from the bar she and Winters robbed. They have a wiretap on Campos’ phone. They trace the call to a payphone in LA. Hoyle has plans for later that day, but she and Campos don’t explicitly say what they are. Colby and Edgerton go to where Hoyle made the call, but she is long gone. They ditched the Porsche and got a new car. There is blood on the bumper so they break in. Inside is a dead man. He owned a 70s Trans Am. They are assuming that Hoyle and Winters are still in that car.
The car pulls up to a house. Inside people are cooking up drugs and counting money. Hoyle and Winters are outside. They pour a flammable liquid under the door and threaten to light it on fire if the door isn’t opened. Winters gets the first two people he sees with his shotgun before he goes to find something that Hoyle wants. Whatever it is, he finds it. They leave the house, but Hoyle stops and sets the liquid on fire. They drive off as the house lights on fire.
Don, Megan, and Edgerton at the site of the fire. Megan believes it has to do with whatever happened in ’92 due to the drug connection. Don finds a cash of weapons, including grenades.
At the Eppes’ house Charlie and Alan are sharing a meal. Alan blurts out that he’s moving out. Charlie takes it well. Maybe a little too well for Alan's liking.
At CalSci Charlie is looking over Edgerton’s map. Larry joins him. Charlie starts to go on about Alan’s decision to move out and then spills the beans about him and Amita. He’s worried that her decision to stay is completely tied to him. He gets a brainwave about the case. He briefs Don, Megan, and Edgerton (with Amita and Larry) about his idea. They plotted Hoyle and Winters’ path and then Edgerton’s path. They are practically the same, including where Edgerton got to LA before the couple creating a ‘pursuit curve’. In order for the pursuer to catch their prey they have to aim ahead of the target rather than straight at it. Megan wonders if they can figure out where the couple is headed before they get there. They ask for all of Megan’s profiling and all of Edgerton’s tracking that relate to the case to see what they can figure out through math.
David and Colby are in the van outside of Campos’ place. She’s getting a call. It’s Hoyle. She’s bragging about what she did at the lab. Hoyle left her a bag under her mailbox. David wonders if they should stake out the spot in case Hoyle sees them. Don and Megan don’t know if they should risk it, but Don decides to go ahead in the end. David and Colby intercept Campos on her way to the mailbox. Megan interrogates her. Campos tells her that Hoyle ran away from home because her parents were ‘pushing her for grades’, but admitted that she wouldn’t have left that home. Megan finds out that Hoyle was dating a married man back then and then suddenly showed up on her doorstep with a guy named Billy who was her rebound after the married man. The drugs they were charged with having back then were Billy’s. Megan wants to know where Billy is, but she can’t tell her just like she couldn’t tell Hoyle.
‘Billy’ is identified as Billy Rivers, a known drug dealer. He’s been radio silent for two days. Megan comes in with the information that Brenner was working at a car dealership close to where Hoyle and Campos waited tables in ’92. They believe that he was the married man that she had had a relationship with back then. Megan doesn’t think that this whole thing is about Rivers. They posit that after getting busted for drugs and getting sent back home where she became a model citizen, she was sent into a tailspin when she fell in love with Winters and started acting out her unfulfilled fantasy of innocent love. Killing Winters’ father sent her into a darker hole, causing her to want to erase the mistakes of her past. Don thinks they need to find Rivers faster. With the help of police, David and Colby canvass for Hoyle in Rivers’ known areas. They don't come up with much.
Don and Edgerton are back at Charlie’s office wondering if he can alter the pursuit curve for the new problem. Charlie points out that there are now two factors working on Hoyle and Winters’ actions, the FBI chasing after them and them trying to find Rivers. If they adjust their search for Hoyle and Winters to where they think Rivers will be they should be able to find the couple. Charlie works through the data. Amita comes into the office – they were supposed to go to dinner, but he forgot. He says he can take a break because while work is important so is she. She says it’s ok and that they can reschedule as she also has some work she needs to do.
David and Colby enter a house with a SWAT team. This is a likely place for Hoyle and Winters to turn up. They find a couple in bed and Edgerton gives them the all clear to get them out of the house. He tells Megan that he thinks that they may be putting too much into this one theory. Edgerton doesn’t understand why Hoyle went down the path she went down, but Megan seems to get it on some level. He thinks that’s a dangerous road to go down. The Trans Am shows up not long after the team evacuates the house. Winters appears to be the only one in the car. The team watches on. It doesn’t look like Hoyle is in the area. Winters makes his way to the house where David and Colby are waiting with SWAT. He breaks in. Edgerton wings him from his perch nearby.
Don and Megan are interrogating Winters. He won’t tell them where she is. She doesn’t know that he left where they were staying and he admits to shooting his father (who was abusive) 14 times. He’ll kill anybody that tries to hurt her. He wanted to kill Rivers, but Hoyle wanted to talk to him, nothing more. They want his help in safely bringing her in, but he refuses.
Charlie believes the situation has changed and is no longer a traditional pursuit curve. He and Don discuss Alan’s decision to move out and Amita’s decision to stay. He reveals his fears about a relationship with her and Don tells him that the only one that can screw up Charlie’s second chance with her is Charlie. The team is transferring Winters to another facility. Megan leaves after he does. Hoyle is watching from another car.
Megan and Larry are having an early breakfast at a restaurant. Megan tells him that she left home as soon as she could, but she can live with the decisions she made throughout her life. Larry doesn’t judge her based on his own living arrangements. She finds his situation ‘oddly attractive’. They finish their meal on the promise that they’ll meet up again soon. Larry leaves and Megan goes to her car. Hoyle approaches her from behind. She’s carrying a grenade and Megan gives up her purse. Hoyle makes her drive them away from the restaurant.
TO BE CONTINUED…
The indulgence of a whim, with sporadic, seemingly random implementation, fits the non-pattern of these crimes entirely.
Originally conceived as a single episode, the story was expanded into two parts with the following episode (Numb3rs: Two Daughters (2006)). This is the first multi-part story in the series, and marks the beginning of a much more serial, arc-driven format for the show.
This episode marks the first time in the series that a story is told from the suspect's point of view.
Third appearance of Lou Diamond Phillips as Special Agent Ian Edgerton.
This is the first episode where the opening credits with Charlie's speech about math is cut and all it is a series of numbers coming together and changing to read 'NUMB3RS'. The cast listing that would have normally been in the opening credit sequence is now done at the bottom of the screen as the next scene is playing.
Dylan Bruno, who plays Colby Granger, is listed with the main cast for the first time.
Dr. Larry Fleinhardt demonstrates battering a block on Charlie's chest and the block breaks into 3 big pieces. In the next shot there are only 2 pieces.
Dr. Larry Fleinhardt demonstrates battering a block on Charlie's chest and Charlie has protection goggles on but in the next shot of his back he has none.
[This appears at the beginning of the episode] 17 Days, 11 Robberies, 8 States, 2 Lovers