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Name: Numb3rs
Abbreviation(s): N3
Creator: Nicolas Falacci, Cheryl Heuton
Date(s): 2005-2010
Medium: Television series
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: CBS Official Site
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Numb3rs is an American police procedural television series on the CBS network. It revolves around the two brothers Don Eppes, an FBI agent played by Rob Morrow, and Charlie Eppes, a mathematician played by David Krumholtz. The show also features their father, Alan Eppes, played by Judd Hirsch. Charlie uses math to help Don solve crimes for the FBI.

Numb3rs debuted on January 23, 2005.

Show synopsis

Don Eppes leads a team of agents (in the first season, Terry Lake (Sabrina Lloyd) and David Sinclair (Alimi Ballard)) working out of the Los Angeles FBI office. At the start of the series he has only recently transferred to LA after being the Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque office; he wanted to be closer to his family during the illness of his mother and stayed after her death. Don's brother, Charlie Eppes, is a math genius and former child prodigy; he is a professor of mathematics at CalSci University (a fictional Cal Tech), and contracts with the FBI to help his brother's team. He still lives with their father, Alan, in the family home. Charlie works with CalSci physics professor Larry Fleinhardt (Peter MacNicol), and (in 1st season) supervises graduate student Amita Ramanujan (Navi Rawat).

1st season: Sets up many of the ongoing plot threads of the series. Don and Charlie had a difficult relationship growing up, largely due to the pressure put on the family by Charlie's genius. The brothers' working relationship was a step towards their reconciliation. Other themes included Charlie's budding relationship with Amita, romantic tension between Don and Terry (the first of Don's many workplace flirtations or more), and Don's reserved temperament.

2nd season: Terry left the show and two new characters were added: Diane Farr as Special Agent (and profiler) Megan Reeves and Dylan Bruno as Special Agent Colby Granger. Don dates Robin Brooks.

3rd season: New agent, Liz Warner, joins the team, and starts dating Don. Amita and Charlie, after the slowest dating relationship ever, finally get together. Larry is gone to the International Space Station for much of the season. Don starts therapy.

4th season: Megan leaves the show (and most of the other women who lasted more than an episode ended up sleeping with Don, who appears to have a real problem with fishing off of the company pier: on the other hand, these women tend to be awesomely competent, cool, and frequently women of color, so except for the sleeping with Don thing, the show (and we) are lucky to have them). At season end, Charlie has his security clearance revoked.

5th season: New agent, Nikki Betancourt, is added to the team. She and Ian Edgerton go on a date after Ian refers to her as 'another over achiever'. Charlie gets his clearance back amidst a mystery of who was after Don, and who stood up for him.

6th season: The series ends with Charlie and Amita getting married, Don and Robin getting engaged, Larry moving in with Alan and David taking a promotion in DC.

Jewish in canon?

Numb3rs features the Eppes family, played by three Jewish actors, yet, three seasons in, there were no canonical mentions of Judaism. There were hints off camera that the season opener for season 4 would 'out' the family as Jewish, complete with quotes from the three actors as to whether it was a good idea or not.[1] When the episode finally aired, the plot was about the Holocaust, yet all mentions of the Eppes being Jewish had been removed from the episode. They finally mentioned it overtly ("Is it because I'm Jewish?") in episode 4.05 "Robin Hood".

As of episode 5.05 "Scan Man," Don has started to attend a synagogue regularly and his Jewish faith has become an increasing part of his character. This story line came about due to the urgings of Rob Morrow, who plays the character, at the start of the fourth season. [2] Reception of this arc so far, particularly by Jewish fans, is mixed.[3]

Numb3rs fandom

Numb3rs is a small fandom, and feels even smaller because the fandom is split into separate communities for many pairings. There is a small but solid gen fandom, and Numb3rs is occasionally crossed over with other procedurals, and other shows that reference the FBI or the federal government (such as Stargate).

Slash Pairings

Don/Charlie is probably the largest, but also the most controversial, as many fans are disturbed by incest stories. Charlie/Colby, Charlie/Larry, and Megan/Amita also have followings, and there are a few David/Colby shippers as well. A guest character at the end of season 1, Billy Cooper (played by Max Martini), was also popular with slash fans, and his past relationship with Don provided a foundation for some fanfic. Ian Edgerton (played by Lou Diamond Philips) is an FBI sniper who appears a couple of times each season; he's occasionally slashed with either brother, or crossed over to other shows.

As the canon relationship between Amita and Charlie progressed to the point of marriage slash writers have taken to simply waving away the relationship, setting it in an alternate timeline where Amita took an out of state job offer at the start of season 3, or, more recently, set the stories in a post divorce/separation situation. Despite much talk on the subject very few writers have actually sent Amita to her death.


The relationship between Don and Charlie is arguably the most important one in the show, which makes it a natural for slash. This is controversial, however, since incest has long been a taboo in the slash community. On the other hand, as Numb3rs hit the small screen, there was a sudden explosion in fandoms where obvious and appealing pairings were incest pairings (see Heroes, Supernatural, Harry Potter, etc.). This led to an easing of the taboo in general, but at the same time, to a glutted revulsion, as some fans felt that incest pairings were close to taking over slash fiction.

Arguments for:

  • They are the most important people in each other's lives
  • They each admit that they can't quite understand their relationship
  • Despite all the jealousy that Don supposedly felt for Charlie, he's thrilled to have him working with him, and when Don's at his lowest, it's Charlie he goes to
  • They're very pretty together (both short and dark and cute)
  • For once, Don would be dating someone he's not supervising

Arguments against:

  • They aren't screwed up enough on screen to be the people who would be having and hiding that relationship
  • They both love their dad too much to do that to him

Notable Don/Charlie fanworks


  • Parallel Connections Over Symmetric Spaces by Dale Edmonds -- Early Don/Charlie novel, had some influence on the way many fans saw Don and Charlie's relationship. Gets around the problem by making them a little more screwed up than they are on screen.
  • Missing Persons by Dira Sudis -- Long, intense, h/c, Don/Charlie slash novel (available here). Gets around the problem by putting them through hell (including amnesia) to screw them up enough that they could be together.



Larry and Charlie's relationship is long-enduring. Charlie first took a class from Larry when Charlie was 13, and his father said that all the family heard about that first year was Professor Fleinhardt. They've been friends and colleagues ever since. They are far from having an unequal mentor/child relationship -- Larry is a known eccentric and lost child; often Charlie is the practical adult of the pairing (like when Larry called him from a conference so that Charlie could tell him which city he was in). Larry once called Charlie's relationship with Amita Ramanujan "a black hole."

Larry/Charlie slash owes its existence to Miriam Heddy, whose roughly thirty stories birthed the pairing. Their main LJ community is airhockeyislove.

Arguments for:

  • They are hugely important people in each other's lives
  • Larry is so adorable, he deserves to get laid
  • Charlie deserves someone who can understand his genius
  • Has some of the father/son dynamic without being actual incest
  • There has to be some reason why his relationship with Amita took So Damn Long to gel

Arguments against:

  • Age difference
  • They used to be in a nearly father/son relationship
  • Larry's slow fall into a relationship with Megan in 3rd/4th season

Notable Charlie/Larry fanworks

  • Talking Out of School by Miriam Heddy was the first story to point out that Charlie's on-again/off-again semi-relationship with Amita wouldn't be doing Amita's reputation any good.
  • Dinner for Four by Miriam Heddy pointed out that no matter how liberal Alan is, he's probably going to have a problem with a man he considers a contemporary dating his son. (And it's funny, too.)



After the introduction of Colby at the start of season 2 many slash writers took up Charlie/Colby as a non-incest, non-age difference pairing. This is in spite of the fact that Colby stared with the same position as David.

Charlie/Colby is currently the most tagged pairing at the LiveJournal community numb3rs_slash with 985 tagged entries. Over a hundred more than Don/Charlie.

At the same time Colby became the fandom's 'little black dress' having been slashed with nearly every canon character including Alan and Larry.

Notable Charlie/Colby fanworks

  • Vignettes and Thoughts upon a Life Unplanned but Well Loved[5] by Ladygray99

Minor Don pairings


Don clearly had a real connection with his ex-partner Coop (seen in episode 13 of season 1, "Manhunt"). They worked far out of the office, seeing only each other for days at a time, etc. In the Blood by Gwyneth Rhys is a rare substantial Don/Coop story, but there are many shorter ones.

Don/Ian Edgerton

Don/Ian Edgerton is usually written as an on-again/off-again relationship.

Don/Colby, Don/David

Don/Colby and Don/David are both vanishingly rare, probably because Don is usually dating a woman on the team, and it would be hard to make both relationships work.

Don/Other Canon Pairing

Don/Larry does exist in very small qantities.

Don/Dad is virtually unheard of.

Minor Charlie pairings


Charlie/Ian Edgerton is rare-ish pairing. Sniper_voodoo is the LiveJournal community dedicated to the pairing.

There are a few major Charlie/Ian works. However, most are in the form of series that are composed of drabbles and smaller fics.

Notable Charlie/Ian fanworks
  • Conference Wives[8] by dance_the_code. This series was started during season 2 so is only canon up to that point but has been slowly growing from there.
  • Soseki's Cryptomeria Grove by kljoyce, while written in modernest, free flowing, style, was considered a major work of the pairing. Unfortunately, it has been recently removed from most major archives.
  • A Silk Pillow[9] by LadyGray99 is a 233 part drabble series featuring Charlie and Ian in a BDSM relationship with Ian as the submissive party. It covers time between the start of the relationship to Charlie and Ian in their extreme old age.
  • "Tameness of a Wolf"[10] by elyssblair "is set in an AU where The Team is part of a special unit of werewolves who investigate werewolf-related crime".[11]
  • "Taming Of The Sniper" [12] by Squeakerblue and thothkristen is a Sentinel AU with Charlie as the guide and Ian as the Sentinel.

Charlie/Billy Cooper

Charlie/Billy Cooper is a rare pairing but not seen as a strange one. Since the character of Billy Coop only appeared in one episode with very little back story he functions as something close to a canon OC able to become nearly any type of character the author wants. EmmaDeMarais is a big proponent of Charlie/Coop and the Safe Harbor 'verse[13] in has some of the largest stories featuring this pairing.


Charlie/David would make approximately as much sense as Charlie/Colby, but doesn't seem to be written. LadyGray99 has written the epic Who We Are[14] for the pairing. It is sadly common for black characters to get less fictional 'play' than white characters. (See also Race and Fandom.)

Charlie/Other Canon Characters

Charlie/Marshal Penfield is sometimes seen since they are life long rives which makes good fader for angst filled, angry sex.

Charlie/Oswald Kittner is also sometimes seen as they make for a canon Teacher/Student pairing.

Charlie/Dad is virtually unheard of.


This is as close to a canon gay pairing as Numb3rs came. On several occasions Nikki calls Colby David's 'girlfriend'. David and Colby also go on a date together to win a bet with Nikki.

Het Pairings

The series ends with a Happily Ever After feeling with many het pairings on screen as well as a backlog of them in canon.


Since they are a main canon pairing their there is not much actually written about their courtship. There are future fics of them with children.


With their on/off relationship the fandom has divided opinions on the character. Earlier in the series she walks out on Don, she refuses his first proposal of marriage, and she has some questions concerning Don's return to faith. Don keeps pushing despite all that, and proposes again in the final.


A canon Megan and Larry is the pairing that the other characters don't really get. Megan describes Larry as 'beautiful' and enjoys his classic car. Larry compares Megan to the M57 nebula.


Margaret is only seen once in the series in a dream sequence as she dies of cancer about a year before the series begins. Alan speaks often of their strong marriage that occasionally ran into stress over money and Charlie's education. As the parental figures of the series there is not much in the way of erotic works.

Alan/Dr. Mildred Finch (Millie)


They only had one date and according to Nikki it was just to a baseball game but that is more than enough for writers.





Megan is one of the few women that Don didn't sleep with in canon due to her love for Larry.

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Notable Numb3rs fanworks







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