January 31, 2005 12:00 PM

CBS (Sun., Jan. 23, 10 p.m. ET)

A Beautiful Mind was a hit movie about a brilliant mathematician. So why not a TV series about one of those guys who get lost in thought, then dash off cutting-edge equations? Of course Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz) has to use his gift to solve crimes or CBS would never put him on the air.

Numb3rs—the title only looks like a typo—has a Sunday premiere before moving to Fridays at 10, where dr. vegas died. The opening case of a rapist-killer is as grisly as the stuff on the three CSIs, and the script gains suspense by planting doubt about whether Charlie’s applied mathematics can really help his brother, FBI agent Don (Rob Morrow), to pinpoint the perp’s location. But we’re left wondering how many plausible excuses can be found for the Eppes boys to collaborate while their pop (Judd Hirsch) kibitzes. Though Krumholtz captures Charlie’s combination of genius and immaturity, Morrow’s straight-arrow role sorely needs a few dabs of color.

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