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Convergence is the seventh episode of the second season of NUMB3RS, and the twentieth episode overall.
Guest Stars: James Lancaster (Store Owner), Kent Karson (Man #2), Rebecca Boyd (Claire Bloom), Michael Maize (Warren (Demento) Gordon), Katie Flynn (Student #2), Devin Sidell (Student #1), Blake Berries (Man #1), Colin Hanks (Marshall Penfield), David J. Wright (Skinhead #1), Wayne Pre (Herbert Quilty), Cameron Dye (Roley), David A. Kimball (Maynard)
Don investigates a series of home invasions in which the thieves steal only high-end items from wealthy individuals. In the latest robbery, a father is killed trying to protect his family. Meanwhile, Charlie becomes upset when a rival theoretician challenges his most famous work and states that it is flawed. Alan prepares to open his own consulting business.
- 7 Home Invasions
- 2 Murders
- $3.6 Million-Stolen
- 2 Antique Lamps
Scene: The CalSci campus
Don, Charlie, and Larry are playing target frisbee against a chain and pole target. Charlie tries first, is a little short. Don tries next, with a longer slower throw, and hits the target. Don gets a call on his phone, he has to go to work.
Scene: A expensive house, surrounded by police cars.
Don meets Megan in the entry hall, who briefs him. The latest by a home invasion robbery ring. This time the father of the victim's family (Doctor Richard Bloom) has been murdered. A little girl comes to pick up a teddy bear that was on the floor.
David, also already on the scene, joins them. He explains that father, mother, and 15 year old son were coming back from a track meet. Men in ski masks rushed them, bound them in tape. The son fought back. The father tried to stop them. The bad guys threw the father into the pool, still bound, and watched him drown. The little girl had been at a friend's house. The friend's mom brought her back, saw something was wrong, called 911.
Scene: The FBI case command room
Don and Megan are briefing Charlie at the FBI office. There are 7 home invasions. The bad guys have weapons, but haven't yet fired them, so there are no firearms forensics. The victims all live in exclusive neighborhoods, they all have high-end expensive valuables, they all have security systems. The attacks all take place just as the victims are entering the homes, and thus avoid the security systems. There are two murder victims, both fathers who fought to protect the families. The FBI cannot tell how the victims are being selected.
Charlie recommends "data mining", looking for correlations between the victims. He needs more than everything known about the victims, he needs all the crime stats for the past 6 months for the entire county. More data makes data mining more likely to work. He draws an analogy to solving a jigsaw puzzle where many puzzles have been mixed together into one box. You have to search the entire box to look for pieces that fit, instead of being able to trust that every piece pulled out of the box will fit.
Scene: The CalSci campus.
Charlie asks Larry and Amita if they can help with this data analysis problem. Amita asks Charlie if he's seen the guest lecturer schedule. Someone is giving a talk about "the asymptotics of random matrices", a field that Charlie has done good work in. Charlie recognizes the guest lecturer from across the courtyard, saying "what the hell is that son of a bitch doing here?".
Marshall Penfield (played by Colin Hanks) and Charlie attended Princeton together, and Charlie claims that Marshall slammed his work every chance he got. Also, the only keg party that Charlie ever threw, Marshall stole the keg. Marshall came over to say hello, and to claim that the subject of his talk will be that Charlie's work in that field, "the Eppes Convergence", is wrong.
Scene: An FBI interview room
Megan is interviewing one of the victims, the widowed Claire Bloom (played by Rebecca Boyd), reviewing photographs of their stolen property. Megan tells her that knowledge of the stolen items might help find the killers. Mrs. Bloom points out an antique lamp that was part of a set. The first was a wedding present. Her husband had recently found the other half of the set, and completed it.
Scene: FBI case command room
Don points out that a pair of $100,000 lamps cant be fenced just anywhere. They should start checking markets that deal in this kind of stuff.
Scene: A CalSci classroom
Charlie is explaining to Larry that Penfield hates him because Charlie was the youngest person to present a major paper. At Charlie's first seminar, Penfield wore a button with the text "Don't believe the hype". If Penfield does show that the Eppes Convergence is wrong, then "what am I?". "A talented theoretician with an ego problem?"
Charlie's phone rings. He has to go. The data mining algorithm kicked out some findings.
After he leaves, Larry remarks "Wisdom and Genius. Rarely present in equal abundance."
Scene: An antique shop.
Megan and David are talking to the shop owner (played by James Lancaster), who is reviewing the picture of the antique lamp. He has it, he doesn't know where he got it, "probably some estate sale". This was the wrong answer. The agents arrest him, and threaten to walk him out thru his showroom full of customers. Then he said he got it from a guy he met a few months ago, who claimed it came from a bankruptcy procedure.
Scene: The FBI office
Charlie is writing on papers, and then taping them to the windows, while humming and whistling. Colby is watching him. Don and Megan join them. The papers are calendars. He's predicted when there should have been attacks, but weren't. His theory is that they bad guys are committing other crimes as well, and the FBI should look for crimes done by those descriptions of criminals on the empty dates. They ask him to predict the next attack. He hedges his statement, and then says his best guess is that the next one could be in 3 days.
Scene: The FBI agents' cubicles
Megan is explaining to Don and David that she checked Charlie's predicted dates, and found 3 carjackings committed by people matching the home invader's descriptions. The cars stolen were a Mercedes, a Range Rover, and Porche, matching the bad guys' taste for high-end goods. None of the cars were recovered. One of the carjackings resulted in a gunshot.
Scene: Charlie's Office.
David and Colby come in, to find Charlie staring at an ant colony. Charlie talks about "emerge theory", and how, while ants themselves are very limited, an entire ant colony can be viewed as a single organism.
David thinks that Charlie might be able to help them find the bullet fired into the air during the carjacking. As Charlie starts getting information from them and writing on his chalkboard, Penfield walks into the office and interjects, completing Charlie's sentence.
Penfield and Charlie butt heads over Penfield's work about Charlie's work, and Charlie is jealous that Penfield had dinner with Amita. Charlie makes a disparaging indirect remark about Penfield's penis size. Penfield retorts that for Charlie, the subject has never come up.
Scene: The FBI office
Megan and Don are reviewing the carjacking cases. The carjackers knew exactly about the victim's expensive jewelry (a watch and a ring). The carjackings are unusual in that they were not being followed. Instead, one called AAA but the `jackers showed up, one got lost and tried using her navigation system, and one called his OnStar when he ran out of gas. (The OnStar service was not named by brand in the show.) When the out-of-gas victim got `jacked, the robbers had brought a gas can with them.
Maybe the bad guys are listening in on the cellphones. But that doesn't explain knowledge of the victim's possessions, and all the victims had different cellphone carriers. What's the common link?
Scene: An FBI conference room
David and Colby are using Charlie's software to set up search maps for the bullet. Megan comes in, they've found the fence, and are setting up a buy to sting him.
Scene: The Eppes' home.
Charlie comes in to find his father Alan getting out his old files from being a City Planner. He's starting a consulting business. He has the money, thanks to Charlie buying the house. He's not afraid of the risk, that's business, and that's life. He never really wanted to retire, but he had to when his wife got sick.
Charlie is stressed, about Penfield coming to rip on his work, Charlie is afraid he's been wasting his time, he's not been devoted to work important to other mathematicians. Alan points out that Charlie should devote his life's work to that which Charlie finds important.
Scene: A storage garage, for the undercover buy
Megan is dressed in a black evening dress, and checks her firearm. A fancy black car pulls up. Two men get out, "Roley" introduces himself and "Timmy". They go over to a storage locker, and "Roley" opens it, revealing lots of boxed antiques. The FBI team busts them. The other lamp is in the locker.
Scene: An FBI interview room
Megan is talking to Roley. He claims to just be a luxury item broker, he had nothing to do with any killing. (How did he know that killing was involved?) He said he was approached by two guys in a bar, who knew him by reputation. One of them was dressed "better than his lawyer", and the other was "a total geek". They went by "Mister Brown" and "Mister Grey". They were "professional". They gave him a list, detailing everything they were going to bring, weeks in advance, so he could find buyers ahead of time.
Scene: FBI office hallway
Megan tells Don that the descriptions of "Mister Black" and "Mister Grey" don't match the descriptions they have of the crew of bad guys. They may have a gang of five, two that do the casing and three that do the robberies. Charlie interjects that the cellphones still tie into it.
David and Colby are searching a grassy park for the bullet, using metal detectors and screens. They discuss what kind of gun was probably used. Colby's theory is that it was a semiauto 45 ACP with 180gr rounds and a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps.
Scene: A lecture hall at CalSci
Penfield is giving his talk. He analogizes the problem he has found with Charlie's theory to a blood clot that causes a stroke to the entire theory. Charlie is sitting on a back chair, taking notes, and angrily fidgeting. Penfield smirks as he delivers his conclusion.
David and Colby are still searching the park. David finds the bullet.
Scene: A lecture hall at CalSci
Charlie is still in his chair, still fidgeting and reviewing his notes. Amita come up, and points out that Penfield does have a point about his analysis. Penfield comes up, asks Amita if she's still up for going out to the Pie&Burger. Penfield also invites Charlie to come, which Charlie refuses. Amita comes back. She's focused on her work, she doesn't have time to focus socially.
After she leaves, Charlie looks back up at the board notes, and has an insight about the case, about cellphones and satellites.
Scene: A public sidewalk.
Charlie is walking with Don and Megan. His theory is that the bad guys have gotten into the cellphone GPS locator system. How the bad guys know who owns what, he can't tell, but how they tell where the victims are, they are using the cellphones to do it.
Scene: The Eppes' home
Alan is search for his cellphone, to discover that Charlie and Larry has taken it apart and is examining it's insides. Alan is annoyed, and Charlie promises to have it back together in an hour. Charlie explains how cellphones work. The radio keeps in contact with cell towers, while the GPS receiver chip receives signals from geosync GPS satellites. (The writers got this wrong, the GPS satellites are not in geosync orbit.)
Breaking into this system is beyond most criminals. Alan points out that his professional experience is that there is always somebody who gets into the system.
Scene: Another high-end house
Exactly the day that Charlie predicted, there was another home invasion robbery. Megan, David, Colby and Don are reviewing the scene. The robbers beat the husband to death, and strangled the wife.
Scene: An FBI tech lab
Megan, David, and Colby are reviewing the discovered bullet. They are running it thru the "ATF Bullet Trap database" (Bullet/gun databases are a fiction of "CSI" type shows. In the real world, they have never worked). A match is found.
Scene: A CalSci classroom.
Charlie and Larry are talking about the case. The data mining algorithm keeps pointing out that all the victims had cellphones, which isn't useful, and that they all had expensive insured items. Larry suggests that Amita look at the program, she's the best coder they've got. Charlie rejects the suggestion, he doesn't think the problem is in the software, and besides, Amita is with Penfield.
Charlie starts mimicking Penfield's speaking style, when is ended when Penfield walks in with Amita. Penfield was looking for them, because they saw the problem on Charlie's office chalkboard, about the current case, and Penfield's current research, about "deep current sets", might be able to help solve it. It's about deep unknown common factors. He might not be able to tell what the common factors are, but he can tell where to look.
Scene: The FBI office
Charlie is explaining to Don and Megan that the commonality seems to be the insurance companies. The insurance companies often buy "rider policies" from each other to cover rare and valuable items. The riders will not show up in the victim's information.
After racing to their computers, Colby determine that all the items were insured with the same underwriter, and Megan made a list of people with criminal records who worked for the cellphone companies. They identify the two men, the "total geek", Herbert Quilty, and the one that "dresses better than my lawyer", Thomas Maynard.
Scene: A PC technology shop.
Quilty (played by Wayne Pére) has made a purchase and is coming out. Megan and David arrest him.
Scene: Kitchen in a house
Maynard (played by David A. Kimball) and his wife(?) are opening a bottle of wine. She sees the FBI team rushing by the window. The team, lead by Colby, kicks in the door, and arrests him.
Scene: Two FBI interview rooms
Colby is interviewing Maynard. Maynard claims that no evidence connects him to any crime. Colby lays out photos of the murder victims. Megan is interviewing Quilty. David brings in a picture of Walter "Demento" Gordon, the gangleader they've been working with. Demento is now a threat to Maynard, Quilty, and their families. Maynard and Quilty confess. Demento and his gang were the ones who started killing people and doing carjackings, because Demento wanted a reputation for selling "expensive wheels".
Scene: The FBI agents' cubicles.
Megan, David, Don, and Charlie are walking out of the interview area. David had gotten the information on Demento by doing the bullet match to a case where Demento had murdered a fastfood worker. Charlie describes how Quilty used his access to the cellphone towers to track the victims. Demento must have a phone that the information about tracking the victims is being sent.
Several bad guys in black clothes and hats are waiting in a SUV on a street. One of them is holding a cellphone that's running a map, tracking something. The target, a Volvo drives by, and the bad guys start the chase. The SUV's license plate is California 2WAQ233. We see in the back of the Volvo a baby in a child seat.
The Volvo (license plate California 2GEE645) pulls into a driveway. The SUV pulls in next to them, and the bad guys get out to get the family. The tables are turned, when Megan, armed with a tactical shotgun, and Colby, armed with his Glock, get out of the car, and at the same time, an FBI team descends from all directions. One of the bad guys tries to run, and is knocked down by Charlie. The "baby" turned out to be a plastic doll.
Scene: The CalSci lecture hall
Charlie tells Penfield that Penfield's help helped the FBI capture three murderers. Penfield is taken aback by the revelation of what the chalkboard problem was. He's also taken aback by Charlie thanking him.
Penfield tells Charlie that he didn't work on the Eppes Convergence because of him, but because it's "great math". Penfield confessed that back at Princeton, Charlie was always the one with the deep ideas, and this one just fascinated him. Charlie confessed that Penfield's work "shows tremendous insight". Then Charlie picks up a pen, and corrects the flaw in the Eppes Convergence that Penfield had identified. Penfield says "The great Professor Charlie Eppes has done it again." Charlie says that this new approach was apparent only because of Penfield's work, so he's going to call it "the Penfield Variation". Penfield says it makes him "feel like a real ass", and they shake hands on it, Charlie grinning smugly.
Scene: The Eppes' Home
Alan is putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Amita and Larry knock and come in. They are looking for Charlie. He's been out in the garage working. He comes in, and begs off going with them, he's working on "a unified theory of the neural network in higher cognitive functions". "The math of the brain." He runs back out to keep working on this problem, which will occupy him for a several decades.
Amita and Larry are drawn into Alan's 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
Scene: Charlie's garage.
Charlie is energetically filling chalkboards with his new "Cognitive Emergence Theory".
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
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