Numb3rs
Hollywood Homicide

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Keckler: C- | Grade It Now!
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L.A. Whore-y
"Blackmail," Charlie crystallizes for us. After Don reminds them of Logan's final words to Liz about everything falling apart, David supplies that Logan and Tracy both had this dirt on Brett. However, what's bothering the mathmo is that Tracy was blackmailing Brett for months, so why was she suddenly killed? He then launches into a game-theory mathvert about risk and response analysis, using an analogy about a lioness protecting her cub from a jackal. Until the jackal crosses a line deemed intolerable by the lioness, the jackal is safe. However, when he crosses that line, the lioness will launch and attack and kill to protect her cub. The Evil Mathra stares off into space, musing, "Some examples are so trivial as to be insulting to game theory." The point is that Tracy demanding DVDs is low-risk; so something changed to up the threat enough to have her killed. He offers to Charlie through this area of basic game theory, and Don sends them off. Meanwhile, Colby has finally found Pete, alive.

In the interrogation room, Don finds out that Pete hightailed it out of Brett's place after shooting the video. "Oh, yeah? Why?" Don wonders. "Why?" Pete boggles. "Well, there was a DEAD girl in the BATH-tub!" Pete goes on that Josh and Logan didn't want to tell anyone, not even Brett. They just wanted to get rid of her so no one would know. If Logan and Josh were with Brett on the way to the studio and Pete came running out, all freaked, how would Brett not have known? Also, Logan was all "it was serious" with Tracy, so why didn't he freak out when she was killed? Don can't believe they just let Pete leave with the video. Pete admits that he pretended to erase it because he was playing along with them, but when he didn't see anything on the news all week about the death, he decided he needed to say something, so he sent the video to the FBI. Don stares Pete down. "Listen," Pete says half-nervously, half-sadly, "those aren't the same guys that I grew up with, right? They've changed."

Eppes Garage of Math and Suitcases. Charlie chalks calculations, and Amita bitches that he's still not working on his article. Then she and Charlie both explain to David what they're trying to figure out. Amita says they're determining what all the players stand to gain from exploiting the secret, versus how much they stand to gain from protecting it. David crystallizes it: "And at what point does it make more sense to kill you than to pay you off?" Alan stumbles in, looking for sprinkler parts. They're by the hoses. Alan complains that Charlie cleaned out the garage and now he can't find anything. Charlie doesn't respond and instead frowns at the board. "Something's bothering you," Amita shrewdly observes. "Tracy was killed, but the threat she posed still remains," Charlie notes obliquely. How the hell can math tell him that? "It can't. It's stupid. It's psychology, and not math, because Charlie's quantifiers are always made up. It would have made so much more sense for Megan, the psych person, to say, 'They're still acting threatened.' It's disingenuous, misleading, and insulting to say that the FBI needed a mathematician to grok that the threat still remained when a mathematician can't do that -- not in the way that Charlie is purporting to do it!" the Evil Dr. Mathra explains, grading papers violently. His poor students. David wants more explanation. "You know that analogy I gave about the lions and the jackal? Tracy might be dead, but the model is saying that the jackal is still out there," Charlie goes on, by way of not really clearing ANYTHING up. Alan comments about it all sounding like a Raymond Chandler novel: "Movie stars, blackmail -- you've even got the evil twins!" Ah, but which one is sporting an evil goatee? David has a breakthrough and tells Charlie to plug the Alive Andrea into the equation rather than the Dead Tracy. Charlie does, and gets a result of $298,000. The hell? "That's it," Amita says languidly, "she's the missing piece." Megan and David return to the Whorehouse and stand next to Andrea's beach chair. "I was wondering when you'd be back," she smiles up at them.

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