Morrow chuckles at the
On "Numb3rs," the actor plays
Don Eppes, a grizzled
FBI agent in Los Angeles who frequently
enlists the help of his younger brother Charlie (David Krumholtz),
a flighty math genius.
Fittingly, this series about brothers
is a family affair. "Numb3rs" was created by prolific
husband-and-wife writing team Cheryl Heuton and Nick Falacci and
produced by acclaimed sibling filmmakers Tony and Ridley Scott.
"I knew we were on to something
unique the marriage of math and action," Morrow says. "And
with Ridley and Tony on board, I knew it would look interesting."
Audiences seem to share his enthusiasm.
"Numb3rs" grabbed more than 25 million viewers when it
premiered after the Patriots-Steelers playoff game Jan. 23. In its
regular time slot, it's been one of Friday night's most-watched
shows, with 11.5 million viewers tuning in Feb. 4, CBS says.
"The network bought it halfway
through our pitch," Heuton says. "I think 'CSI' paved
the way, got them thinking about the possibilities of the technical,
But is this a premise they can carry
off week after week?
"The pitch was designed to answer
that," Heuton says. "We talked about the universality
of math, how it applies across all sciences. I told them I have
26 episode ideas and the makings for 53 more."
Falacci adds, "We also explained
that it's not going to be an 'equation of the week.' At the core,
you're looking at a logician. It's like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes
with a slide rule."
"Numb3rs" isn't just Charlie
feverishly notching formulas on a chalkboard. The most poignant
scenes revolve around the dynamic between the brothers and their
father, played by Judd Hirsch ("Taxi").
On and off camera, Morrow and Krumholtz
have developed a believable fraternal vibe, right down to roughhousing.
"We were doing a scene by a koi
pond one day," Heuton says, "and David slipped and fell
in. Rob immediately turned to the camera, threw up his hands and
said, 'I didn't touch him.'"
"He pushed me in," Krumholtz
insists. "He says he didn't, but it's on film."
The influence of the Scotts can be
seen in the show's adrenalized action scenes. (Tony directed "Enemy
of the State," "The Last Boy Scout" and other thrillers.
Ridley is famous for "Black Hawk Down" and "Gladiator.")
After struggling in the Manhattan theater
world for the better part of a decade, Morrow landed a supporting
role on the brief-lived series "Tattingers" with Stephen
Collins and Blythe Danner.
Then, he hit it big in the apocryphal
Cicely, Ala., as Dr. Joel Fleischman in "Northern Exposure."
The endearing, Saroyanesque comedy, which began as a summer replacement
series in 1990, ran for five years on CBS. Morrow left after four
to pursue other projects, including the 1994 film "Quiz Show."
Because CBS hasn't had success in this
Friday time period since "Nash Bridges," "Numb3rs"
is likely to go for a second season even if its ratings dip. "I
don't think the bar is that high in terms of numbers, no pun intended,"
the actor says.