106 Sabotage

 Math is nature’s language …

Summary: A serial saboteur is leaving cryptic notes at train wrecks to confound the FBI.

Original air date
: February 25, 2005

Written by:  Liz Friedman

Directed by:
  Lou Antonio

Opening numbers:

101,424: Train accidents
2112: Derailments
29: Sabotage incidents
1: Unbreakage code

Family Concepts: (character development)
  • Information on Don’s driver’s license:*
    • Address — 8111 Aguacate Los Angeles, CA 91021
    • Birthdate — 07-15-67
  • Charlie has written a paper on H Infinity Control of Non-Linear Systems
  • Larry goes on regular hikes with Laurel Wilson (Professior of Philosophy of Science)
  • Larry has had intimate relations with the above named professor
  • David has prior bomb disfusing experience
  • David’s first posting was in Tel Aviv, Israel
*Props are often contrary to canon, the brthdate has been disputed by one of the creators and the address is different from that in a later episode.

Episode Synopsis:

The FBI is called to the scene where a train has hit a school bus; the engineer is killed but the bus was empty at the time of the accident.  The NTSB knows about these accidents as they are copy cats of other serious accidents over the past few years; and the saboteur leaves the same note at the scene of watch accident he reenacts, there’s not text only lines of numbers.  A new twist is the saboteur also calls Don as a taunt to try and figure out what he is doing.

Charlie looks over the note and makes a number of connections including the repeated number 36 in the notes, he suggests the note may be something similar to The Beale Cyphers and offers to figure this one out as well. 

A train spotter gives David a copy of a tape he had made of the accident which showed two men carrying cargo from the train to a van. Tracing the van the FBI discovers a crooked railroad cop dead and a stash of cargo from the reenacted train accidents in his garage.  The saboteur again calls Don and admits he killed the railroad cop because he was using the accidents as a way to get rich and didn’t understand the real reason for recreating the wrecks. Research into railroad crimes leads the FBI to make a bust at an area warehouse looking for a character named Horizontal Bob, he’s tied to the crooked cop and may be the man calling Don.  No one at the warehouse is willing to give him up, but one man, who H Bob has hurt in the past offers a suggestion where to find him.

Charlie and Amita do some research on the past reenactments and find out they are missing a serious accident that killed 37 people when a train carrying nuclear waste derailed into a housing complex.  While Amita is reading off numbers from the accident and Charlie discovers all of them are in the notes left at the scenes of the recreated accidents.  All of the numbers can be accounted for except the number 36 and anther seemingly random grouping.  Don figures the random numbers would be the same as a drivers license number; Terry runs a search and discovers a Frank Milton held that license, he was the engineer in the accident in the housing development and was killed. Don and Terry interview Milton’s widow and find out there was no way he could have been responsible for the accident as the railroad company claims and she knows they feel guilty because she has received money in the mail presumably from the railroad.  Don sees a picture of Milton and realizes he is the man from the warehouse that led them on a wild goose chase after H Bob.

Knowing that Milton plans to recreate the accident he was involved in, the FBI and the NTSB starts a search of the LA rail yards looking for Milton.  Charlie offers to help by identifying train that Milton might use as they are the most similar to the train he engineered.  Charlie directs Don to one of the possible trains where Don finds Milton. Milton has decided he will die in this accident like he was supposed to have died the last time as a way to get people to really look at the safety record of the railroads. When Don catches him Milton exposes a bomb he’s wearing.  Don tries to clear the area, but Terry and David both decide to stay, and David defuses the bomb.

At dinner at the Eppes home that night Charlie gives Terry and David a mini-lecture on Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio showing how math is nature’s language.