Numb3rs S5E11 Script

Arrow of Time (2009)

CHARLIE: Entropy -- a measure of randomness; a parameter of disorder; energy broken down in irretrievable heat.

(man singing in Hebrew)

What might appear to be chaos, even decay, is really a system's way of smoothing out differences; its search for equilibrium.

Too florid?

For 30 overachieving grad students? Probably.

But for me...

Tell me more about irretrievable heat.

Where language might fail us...

...the poetries of math and physics bring clarity.

Observing spontaneous changes... isolated systems.

I see the rifles coming over the hill

And if you shout, maybe they stop and won't kill

But if you think like me, you'll be as dead as he...

(alarm blaring)

I see the lion crawling over your bed

And if you stay... Entropy is our yardstick measuring progress, defining the boundaries of a story, a beginning and an end.

Entropy has the unique ability to choose a particular direction for time.

The Arrow of Time.

The Arrow of Time.

I see more color in your eyes

Than the reflections... Uncorrelated parts interact and find their connections in an evolving system.

I see the rifles coming over the hill

And if you shout, maybe they'll stop and won't kill

And if you think like me, you'll be as dead as he

Some day

I see the color in your eyes... So, from one perspective, entropy is a clock, charting the irreversible.

...The world as your side.

Looks like an arrow pointing straight back to L.A.

Nice of them to leave us a trail of bread crumbs.

OFFICER: Hey, Sinclair.

Hey, Joe.

What do you need? Great big net.

Got three men over the wall.

Had a car waiting.

Tire tracks say older model, long wheel base.

Well, that narrows it down.

Unless we hear reports about three bad-asses terrorizing the countryside in their underwear, count on a change of clothes, too.

So, they already made it past the roadblocks, huh?

JOE: Long gone.

Look at this here.

Oh, looks like...

Dental floss.

LIZ: How the hell did they get that much dental floss?

Well, that's a very good question.

They must've had a lot of time on their hands.

"They" being...?

Well, that is why I dialed you in on this.

WOMAN: Hey, Ugly!

Ugly? Uh, yeah, that's Ugly Joe.

There's a Big Joe, Little Joe and an Ugly Joe.

There's a bigger Joe?

No, an uglier one.

(sighs) Damn.

NIKKI: Buck Winters.

Tell me about the other two.

Gray McClaughlin.

Doesn't look like he's had any time to commit a crime where he didn't get caught.

Started off low-level drug dealing.

Couldn't make that work.

Yeah, I just read something like 95% of small businesses fail their first year.

He's not a bad-looking cat.


Oh, but when you guys notice, it's okay.

DON: All right, come on. Next.

Uh, Rafe Lansky.

He's an Aryan-looking individual, but he's pretty ethnically enlightened.

He freelanced for the Colombians, the Jamaicans, the Russians...

DON: As?

Hit man -- dropped at least six bodies we know of.

OC moved four others into the "pending inactive" column as "likely but unprovable."

DON: Anything with known associates?

I just got the files, boss.

DON: All right.

It's a fugitive case just like any other.

You know, any other case, the first thing I look at is the guy who shot his wife.

Go to the second.


DAVID: Buck Winters, 17 years old, hooks up with his teacher, Crystal Hoyle.

Buck's father already beats the crap out of him on a regular basis -- he finds out, he beats some more of the crap out of him.

Buck killed him for trying to keep them apart.

Pit bull puppy love.

Buck and Crystal rob and shoot their way across the country, get married in Vegas.

LIZ: Because, really, who doesn't?

These are two seriously fearless individuals.

They robbed a meth lab and blew it up.

We caught Buck, and Crystal retaliated by kidnapping Megan.

Megan Reeves.

This is that case?

Don never talked to you about any of this?


COLBY: When Hoyle took Megan, Don lost it -- some things happened during his interrogation with Buck.

NIKKI: Things like...?

All I know is Don got the information he needed, Buck went to the hospital, and we got Megan back.

Crystal Hoyle went down shooting.

Actually, she drove at our roadblock with a carload of hand grenades.

Don's the one that pulled the trigger.

NIKKI: Just another day in the exciting field of crime fighting.

Why is Don acting like he did something wrong?

Just, sometimes, this job forces you to ask yourself some really hard questions, and I guess that was one time Don just wasn't ready for the answers.

The kid threaten Don?

He didn't have to.

I'll take Lansky.

Why don't you take McClaughlin?

Unless, of course, you think you're gonna lose yourself in his deep brown eyes.

Oh. Hey.

I thought you snuck out early to work on your lecture.

You guys remember that idea I had for finding a complex polynomial encryption?

Withers just patented it.

It wasn't Withers. It was his collective.

In fact, I think a civil engineer suggested attacking it through Riemann's hypothesis.

LARRY: Yeah, I'm sorry.

Color me stodgy, but these attempts to manufacture insight by committee run counter to the entire history of great thought.

AMITA: There are plenty of instances of great thought coming in the works of groups.

Uh, Pisarro, Monet and Degas.

Wedgewood, Watt and Darwin.

Oppenheimer, von Neumann, Wilson, Weisskopf.

The neo-Confucians. Okay, fine.

Go ahead, pelt me with specifics.

Hey, we should start our own think tank.

You know, once a month.

Anything anyone comes up with, we all... everyone shares in.

I don't know why I didn't suggest that in the first place.

We could get Osaki for chemistry, Galuski for that down and dirty engineering perspective.

You know who would add a fresh dimension of thought?

Who? Your dad.



35 years of practical experience in urban planning, but that fresh eye of the student.


I don't think so.

So... who wants to talk dental floss?

NIKKI: Gray McClaughlin has a girlfriend.

Deanne Drake.

Yeah, visited him 12 times in the last 18 months -- and marshals are staked out at her house, tapped her phones -- no activity.

I got a work address.

Figured we could go shake her up.

Pier 16, huh?

And she is?

Forklift driver. Huh.

McClaughlin really attracts the, uh, girlie, super-feminine types, huh?

So, how did she, uh, meet this "good-looking cat"?

Prison pen pal website.

Insert your next joke here.

Oh, no. No way I squander this opportunity.

I figure I'll toss a few ideas around with David, make sure we really get this one right.

You do know I'm never gonna share again.

(elevator bell dings)

Hey, Nikki just found a known associate of McClaughlin's, figured we'd... Yeah, that's good.

DAVID: It's 30 feet long.

AMITA: Floss is sold in containers of 20 to 150 yards.

I'm an informed shopper.

CHARLIE: Eyeballing the density of this rope, I'm thinking it's got to be 18,000, maybe 19,000 feet.

LARRY: Three and a half miles of dental floss, even assuming an average container size of 50 yards.

127 rolls of floss.

LIZ: You guys find new and special ways to freak me out all the time.

DAVID: 127 rolls of floss, which is a restricted item in prisons for this exact reason.

LIZ: Yeah, well, this and the fact that it's a great way to slice through someone's jugular vein.


Well, I mean, we could apply a simplex algorithm.

The time it took to build a ladder based on the difficulty of access.

LARRY: They had limited time to work on it, when the other prisoners and the guards weren't watching them.

AMITA: And they'd have to find a way to hide the containers, throw them out.

So, some floss math tells us when they get started, so it might say something about... where they're going -- what?

"Floss math."

DAVID: Okay, so we're talking about at least months of planning;

Buck Winters -- he was all impulse.

The other two... eh, they're no masterminds, so...

Buck Winters?

Don didn't...?

You know, it all, it all went down last night so I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know you're up yet.


I just saw the teletype.

Yeah, the marshals dialed us in.

All right, let's just assume the requisite stoic Don Eppes posture.

You lock up enough of these guys, sooner or later, they get out.

Don, this kid breaks out of jail, he makes a beeline straight towards you and he doesn't even bother to cover his tracks.

He's just another fugitive.

You know, we hunt him down and we put him back.

I hope you're just lying to me, and not to yourself.

Come on.

COLBY: Deanne Drake?


Hell, no.

How about a hand, please?

Punch her. She's a girl!

Girl must mean something different in Idaho.

Okay, hand, please?

And something to remember when that next funny remark comes in your head.

Got your Glock nines, Walter P.22, Beretta .25, If you're going in close, drop a silencer on this puppy, and you're like a whisper.

Dan Wesson .357.

Now, this is six shots, but what a six.

Feel that metal on your hands.

Whatever you want.

Desert Eagle 50-caliber.

That thing's bigger than you are.

DEALER: Man's not lying.

That's a whole lot of gun.


BUCK: That's fine.

We got a whole lot of plans.

You got nothing to hold me on.

How about a stolen Cadillac you left outside the prison?

I drive an F-150.

Deanne, come on, you watch TV.

When we find it, you so much as sneezed in that car, we can DNA match a booger off the dashboard.

You really want to go down that road with us?

Accessory to escape is 10 to 15, especially if you look like a bad citizen.

And so far, you don't look like a good citizen.

And look, you are not the first woman to throw away a good life on a bad man.

You put it out there, I get that.

You have to put it out there, right?

But you drew a creep.

You think I didn't know?

Deep down?

I mean, he's a looker, but he's no actor.

He's got this... way about him.

The way he looks at you, it just...

How'd you get the floss in?

What? The dental floss.

He wanted a car, three changes of clothes...


What? Dental floss?

She says she set the car, but she doesn't know where they are.

Okay, write it up.

Hey, boss?

Look, for what it's worth, I think you did what you had to do with that kid.

You know, you made some hard choices, but you were on the side of the angels.


So, has California Corrections given us more details on trash procedures?

No, I'm still waiting.

One has to admire the ingenuity at work here.

I mean, creating the unexpected out of the mundane, I mean, it's like Robinson Crusoe.

Professor on Gilligan's Island.

Similar circumstance.

Necessity plus freedom from distraction.

Oh, I don't know, there was Mary Ann.

Smart man, staying away from Ginger.

LARRY: Hey, speaking of choosing one's words, have you spoken with Don?

Uh, if he wants to talk about this case, he'll get around to it, you know?

How about you? How are you doing?

This must bring up some stuff.

Megan's kidnapping...



Ah, yet again, male communication tests the limits of Shannon's source coding theorem.

Granting you that, I will inelegantly reintroduce the idea of bringing Alan into the think tank.

Uh, yeah, sure... because he and I don't spend enough time together under the same roof, or at the same school.

Okay, I was seven years old, and I asked my dad if he could help me figure out a good estimate for the remainder term in a Taylor expansion of the hyperbolic cosine.

Our eyes met and there was this... tacit understanding that we had crossed the Rubicon.

When you're seven years old, your dad should be seven feet tall.

So, I separated math from my dad.

As irrational as it sounds, I'd prefer to keep it that way.

Oh, I'm just surprised that you, uh, even have time for me today.

I mean, uh, what with Buck Winters on the loose.

Well, you know, there's this thing called the Internet now.

They give you the news.

You don't have to worry, Dad, it's all all right.

That's a fairly ridiculous statement.

I know you're, uh, capable of taking care of yourself.

What bothers me is this, uh, strange detachment of yours.

That's what this looks like? Really?


I'm your father, I can't help it.

I just, um...

I'm, uh... scared.

Look, I'm scared that if I go out there, I'm going to have to kill this kid.

Eight to nine months.

That's it? No bells, no whistles?

CHARLIE: Oh, no, I mean, I tracked the rates of floss being stolen from the infirmary, allowed for parallel escape plans, blah, blah, blah.

But ask me what's really interesting about this rope.

Charlie, what's really interesting about this rope?

Boy, I'm glad you asked.

Floss is generally fabricated from bundles of nylon or Teflon filaments.

It's produced in different decitexes and thicknesses.

Which makes some brands stronger than others.

And sharper.

You know, you build this rope with the wrong floss, it's not going to sustain body weight, or it's gonna cut your hands.

Lab had the same idea.

They didn't find any blood anywhere on the rope.


You know, all my models indicate that there was no trial and error, so, this rope wasn't built; this rope was engineered.

Which requires a certain amount of aptitude.


Which is none of our three guys.

Excuse me.


Hey. What's up, bro?

You don't write, you don't call.

You know how it is.

I thought David was filling you in.

Yeah, he filled us in.

Dental floss.

So, we, uh, found an interesting, uh, connection.

All right, good.

(knocking on door)

Tim Pynchon?


It's the shoes.

This 'cause I, uh, celled with Gray McClaughlin, right?

Until 10 months ago, yeah.

Yeah, hit the DNA lottery.

Thank LAPD for mislabeling evidence.

You can do a phone dump, toss my capacious abode.

Seems like a long way down for a guy who's used to pulling six- and seven-figure takedowns.

Yeah, I guess high end burglaries don't really prepare you for the contemporary job market, do they?

It's all computers these days.

DAVID: Yeah, well, you do strike us as the kind of guy that would put together a bulletproof escape plan -- design a rope ladder out of dental floss.

You know who doesn't strike us that way?

Gray McClaughlin? Rafe Lansky?

Buck Winters?

You guys gonna give me some love if this is a "what if" conversation?

Well, I'd say that depends on the "what if."

What if a guy is looking at 15 for a Bel Air vault he didn't blow?

Spends two years figuring his way out.

As an intellectual exercise.

DAVID: Does this guy include his cellmate in this "intellectual exercise"?

Kind of rude not to.

So, what if he finds out he's going home and his cellie offers him 5 G's for the plan?

Where's McClaughlin come up with five grand?

He used to deal with a guy named Nestor --

Ruiz, Luiz -- that's the kind of guy that might hide him out in this "what if" scenario.

So, how many things about that conversation didn't you like?

Well, aside from cooperating before we even got in the door, confessing sideways to two felonies, then pointing us in the direction of another guy?

Yeah, aside from that.

A six-figure safecracker uh, he risks his dumb luck release for pocket money.

I think I'm still kind of stuck on that comment about my shoes.

I'm standing here hoping that a 19-year-old boy is gonna get himself stabbed in a bar fight or OD in an alley.

I once stood not far from here, wishing a similar end to the woman he loved.

Because she threatened someone I cared for.

Made me feel... just helpless.

I came to realize that if her actions seemed unfathomable, her motives weren't.

I don't want to know why that kid is the way that he is.

Well, in cosmology, the Arrow of Time points in the direction of expansion; and if the universe decides to contract one day...

The past is going to come looking for us whether we want it to or not?

Well, cosmologists argue that the future will continue to move in the same direction.

But perhaps the universe has... a more open mind.

I wish Pynchon would make a move already.

Which apartment are we staring at?

Up the stairs, hallway on the right.

Hope you girls didn't have any big plans for tonight.

Nah, just this photo I got to e-mail to Idaho.

And that would be him.

Where's he going?

There's an exit up on the third floor in that middle archway.

It dumps out on Loma.

(engine starting) All right, got it.

Think he went into another apartment.

NIKKI (over radio): Forty.

Borrowing a cup of sugar?

Borrowing the landlady?

LIZ: There's a window on the street.

We're gonna go check it out.

PYNCHON (muffled): We've got to get you out of here.

First, the landlady's asking questions, then the FBI is here.


LIZ: Shots fired.

They're coming your way.


(gun clicking)

You all right? DAVID: Yeah.

He was kind enough to break my fall.

Good for him.

(phone ringing)


We have McClaughlin.

(phone ringing)

Yeah, keep me posted.


BUCK: Do you know who this is?


Then you know what I want.

So, Winters called you from a burner cell.

Untraceable, but if he calls you again, the tech boys'll try and get a triangulation.

Okay, thanks.

Two minute and 38 second conversation.

What'd you two fellas talk about?

About what you'd expect.

I'm trying to figure out if this is eating you up or you're being a tool.

It can't be both?

Put everything else aside, okay?

You've got an office full of people who are trying to take down two escaped killers.

And it'd be pretty screwed-up if our biggest obstacle was our boss.

I'll try to stay out of your way.

NIKKI: How'd you get Pynchon to hide you out?

You stare at the same walls and you hear the same stories for 23 hours a day, and so I tell Pynchon about some drug stash that the cops didn't find on my last pinch.

This is when he finds out about Nestor?

There isn't a Nestor.

It's a jail story -- you know, hidden drug stash, buried pirate treasure -- same difference.

I tell you, for a smart guy, Pynchon believed what he wanted to believe. You know?

He got obsessed, started planning his way out, and then after he jackpotted that appeal, he got obsessed with me getting out and leading him to the buried treasure.

And you strung him along.

Uh, him and Deanne.

Is anyone really surprised by my lack of character?

And Buck and Rafe?

Guys like those, you go your separate way as soon as you can.

And where's their separate way?

I have my theories.

NIKKI: Such as?

Such as... what kind of deal are we going to make?

ROBIN: Here's your deal.

Accessory after the fact.

To what? Everything -- you facilitated an escape, which means that you are culpable for every crime that I can prove as a result of that escape.

Winters and Lansky -- they steal a car?

It's on you.

They rob a bank?

It's like you were driving the car.

They kill a federal agent?

I got good seats in the gallery, watching them cook you.

ROBIN: Go ahead, doubt me.

Put your little jailhouse law degree against mine.

And then take a look at the clock and try to figure out how many more crimes your partners are putting on your tab while you sit there and don't talk.

Buck wants to kill some cop, but Rafe doesn't want to.

Buck the alpha dog?

When the kid made a deal with Rafe, everybody figured that, you know, it was what it was -- fish staying alive behind some muscle -- but then after a while, you just, you couldn't tell anymore.

Was it love, maybe something else?

So where are they?

Starline Motel.

At least that's where they were.

All I've got in my trunk is a blanket and a flashlight.

Looks like, uh, you're hunting bear.

No, uh, actually, I like bears.

You know, Mr. Eppes, it's not a good time right now.

Don's kind of busy.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.


Um, David... you've known Donnie longer than anyone.

Y-You know, um...


I-I didn't do everything right, you know.

You'll see, when you have kids, i-it's practically impossible to get everything... right.

But I think that I-I've...

Don't worry.

I'll take care of him.




Ah, Viterbi algorithms.

Hey, I thought you said they were for suckers.

I had this idea about predicting Buck Winters' next move.

It sort of drifted a bit.

Tell me it isn't right.


Have you spoken to Don about this?


But I'm going to.

Hey, Sinclair, nice of you to invite us this time.

LIZ: So, it's room seven.

Manager's pretty sure they're still inside.


He knocked on the door this morning for, quote: one big-ass fight, end quote; and Buck answered, apologized, gave him a 50 to forget about it.

LIZ: Their car is still parked in front of the unit.

'75 Caddy, comes back stolen.

All right, so...

...this unit here, bathroom window here.

THIBODEAUX: Here, back here!

COLBY: Looks like Buck broke his heart.

Hey, so, um... there's this thing called a Viterbi algorithm.

It's a way of finding the most probable sequence of hidden states.

Hidden states.

There's a guy, he does three things -- he sleeps, he eats, and he hunts -- and he chooses which one of those three things to do based on the season, the time of day, and the weather.

Now, if we can only see this man and know what he's doing at a singular moment, frozen in time, what the Viterbi algorithm does is it tells us what the whole world looks like at that moment.

I used a similar approach with Buck Winters.

I tried to predict his actions, specifically those that could be inferred by the states of "Buck hiding from the cops," "Buck with a gun"...

"Buck trying to kill Don."

You already know where to find Buck Winters.

Why didn't you call me when you found out he escaped?

I don't really see much math here.

Five years down the road, you still don't realize that there's always math?

What the hell is wrong with you?

I didn't have a choice with Crystal.

I think about this sermon I heard the other day, this, uh... verse they were talking about -- the natach lach.

At least the way I understood it was -- you know -- "What's in your hand?"

What are the things that you can control?

Hey, how are you controlling the situation by shutting me out?

In perceptual terms, memory can only be increased as correlations increase.

You understand? That the Arrow of Time can only take you from the past to the future; that what you do tonight, what you do tomorrow -- it won't put the bullet back in that gun.

You ought to think about what you're about to do.

Think about the regrets you'll have two years from now.

There's auto glass all over the curb out back.

Looks like Buck stole another car.

Well, crime techs think Rafe was cold-cocked, dragged to the bathtub, and shot there.

Sure, then he climbs out the bathroom window so the manager doesn't see him; steals a new car so he's got a head start.

Recovered Winters' burner from a Dumpster four blocks away.

I think he was watching us hit his room.

He was waiting for Don.

You start a dump? Already on it.

In the meantime, we pulled the last few numbers off the memory.

You gotta see this.

That's Don's cell. Why didn't he...?

That number is incoming, not outgoing.

Don called Buck.

Buck calls you through the FBI switchboard... you guys speak for two-plus minutes; you tell us nothing but B.S. threats.

I say, okay.

You ever think to mention he gave you his phone number?

That motel lead came in, he'd have been there, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Well, here we are... having this conversation.

You called him.

You called him out.

You scramble a five-man tac team.

You tell the marshals... You don't get to do that.

You can't play it off like you got some kind of clear head about this.

Taking the back seat, sleepwalking your way through this investigation -- you know, I kind of get that.


You withheld information.

You got two choices.

You can turn me in, or you can let me lead.

What are you doing?

Even on your darkest damned day, you never pulled any kind of High Noon crap like this.

Listen to me.

Whatever you see, whatever goes down, nobody moves until I signal.


Whatever you see.

I told your father I would keep you alive.

You will not make a liar out of me.

Well, word around CalSci is that tomorrow's hot ticket is a lecture on time-reversible chaotic systems by Professor Charles Eppes.

CHARLIE: Right, uh...

Although, I think earlier today, I may have argued against my own point with Don.

Metaphorically speaking, anyhow.

I guess I'm sort of stuck on the Arrow of Time.

You know, I had a related musing.

Clearly, we are circling around some underlying truth here.

Don versus entropy.

Where's Maxwell's Demon when you need him?

Maxwell's Demon?

Yeah, you know, the man who stands alone at the door, between two adjoining rooms.

The temperature and the pressure are the same.

It's a perfect state of equilibrium.

(door squeaking)

I've got him.

SOG Bravo has the shot.

Stand by.

Stand by for what?

Don's calling the signals on this one.

CHARLIE: Each time the Demon opens the door, he admits only the molecules that he chooses, heating the one room and cooling the other.

It's a direct violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

COLBY: SOG Charlie, we have the shot, too.

10-4. SOG Charlie.

Everyone stands by for my call.

CHARLIE: So, the Demon not only opens the door to two rooms, he allows for the possibility of perpetual motion.

Should have a gun in your hands.

Unless you came here to die.

And the rearranging of everything we know to be real.

I loved her.

I know you did.

You made me betray her... and then you killed her.

SOG Bravo has a visual on the gun.

SOG Charlie -- we have a clear shot.

Everyone stands by for my call.

BUCK: I wake up every day and think about how I failed her.

I sold her out... for some bruises and broken bones.

I was weak.

I had to get strong.

You did that for me.

You and Rafe.

Is that why you killed him?

I killed him because he was afraid to die!

You're not truly hard on the inside until you're willing to give up everything that you love!

To give your life away.

He never realized that my future wasn't his to decide.

Or maybe he figured it out in the last few seconds.

I don't know.

You've got three seconds to go for it.

It's not going to be that way, Buck.

DAVID: Adam and Charlie, we're going in.

Bravo, hold your position.

That's 180 bullets looking at you.

You're not even gonna get that thing out of your belt.

You think I care?

Two years planning this, and you let me choose the time and place?

I know you care.

You didn't come here for a fair fight.

You didn't come here to kill me.

You came here to die the same way Crystal did.

I had to kill her, Buck.

I don't have to kill you.


Why can't you do this for me?!

You owe me this!

I'm 19 years old!

They gave me 250 years!

You don't know what that's like.

To have to pay for things that I can't take back.

Yeah, I know what that's like.

(wry laugh)

That's just life.

You want to die?

That's your choice.

But you don't get to decide how I live with it.




Well, that's like just so much hokum, isn't it?


ALAN: Well, I mean, Maxwell's Demon is a thought experiment, right?

Yeah. Well, granted, there are theoretical applications, I'm sure, but, um, when the window breaks, the cold air still rushes in.

Gears fail, oil leaks.

Sooner or later, that engine is gonna break down.

(Buck wailing)

I know that wasn't easy.

You know, most days, I wouldn't think twice.


Not easy.

Hey, Dad, a bunch of us at CalSci were talking about putting together a think tank, which is, you know, just a group of us getting together once a month and kicking around ideas, and... we were wondering if you might be interested in joining our group.

You know, I still remember the time when you asked me for, um, an estimate on the remainder term for a Taylor expansion of the hyperbolic cosine.

AMITA: That's a very specific memory, Alan.

One never forgets the moments when one realizes that he has nothing left to teach his seven-year-old son about math.

Well, yeah, but... look at everything else you've taught me about since then.

I think you've just given me another very specific memory.

To our new venture.

And to the causal Arrow of Time.

(mugs clinking)

LARRY: Within the small sphere of our life, we can stare into the past, but only our future is within our control.