By Kirsty Pearce
The friendships in this article will shine a quick spotlight on are two of the most well-written, entertaining, and endearing ones I have come across in my many years of TV watching. Both are at the center of a crime drama. Numb3rs focuses on two very different brothers and their journey towards both partnership and friendship, and Hawaii Five-O features work partners who become like brothers.
At the beginning of Numb3rs, you see the worlds of estranged brothers’ Charlie Eppes (a math genius), and FBI Agent Don Eppes come together for the first time when Charlie helps Don with one of his cases. The rest of the series follows this precedent as we get to watch their perspectives on past events and appreciation of one other undergo a massive shift, this change in their relationship taking place through many heart-warming moments, both large and small. There is a specific one I’d like to highlight though, which takes place near the end of Season 3.
Don, who has been seeing a psychiatrist for a while, is urged to bring Charlie to one of their sessions. They end up discussing an incident from their childhood, just one of many examples of their strained and resentment-riddled dynamic growing up thanks to the impact Charlie’s advanced intellect had on their family. However, this time Don ends up discovering a few details he was previously unaware of, such as how Charlie knew Don didn’t want him around. When the psychiatrist asks them how they each see their relationship now, after working so closely and mostly successfully together for almost three years, Don’s confesses to guilt over the feeling that he’s using his brother for his own advantage. Charlie’s response is a simple and heart-felt statement that ‘I love… I love working with my brother.’ Both confessions in this moment serve as wonderful examples of how the way they relate to each other has so drastically changed, contributing to a clearer understanding of each other and beautiful further softening.
Important Episodes: 1×01 (Pilot), 1×03 (Vector), 1×10 (Dirty Bomb), 2×21 (Rampage), 2×22 (Backscatter), 3×13 (Finders Keepers), 3×22 (Under Pressure), 4×09 (Graphic), 4×10 (Chinese Box), 4×18 (When Worlds Collide), 5×01 (High Exposure), 5×16 (Cover Me), 5×17 (First Law), 5×20 (The Fifth Man), 5×21 (Disturbed), 6×16 (Cause and Effect)
Danny Williams and Steve McGarrett on the other hand, while not related to by blood, end up forming just as strong and tumultuous a bond as the Eppes brothers. And while they do individually have their own separate love interests (some of whom I prefer MUCH more than others, ahem, Lynn and Melissa), it’s clear that the beating heart of this show is the partnership between these two men. They didn’t get off to the best start, what with their first meeting involving pointing guns at one other, McGarrett co-opting him for a new task force without asking him, and their fundamentally differing personalities. As the series progresses, however, you see that while their trademark bickering remains as strong a component of their dynamic as ever, a tremendous amount of loyalty and respect also takes root.
One of my absolute favorite episodes that so brilliantly highlights just how far they both have come since the pilot is in the Season 5 episode ‘Stakeout.’ Tasked to do homework on their partnership courtesy of a department-mandated psychologist because of their rather explosive outside-the-lines behavior, this assignment naturally ends up coinciding with a two-day surveillance detail. Being forced together in this type of situation ultimately leads Steve to share a defining moment from his teen years. The normally stoic man of few words ex-SEAL opens up in a rare display of vulnerability, telling the story of how he quit playing guitar. Danny later responds to this by buying him a guitar, a simple, no-words needed gesture from the talker of the two.
Important Episodes: 1×01 (Pilot), 1×03 (Malama Ka Aina), 1×08 (Mana’o), 1×09 Po’ipu), 1×17 (Powa Maka Moana), 1×23 (Ua Hiki Mai Kapalena Pau), 2×22 (Ua Hopu), 3×03 (Lana I Ka Moana), 3×06 (I Ka Wa Mamua), 4×19 (Ku I Ka Pili Koko), 6×11 (Kuleana), 6×25 (O Ke Ali’i Wale No Ka’u Makemake)
The parallels between these two fantastic examples of friendship both involve two polar opposites who forge an unbreakable bond with one another due to their partnership in solving crimes. They are also both best exemplified through their banter, protectiveness, loyalty, and occasional (or not so occasional) arguments. Effortlessly easy to emotionally invest in thanks to top-notch writing and seamless chemistry, these core friendships are also a large part of what makes the shows they belong to so enjoyable to watch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hopeless romantic, fervent bibliophile, and aspiring word-smith, Kirsty Pearce also has a deep love for fantasy, fairy tales, & history. With a wide range of TV obsessions from Outlander, Bitten, & Grimm, to Dancing With The Stars, Nikita, & Horrible Histories, she enjoys watching as many Hallmark films as possible, knitting, baking, and sharing all her fan-girl thoughts on her blog.