a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Mentalist (Episode: 18-5-4) (2010)
Bruno Heller (writer) / Leonard Dick (writer) / Charles Beeson (director)

In this episode of the series about agents from the California Bureau of Investigation, an unemployed mathematician is murdered by someone wearing a clown suit.

The victim, Noah Valiquette, was a stereotypical TV math genius, bad with people but but brilliant with numbers. Thirty-two years old at the time of his death, he mostly lived off of his wife's earnings as a waitress and some income from gambling on sports while publishing papers in math journals. He also was trying to work up the nerve to get a job as a math teacher, despite his overwhelming shyness.

The most memorable character from this episode was Oliver McDaniel (played by Evan Peters of MCU fame). Oliver was a friend of Noah's who rants about aliens and is a permanent resident of a mental institution. (Oliver says he knew Noah from grad school. So, is he also a mathematician?)

Spoiler Alert: Do not read below unless you want to know the solution to the murder mystery.
Much of the episode focuses on a universal hacking device that the victim invented, but the murderer turns out to have been his wife who was angry about his failure to use his genius to earn money for the family.

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Works Similar to The Mentalist (Episode: 18-5-4)
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Episode: Inert Dwarf) by Renee Balcer (story) / Warren Leight (script) / Alex Chapple (director)
  2. Elementary (Episode: Solve for X) by Jerry Levine (director) / Jeffrey Paul King (screenplay)
  3. Lewis (Episode: Reputation) by Russell Lewis (Story) / Stephen Churchett (Screenplay)
  4. NUMB3RS by Nick Falacci / Cheryl Heuton
  5. Strip Search by William Bernhardt
  6. Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins
  7. Mattemorden by Alexander Barth / Gustav Öhman Spjuth
  8. The Body Counter by Anne Frasier
  9. Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower
  10. Touch-Me-Not by Cynthia Riggs
Ratings for The Mentalist (Episode: 18-5-4):
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MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Mental Illness,
MediumTelevision Series or Episode,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)