Two detectives solve mysteries using their math skills.
In the late 80s, when I was a child without cable and my TV options were limited primarily to PBS, the show I looked forward to the most after school was Square One. A variety show featuring short sketches, music videos, magic tricks and parodies of talk shows, Square One taught kids mathematical concepts like counting, fractions, logic, probability, geometry and estimation without making it feel like math at all.
The last segment featured each weekday was Mathnet, a Dragnet spoof featuring two detectives, Kate Monday and George Frankly. Each week, their mystery-solving skills would be put to the test to reclaim escaped gorillas, find missing baseballs, locate disappearing diamonds, solve inheritance crimes, unearth buried gold, and decode a chain of robberies. And, each week, they’d use mathematical principles like the chromatic scale, triangulation, process of elimination, number patterns and alphanumerics to arrive at the solution and save the day by Friday afternoon.
SquareOneTV.org has a full episode guide made in tribute to the segment, and most episodes are available on YouTube. If you’re going to pick one episode to start, I recommend The Case of the Willing Parrot, which provoked my lifelong love for the Fibonacci sequence.