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Mathnet logo.png
Genre Children’s Crime-Drama
Created by David D. Connell
Jim Thurman
Developed by Janette Webb
George E. Swink
Written by David D. Connell
Jim Thurman
Directed by Charles S. Dubin
James F. Golway
Karl Epstein
Jesus Salvador Treviño
Bill Schreiner
Starring Beverly Leech (1987–1990; 19 episodes)
Joe Howard (1987–1992; entire series)
Toni DiBuono (1991–1992; 11 episodes)
James Earl Jones (1987–1988, 1991; 5 episodes)
Emilo Del Pozo (1990–1992; 16 episodes)
Mary Watson (1987–1990; 13 episodes)
Bari K. Willerford (1990–1992; 16 episodes)
Opening theme "Danger Ahead"
Composer(s) Gerald Fried
John Rodby (Conducted and arranged by)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 30
Production location(s) Los Angeles (1987–1990)
New York City (1990–1992)
Editor(s) Ed Brennan
Camera setup Film (Principal Photography)
Videotape (Post-Production)
Single-camera setup
Running time Varies
Production company(s) Children's Television Workshop
The Webb Organization
Turtleback Productions
Original network PBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Audio format Mono (1987–1990)
Stereo (1991–1992)
Original release January 26, 1987 (1987-01-26) – October 23, 1992 (1992-10-23)
Kate Monday (Beverly Leech) and George Frankly (Joe Howard)

Mathnet is a segment on the children's television show Square One Television that follows the adventures of pairs of police mathematicians. It is a parody of Dragnet.


Mathnet is a parody of Dragnet, in which the main characters are mathematicians who use their mathematical skills to solve various crimes and mysteries in the city, usually thefts, burglaries, frauds, and kidnappings. Each segment of the series aired on one episode of Square One, a production of the Children's Television Workshop (CTW) aimed at teaching math skills to young viewers. Five segments made up an episode (one for each weekday), with suspense building at the end of each segment.


  • Kate Monday (Beverly Leech) - A parody of Jack Webb's Dragnet character Joe Friday, Kate usually does not show her emotions when on the job and tackles almost every situation with a calm and rational mind. She appears in the first three seasons.
  • George Frankly (Joe Howard) - The partner of Kate Monday and later Pat Tuesday, George takes his job seriously but is frequently prone to fits of comical mishaps and immature reactions. He appears in all five seasons. He has a wife named Martha whom he often mentions but who is never seen or heard.
  • Pat Tuesday (Toni DiBuono) - George's second partner, appearing in Seasons 4 and 5 to replace Kate upon the show's move to New York City (the reason for her leaving Mathnet being unrevealed). Like Kate, Pat shares the deadpan mannerisms and no-nonsense attitude of Joe Friday.

Los Angeles cast

  • Thad Green (James Earl Jones) - The Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. He briefly appears in Season 4.
  • Debbie Williams (Mary Watson) - Technical analyst at the LAPD division where Kate and George works, she is frequently called upon to process data obtained during Mathnet investigations.

New York City cast

  • Joe Greco (Emilio Del Pozo) - Captain of the New York City precinct, he is the man who George, Kate, and later Pat report to when they move to New York City starting in Season 3.
  • Benny Pill (Bari K. Willerford) - An undercover NYPD officer, he is Mathnet's semi-regular backup support.

Guest stars

A number of well-known actors made guest appearances on this show. Among them were

In addition, real life LAPD officers Sam Salazar and Steve Fellman have also appeared as themselves, as did head writers David D. Connell and Jim Thurman as various characters.

Math and science

Real principles of math and science and mathematical tools used by the detectives to solve crimes include:

  • Alphanumerics ("The Case of the Unnatural")
  • Fibonacci sequence and modular arithmetic (see also Pisano period) ("The Case of the Willing Parrot")
  • Kinematics ("The Problem of the Missing Baseball")
  • Chromatic scale ("The Problem of the Passing Parade")
  • Displacement of fluids ("The Problem of the Trojan Hamburger")
  • Hamiltonian path ("The Case of the Smart Dummy")
  • Process of elimination ("The Case of the Great Car Robbery", "The View from the Rear Terrace")
  • Number patterns ("The Case of the Missing Air")
  • Bar charts and line charts ("The Case of the Purloined Policies", "The Case of the Great Car Robbery")

Logo and motto

Mathnet logo and motto
The Mathnet logo and motto
Seal of Los Angeles
The Los Angeles seal, of which the Mathnet logo is a parody

The Mathnet logo is a parody of the Los Angeles city seal. The symbols representing the city were replaced with mathematics iconography. The founding date is the year the pilot episode was filmed.

The Mathnet motto "to cogitate and to solve" is a parody of the LAPD motto "to protect and to serve."

At the conclusion of each episode, a title screen displays the Mathnet logo and motto against a blue background. The logo and motto were also featured on the doors of the police cars used in the Los Angeles episodes, mimicking the appearance of actual LAPD police cars.

Despite having their origins in Los Angeles, the show continued to use the logo and motto even after the setting of the show moved to New York City.

Home media and syndication

In 1991, GPN released five episodes from the first two seasons on VHS ("The Problem of the Missing Baseball", "The Trial of George Frankly", "The Problem of the Dirty Money", "The Case of the Missing Air", and "The View from the Rear Terrace").

Around the same time, select PBS stations combined parts of an episode to air in primetime. This was done primarily for seasons 3-5 (New York City era), although at least one omnibus from the Leech era was also broadcast. These versions were re-edited so that they would come in at just under an hour long, featured other segments from Square One TV as "commercials", and newly created end credits, among other differences. Two of the primetime airings were also commercially released as VHS tapes from Republic Pictures in 1992 ("Despair in Monterey Bay" and "The Case of the Unnatural").

Both Mathnet and Square One went off the air in 1994 (it was rerun until then after the final 1992 season was completed), reappearing from 1999 to 2003 on the cable television network Noggin, a joint venture of Nickelodeon and CTW. However, only 65 episodes were leased by the Noggin network. Mathnet segments also aired on Phred on Your Head Show (one of Noggin's original programs).

Other media

A Mathnet comic briefly appeared in 3-2-1 Contact magazine.


Season 1 (1987)

No. in
Title Directed by Original air date Prod.
1 1 "The Problem of the Missing Monkey" Charles S. Dubin January 26, 1987 (1987-01-26) – January 30, 1987 (1987-01-30) 11031–11035
A gorilla named Grunt escapes from the zoo, while a suspect dressed as a gorilla is being used to frame Grunt. With the help of a gorilla handler (Yeardley Smith), the Mathnetters eventually find Grunt (whom they mistakenly believe to be the suspect) climbing the Hollywood Sign. Later they apprehend the suspect at the zoo.
2 2 "The Problem of the Missing Baseball" Charles S. Dubin February 2, 1987 (1987-02-02) – February 6, 1987 (1987-02-06) 10540–10760
Pilot episode. (Filmed in 1985.) A very important baseball has to be found at a house, but the house has been stolen by a helicopter. The house is eventually located, and the baseball is found in the fireplace.
3 3 "The Problem of the Passing Parade" Charles S. Dubin February 9, 1987 (1987-02-09) – February 13, 1987 (1987-02-13) 11011–11015
A parade was to be featured until the main attraction, Steve Stringbean (a parody of Bruce Springsteen), gets kidnapped. Stringbean tries to communicate the kidnapper's phone number to the Mathnetters in a short piece of music in a proof-of-life message left on an answering machine. He is later found in a musician's house.
4 4 "The Trial of George Frankly" Charles S. Dubin February 16, 1987 (1987-02-16) – February 20, 1987 (1987-02-20) 11021–11025
A security video appears to show George robbing a bank. He claims that he was on vacation at that time, and needs proof to back his claims that an imposter stole his identity. During the trial, Kate presents definitive proof a witness was lying, then George exposes the imposter.
5 5 "The Problem of the Dirty Money" Charles S. Dubin February 23, 1987 (1987-02-23) – February 27, 1987 (1987-02-27) 11051–11055
Tons of excavated dirt are being stolen from construction sites. As it turns out, a fortune stolen from a "Sphinx" (Brinks) armored truck many years ago was buried in the dirt. The prime suspect has died in jail, but his partner is eventually located.
6 6 "The Mystery of the Maltese Pigeon" Charles S. Dubin March 2, 1987 (1987-03-02) – March 6, 1987 (1987-03-06) 14081–14085
In a spoof of The Maltese Falcon, Maureen O'Riley puts a valuable bird sculpture from Malta on display at a museum, but it disappears without a trace. A young Maltese man who belongs to an ancient society helps Mathnet find the truth.
7 7 "The Problem of the Trojan Hamburger" Charles S. Dubin March 9, 1987 (1987-03-09) – March 13, 1987 (1987-03-13) 11041–11045
A clown is reported abducted, while a diamond is stolen by a thief who used a secret trick to get in and out. The clown finds his way home. The Mathnetters find that the clown actually staged the kidnapping to steal the diamond.

Season 2 (1988)

No. in
Title Directed by Original air date Prod.
8 1 "The Case of the Willing Parrot" Charles S. Dubin September 19, 1988 (1988-09-19) – September 23, 1988 (1988-09-23) 20030–20034
A talking parrot named Little Louie recites the Fibonacci sequence as a clue to the location of a deceased celebrity's inheritance. A thief is also looking for it as well. The parrot goes missing but is found at the suspect's home.
9 2 "The Case of the Great Car Robbery" James F. Golway September 26, 1988 (1988-09-26) – September 30, 1988 (1988-09-30) 20010–20014
20,000 cars have been stolen over a two-month period. Kate and George investigate and meet a teenage girl whose mother's car was also stolen. The cars are eventually found after the Mathnet crew rent a car to use as bait for the car thieves. They lead the Mathnet crew to a chop shop and apprehend the owner as he is crushing the rental car.
10 3 "The Case of the Deceptive Data" Charles S. Dubin October 3, 1988 (1988-10-03) – October 7, 1988 (1988-10-07) 20340–20344
Television show host Mike Pliers asks Kate and George for some help on why his high-rated show got unexpectedly canceled. After visiting viewers who are part of the survey, the ratings devices are discovered to be altered to make it seem as if the show's replacement is being watched.
11 4 "The View from the Rear Terrace" Charles S. Dubin October 10, 1988 (1988-10-10) – October 14, 1988 (1988-10-14) 20320–20324
In this spoof of Rear Window, George investigates seemingly harmless pranks at banks on his own, while Kate is at home with an injury. Kate's neighbor is making bombs, though George doesn't believe her at first.
12 5 "The Case of the Missing Air" Karl Epstein October 17, 1988 (1988-10-17) – October 21, 1988 (1988-10-21) 20020–20024
Kate and George need to figure out the common factors to a chain of robberies, in which the thief was talking like a duck. The thief turns out to be a controversial radio talk show host who robs stores that pulled their ads from his station.
13 6 "The Case of the Map With a Gap" James F. Golway October 24, 1988 (1988-10-24) – October 28, 1988 (1988-10-28) 20000–20004
Kate and George go out to the desert with a young cowboy to find a buried treasure of gold, using the help of angles and mirrors.

Season 3 (1990)

No. in
Title Directed by Original air date Prod.
14 1 "The Case of the Ersatz Earthquake" Jesus Salvador Treviño January 15, 1990 (1990-01-15) – January 19, 1990 (1990-01-19) 30001–30005
A self proclaimed Seer predicts on when, and where the exact time an earthquake in a building struck, and extorts the city for the time a "Big One" will strike next, but the Mathnetters find out there was a trick to making the ground shake. After this case, the Mathnetters are called to New York City.
15 2 "The Case of the Swami Scam" Charles S. Dubin January 22, 1990 (1990-01-22) – January 26, 1990 (1990-01-26) 30011–30015
Kate and George begin their first assignment in New York City, where retired lawyers are being scammed by a Swami who claims to have the right predictions of horse races and lotteries.
16 3 "The Case of the Parking Meter Massacre" Charles S. Dubin January 29, 1990 (1990-01-29) – February 2, 1990 (1990-02-02) 30021–30025
The city's parking meters are being abused and cut off. In a departure for the series, there were two suspects who were not affiliated with each other. One suspect simply stole the entire meters and the other suspect was looking through quarters, searching for a small valuable object mixed in among them.
17 4 "The Case of the Unkidnapping" Charles S. Dubin February 5, 1990 (1990-02-05) – February 9, 1990 (1990-02-09) 30131–30135
The main star of the broadway musical Anything Went gets kidnapped. But it was revealed that the kidnapping was a hoax to steal money from the show and to frame her co-star, who happens to know Kate when they were in college.
18 5 "The Case of the Strategic Weather Initiative" Charles S. Dubin February 12, 1990 (1990-02-12) – February 16, 1990 (1990-02-16) 30031–30035
A weather plane gets stolen and Kate and George try to find answers to where the plane might have landed. This problem becomes more troubling as the airplane's cooling system requires it to fly before it explodes, putting a limited time on solving the case.
19 6 "The Case of the Masked Avenger" Charles S. Dubin February 19, 1990 (1990-02-19) – February 23, 1990 (1990-02-23) 30081–30085
The Masked Avenger is being used by the mob to make him throw his wrestling match. Guest starring Lara Jill Miller as The Masked Avenger's daughter, Terri.

Season 4 (1991)

No. in
Title Directed by Original air date Prod.
20 1 "The Case of the Unnatural" Jesus Salvador Treviño September 30, 1991 (1991-09-30) – October 4, 1991 (1991-10-04) 40121–40125
George's new partner Pat Tuesday is introduced here. In a parody of The Natural, a baseball prospect is kidnapped and replaced by a mechanical imposter. The real player is eventually found and the robot's creator is apprehended.
21 2 "Despair in Monterey Bay" Jesus Salvador Treviño October 7, 1991 (1991-10-07) – October 11, 1991 (1991-10-11) 40101–40105
The Despair Diamond from the "Trojan Hamburger" case is stolen again, this time by a gentleman thief.
22 3 "The Case of the Calpurnian Kugel Caper" Jesus Salvador Treviño October 14, 1991 (1991-10-14) – October 18, 1991 (1991-10-18) 40071–40075
A counterfeiter is ruining the monetary unit of a tiny Monaco-like kingdom ruled by a teenager. The ruler would rather be a game show host than a king, evident by his desires to be one and his obsession with the genre.
23 4 "The Case of the Galling Stones" Bill Schreiner October 21, 1991 (1991-10-21) – October 25, 1991 (1991-10-25) 40111–40115
Pat Tuesday is suspected of stealing an expensive bracelet. But then, she & George find out that there's more to this mystery than a stolen bracelet. Finally they learn that a dictator of a small country framed Pat and stole jewels for an icon.
24 5 "The Case of the Poconos Paradise" Charles S. Dubin October 28, 1991 (1991-10-28) – November 1, 1991 (1991-11-01) 40091–40095
Vacationers to the Poconos and other places are being robbed. A woman who owns a mail company in Bayonne, New Jersey is the suspect.
25 6 "The Case of the Purloined Policies" Charles S. Dubin November 4, 1991 (1991-11-04) – November 8, 1991 (1991-11-08) 40081–40085
Someone is bankrupting an insurance company with an old-fashioned insurance fraud. A bike gets stolen and a new one had to be made. Finally, the chief manages to find the culprit by identifying his handwriting.

Season 5 (1992)

No. in
Title Directed by Original air date Prod.
26 1 "The Case of the Mystery Weekend" Bill Schreiner September 21, 1992 (1992-09-21) – September 25, 1992 (1992-09-25) 50021–50025
Pat & George go to an old house to attend a "Mystery Weekend" game. They soon found out that they walked right in to a real mystery, as six guests get kidnapped one by one.
27 2 "The Case of the Smart Dummy" Bill Schreiner September 28, 1992 (1992-09-28) – October 2, 1992 (1992-10-02) 50231–50235
A ventriloquist's suitcase containing one of two dummies was switched with another containing $1,000,000.
28 3 "The Case: Off the Record" Bill Schreiner October 5, 1992 (1992-10-05) – October 9, 1992 (1992-10-09) 50011–50015
A record company was producing hit records... ALL BAD! Pat & George go undercover as a music band to find out what's going on.
29 4 "The Case of the Bermuda Triangle" Jesus Salvador Treviño October 12, 1992 (1992-10-12) – October 16, 1992 (1992-10-16) 50251–50255
A young girl with the help of the Mathnetters goes on a treasure hunt to try to clear her old relative's name.
30 5 "The Case of the Piggy Banker" Bill Schreiner October 19, 1992 (1992-10-19) – October 23, 1992 (1992-10-23) 50241–50245
Pat's friend, the daughter of a clown claims her father is accused of embezzlement at the Bank of Legume and it's up to the Mathnetters to clear his name and find out who really did do it.
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