587: Crime Scene
Title text: I think I see a Mandelbrot set! No, that's just blood spatters. Golly.
Mathnet was a segment on the children's television show "Square One Television", where police mathematicians solved crimes and other mysteries by math. It parodies the Dragnet TV show (and earlier radio drama) about the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). This comic plays on that by implying that Mathnet was a real department of the LAPD, and that when the show was cancelled and the department was shut down its mathematicians were forced to become regular detectives.
Here, George Frankly, one of the two lead detectives on the show (a parody of Dragnet character Frank Smith), observes a murder scene along with another officer. His fellow officer, knowing him, tries to tell him off by saying that it is just two dead bodies. As a mathematician, George is constantly looking for potential patterns in the data. However, in this instance there are no obvious mathematical patterns, yet George nonetheless tries to look for one and observes that "two" is the third Fibonacci number. Since several small numbers are in the Fibonacci sequence, the fact that the number of bodies is one of these numbers is not the least interesting. The other officer tries to shut him down, discouraging this unhelpful line of thought.
The title text shows that this may not have helped since George now thinks he can see a Mandelbrot set, but he does quickly realizes that it was just blood splatters. The Mandelbrot set is a formula used to create certain kinds of fractals that you might imagine seeing in the something like blood spatters. The last word Golly is in response to George realizing he is seeing blood spatters - something he probably never did before on the children show.
- [A crime scene is surrounded by tape wound around several pins four of which are inside this panel. A large black pool is on the ground, with splashes around it, and a hammer lying in one of these splashes. Two people are standing outside the tape; a police officer with a peaked cap with a white emblem is standing closest and to his left is a man with male pattern baldness, who we learn is called George.]
- Policeman: Looks like a murder-suicide.
- George: Any interesting mathematical patterns?
- Policeman: No, George, just two dead bodies and a lot of blood.
- George: Two... That's the third Fibonacci number!
- Policeman: Not now, George.
- [Caption below the frame:]
- When Mathnet shut down, the officers had trouble reintegrating into the regular L.A.P.D.
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