Mathnet – Not So Secret Obsession

Mathnet is a segment on the children’s television show Square One, of which five seasons were produced (1987-88, 1990-92). This parody of Dragnet featured detectives at the Los Angeles Police Department who solved mysteries using their mathematical skills. There were two main characters: detectives Kate Monday (Beverly Leech) and George Frankly (Joe Howard). Mary Watson also had a regular role as the duo’s technical analyst, Debbie Williams. The third season had the show’s setting moved to New York City. Beginning in the fourth season, Kate Monday was replaced by Pat Tuesday (Toni DiBuono). James Earl Jones played a recurring role as the chief Thad Green. He also briefly appears in season 4 and indicates he knows Pat Tuesday. When the duo was transferred to New York, Captain Joe Greco (Emilio Del Pozo) became their leader and undercover NYPD officer Benny Pill (Bari K. Willerford) became their semi-regular backup support.

Each segment of the series aired on one episode of Square One, a production of the Children’s Television Workshop 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. A Mathnet comic briefly appeared in 3-2-1 Contact.

Both Mathnet and Square One went off the air in 1994 (it ran as reruns until then after the final 1992 season was completed), reappearing from 1999–2003 on the cable television network Noggin, a joint venture of Nickelodeon and CTW.

The show had the habit of breaking the fourth wall often, with such things as talking about what happened in (say) “an earlier episode”.

Mathnet was produced by Janette Webb, the widow of Dragnet producer Jack Webb.


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