When the news came out that four of the five leads of Law & Order: Criminal Intent were leaving the show, it left a lot of fans puzzled and furious. The season premiere of the series, tomorrow night [USA, 10/9C], will probably incite riots among a certain faction of those fans. Although Julianne Nicholson has already gone, Loyalty, Part 1 features one of the other three departures [the other two will leave in next week’s Loyalty, Part2] and it will be a shocker.
When Law & Order: Criminal Intent’s eighth season premieres on Sunday [USA, 9/8C], Detectives Goren [Vincent D’Onofrio] and Eames [Kathryn Erbe] tackle one of their strangest cases yet.
It begins with a press conference for Councilman Neil Hayes-Fitzpatrick about allegations of fiscal impropriety and moves into the murder of a drug addict/dealer, whose body winds up atop his girlfriend –and that’s how the police find them. The girl, Stacy, turns out to be the stepdaughter of Neil Hayes-Fitzpatrick [Scott Caan], who is running for mayor. His mother [Kathy Baker] is his campaign manager. Detective Goren notices something odd about the way Stacy behaves around her stepfather, and the episode builds from there to an unexpected conclusion.
As is usual in an L&O:CI episode that features Goren and Eames, it’s Goren’s powers of observation and deductive reasoning that put all the pieces together. Also as usual, it’s Eames whose thoughts seem to inspire Goren – in much the same way that Watson frequently inspired Holmes [forget the Basil Rathbone Holmes movies – in the Conan Doyle stories, Watson was smart, tough and resourceful].
Like the other Law & Order shows, Criminal Intent works best when the storytelling is intelligently developed, and that’s certainly true here. The partnership of Goren and Eames is back on pitch after the weirdness of last season, and they are definitely clicking on all cylinders. There’s even a cameo by Detective Munch [Richard Belzer] that’s on point and provides an unexpected chuckle.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the new guy on the block, Detective Zach Nichols [Jeff Goldblum].
Final Grade: B
When Law & Order: Criminal Intent returns [USA, Sunday, 9/8C], Detectives Goren [Vincent D’Onofrio] and Eames [Kathryn Erbe] will be splitting episodes with Detective Meagan Wheeler [Julianne Nicholson] and new guy, Detective Zach Nichols [Jeff Goldblum]. Wednesday afternoon, there was a Q&A session with D’Onofrio and Erbe, who talked about the eighth season. Taking part were Jamie Steinberg [Starry Constellation], Troy Rogers [thedeadbolt.com], Jamie Ruby [Media Boulevard], Zach Oat [televisionwithoutpity.com], Ashley Aikens [pitching a query for me. Doctor’s appointment. Don’t ask…], Kristyn Clarke [popculturemadness.com], Jay Jacobs [popentertainment.com], Christine Nyholm [examiner.com], Ian Dawson [stuffwelike.com], Amy Steele [Entertainment Realm], Christine Zimmer [All Things Law & Order], and Loring Judge [Reel Blog].