‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ intends to end on high note
A year ago, one of the longest-running drama series in television history came to a close.
A year later, one of its spinoffs is ending, with the luxury of knowing in advance. And that may have helped get its original stars back.
After premiering on NBC in 2001, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” has made its main home on USA Network since 2007. That’s where the Dick Wolfproduced show is wrapping up its run of original episodes with eight weekly stories that begin Sunday.
NBC will have second runs of them starting Monday, May 30 — and after a year’s absence, New York police detective partners Robert Goren and Alexandra Eames are back and reunited for the victory lap, played again by Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe.
Jay O. Sanders (“Revolutionary Road”) becomes a regular cast member for the series’ home stretch as the new chief of the Major Case Squad, who’s a friend of Goren’s but sternly tells the therapytaking sleuth, “I’ve got your back. You respect my face. And don’t get in it.” Julia Ormond (“Legends of the Fall”) plays the psychologist treating Goren.
Also the mentor of the NBC spinoffs “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order: LA,” Wolf maintains he wouldn’t be surprised if “Criminal Intent” ultimately has a longer life span.
“I’m always an optimist,” he says. “I know this is supposed to be the final year, but I have a feeling the audience is going to be re-energized. When I went to Vincent about it, I said, ‘Very few times do we get an opportunity to wrap things up with a bow.’ He was very excited, and getting (Goren) back to the cop he was in the first season is an interesting journey.”
The ripped-from-the-headlines approach of all the “Law & Order” shows remains in place for “Criminal Intent.”
“It’s a formula that has, knock wood, stood the test of time,” Wolf notes. “You’ve got great episodes going back to the very first year of ‘Law & Order,’ where everybody thought we were doing the story of the Menendez brothers (convicted of killing their parents), but our take on it was that it was a mob hit.”
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Kathryn Erbe stars in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”