‘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.”

Page 19 TV Cross­word an­swer: Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fuss

Kathryn Erbe stars in “Law & Or­der: Crim­i­nal In­tent.”

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