Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Law & Order CI “Loyalty Part 2” Recap & Review
Law & Order Criminal Intent “Loyalty Part 2” marked the exit of two of the show’s stars, Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, and this episode showed clearly that these two are one of the best detective pairings in the history of the Law & Order franchise. Their performances were excellent, with Erbe probably doing some of her best work ever on the series. During the final scene with D’Onofrio and Erbe together I felt they were giving a farewell to the fans who loved this team so much. It was as if one could feel the love coming through the screen, with D’Onofrio giving viewers a virtual hug. While Goren is now fired, I hope the door remains open that he can come in to either consult, or, do other work for Major Case that would allow D’Onofrio to make guest appearances. It would also be a nice move for Erbe if Eames would have a change of heart and take the captain’s exam and maybe qualify to take Anita Van Buren’s spot when she exits the 2-7. Anything is possible.
The story, however, wasn’t all that great. Putting both Part 1 and Part 2 together, the story was over complicated. I also felt the same thing in this episode that I felt in Part 1 – the appearance of Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) plus Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) was jarring. It ruined both the momentum and the overall tone. They seemed to interject light lines from Nichols that seemed awkward and ill placed. And, did Nichols honestly believe that the FBI would just drop the Goren issue just because Nichols said that Major Case should look at Goren as suspect? If I had control over writing these two episodes, I would have made it all about Goren and Eames, or at least not added Serena Stevens into the mix. It always is hard for fans to accept a person in their first appearance, especially when coming into a show with an established cast, so I will try to refrain from being too brutal on Saffron Burrows. My first impression is tepid at best. What I see on the surface is a pretty face without much personality in the acting. (You may think that IS being too brutal but I've said worse about other newbies.) My opinion may change once I’ve seen a full episode with her and Goldblum working a case themselves from start to finish. One thing is obvious with this episode, the Nichols/Stevens partnership won’t be anything like Goren and Eames, and we could be seeing a very different kind of Criminal Intent this season. The big question is: will the change be a turn off for fans? I know that many D’Onofrio and Erbe fans won’t be returning, and I can understand why. The show may pick up viewers who are fans of Goldblum to offset the loss, but the truth will be in the numbers, and I am sure USA Network will be watching those numbers closely. I will continue to watch, to recap, and be honest about what I see. I hope it won’t be wasted time.
Here is the recap:
Bagpipes play at the Captain Danny’s Ross’s grave service as Detectives Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio), Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe), Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) look on, solemnly.
Back at the courthouse, Van Dekker (John Sharian), after being released on $2 million bail, is being led away by the FBI, accompanied by Agent Stahl (Amy Landecker), to be placed in federal custody and Goren and Eames arrive with a DA’s warrant to arrest him. As Van Dekker is reluctant to go, Goren grabs him, pulls him away, and angrily shoves him against the wall and is pulled off by nearby police and FBI. A custody disagreement ensues, and one of the FBI guys says they are not releasing Van Dekker to a maniac. But Eames reminds him they have a warrant, with Stahl saying she can stick that warrant. As the FBI leads Van Dekker away, Eames says, “This is bad, Bobby.” Goren replies, “No, it’s good, it’s good.”
Later, Goren and Eames are in Captain Maas (David Zayas) office and he tells Goren that the issue has been taken to the commissioner. Zach Nichols is at his desk, and Detective Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) arrives from Chicago, saying she was Ross’s last hire. As they talk, Goren storms out of Maas’ office, with Eames and Maas following. Maas tells Goren he is suspended. As Eames shakes her head, Goren turns over his gun and badge. He walks off and Eames tells him she talked them out of the psych evaluation and he can thank her later. He turns over his information to Zach and tells him he will be in touch with him – and with Eames, and Goren leaves. Zach motions that Serena is new, and Eames says, “Oh, it’s fun here.”
Elsewhere, Hassan (Ato Essandoh) is with a man who is looking over the micro component in the gun, telling them it has a GPS which can locate the weapon to 30 feet. Kadra believes the Americans planted the weapons so they could be stolen, or that they could be honed in on and vaporized. Hassan tells him to leave the component in there, for the Americans to succeed, he must succeed.
Back at Major Case, Zach goes over the case with Zach. Zach wonders more about the man killed at sea, who was a descendant of Abdulla Hassan, a national hero to some. They wonder who is out there who cares about it.
At the home of Jan Van Dekker, Hassan is there with the nameless man who shot Ross (Babs Olusanmokun) and others. Van Dekker hands him an urn with the remains of his father. Hassan says he must reimburse Van Dekker for this, and saying it is a cultural thing. Killer man takes out his gun and shoots Van Dekker.
Later, the police are at Van Dekker’s, along with Nichols, Stevens, and Eames. Rodgers finds steel wool near the gunshot wound and Nichols assumes it was a homemade silencer. The FBI arrives, and Stahl asks if anyone asked Goren about this as Goren had threatened Van Dekker. Eames tells her to ask Goren herself. When the FBI thinks Goren could have used the pattern from another murder, Nichols says they have a point and tells Eames they have to go where the evidence takes them. Eames glares at him and says “Then go alone.” As she storms of, Nichols follows her, and Eames tells him not to ask her to buy into an idea about Goren, but he cuts her off and loudly argues back it is their job, but lowers his voice and whispers they don’t want the FBI putting anyone else on it. Eames seems to soften. When Stevens walks up and asks if this is private, Eames fakes being upset and tells her to join it, it’s “betray your partner day.” He whispers again that is not what he is saying and to tell Goren that. She storms off. Nichols tells Stevens, “See? It is fun here.”
Later, in Goren’s apartment, Eames talks with him about what is going on. He tells her is it is in all their best interests to go along with what Nichols is trying to do. He tells her when the shooting occurred he was home alone and it is clear he is still working the case. He also says Lofton’s tax returns shows income from Russell Alton Milgrim, and when Eames sees he has a DMV photo of Milgrim, she is worried that he is getting his information form a police database, saying they will add that to the charges. He says it doesn’t matter, but she says the FBI wants his head. He goes on to say that Milgrim is an investment capitalist and while he seems legit he may be the money trail. Eames says she should try to talk him out of this, and he says that has always been a wasted effort. She says, “Yeah, right.”
Back at Major Case, Nichols and Stevens continues to work the case. She shows him a picture which includes the dead sheik’s son who appeared unexpectedly at the wedding. She tells Nichols that his son is in New York and he owns an advertising agency. Later, At Qandala Worldwide, they speak with Hassan and his sister Kadra (Condola Rashad), who says they are two of forty children. The urn with the remains is on Hassan’s desk. When they ask Hassan about the wedding, he says he was in Europe on business and made a quick trip to see his father’s seventh bride. Nichols gets a little squirmy and notes the picture of Sayid Abdullah Al Hassan, and they say he is their great great grandfather. Nichols makes a move to leave and Stevens comments she assumes they know Jan Van Dekker, and Hassan says he is not certain. They tell him he is the murder victim and may have had a connection to his father, but Hassan says his father had so many connections and they were aware of so few. As they leave the office, Nichols complements her on bringing up Van Dekker, and she comments that the revelation they were in Djibouti has her sister hyperventilating, wondering if Hassan’s sister was going to ask him about it now. Back in Hassan’s office, Kadra is challenging Hassan on the matter, and he says he was there to warn his father. They hear someone at the door, and Hassan opens it to see Jill making a quick exit. Kadra asks if Jill heard, and Hassan says, “Tonight, I swear. I will deal with it”
Elsewhere, Goren is at a bar, tailing Milgrim. When Milgrim excuses himself to the men’s room, Goren follows. Goren confronts him, and smacks him in the neck, and as he pressures him and knocking him down, he gives him the impression he the killer going after everyone, Milgrim starts going off about the guns, telling him there is an industrial site he acquired and Lofton needed storage space. Goren takes out his phone – Milgrim seemingly thinking it was a gun – and Goren tells him to call there and say someone else is coming.
Goren arrives at the building and is given access to the area. He walks outside and sees the remains of a small explosion. He goes to a door and looks in. He goes back to the security guard post and asks to see the log, and hones in on R.J. Patel.
Later, Hassan is with Jill (Jicky Schnee), telling her about his father. She says she will embrace his culture and faith. When he says he will get them a drink, she says she thought Muslims had to abstain from alcohol. He says he was told by another man that Allah would change it to water after it crossed his lips. She goes up to the bedroom and he moves to add poison to her glass.
Goren arrives at R.J. Patel Electronics, and represents himself as a shipping broker. Patel asks how he came to this place, and Patel is suspicious and orders someone to come in and someone holds a gun to Goren’s head. Patel calls someone on the phone.
Elsewhere, Eames meets with Nichols and says she will work with him investigating Goren, and Nichols correctly guesses that Goren insisted. She tells him Goren has no alibi and he says it is good enough for him. Nichols tells him they are looking at Hassan as being connected to everything, and that Hassan is involved with Jill Peak,
Eames, Nichols, and Stevens arrive at Jill’s apartment, and find the door unlocked. They enter and Jill comes downstairs, Nichols commenting on making her apartment more secure. She has a photo studio in her apartment. They ask her about Hassan, then ask about Van Dekker, but she doesn’t know anything. She says she was with Hassan last night, but gets annoyed at their insinuations. She tells them she doesn’t want them there when her model shows up as they will make her nervous. As the detectives leave, they believe that Hassan has been excluding her, which doesn’t help them.
We then see a car speeding away with someone in the back who is restrained, their head covered with a black hood.
At Major Case, ME Rodgers comes in with the lab results for Van Dekker, saying she found human cremated remains under his fingernails. Nichols says this gives them probable cause. We then see Nichols and CSU at Hassan’s office and Nichols picks up the urn and takes it over Hassan’s’ objections.
Back at Major Case, Eames is going over Hassan’s computer and sees propaganda and Stevens identifies it as from Puntland. She is also able to read Arabic and Urdu. They realize Hassan was trying to start a new country, the Republic of Puntland and it seems like Hassan is engaging in both a coup and vengeance. Eames’ phone rings, and sees she has a message at 9 AM in the Chief’s office.
Elsewhere, we see that the restrained and hooded man was Goren, and we find he was taken by the FBI, with Stahl commenting that he is clever, but inconvenient. He says if they can figure out what to charge him with, go ahead, and an agent reminds him he was once committed to an insane asylum. Goren gives a wry smile, and says the insane thing follows him around. He thinks he can be useful to them, and when one agent questions if Goren knows what the greater good is, Goren gets testy that he does not think his patriotism should be questioned and he resents that. Stahl says he has his own problems with the police and when things hit the fan, there is nothing they can do for him. He says that Ross believed what they were doing and he had a lot of respect for that man.
At the office of the Chief of Detectives, along with Maas, the Chief (Mike Pniewski) suggests taking the captain's exam for a position for her as Major Case Squad captain. But Maas tells her she has to deal with Goren as he has become a liability.
Elsewhere, Jill is arriving at her apartment, and as she heads up the stairs, runs into someone and smiles at them, but is shot and killed, rolling down the steps.
Nichols and Stevens, along with ME Rodgers are on the scene of Jill’s murder, and notice her skirt seems to have been moved to cover her in modesty. Later, Hassan and Kadra are at the morgue looking at Jill’s body, and Hassan says he was her emergency contact. Kadra says their relationship was over, and Stevens comments that Jill didn’t have the right look to be the first lady of Puntland. They also bring up the cremation of Hassan’s father, Hassan saying his father’s body was decomposed. Stevens assumes Van Dekker was involved because the ash was on his fingernails. Stevens also thinks that Kadra wanted first succession to the throne. Nichols has phone records that imply that Hassan gave away his father’s location to be killed, and Kadra becomes upset. Kadra yells at Hassan saying they are cursed by what he has done, but Hassan yells back and tells her to stop and say nothing. She says she took a life so he could rule, and says it is over, saying she shot Jill, for Hassan, because he was weak. They continue to work on her, and she admits that they are right, she can’t live with what he has done.
Back at Major Case, Nichols tells Goren and Eames they got Hassan, that Kadra gave them everything, including the murder of Ross. Goren tells Nichols they have to talk. They all walk into the interrogation room Goren says Ross took on the dangerous assignment to validate his life, and they have to protect what he died for. He tells them the FBI put tracking devices in a shipment of stinger missiles and they wanted them to get stolen so they could track them t the locations of terrorist camps and can only work if Hassan goes free. Nichols questions how Hassan can kill Ross go free and be set up as a despot validate Ross’s death, and that it is not justice. Goren also tells him that Hassan found the devices but the man he took them to was FBI undercover and Hassan needs to smuggle those weapons in to Puntland. Eames tells Nichols that sometimes doing things they hate is part of their job, and Goren says it is what Ross believed in.
Nichols heads into interrogation where Hassan waits and tells him that he is skating on this, adding that someone that Hassan trusted may eventually do to him what he did to his father. He adds that Hassan knows it is coming, he just doesn’t know when, and Nichols walks out of the room.
Goren and Eames walk into the captain’s office and Goren congratulates her, but she says it won’t be for long. She says they know what he wants, and he knows she has to fire him, rather than go through hearings. She thinks this is the kinder, gentler way to go. He says, OK he is fired, he gets it, it is a long time coming and it is not bad. Eames says his trying to make it not seem bad is making it worse, and she begins to cry. She tells him, “You’re the best, you always will be.” He says, “Sure.” He kisses her and the cheek and hugs her. He walks out of the office and closes the door, leaving Eames to stand at the captain’s desk. She lays her gun and badge on the desk and picks up the phone to make a call. She calls the Chief and tells him that she won’t be taking the captain’s exam, as we fade to black.
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