Monday, June 30, 2008

Criminal Intent “Assassin” A Confusing Plot

The one thing I dreaded about writing this review was the word “assassin.” You see, I lost the title for my school spelling bee when I was in the 5th grade on that word. We had to write out the words on a blackboard rather than recite the spelling, and for a 5th grader, it was hard to write out the word “ass” twice for all to see. Seriously now, I won’t be able to do a full recap on this episode because of some time constraints. So I’ll provide a brief summary and spend a little more time on the review.

It appears that an assassination attempt was made a foreign politician named Bela Khan (Indira Varma). During one attempt, her assistant is killed, and Khan’s bodyguard then kills the apparent assassin. Later, her bodyguard is killed during transport to a hearing, and her bother is killed while Bela is giving a speech. The subsequent probe leads detectives to believe she was behind the attacks, which of course, she was.

I’m not a real fan of “Ripped from the Headlines” and this show managed rip off two, maybe three real life situations. Logan (Chris Noth) only specifically mentioned one of them – the shooting of Bobby Kennedy, who was assassinated in a hotel kitchen after a speech. What Logan failed to acknowledge is that the main character – the apparent target – was based on Benazir Bhutto. I suppose the show didn’t think it could get away with mentioning two real life stories in one episode, and one that was so glaringly obvious. The detectives also make an issue of Bela wearing a pink suit when her brother was shot, so his blood that she got on it would look better on photographs. Jackie Kennedy also wore a bright pink suit the day President Kennedy was assassinated; I doubt that she wore that color suit anticipating that shooting. After mentioning Bobby getting shot, and now this more subtle reference to Jackie’s pink suit, I found these parallels cheap and frankly, offensive.

As with the Mike Logan episodes of late, this episode seemed a little uneven. There were some glimmers of the real Mikey that showed through – his pointed interrogation, the tinge of sarcasm, and the plaid-looking tie. Those hints of the old Logan were great and I think that if the Criminal Intent writers had a better clue of who Mike Logan was when he was with the 27th precinct, they could have made him seem a little more edgy now. Instead, Logan just seems tired. This could be the way the show wants to portray him after his banishment to Staten Island, but for me, well, I would have taken a different approach. Still, he was better presented in this episode than in the previous episode, "Contract."

Detective Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) seemed to be a little in the background at first, but then had a little more to offer to the investigation. What I didn’t like about this episode is that both detectives seem to be a little too low key, and their personalities a little buried. Unlike Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Eames (Kathryn Erbe) who seem to have very distinct styles and behaviors, Logan and Wheeler both seem too low key. After all the time that Logan has been at Major Case, and now with Wheeler’s return to Major Case, it seems we still don’t know much about what makes these people tick. Wheeler seems even more of a blank slate than before. One funny comment was when she acknowledge that Logan had become “quite the diplomat” while she was gone. It’s more like someone sucked the life force out of him instead.

And while I didn’t dislike this episode, I found it incredibly hard to follow with all the people involved in the story and the complex chain of events surrounding the shootings. I think I’m glad I didn’t have time to do a full recap because I was having a hard time following all the players. I also didn’t like the preachiness interspersed within the storyline. Sometimes the Law & Order franchise goes a little overboard on the social commentary. If they did it more subtly maybe it would seem more interesting. I did, however, like Indira Varma in her role, she was a perfect fit.

So all in all, this episode was OK, but it does take some work to follow all the players. One still can see a peek at some of the old Mike Logan – get it while you can!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Robert Goren, Diagnosed

He looks normal to me
The TV Guide has taken a stab a trying to diagnose Law & Order Criminal Intent’s Detective Robert (Bobby) Goren, with some input from Vincent D'Onofrio. Did they get it right? You decide. Here it is:

Vincent D'Onofiro Puts Criminal Intent's Goren on the Couch

Friday, June 27, 2008
by Mike Flaherty

Watching Vincent D'Onofrio's Det. Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Sundays at 9 pm/ET, USA) is a deliciously unsettling experience. We love the awkward mannerisms, the halting yet penetrating speech, the craned neck bend he performs when grilling suspects. He's brilliant, insightful, riveting. But, frankly, he seems a few sandwiches short of a picnic, if you know what we mean….

For example: In "Untethered," D'Onofrio's last episode before the writers' strike, Goren went undercover in a mental ward to expose prisoner abuse. Instead, he fell prey to the sadistic mind games and emerged from the ordeal near-catatonic. In the first post-strike episode, "Purgatory," the suspended Goren got reinstated, but we never witnessed the psych evaluation that was required to get his shield and gun back. This was no accident: Turns out D'Onofrio's loathe to have his alter ego follow a certain powerful, neurotic Italian-American to the couch. "The Sopranos did it so perfectly that if you take a strong character like mine and put him with a shrink, it's going to be a copy," says the actor. "So we won't go there."

Actually, dude, we will.

Diagnosis: Abandonment Issues
Goren's major malfunction in a nutshell: His father, a compulsive gambler and serial adulterer, walked out when his son was 11. Four years earlier, his mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. As he put it in a rare soul-baring moment, "She's been slipping away from me my whole life." In Season 6, before Mama Goren (Rita Moreno) finally succumbed to lymphoma, she let it be known that she favored his shiftless brother, Frank (Tony Goldwyn), another gambling addict who's spent most of his recent life homeless. So it's quite an understatement when D'Onofrio says, "Goren's very damaged." In some ways, it's what makes him a better cop. He's lost everyone close to him (save for partner Alexandra Eames, played by Kathryn Erbe) but refuses to lose a suspect once in his grasp. Our conclusion? That obsession is his way of exerting a degree of control that he never had growing up.

Diagnosis: Paternal Neglect
Did someone say "daddy issues"? Goren's mother informed him on her deathbed that the louse he thought was his father may not be his father. Instead, it may be the louse she was bonking back in 1960, a serial killer named Mark Ford Brady. As a result, says D'Onofrio, "Goren is lost and has to find his way." The show's consulting producer René Balcer is more direct: "He's always looking for a father figure." But Balcer also points out "that [neglected boys] tend to have a lot of problems with older males and authority issues." That's our boy!

Diagnosis: Post-romantic Stress Syndrome
OK, we made that one up. But it's the best way to describe the psychological morass that is Goren's relationship with criminal mastermind Nicole Wallace (Olivia d'Abo). Sure, she's a purring, pillow-lipped blonde, but it's her mind that tortures our hero. She's the only person who can go head case to head case in the interrogation room and get the better of Goren, taunting "Bubby" in her Australian patois and seeing right through his protective shell to all that pain. "That's the only true relationship with a woman that he's had in the last seven years other than his mom," notes D'Onofrio. "Which is very screwed up."

Diagnosis: Repressed Sociopathy
"Manipulation is a symptom of the psychopathic personality," Goren once observed of a suspect. That's the cop calling the kettle black! His ability to guilt-trip, distract and befuddle suspects into a confession makes you wonder what path Goren might have followed if not law enforcement. "He walks that line of being able to enter that criminal world and think like a criminal," D'Onofrio observes. Balcer concurs: "There but for the grace of God goes Goren."

Diagnosis: Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
A more taciturn, less flaky Goren of the past few seasons was an attempt, as D'Onofrio said, to "internalize" the character. "The guy couldn't be so quirky that he wouldn't be allowed to be a cop." That recalibration seemed to have come full circle when we saw a scruffy, puffy Goren at the beginning of "Purgatory," brooding at the end of a bar. So who knows? Maybe he will go completely off the rails someday. Until that happens, Goren will remain a work in progress. "The last episode this season will revisit his past in a very literal way," reveals D'Onofrio. "He'll be pulled out of a nosedive," adds Balcer. OK, just don't go making him normal or anything.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Big News: Chris Noth Out – Jeff Goldblum In?

According to Fox News, Chris Noth is leaving Law & Order Criminal Intent. It wouldn’t surprise me, he just seemed to be phoning it in his last episode aired, “Contract.” And maybe with the success of the Sex and the City Movie, he’s now a little too “big” for his britches? Here’s the story, from Fox.

Mr. Big's Exit: Chris Noth Done With 'Law and Order'
Thursday, June 26, 2008
By Roger Friedman Fox News

Mr. Big's Exit

"Sex and the City" star Chris Noth is done with "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Sources tell me Noth is leaving the series he's been with for five seasons, splitting leading-role duties with Vincent D'Onofrio. His replacement will be Jeff Goldblum, who comes to TV from a long film career that includes "The Fly" and "Independence Day."

Noth, as Detective Mike Logan, was a member of the original "Law and Order" cast when it started 18 years ago. He left the show, returned, and then joined "Criminal Intent" originally opposite Annabella Sciorra in 2005 after pumping up his career considerably as Mr. Big in the HBO series "Sex and the City."

But "Criminal Intent" has had ratings problems, and now airs first on the USA Networks, owned by NBC, and then the parent network. For the coming season, I'm told, Noth was asked to take a pay freeze instead of an increase. But with "Sex and the City" booming at the box office, he decided it was time to go.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Assassin” Episode Preview

Here’s the episode information and previews of Law & Order Criminal Intent “Assassin”, scheduled to air on June 29, 2008 on the USA Network. This episode stars Chris Noth and Julianne Nicholson. The USA promo and two clips from the show are below.

“Assassin” Air Date June 29, 2008
An apparent assassination attempt on a politician from Kashmir is followed by separate shootings of members of her entourage, including her brother. The subsequent probe leads detectives to believe she was behind the attacks.

My recap and review of “Assassin “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New ADA for SVU: Michaela McManus

Michaela McManus

A replacement for Law & Order SVU's Diane Neal (ADA Casey Novak) has been named. Here’s the press release from Reuters.

"One Tree Hill" actress joins "SVU"

Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:02pm

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Michaela McManus, who had a recurring role on "One Tree Hill," has joined the cast of NBC's crime drama "Law & Order: SVU" as the new assistant district attorney.

She replaces Diane Neal, who departed at the end of last season after five years. TV Guide's Web site reported in April that Neal told the show's crew that she had been fired.

"Law & Order: SVU" begins its 10th season in the fall. McManus is best known for playing Lindsey Strauss, Chad Michael Murray's literary editor, on the CW's "One Tree Hill."

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Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order Criminal Intent July Episode Information

Episode titles, and some episode details, have been released for the new July episodes for Law & Order Criminal Intent. The episode title for July 6th has to be the longest episode title in Law & Order franchise history!

July 6, 2008 - Please Note We are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger
An exclusive preschool with a long waiting list is at the center of an investigation into the murders of three parents.

My recap and review of “Please Note We are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger “ can be found here.

July 13, 2008 - Reunion
When the host of TV's "Rock 'n' Talk" is bludgeoned to death by a champagne bottle, Logan and Wheeler's investigation into the seamy music world involves Jordie Black, Wheeler's favorite rock star from high school, whose secret past pushes Wheeler’s admiration to the brink.
Joan Jett guest stars.

My recap and review of “Reunion “ can be found here.

Noth and Jett in Reunion

July 20, 2008 - Vanishing Act
Goren and Eames enter into the sleight-of-hand world of prestidigitation when celebrity illusionist Miles Stone vanishes during his own magic stunt. Shaun Robinson and Paul Shaffer appear as themselves. Also starring James Frain as Holiday; Christopher Lloyd as Carmine.

My recap and review of “ Vanishing Act “ can be found here.

July 27, 2008 - Ten Count

The investigation into a shooting at a nightclub involving an acquaintance of Logan's involves the shadowy world of amateur boxing. Chris Noth and Julianne Nicholson star.

My recap and review of “Ten Count “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Criminal Intent ‘Betrayed”: The Betrayer Gets Betrayed

I used a very similar blog title for another original Law & Order episode that aired this season, the episode also called “Betrayed.”. While they both involved betrayal, this story line was quite different.

I liked this episode because it seemed to keep the tension between Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Eames (Kathyrn Erbe) at a perfect level, with just the right undercurrent. What was interesting was the more obvious tension between Goren and Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian). It also showed that Goren seems to have rebooted himself and is back to being the Goren that we may have seen in earlier seasons, albeit a lot more world weary and maybe worn out.

Here’s what happened in this episode:

At some sort of fitness club, we see 2 people having sex in utility closet (we later find out their names are Woody and Avery). Later, Woody is at an apartment, with a picture of him and what looks like a spouse. He grabs money out of a duffel bag, in a car, Avery gets in the back seat under a blanket. A picture of her and what looks like a spouse (we later find his name is Roy) is shown, and we see Roy smashing his hand on mirror in anger, Cut back to Woody in the car, who says to Avery “We’re Mr. & Mrs. Woodly now,” showing 2 new passports. Avery notices that Roy is calling her on her phone, but doesn’t answer. Woody asks if she took all her jewelry, he asks her for it and her rings. He gets out of car, says he’ll be right back, and Avery locks car door. Later, we see someone taking off license plate “Woodys Toy,” putting on a new plate.

We also see a woman in her apartment, which looks like is undergoing some renovation, her face on the back a book. It’s author Kathy Jarrow (Brenda Strong). She makes a call, saying “Woody, it’s 2 AM. I just woke up on the couch. Where are you? Later, at a police academy dinner, Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian) is there, sitting two chairs away from Kathy Jarrow, it appears she is the guest of honor for donating 2 million to the police academy. While making a speech, stops her speech, checking her cell phone. Looking upset, she says she’s sorry, and says to Ross she can’t find her husband, and she sits back down. Danny consoles her.

Ross brings in both Goren and Eames, and when Eames asks why they need both of them, Ross explains that Kathy is a friend of NYPD and his, and he trusts her instincts. When Goren says, “So she’s... a... good friend," Ross retorts that’s “that’s none of your business, and that’s not what this is about,” and that she was a former cop before she started writing crime books,

Goren and Eames are introduced to Kathy, who explains that her husband was missing since Thursday morning and that nothing usual happened at that time. She gives them a picture of her husband, and said he called her cell Thursday at 5 saying he picked up some extra sessions. He was a personal trainer and a much younger man – 23 but an “old soul.” His gym is on the Upper East Side, he drives a 2008 white range rover, and she confirms for Goren it was an anniversary gift. There is concern the car could have been carjacked. It has GPS, so the detectives decide to try to track the car.

Kathy tells Ross that Goren and Eames seem out of synch (I am not sure how she could get that from that brief encounter) and Ross says they’re working things out since Goren had just come off suspension. After commenting about Ross’ current position, and a long stare at each other, Ross says he’ll have someone drive her home. She’s concerned about the carjackings, but he says they’ll find him.

There were lots of calls from Kathy’s cell phone to Woody’s, but none from him to her. They can’t find the car in chop shops, nothing has turned up elsewhere. The GPS was shut off Thursday at 10 PM. But from 10 AM until the GPS was off, Woody left TriBeCa, went to his gym, and then to Hell's Kitchen. His car detoured to the South Bronx where he made two stops, then to and industrial wasteland where his GPS was deactivated. They don’t think Woody drove there on his own. They go to the site, and find lots of broken glass, but since it’s a chop shop transfer station a lot of glass would be expected. Goren bends down and finds the “Woodys Toy” license plate Eames thinks he was jacked in the city and then the plates were switched out there. Eames thinks it will be tough trail to follow but Goren suggests they track back; the white rover with a white driver should stick out,

They stop off at a small store, Goren flips the closed sign, and says there are multiple violations in the store just to get information. The store clerk says he saw someone go into abandoned storefront across the street, and left the woman who was with him in the car. He said when he went to take the garbage out, he smiled at her and she freaked and beeped the horn until the guy came back out. The detectives later search the abandoned store and CSU found empty watch boxes, indicating it may have been some sort of illegal jewelry front. Eames thinks the car was hijacked, but Goren thinks it’s a cover story and asks if they should tell Ross. Eames wants to confirm it first, and he says. “OK exactly right...I'm just sayin’’re... right.”

They go to Woody’s gym, and find Woody wasn’t on the schedule next week, and that he’s popular with the clients but keeps it professional. When Eames asks for clarification that Woody met his wife here, she’s told that he and Avery weren’t married, that she’s still lives with her husband Roy. Clearly this is a big clue for them. Goren is doing what Goren does well, playing around with something on the counter, either as a distraction or to be an annoyance. The woman asks if he not do that. They find that Avery is a massage therapist, that she’s been seeing Woody since last summer, and that she also canceled all her appointments, and her husband Roy doesn’t have a clue about the relationship. Goren, looking at Avery’s picture says that it’s Avery Hubert, the woman spotted in the Ranger Rover. Eames also hears from CSU; there are only one set of prints on the license plate – Woody’s - and that this looks like this whole thing was set up.

At a restaurant or bar by the waterfront, Roy is sipping a drink and flirting. Back at Kathy’s apartment, Ross is there, and Kathy notices the cash stash is gone from her "go bag" she put together in case of another attack in NYC. There was $5 thousand there, and feels Woody ran off with Avery. Ross seems surprised she knows Avery, and Kathy says Woody recommended her when went she went for a massage. Danny asks “ He sent you to her?” and then apologizes for the comment. When asks if she suspected anything, Kathy said Woody seemed detached last summer but they decided to have a baby, She was scheduled for invitro Friday morning. She can’t seem to understand the need for the staged hijacking, but Ross reminds her she’s an ex cop and they probably wanted a head start. She questions what they thought she would do when she found out they’d left…and then asks Danny to apologize to the detectives, that they’re major case not “house dicks” as if to close out an investigation any further. She also says “I always get it wrong, don’t I Danny? Chase the bad ones and let the good ones get away.” Danny smiles, looking slightly embarrassed.

Meanwhile, back at One PP, Ross states that they are done with Kathy’s case. But Goren still is undeterred, showing video footage of Avery at an ATM at the night she went missing, she’s rubbing Buddhist beads on her wrist, maybe praying. Ross is skeptical, saying she’s probably praying she won’t get caught, that it was a ruse. Eames shows Ross a missing person’s report filed by Avery’s parents and she was expected in Maine and never showed. Ross is still skeptical, and when Goren questions that they haven’t heard from Avery’s husband, he tells them to go talk to him, and he’ll check with her parents.

Questioning Avery’s husband Roy (Eric Roberts), he says she was off with her parents, but he also has a bandage on his hand. When he doesn’t seem alarmed that she hadn’t returned afterwards, he says he was busy and wants to know what this is about. Eames tells him about the missing person’s report from her parents, and Goren says but you know that she missing because “you did something her.” Roy admits he lied, that she ran off with that trainer, and for them to check the answering machine message, When Goren asks what he did to his hand, he admits he punched the mirror and when Eames asks where he was Thursday night, he says he was at work, and he’s late now. He walks off.

But, Goren finds that Roy checked out of work at 5, and Ross finds that Avery’s parents already met Woody, they liked him, and that they thought Avery was already separated form Roy, who was over-controlling. His first wife had took out a restraining order out on him, Goren thinks that maybe the carjacking was staged by Woody so Roy could not find them .

Eames questions Roy at One PP, and pokes holes in his alibi. She tells Roy he’s a wife beater and maybe a murderer, His alibi is he was with another woman, and he says he was just having an affair, but won’t give her name. Eames says they’ll hold him, and Roy, perturbed, wants to know for how long. He says his friend is married, and if he gives Eames her cell number, she has to promise not to call her at night. Eames laughs, asking what is more pathetic, that they would actually believe him or that a woman would willingly sleep with him, He gets agitated, saying, “what’s a matter baby, You so used to ground chuck that you don’t know filet mignon when you see it ? (EW!) She comes back with the issue that since he took a lot of steroids, his filet mignon wouldn’t please one woman let alone two. He throws the table aside and moves to Eames, which is what she was hoping for. It gave them the excuse to hold him for a long time. Goren thinks that since Roy knew about Avery’s affair, he could have tracked them to the Bronx and killed the couple while he was switching the plates.

At a press conference at Avery’s parent’s home, they plead for information from Roy. Ross, watching the coverage from Kathy’s apartment, consoles her when she thinks Woody’s is just gone. But, he can’t discus the case with her. She continues to press on whether Roy has an alibi, and Ross says they’re checking it out.

Back at One PP, Goren and Eames question a woman named Trina who says Roy was with her that night But she paid cash for the hotel, and Eames dismisses it, asking for more solid proof. Trina says to check the room next door, they must have heard them. She says to Goren, who is standing quietly in the back of the room, “Catch my meaning, Bullwinkle?” ( I don’t get why she called him Bullwinkle. Was Eames Rocky?) But Eames doesn’t let Goren answer, pressing the woman, who we find is Roy’s ex-wife. Trina says that Roy knows how to make a woman purr, but Eames is still not satisfied. Trina offer up something else and provide a sex tape with Roy, the Mets game in the background.

Roy is coming out of One PP, released from holding. He has a video camera in hand to tape all the media waiting there for him, saying he will sue NYPD and the networks for damage to his reputation. Cut to Avery’s parents house, who are upset Roy is being released. One of their sons walks in, saying he got a message from Avery. The message said that she and Woody are OK, they eloped. The family is elated.

At a window of the “Quick Send” place, Kathy Jarrow has put down $10 thousand asking if it will be in Guadalajara by tonight. She’s told it will be there right away, but Kathy is shocked to find that “he” (whoever is picking up the cash) will need ID in order to pick up the cash, like a driver’s license or passport.

Goren and Eames are at Avery’s parents, looking at the text message from Avery. When Goren questions her writing style on the text, and Eames also asks to borrow the phone, the kid is wise that the message may not be real. Goren and Eames do think it’s faked, and back at One PP, Ross seems to think Woody sent the fake text. Eames finds the signal was sent from JFK, and they find the cell in the trash there. They also found Woody’s car, which seemed to have been well cleaned. The entry ticket show that the car came in at 4, at the time the text was sent. Goren finds some of Avery's prayer beads in the car, with blood on them.

At One PP, they review the evidence with Ross. Was Avery getting cold feet? Did Woody snap? But Goren still thinks something is not right. He also refers to Ross as sir, which seems to momentarily stun Ross. Goren asks if Kathy has a beach house, and Ross says she’s not harboring him. When Goren continues to press the issue, Ross becomes agitated and tells Goren he’s out of line. But Goren is undeterred, “Am I, Captain? We don’t know if he’s a missing person or a murder suspect.” Ross argues back with Goren, and Eames asks them to move on.

Woody, though, has no record. Did he lie to Kathy about other things, Goren wonders? Ross says he’ll talk with Kathy, but Eames says "With all due respect Captain, it’s our turn." An uncomfortable silence follows.

At Kathy’s apartment, Goren questions Kathy on what little evidence there is of Woody’s own prior life. Eames presses too, asking what could have been on Woody’s blank slate in his past. Goren says they believe her husband is in the run from killing Avery. Suddenly, Kathy caves in and says that was “the mistake”. Woody called her two days ago, and Eames is annoyed that Kathy is just telling them this now, seeing that Ross put himself on the line for her. She says she’s “malfunctioning.” She thought the mistake he said he made was in leaving her, and Goren ask is he asked for money, Kathy gives a sigh of admission.

At One PP, Goren and Eames fill in Ross about Kathy wiring the money to “Scott Woodly” which they find is his real name. His father is not dead, his dad is a grifter in prison, Woody’s cell phone was still on, and they tracked it to Macon and then the airport in Mexico City. But, it appears none of the JFK commercial flights flew into Macon, but it was a hub for a commercial shipper. They believe that the phone was shipped to Mexico City, giving him a few more days. They are skeptical that a personal trainer could have masterminded such a plot, and Ross thinks that he’s using his wife for help. We see Kathy preparing the nursery.

They bring Kathy into One PP for questioning, and she indicates she thinks Woody is making her look like a fool, that he resented her success. When Eames doesn’t understand why he killed Avery, Kathy says that they were both in a bad marriage and they made the same mistake, they both asked a sociopath to give us what they needed. Goren presses her, saying a week ago she called him and “old soul” and now he’s a sociopath? She thinks he was just hiding his real self. When Goren seems suspicious that Kathy never looked into his past, she produces a juvenile record of his that she just happened to get from Ohio, alluding that maybe Woody is the one who killed his mom and his dad took the rap. Goren is more skeptical now, and Eames continues to press her. Danny watches from afar.

Later, Eames and Goren are discussing the matter with Ross, who said Kathy old him her blinders are off. Goren, however, is not satisfied, and asks Ross, “What about your blinders?” and says she used Ross and his connection to the department to lead them around. Ross says he’s been a good friend and colleague for 20 years, and Eames asks Ross if he also knew her second husband, Judge Feld. He does, but Eames presses that Felds obits were sketchy about the details of his death. Behind closed doors, Ross tells them that Feld died in a fleabag motel – and the combined ages of both boys present with him were under 40. It looks like NYPD covered it up to protect the family. Goren implied Kathy killed both, Ross is incredulous, but Eames asks to get the body exhumed.

ME Rodges was able to do a full tox screen on the body, and finds an excessive level of a performance-enhancing drug. But, the judge also took blood pressure meds, and with a triple normal dose of the performance drug, it would have caused a sure heart attack, something that would have been obvious if an autopsy had been performed the first time. As Goren and Eames talk things over, Ross looks reflective and concerned. When Goren asks for Ross’s decision, he says to look closer into Kathy’s cell records and GPS and find out what she knew about Woody’s plans, and when.

Eames and Goren bring her out to the area where they felt the GPS was turned off, and Eames says they found a body nearby. Goren asks her to help them figure out what was in Woody’s head. While talking, the ME van pulls up, with Ross in tow. Ross chides Eames for giving him the wrong directions, and Eames said Kathy had no problems with them. Kathy said she double checked with her GPS, but Eames said the lot is not on the GPS grid. Goren asks if he has the same GPS as Woody’s, and Kathy looks to Ross, annoyed at the attempted trap with the wrong direction the detectives seemed to have used. Ross says to Goren and Eames that they previously checked Kathy’s GPS, she wasn’t there, but Goren says she could have turned it off. Kathy is getting angry. Goren, though, says she’s very systematic; cleaning the car but leaving just a few beads, the text message from the airport, shipping the cell phone that just happened to be left on. Eames also continues to press, saying that she took him to the water and shot him there so they’re be no blood. But Ross said Kathy would have cut his stomach so the body would sink. She says there should be blood, but Goren thinks she used a tarp, Ross thinks like one in her nursery,

But Kathy says they have no body, and Eames says they do. Kathy say she would know if they found a body, since their department leaks like a sieve. But Eames lets out the surprise…it’s the judge’s body they have on her. Goren lays on the issue with the young boys and the judge, and she pleads for help from Ross. He’s not having any of it, saying she used him to cover for three bodies. She accuses Ross of betrayal, but Goren says, “You’re used to that, right?” because of the type of men she’s chosen. Kathy says to Ross “And some of them are just fools,” to which he responds “Go to hell.” And walks off. And so, she is arrested, saying this is not how this is supposed to end.

Goren goes to speak with Ross, who says “Not now detective, not one word” and walks away.

So, it looks like Goren is back in his rare form, although he clearly seems rerstrained in his approach, almost as if he is walking on eggshells with Eames. But, he doesn’t seem worried that way about Ross, challenging Ross on more than one occasion. Does he care more about mending his relationship with Eames than with Ross? Does he think that Ross is fostering dislike of Goren with the squad, thinking of the rat in his drawer? Does he think that Ross also betrayed him where Eames stood beside him at every step? Clearly, we’ve come back to a more introspective Goren like the one we saw in the first season, but also one who is a little more careful. I also thought it was his way of attempting to patch things up with Eames when he said he was right about getting more information before talking to Ross. It seemed he really wanted to know he was taking her lead.

Eames, on the other hand, didn’t really seem to have a glimmer of forgiveness for Goren. While complaining at first that they had to be both called in on the case, she still did her job and did it well, and they acted like partners for the most part, In a way, it was good that Goren continued to press this case despite Ross’s involvement, it may have shown Eames that Goren still has the knack for ferreting out the details and not wanting to give up.

And while this was a good case to give Ross some exposure, Eric Bogosian only delivered about half the time. I can’t help but imagine how Deakins (Jamey Sheridan) would have handled this case, and how Jamey himself would have acted it. Bogosian still seems to be a bit flat and almost monotone at times. It seems the only time Bogosian can pull out all the stops is when he has to seem angry or enraged. I think there is more to his acting ability, but I can’t tell if it’s the role, the writing, or if he’s just calling in his performance.

The story itself, while engaging, seemed to have a obvious conclusion. Still, the story provided a good backdrop to show the tension with Goren, Eames, and Ross. It looks like “major” problems may continue.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Betrayed” Episode Preview

Here’s the episode information – and the USA preview - of Law & Order Criminal Intent episode “Betrayed”, scheduled to air on June 22. It stars Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe. It also appears, according to the preview, that Capt. Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian) creates a bit of a “Major” conflict for the Major Case Squad.

My recap and review of “ “ can be found here.

“Betrayed” Air Date June 22, 2008
A jilted wife becomes a suspect in the disappearance of her husband and his younger lover. Brenda Strong and Eric Roberts guest star.

Betrayed USA Network Promo

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Happy Birthday Alana De La Garza

On June 18, 1976, in Columbus Ohio, Alana De La Garza was born. I think I was already three years out of high school, in a good job, and already married by then. Suddenly I feel old…

Anyway, Back to Alana. Her family later relocated to El Paso, Texas, where she won the "Miss Photogenic" title in the Miss El Paso Teen USA local beauty pageant. She was later a special-needs teacher and enrolled at The University of Texas, studying physical therapy and social work. After graduating, she had some small acting roles in Orlando, Florida. She later moved to New York City, where she had the role of Rosa Santos on the soap opera, All My Children, and guest starring on several TV shows such as JAG, Charmed, Two and a Half Men, and Las Vegas.

Outside of her role as ADA Connie Rubirosa on Law & Order, she may be best known for her recurring role of Marisol Delko on the CBS television series CSI: Miami. (Lucky for her she now has Sam Waterston and Linus Roache to look at, rather than David Caruso.)

It was recently reported in an Orlando newspaper that Alana was married a few weeks ago.

Happy Birthday Alana!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vincent D’Onofrio: “Five Minutes Mr. Welles”

Since this is a slow time for Law & Order franchise news, I thought I’d share with you a short film directed by, and starring, Vincent D’Onofrio. It’s called “Five Minutes Mr. Welles." The Internet Movie Database describes the film:

England 1949. Broke for cash, Orson Welles has agreed to play a part in a spy movie, "The Third Man." The pivotal scene of the movie is about to be shot. But there is a problem: Orson isn't happy with Harry Lime's lines.

This short film hasn't been seen much, if at all, outside of film festivals until now. Someone recently uploaded it to YouTube. The person's YouTube profile describes the video as "my film," so there is some speculation in the VDO Fan Universe that believes THE MAN HIMSELF (I say this in my best booming VDO/Orson Welles voice) put it out there. Personally, I'm just glad it's available for viewing. By the way, don’t let the title, and the fact that it's on YouTube, possibly mislead you - the film is longer than 5 minutes. It runs a little over 30 minutes. And probably in keeping with the period that this short film takes place, it's in black and white.

By the way, Vincent D'Onofrio will be turning 49 on June 30th.

Five Minutes Mr. Welles

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Criminal Intent: “Contract” Null and Void

I was so looking forward to seeing Chris Noth and the returning Julianne Nicholson in Law & Order Criminal Intent. This episode "Contract" left me horribly disappointed.

Julianne Nicholson was as fresh as ever and played the role of Detective Wheeler very well. But I am not quite sure about Chris Noth, as it seemed he was either playing Mike Logan to be very low key, or he just didn’t feel like giving his best. Maybe Sex and the City filming took too much out of him, but he looked tired and disinterested in this episode.

Compounding matters is that this episode was muddled, confusing, and frankly, boring. Coming on the heels of last week’s intense trip to Goren's (Vincent D'Onofrio) “Purgatory,” this week’s episode just didn’t deliver. Even more horrid was the shameless plug for USA’s new show, “In Plain Sight” with a cameo by that show’s star, Mary McCormack.

But let’s go through the recap, as painful as it may be. By the way, I'm not quite sure of the spelling of all the character's names, so bear with me.

The episode opened with a TV news anchor - Elliott - getting ready for his newscast, and an envelope being delivered to him. It’s highly compromising photographs. We see TK Richmond (Mo Rocca) on the phone telling Elliott to calm down, that there's no need to run the pictured in his column, Clearly TK is blackmailing him. We then see TK's sister (Emily Kinney) telling him that someone named Elliot is phoning for him, and later see Elliott and TK in a car, meeting about the blackmail photos. But, there also seems to be someone listening in to the calls; Elliott is wired, seemingly hoping to trap TK in the blackmail scheme. TK makes a reference that he’s not out to ruin Elliot’s life, its not like Eliot did something bad like try to take advantage of some naive high school girl. He goes to light his cigarette using his car cigarette lighter and - BOOM!- the car explodes. TK is killed, Elliot runs from the car, deafened,

Logan comes to the scene, and reference Wheeler being overseas for six months and with her return all hell breaks loose. “I missed you too, Logan,” she responds. She tells Logan that TK, a gossip columnist for the Ledger, was under surveillance by the DA’s office because of the purported blackmail scheme against the TV newscaster for seeing call girls. One of the cops says “Think Spitzer, not McGreevey.” Well, since it was established recently in a Law & Order episode, the Governor of New York is named “Shalvoy”, just who are we to think is this “Spitzer” guy? The Law & Order franchise has had some continuity problems before, but this one, since the Law & Order story was so recent, seems like a huge, glaring error.

While questioning Elliott, they are told that TK was trying to get another bite of the blackmail pie, and saying the money was for an investment for a restaurant deal. They question the restaurant owner and chef (Timothy Adams), who really didn’t know who the other investors were that TK had. But, they do believe TK had other “marks” out there, so they talk to TK’s sister for more clues. When asked for access to TK's laptop, they are told he didn’t keep anything on computer, he typed thins up on an old typewriter and she retyped them into a computer and emailed them to TK. She does give them a copy of her scrapbook, which has all his articles in it. Logan also found a drawer full of various drugs and pills.

In the meantime, they are given information about the explosives used for the car bomb. In passing, Ross noticed a tan line on Wheeler’s ring finger, and she says she got engaged. Logan looks surprised, Wheeler indicates Logan will get to meet him, and then the issue is dropped. Wheeler is looking at phone records and TK’s articles, which lead them to real estate developer, a casino owner, and concert promoter.

When Logan remembers that the chef mentioned a real estate developer, they hone in on Ted Regan (Brian Haley), working on a waterfront development. Before Wheeler goes off to question Regan, she asks Logan if the mug left at her desk with the word “Princess” on it was a gift – he says Falacci must have left it by mistake. Wheeler notes that it apeared Falacci was really trying to mark her desk and stay Logan’s partner. Logan says that Falacci went off to Quantico because she felt hamstrung by Major Case. At this point, I was feeling the same way about this episode.

Wheeler is questioning Regan at a job site without Logan. Wheeler comes to realize that TK was using his column to get an in with other people, blackmail AND get things like a cheap lease for TK’s apartment, and the restaurant investment. Regan turns out to be a dead end. Logan apparently checked out the other two suspects and they were dead ends as well. But, they conclude that TK starts off as their extortionist and ends up as their publicist.

Back to questioning his sister, they find more information that indicate TK may have been involved in some gambling, and there may be bookies involved. When TK’s sister indicates she doesn’t want to be late for the funeral, Logan offers her a ride. At the funeral parlor, there are no visitors. As Logan and Wheeler talk off to the side, a man approaches TK’s sister and appears to be making threats. When Logan and Wheeler go after him, the man dumps a gun. They catch up with him, and he tells them that TK owed him money. He also said TK had a connection that would give him the inside line on injuries for basketball and baseball players.

This leads them to TK’s “Dr. Feelgood” who was Dr. Jacoby (Tibor Feldman), who supplied TK with his drugs. The doctor says he couldn’t’ tell TK about player injuries because of doctor-patient confidentiality, and points Logan to his criminal defense lawyer.

Back at One PP, Wheeler says that they managed to get the records “off the record” since Dr. Jacoby as involved in a sports steroid investigation and the DEA has been tracking his prescriptions. They find sports people and actors who were on drugs and steroids. One of the people involved was actor Spencer London, (David Fumero) who died on a movie set in Louisiana last month. Wheeler connects it to a TK blind item about a movie star in trouble down south. The press said London’s death was heart failure. But, it seems none of the drugs London was using was for his heart. Wheeler and Logan go to Louisiana to visit the set.

They speak with Beverly Tyson (Illeana Douglas) who explains the movie he was working on was called “Contract Man” and they were hoping for a Christmas release. They did have to use a double for the last few parts of shooing. When asked why Dr. Jacoby had to come there, she send London was starting to feel sick towards the end of the shoot, and the doctor gave him a few B12 shot and antibiotics, which weren’t that at all. When asked if TK was around during the shoot, she said TK came down for the memorial service, ate some alligator sausage and went the New Orleans. She seems surprised to hear any of the drug allegations.

Back at One PP, ME Rogers (Leslie Hendrix) and Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) are having a cozy little lunch (Ew!) talking about London’s death. She tells Ross that he did have a heart defect and did have an aortic aneurysm, and said it was a reasonable cause of death, but the tox screen received later indicated otherwise. Ross thinks that the real cause of death was buried because of insurance and other reasons. Logan and Wheeler speak to Dr. Benway (Jeff Biehl), who originally announced London’s cause of death and why he didn’t correct the cause of death as due to drugs. The doctor admits TK questioned him, but that “the movie people” took care of it. When Wheeler asks if it was Tyson, he says it was her husband, Barry Freedberg (Jeff Garlin), head of the studio, who approached the doctor at the memorial. The doctor says Freedberg is having the doctor write a “film treatment’ for the doctor’s Hurricane Katrina story, which sounds a bit like a payoff to the detectives.

They find that Freedberg’s BFP films is a silent partner in his wife’s movie. Thankfully, Logan recaps for Wheeler (and I am sure for viewers too) that Tyson’s star OD’s on company-supplied drugs, her husband comes in to do damage control, bribes the doctor to cover the cause of death and try to pay off TK. But, TK gets greedy.

The question Freedberg, who says “who knew” that London was a walking time bomb. He seems surprised when told that doctor would give up London’s privacy to discuss London’s death – but Wheeler throws out the fact that Freedberg gave the doctor incentive by Freedberg dangling a screenplay at him. When Logan presses Freedberg about TK's involvement, he basically says he’s not smart enough for bombs, and he can’t even program his DVR. Logan says that Freedberg can do screenplay deals, and Freedberg says that even Logan probably has a few stories of his own. Logan gets him back to TK, and says TK did turn in a script for his $50 grand that Freedberg gave him.

Back to questioning his sister, she says that her brother wasn’t writing a screenplay. When asked if TK brought her something from down south, she says Mardi Gras beads, but also remembers some alligator sausage in the freezer. This turns out to be several DVDs marked “select dailies from the Contract Man, ” the Spencer London Movie.

Back at One PP looking at the films, they see London staggering in a scene, looking drunk, and other scenes where London is putting in a tape deck on the boat. Logan makes the connection to a real case, where someone was blown up by a tape deck rigged to explode upon use on a houseboat. The real case was someone with a supermarket chain that had ties to the mob. But, the case is still open, and it could be the bombers signature. Part of the original crime used in the plot of the movie was never released to the press, so Logan and Wheeler try to hunt down the scriptwriter. It appears it’s been through many hands, and they find the first writer who wrote about the bomb on the boat and the jogger was done by Francesco X. Chessare. Beverly Tyson, though, brought the latest writer to re-work the story, and that this was her big passion project.

Back at Beverly Tyson’s, she’s acting uncomfortable with Logan and Wheeler’s scrutiny. She tells them “Frankie” is dead, and died in a car accident shortly after the script was done. Logan wonders if she never met “Francesco”, why she referred to him as Frank. It turns out they can’t find anyone by that name who never died in a car accident. They also find that Beverly Tyson grew up as Beverly Banducci of Staten Island, but when she was 18 she was arrested for shoplifting, along with her friend Frank Chess, who must be the elusive Francesco. Frank Chess (Federico Castellucio ) has a long record of his own, and bombings are included in that list. He was also supposed to be in witness protection, and a fake car crash was a cover. Apparently, Tyson and Chess were sweethearts and that Chess’s story is her “passion play.”

The next scene brings me to one of the most offensive things I’ve ever seen in the Law & Order universe – the shameless plug for another TV show. This one was for USA Network’s “In Plain Sight” with Mary Mc Cormack. In this scene on LOCI, Mary appears as her IPS persona Mary Shannon, who just happened to be in town, and who originally got Frank into witness protection but they took him off their list when he continued to not play by the rules. Of course, she can’t stick around long, and has to be in Albuquerque by Sunday at 10. Wheeler wonders what is so important that she has to be back in Albuquerque by Sunday at 10? Hmmm… could it be that’s the time of her USA Network show??? This type of plug is completely inappropriate for any show in the Law & Order franchise and made an already bad episode even worse. And by the way, it also put “In Plain Sight” on my “make sure NOT to watch” list. Anyway, the whole point of this scene is to just tell the detectives to be cautious about Frank Chess. A complete waste.

So now that I don’t even care any more about the case, let’s cut to the chase. Tyson and Chess are arrested, Chess takes the fall, but they believe that Tyson and Freedberg is behind the set up of TK’s murder. But they hone in on Freedberg when it’s discovered that TK’s sister – whom he was trying to help break into acting – was probably raped by Freedberg and the TK was out to destroy Freedberg. Logan questions Freedberg, Freedberg bribes Logan and later admitted to having sex with TK’s sister who was underage. Logan also gets Freedberg to admit that he knew Chess was having an affair with his wife, and that he got Frank to take care of TK by telling his wife that Chess was in trouble, setting the whole situation up to lead to murder, When Freedberg tries to blackmail Logan with the recording he just made of their conversation, Logan comes back with recorder of his own, which included Freedberg admissions,

Whew! Thankfully, this horrible, bloated, confusing and boring episode is over.

I’m not exactly what else to say about this episode. I found the scene plugging “In Plain Sight” almost criminal. The Law & Order universe always does well when it allows characters from other shows from the franchise to have guest appearances, but dragging in someone from outside the franchise seems cheap and cheesy. I thought it completely tanked the episode as far as I was concerned.

But the story itself wasn’t even remotely interesting. There were too many red herrings, too many players, just too many people involved. And there was literally no drama in the show. I never felt any suspense, I never cared about the crime or those involved. It just brought out no feeling in me whatsoever.

Worst of all, Chris Noth seemed uninterested himself. I am not sure if they want Logan to seem world weary, but he just came off as just weary, like if he was going through the motions. I also am starting to think that he’s starting to fall into eating too many donuts at One Police Plaza, because Logan looked like he was sporting a bit of a donut gut.

Julianne Nicholson, on the other hand, seemed to still have the spark and seems to have good possibilities as a great partner for Logan.

High on the ICK factor was Captain Ross and ME Rogers. I’m sorry, but if they are trying to continue to suggest a relationship with those two, I wish they’d stop. There seems be be no chemistry with them, not any that I'd want to think about, anyway. I think I mentioned on this blog once before that maybe they are being matched because she works with the dead and he acts like he’d dead. That’s my take, and I’m sticking to it.

If you haven’t already watched “Contract”, I suggest you pass on it – it’s null and void. Oh yeah, pass on “In Plain Sight” – just because.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chris Noth: Conflicted About Law & Order Franchise?

Canada’s Vancouver Sun today released an interview with Chris Noth regarding what they headline is Noth’s “love-hate” relationship with the Law & Order franchise. Here’s the article and link:

Actor Chris Noth has love-hate relationship with Law & Order
But reprising his role in Sex and The City had a 'nice, sexy feel'
Jamie Portman, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, June 13, 2008

NEW YORK -- Sometimes it's smooth sailing when an actor returns to a character he originated on screen. But sometimes it's quite the reverse.

Just ask Chris Noth.

In his reprise performance as Mr. Big, the guy who keeps Carrie Bradshaw's heart fluttering in the film version of Sex and The City, Noth is a vital part of the chemistry which has made the film one of 2008's big hits -- and he admits he had a ball doing it.

But when it comes to Law & Order: Criminal Intent -- in which he revisits the character of Detective Mike Logan, a role he originated in the original Law & Order series in 1990 -- he is far less high on the experience.

Sometimes, it seems, you can't go home again.

He clearly has a love-hate relationship with the Law & Order franchise which brought him stardom 18 years ago, but also led to creative friction with series creator Dick Wolf who fired him five seasons later.

Noth remembers how comfortable he was doing those first seasons of the original series because he felt it was saying something important about investigative techniques and the judicial process. But when he was asked more than a decade later to return to the fold and alternate with Vincent D'Onofrio in the role of lead cop in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, things were less easy.

He was working with an unfamiliar producer-writer team on a spinoff series based less on reality than on D'Onofrio's concept of a cop who behaved like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes.
"So I found myself uncomfortable doing it," Noth says bluntly. "I thought the stories were totally implausible. That, however, has been totally fixed by the new crew that's in . . . and I think we're doing some of the most powerful stories since my first year on Law & Order."

Completion of the current Criminal Intent season was delayed because of the Hollywood writers' strike, and Noth was hinting last month about giving up his "obligation" to the series when shooting ends in late July.

Even though he's happier with more recent scripts, he continues to find Criminal Intent a far more difficult challenge than the parent series.

"It's not based on character. It's based on pushing a story and plot, and you try to infuse a little character along the way. I'm lucky because people know my character from how I first did Logan."

It's also obvious that he and creator Dick Wolf still have philosophical differences.

Noth says Law & Order has survived a huge number of cast changes in its various manifestations -- and that's because Wolf came to the conclusion that the actors don't matter as much as the story.

"That's why there have been so many turnarounds. I alone have had four or five partners. Jerry Orbach, the heart of Law And Order, had a bunch of partners

. . . So you feel less relevant sometimes and that makes the work harder. In other words, if character doesn't count, and the story is the only thing going, and you're pushing the story up the hill, it's great when it all comes together but not creatively as fascinating."

On the other hand, his return to the world of Sex and The City offered no such disappointments.

"It was like slipping into silk pyjamas," Noth grins. "A nice sexy feel."

He says he never questioned where writer-director Michael Patrick King would be going with the film version "because I knew it would be a fun place."

Noth, 53, often works on gut instinct. "You read the script and say: 'Wow! I can't wait. I can't wait to play that scene.' "

So he didn't mind the fact that it took four years after the shutdown of the TV series for a movie to materialize, because he knew fans were willing to be patient.

"I think it showed the resilience of the show and that we need some adult entertainment these days. It's got the veneer of what everybody goes to these days, but underneath that, there's some real substance."

Everybody connected with the film was sworn to secrecy about the plot during shooting, which proved to be a difficult process because of intense fan and media interest.

"Every outdoor scene we did, the paparazzi were out -- journalists too. And lots of people with camera phones. People were just desperate to see what we were doing. It cracked me up."

The solution was to keep misleading the public.

"We had to do a lot of fake endings. And I'd do things like suddenly going by a journalist and saying, 'Yeah, it's too bad that Carrie died.' Or things like, 'It's all a dream, isn't it. It's so much fun when she wakes up from the nightmare.' "

When Noth finally read the script for the film, it met all his expectations.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Contract” Episode Preview

Here’s the episode information – and the USA teaser preview of “Contract”, scheduled to air on June 15. This episode stars Chris Noth (Logan) and Julianne Nicholson (Wheeler), but also appears to have a gratuitous crossover cameo from Mary McCormack, from USA’s new series “In Plain Sight.”

My recap and review of “Contract” can be found here.

Law and Order Criminal Intent “Contract” Air Date June 15, 2008
A gossip columnist's murder case has a large list of suspects. Jeff Garlin, Illeana Douglas, Mo Rocca and Federico Castelluccio guest star.

USA Teaser "Contract"

Clip of Scene with Mary McCormack

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Criminal Intent “Purgatory”: Goren’s New Hell?

Viewers may think they've entered Goren’s hell after watching this new episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent. It seems in Goren’s attempt to redeem his past transgressions, he’s found himself in a larger pickle.

The story opens with an apparently despondent Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) sitting alone in a bar. He’s flashing back to his unauthorized undercover operation (which was covered in the previous episode, Untethered”). He is approached by former Detective Patrick Copa (Holt McClanay), who clearly is angered with Goren’s presence at a “10-13” party being held at the bar for Copa's benefit. Goren caused this detective to lose his job and retirement (covered in a previous episode. “Amends”) where Goren uncovered the detective’s vision problems and caused the detective’s work to be questioned. A scuffle ensues, and another man, suspended cop Mike Stoat (Dean Winters) steps in to help break it up. Stoat tells Goren he knows who he is, and that he’s respected Goren for a long time. He wants to help Goren in his time of need. Since Goren has been suspended from his job for 6 months for the unauthorized undercover operation, Stoat offers Goren a job, and when Stoat leaves, Goren sees he left a gun on the bar counter, wrapped in a newspaper. Goren takes the gun.

Meanwhile, back at One Police Plaza, Eames (Kathryn Erbe) is given an assignment by Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian), and clearly Eames misses her partner. But, she grudgingly goes to the scene of a murder of what appears to be a drug dealer and two innocent witnesses, who happened to be English tourists. At the scene, Eames is assisted by Detective Daniels (Seth Gilliam) who later Ross assigns to help Eames on the case, which Eames emphases should be temporary until Goren returns.

While Eames works the murder case, Goren is doing target practice at the firing range with his newly acquired weapon. Goren leaves the gun at the range, wrapped in the newspaper, and we see someone pick it up.

Goren places a call to Stoat, telling him he’ll take the job, which happens to be working security at the door of some sort of club. He stops someone trying to enter the club who was carrying a gun, only to find it was his new boss, Mr. Testarosa (Danny Mastrogiorgio).

Eames continues to work the case with Daniels, and Ross believes that the drug dealers in the area where the latest murder occurred may be “unintended consequences” from a turf war caused by the Feds locking up the area’s “career criminals.” They connect one person, Keyshawn Powell, to the action. Since he is required to see a court appointed doctor, they realize they can get some information from the doctor.

Later, we see Goren leaving the office of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, and Stoat is there to greet him and give Goren a ride. Stoat seems to think he knows what Olivet had to say to Goren – that he has anger issues. Stoat also tells him their next job is working at a private party at a strip club, and Goren asks if it’s run by the same man who ran the club from the night before. Stoat shuts Goren down by telling him he doesn’t know who runs what, and “neither do you.”

Eames, meanwhile, continues to investigate the murders, and when she and Daniels come to Dr. Lorna Lane’s office, they hear what they think are sounds of distress coming out of the office and break in. They find Dr. Lane and Keyshawn Powell in the throes of passion. At One PP, they question Powell and ask for his whereabouts at the time of the murders, telling him his partner was murdered at that time. The doctor alibis Keyshawn. But, they find that the gun that was involved in the latest murder (Crawford) was one that was supposed to be in NYPD evidence.

Goren pays another visit to Dr. Olivet, and instead of Olivet, we seen Goren having a meeting with his boss, Capt. Ross. They are discussing what is Goren’s new, apparently sanctioned undercover operation (which he said “fell into his lap”). Ross tells him he checked out the gun from Stoat and it was clean, but that the gun used to kill the drug dealer and the tourist was not, so the property clerks may not be clean. The Chief of Detectives may want Goren to continue the undercover operation, but Goren wonders for how long. Goren is concerned about continuing; while he hopes he can return to his real job, he is also worried that he will get killed in the process. He expresses he’s concerned that higher ups on the force would be happy if he got killed, maybe to the point of tipping off his undercover work. While Ross agrees with Goren's concern about getting killed, he thinks Goren is being paranoid by worrying about people on the force having it out for him.

While working his new job at the strip club, Goren tips off Testarosa to two cops trying to entrap the owner into a drug deal. When he thanks Goren for the tip off, he rewards him by offering him some cocaine. Goren is unconformable but Stoat, who is also there, doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. As Goren makes what seems to be an unwilling move to participate, he is saved by a knock at the door. Stoat, however, goes ahead and takes a hit.

Later, as Goren is leaving a diner, we see Eames chasing after him. She seems concerned he hasn’t returned her calls, he says he’s been busy. She tries to tell him of her latest case, but he blows her off. Getting into a car with Stoat, they meet a cop, who Stoat describes as his “old partner” Lois Melago (Lauren Velez) from the 6-4 precinct, who is in a squad car with another cop. They get a call and they have to leave. Stoat tells Goren they will do something different that day and will go after Eddie Jones, a person with a record who owes “a friend” some money. Goren tries to warn Stoat that Testarosa is on police radar, but Stoat seems confident that Bobby has his back.

Eames and Daniels are at the property clerk, and when they find a gun missing from evidence, Eames threatens the clerk with Internal Affairs. The clerk must give them some information, as the Major Case detectives check out officers who had access to the property clerk area, Ross asks if any were from the 6-4, but won’t tip off why he has this hunch. The discover Lois Melago did have access, and she was suspended along with Mike Stoat. Although Melago is back on as a street cop, Stoat is not.

Eames and Daniels question Melago about the missing gun, and Melago says all she did was check IDs for the property area. When Eames asks about her ex-partner (Stoat), Melago retorts, “What about yours?” Melago says she has Stoat’s back, Eames says he hopes she has hers.

Goren and Stoat are still chasing down Eddie Jones, and, at his home, Goren tries the front door while Stoat goes around back. Jones goes out the back, and Stoat catches up with him and beats him while Goren tries to stop it. Stoat takes what money he can get and leaves. After giving the money to Testarosa, he says he has to leave, but Testarosa asks Goren to stay. We find that Stoat has gone to see Eames at One PP and says he knows nothing about the stolen gun. Meanwhile, Goren is witness to a drug deal with Testarosa, who latter calls in and tips off Melago to the buy She arrests the drug buyer, who turns out to be a cop Hector Santana, who already has a few strikes against him. Santana says that he has information on the murders of the tourists, telling the detectives that word is Testarosa's crew was involved and the gun used had another body attached to it. He wants protection but Eames wants a name, it’s either that or prison for life. Santana complains about getting prison for a lousy 10 ounces. Eames is alarmed, knowing that all that was turned in was 4 ounces at Santana’s arrest, and she questions him about the discrepancy. Santana also says he thinks Testarosa tipped off the cops. When Santana is told only 4 ounces were logged in, he becomes even more concerned for his own safety. He tells them that there are two ex-cops on Testarosa's payroll. Ross thinks this needs more investigation, and they convince Santana to wear a wire.

Goren is back to working the door at Arcadia with Stoat, and Melago approached Stoat, saying she wants to talk to him alone. When she tells Stoat that Santana is out on bail, Stoat is stunned. Later, Stoat and Goren break in to Santana's place and force Santana out of bed. Testarosa is also there and questions Santana while Stoat beats him. Santana denies everything, but Stoat finds Santana’s lighter wired. Since Goren already said that Santana was clean, Testarosa tells Goren to kill Santana there and now. When Goren pulls out a gun and points it at Santana’s head, the police burst in. We see Goren with his gun pointed at the police, with a stunned Eames pointing one right back at him.

Later, Goren is in holding with Stoat, who wonders how Bobby missed the wire. As Stoat is feeding Bobby what should be their excuse for their behavior, Stoat is taken out of holding. While Goren is left there to face Ross and Eames, Eames asks what’s going on when Goren seems to already have details. She is stunned when she realizes that Goren has been working undercover, and while Ross explains why she could not be told, she looks stunned and hurt. Ross asks her to see if she can get Melago to deal, seeing that they have a past history,

Eames tries to get Melago to talk, and throws out the issue of the missing drugs. Melago doesn’t bite, and asks for a lawyer. Daniels, though, said the rookie riding with Melago said Melago kept the drugs. Stoat, however, is really pissed at Goren for turning on him. Still, despite all Goren’s attempts, Stoat refused to admit to anything. As Ross gets a phone call from the Chief of Ds, Goren starts to talk with Eames, and says he’s sorry. Eames is steamed that Goren never bothered to contact her but he says he wanted to get his shield back. Eames explodes:

Eames: I get it. You’re the genius, and I just carry the water, right? Do you have any idea of how many times I’ve lied for you? Covered your ass?

Goren: I was in a deep hole here

Eames And whose fault is that? All your wounds are self-inflicted.

Eames reminds Goren that had it not been her coming through that door, he could have been dead. Clearly, she is not only deeply hurt by Goren, she’s infuriated at him.

As Ross, Goren and Eames are told that Melago took a plea deal and linked the gun to Testarosa and the murders, they also find that Stoat hasn’t bitten on anything. When they’re commended for their good work, Ross says he assumes Goren will be back with them ASAP, and Goren’s shield and gun are returned to him. Goren gets back to his desk, Eames bids him a flat “good night.” Goren opens his desk drawer, only to find a dead rat in it, and takes an uncomfortable look around the squad room.

This episode had so much packed into it, that it almost detracted from the overall story. It could have been better told over a two hour episode. Possibly a little too convenient was Eames and Goren's cases being tied together, and the fact that Stoat happened to even touch the lighter and realized it was wired. Also, while at times it had so many players that it got hard to follow, it very clearly set up the upcoming trouble for Bobby Goren, who in essence sold out his friendship with Eames in order to get his job back. At the same time, he’s now perceived as a traitor and rat by a person – or persons – close enough to him to get a dead rat in his desk. It seems that Goren may have burned the last remaining bridge he had by getting involved in this case – Eames. Finally, though, she lets out a rant to Goren that she has probably been holding in for a long, long time. And while I don’t see Eames as a person who will let it get in the way of her doing her job with Bobby, it defiantly won’t be the same relationship they had before. Will we see a more troubled, conflicted Goren for the remainder of this season from his near banishment from the good graces of his peers? And will Eames refuse to be second banana to her partner?

As far as the case was concerned with the murder of the drug dealer and tourists, while it connected back to the case which Goren was working, it seemed almost incidental to the overall show. Again, a two hour episode may have allowed them to dig further into that crime, possibly even bringing in someone from the DA’s office to cover a trial. Law & Order Criminal Intent has been sorely lacking any legal treatment for any crimes since ADA Ron Carver (Courtney B. Vance) left the show.

Now the question becomes – can Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) be able to follow up with an equally intense episode? This one wil be a hard act to follow. One thing for sure, Goren will need a lot of repentance to get out of his new personal purgatory, or will it become his new hell?

NOTE: A link to a video clip from this episode can be found here.

Here is a separate clip you can view right here:

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Law & Order SVU Syndication Update

NBC Universal issued a press release advising that the syndication of Law & Order SVU will be going full throttle in the fall of 2009.

Here’s the official release from NBC Universal:

Published: June 4, 2008

"SVU" Already Sold in 24 of the Top 25 Markets

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — June 4, 2008 — NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has sold Dick Wolf's hit procedural drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in more than 70% of the U.S. for its weekday broadcast syndication debut starting in fall 2009, it was announced today by Barry Wallach, President, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

The hit NBC primetime series, which is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios and is Emmy-winner Dick Wolf's highest-rated series of the "Law and Order" brand, has now been sold in 24 of the top 25 markets.

"SVU" has already been sold to the Fox owned and operated stations in New York, Los Angeles Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C., Houston, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando and Baltimore. The series has also been sold to stations from CBS, Sinclair, Sunbeam, Belo, Hearst, Granite, Capitol, Local TV, Media General, McKinnon and more. New markets include WPSG-TV Philadelphia, KUSI-TV San Diego and WSLS-TV Roanoke.

"'Law & Order: SVU' continues to dominate the primetime ratings for NBC and it's off to a phenomenal start in weekend syndication, already climbing into the top 10 shows in all of syndication in just its first season," says Wallach. "And we've already assembled a very strong local broadcast lineup for its weekday, Monday-through-Friday debut in 2009."

"Law & Order: SVU" just wrapped up its ninth season on NBC, where it ranked as the #1 crime drama on network television among women and adults 18-34, according to Nielsen Media Research. "SVU," which debuted in weekend syndication last fall, has improved local time periods by more than 40% in both Households and Adults 25-54 (vs. Feb. 2007) and by more than 50% in Women 25-54.

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios. Wolf, is creator and executive producer, Neal Baer (NBC's "ER," "China Beach"), Ted Kotcheff ("Fun with Dick and Jane," "First Blood") and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Law & Order Criminal Intent June Episode Information

Goren Shoots His Way Out Of Purgatory?
Here are the episode synopses so far for the June episodes of Law & Order Criminal Intent on USA Network. I wish USA released more information about the episodes like NBC does for Law & Order and SVU. Oh well, I can hope, can’t I?

It looks like we have an interesting month ahead for Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio), Eames (Kathryn Erbe), Logan (Chris Noth) and Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson).

Law and Order Criminal Intent “Purgatory” Air Date June 8, 2008
While Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) awaits a decision on his reinstatement, he tries to prove his worth by going undercover to pursue a big-time drug dealer. Dean Winters guest stars.

My recap and review of “Purgatory” can he found here.

Law and Order Criminal Intent “Contract” Air Date June 15, 2008
A gossip columnist's murder case has a large list of suspects. Jeff Garlin, Illeana Douglas, Mo Rocca and Federico Castelluccio guest star.

My recap and review of “Contract” can be found here.

Law and Order Criminal Intent “Betrayed” Air Date June 22, 2008
A jilted wife becomes a suspect in the disappearance of her husband and his younger lover. Brenda Strong and Eric Roberts guest star.

My recap and review of “ Betrayed“ can be found here.

Law and Order : Criminal Intent “Assassin” Air Date June 29, 2008
An apparent assassination attempt on a politician from Kashmir is followed by separate shootings of members of her entourage, including her brother. The subsequent probe leads detectives to believe she was behind the attacks.

My recap and review of “Assassin “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order Franchise 2008 Emmy Submissions

According to a forum on the LA Times web site (link here), listed below are the episode submissions for 2008 Emmy consideration for Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, and Law & Order Criminal Intent. The deadline for all submissions was May 31, and this list was updated through June 3, 2008.

Law and Order (episode submission not noted)
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (episode submission not noted)
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (episode submission not noted)

Law and Order (Jesse L. Martin - "Burn Card")
Law and Order (Linus Roach - "Darkness")
Law and Order (Jeremy Sisto - "Called Home)
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Vincent D'Onofrio - "Untethered")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Chris Noth - "Senseless")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Christopher Meloni - "Paternity")

Law and Order (Alana De La Garza - "Strike!")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Kathryn Erbe - "Amends")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Alicia Witt - "Senseless")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Mariska Hargitay - "Undercover")

Law and Order (Sam Waterston - "Illegal")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Eric Bogosian - "Senseless")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Richard Belzer - "Unorthodox")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Ice-T - "Fight")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (B.D. Wong - "Harm")

Law and Order (S. Epatha Merkerson - "Bottomless")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Diane Neal - "Impulsive")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Tanara Tunie - "Harm")

Law and Order (Anthony Anderson - "Burn Card")
Law and Order (Sean Astin - "Angelgrove")
Law and Order (Ron Canada - "Bottomless")
Law and Order (Brad Dourif - "Called Home")
Law and Order (Tom McCarthy - "Darkness")
Law and Order (John Ortiz - "Political Animal")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Peter Coyote - "Self-Made")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Jesse Garcia - "Senseless")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Tony Goldwyn - "Untethered")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Steve Guttenberg - "Courtship")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Andrew McCarthy - "Offense")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Josh Pais - "Lonelyville")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Ben Vereen - "Senseless")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Stephen Collins - "Trade")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Matt Davis - "Trade")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Arye Gross - "Blinded")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Jared Harris - "Svengali")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Aidan Quinn - "Savant")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Robin Williams - "Authority")

Law and Order (Lara Flynn Boyle - "Submission")
Law and Order (January Jones - "Quit Claim")
Law and Order (Moira Kelly - "Betrayal")
Law and Order (Ally Walker - "Driven")
Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Peri Gilpin - "Offense")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Erika Christensen - "Signature")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Melissa Joan Hart - "Impulsive")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Elizabeth McGovern - "Harm")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Cynthia Nixon - "Alternate")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Rhea Perlman - "Unorthodox")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Adina Porter - "Fight")
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Mae Whitman - "Streetwise")

The entire list for all TV shows and all categories can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.