Monday, July 13, 2009

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Passion” Recap & Review

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Passion” was another fine episode for both Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Nicholson. In fact, some of the lines they are giving to Nicholson are good enough to be lines for Lennie Briscoe – my favorite of hers from this episode being “And we had coffee with Jacob Garrety, the Quarterly’s poet in chief and the victim’s lover, no record, but that’s only because pompous isn’t against the law.” Her eye roll when questioning Mr. Weatherly was comical. Of course, Jeff Goldblum also is perfect as the seemingly innocent, yet concerned detective, who uses his piano skills – and his poetry skills – in order to worm his way into the confidence of one of the suspects. Where Wheeler seems to be very direct in her approach, Nichols seems more subtle when it is needed, and their skills play well off each other as they work the case. I was also amused when Nichols pushed his way onto the stage, nudging his way to have full control over the microphone, one instance where he threw subtlety to the wind.

I have to admit, though, that the identity of the killer was obvious to me. Still, for some reason this did not detract from the episode. Jacob’s murder was a bit of a surprise, so that kept up my interest. I am finding that watching Nichols and Wheeler work the case is interesting enough that it almost doesn’t matter to me that it seemed clear at the onset who was the murderer.

All in all, Jeff Goldblum is a great addition to Law & Order Criminal Intent, and I hope that Julianne returns to the show next season, as these two make a great pair. It will be interesting to see how Jeff plays off Kathryn Erbe, when she covered those few episodes this season for Julianne.

By the way, I have no decent pics at this time from this episode, but if I can get some at a later time I will add them here.

Here is the recap:

In the office of the Village Quarterly, Lauren Collins (Christina Brucato) is working in the office while editor and poet Jacob Garrety (Will Chase) is on the phone, calling someone’s poetry garbage. When he hangs up the phone, Will continues with the put downs of other amateur poets, saying he is not a vanity press – yet. He also tells Lauren her latest epic sucks. Lauren looks hurt, and tells him he has to stop it, he knows why Don is coming. Jacob says if it were good news Don would tell him by phone.

When Don McCallum (Steven Kunken) arrives, Lauren asks how bad is it? Don wants to cut funding to the publication until the endowment bounces back. She tells him to ease Jacob into it.

Later, after Don has left, Lauren says they should get going, but Jacob asks what is the point? She says to work it out, Don said the foundation will reconsider and they have enough money to publish this issue. Don says he hates readings but she says he loves them, they sell subscriptions and he gets to surround himself with pie-eyes sycophants. Don says maybe she shouldn’t come; she could see Don and have a drink with him, adding she should tease him. When she questions this, he asks what women do when they want something from a man they don’t want to sleep, saying it is an ancient art. Lauren is stunned, and Jacob says to forget he said it, he can’t think straight when he’s desperate, adding they should go and get his ass kissed. But Lauren asks if he think it will really make a difference, and Jacob seems to motion that it would.

Later, while he waits to do his reading, Jacob tells Sandra Dunbar (Sarah Rafferty) that Lauren told him what to start with, and she says he used to worry about Harold Bloom, not Lauren. He says she understands his work and keeps him from publicly embarrassing himself. Sandra says they know that is a full time job. He says that is part of his charm, and she gets flirty, telling him that’s not the only part. He admits he hadn’t been looking forward to the reading. She introduces him to the waiting group. As he begins to read, we see – elsewhere - Lauren is now lying dead in the street.

Detectives Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) and Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) arrive on the scene where Lauren’s body lay. Another detective on the scene tells them that a wallet was found laying in the gutter, no cash, the ID said it was Lauren Collins, 22 years old, and she lived on Avenue C. Someone on the third floor heard a scream at 11:30 and by the time she got to the window the girl is down and the “perp” is nowhere to be seen. ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) indicates there was blunt force trauma to the cranium, and CSU found a brick nearby that looks like it has blood on it. Wheeler says there were no purse and no cash in the wallet, but Nichols says he doesn’t think it was a mugging. Rodgers says all the clothes are intact but the will check for sexual assault. She also notes a stain on her dress. There is also bruising on her shoulder as if someone grabbed her. Nichols speculates that they fought, someone got mad, and picked up a brick. But Wheeler doesn’t think she looks like much of a fighter, and Nichols says this is why she lost. He also notes that her keys were out, and she had information on a poetry reading by Jacob Garrety that night from 9 to 11. When Rodgers asks if people still go to poetry readings, Nichols tells her there was an open bar afterwards, to which Rodgers answers dryly, “There you go.” Suddenly, we hear a man yelling, “NO!” and Jacob Garrety storms through the police tape. The try to restrain him, and yells he wants to see if it is her and asks who is in charge. Nichols and Wheeler approach, and Wheeler asks him to calm down. He says he doesn’t need calm; he just needs to see if it is Lauren. Nichols tells him he should let him buy him a cup of coffee. Jacob realizes what this means and gets upset.

At a small diner, Jacob comments to Nichols and Wheeler that “This city…turns us into savages.” Wheeler asks if Lauren was having any problems, and Jacobs says no. Nichols asks how long she had been working for him, and he responds that he worked WITH him and she loved him. He angrily says he should have been with her, and begins to complain about the readings and the students, calling them dilettantes. Wheeler asks if Lauren left the reading early, and Jacob says Lauren never made it to the reading; she had to finish some proofing. Nichols asks why he was heading down to the office in the middle of the night, and Jacobs replies that he was supposed to meet her. Nichols reminds him that she left, that she was outside on the street outside the office when she was attacked. When Jacob says that maybe she got tired of waiting, Wheeler tells him that her keys were out as if she were coming back in, so if she had been out, she wonders if he knows where she had been. Jacob, upset, asks how would he know, and adds, “She was a phantom of the light when first she gleamed upon my sight, a lovely apparition sent to be a moment’s ornament. “ When he gets no response and blanks stares from the detectives, he clarifies, “Wordsworth.”

At the Major Case Squad, Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian) says he is getting more press calls on the Village Quarterly and he thought poetry was dead. Nichols says no, that’s theater, saying the Quarterly is one of the most distinguished journals in the city. Ross comments that must mean that a few thousand people buy it and a couple hundred read it. Nichols said some like to put it on their coffee table to make them feel smart. Wheeler tells him the prints on the murder weapon were smudged, and within 10 feet CSU found 56 other random prints, footprints, soil samples and various bodily fluids of humans and animals. Nichols tells Ross that Rodgers found something like semen on the dress and she is running it through the database. Wheeler says, “And we had coffee with Jacob Garrety, the Quarterly’s poet in chief and the victim’s lover, no record, but that’s only because pompous isn’t against the law.” She adds that Garrety ruled out Wordsworth, and adds that the love of his live is murdered and he is reciting poetry, saying ‘It was all I could do to keep from smacking him. “ Ross tells them to find out if the victim had any enemies.

Elsewhere, Garrety is talking with Don McCallum about Lauren’s murder. He worms his way into getting Don to continue support for the Village Quarterly in order for him to keep his silence about the fact that Lauren was headed to see Don, so Don’s foundation, and his wife, would not know.

Later, the Wheeler and Nichols are searching the office of the Village Quarterly, much to Jacob’s annoyance. Nichols notices a poetry award Jacob has, but Jacob tells him not to be impressed, poets are just one notch below Hollywood in giving self-congratulatory trinkets. Nichols said it would help if they knew about the victim. Jacob says that she edited a magazine, she read submissions and sent rejection letters, and Lauren screened out the ones that were obviously crap. Nichols pulls out on rejection letter that was returned with a note written boldly on it “You should be ashamed of yourself” from a man named Weatherly, who Jacob calls a lunatic who was driving them crazy. Jacob says if he thought he would hurt Lauren he would have killed him. Nichols says, “Hyperbole, right?” Jacob nods yes.

At Weatherly’s (Damian Young) office, he accused Jacob of stealing his work, and shows the detectives the poem that was his and the one that was copied. Weatherly straightens some books on his desk that Nichols had moved. When they don’t notice a similarly in the poems, Weatherly tells them it’s the meter. He verbalizes the meter of the poem, as Weatherly continues saying da-da-dada in the poem’s meter. Wheeler, rolling her eyes, asks him where he was last night. He says he was in his office writing, and when she moves to look at what he was writing, he says comments that “he” sent them

Outside Weatherly’s office, Nichols comments on Weatherly’s paranoia, and Wheeler quips that “The shrinks at Ossining can clear that right up.” Nichols thinks he is more paranoid about Jacob than Lauren. Nichols says that Jacob is not half bad, as he reads back a poem he wrote, which Nichols says is about a lover leaving for money. They speculate that he was talking about Lauren, but that Jacob never said she was leaving him. They decide to check out the foundation that was supporting the magazine.

At Don McCallum's office, Don tells the detectives he is a happily married man, and that Jacob and Lauren were the perfect couple. He says he is on top of Jacob’s list of things he abhors, because he can afford to buy dinner. Jacob thinks people who accumulate wealth are morally bankrupt. Don’s grandfather, who started the foundation, had a soft spot for poets. He says if Lauren was having an affair she would have to hide it, Jacob was a very jealous type. Don took Lauren for a cup of coffee one afternoon to discuss circulation campaign and when Lauren got back to the office, Jacob smashed a chair on her desk.

At Sandra Dunbar’s home, she tells Jacob to listen to her – when a woman is murdered the primary suspect is always her lover. He said she didn’t kill her, but she tells him he has to be prepared. But when he moans that Lauren and the Quarterly is gone, she says she will talk to her husband. She says he believes in what he is doing, and moves next to him, stroking his back. He says everything is so hopeless, and she moves in closer, kissing him.

In interrogation at Major Case, Jacob admits to the detectives that he has a temper. When Wheeler says most human beings don’t lose their temper and smash furniture, he tells he most human beings go through life like cattle. Nichols says, “We’re a pretty sorry bunch, aren’t we?” He asks him to tell about his emotion when he smashed the chair, and being up the fact they think it was because she had coffee with Don McCallum, and that Jacob also got angry when she didn’t show up for the reading. Jacob says she was closing an issue. When Wheeler asks what the other people who were there would tell them about Lauren and her no-show, he says they would say he had no greater lover than for Lauren, his life ended with hers, and that civil service workers are lazy and stupid and stick to the first arrow they pull from their quiver. When Wheeler says he is not scoring any points here, he says he does not need to, he didn’t do anything. Wheeler asks what time the reading ended, and he says 10:30, 10:45, and then he had to stay and sip wine with his adoring fans. Wheeler refers to them, in Jacob's earlier words, as students, dilettantes, and miniscule minds, and Jacob answers yeah. Nichols reads back a line and says it sounds familiar, that it was the way Henry V opens up, and implies he stole from Shakespeare. Jacob insists he does not steal, he says that was a literary allusion, and if Nichols wants to talk poetry he will send him a Child’s Garden Verse and they can take it from there. Nichols, looking peeved, says, “Maybe later.” He continues that the ME found semen on her dress. When Jacobs says they are adults, Nichols asks if he is saying it is his, and Jacob asks if he is saying it is someone else’s. Nichols smiles.

Afterwards, Ross asks Nichols and Wheeler how Jacob is looking. Wheeler brings out the temper and he smashes things and denies his jealousy, but she was a pretty girl and lot younger than him. Nichols agrees he has a temper and is a fool, but he questions his artistic integrity and he gets indignant, he questions Lauren’s infidelity, and he dismisses it, thinking his ego is so big he can’t imagine she cheated on him. As Wheeler makes a counter argument, Ross tells them to finish the debate and then check out Jacob’s alibi.

At Sandra’s home, she tells them she rented the bar and paid for some drinks. She said it ended before 11, maybe 10:45, but she and Jacob sat around for a while talking about poetry. John Dunbar is also there, and when Nichols asks if he enjoyed the reading, he says he was working late, meaning the Knicks were on. When they asked if Jacob mentioned anything about Lauren, Sandra said Jacob said she was useful. Nichols counters that Jacob told them that she was the love he life. Sandra says Jacob can be a little dramatic. Jacob loved poetry, and women loved Jacob and threw themselves at him. Nichols asks if she can name any women who threw themselves at Jacob. She mentions Emma, who works at a bookstore.

They speak to Emma Cohen (Amy Rutberg), who seems to speak highly of Jacob, saying he just has something. They also know that she was displaced by Lauren as his assistant – and girlfriend. She said she heard about Lauren and it was so awful. When she realizes what they are implying, she says she left both positions voluntarily, and adds that he was always cultivating rich guys as donors, and sometimes they needed a little extra incentive to help out, implying that she was asked to sleep with them. When Nichols asks of one of the rich guys was Don McCallum, she says just don’t let his wife know, he was always afraid she would find out.

Back at the Dunbar residence, John Dunbar walks in, angry, asking Sandra that he just got off the phone with the bank and is there something she is not telling him? She asks what is the big deal, they can afford it. But he questions the $50,000 to the Village Quarterly, and she says it is life or death for them. But John says he is not them, it’s him, and he is not an idiot. She scoffs, and says how can she tell. He says if she wants to support him then fine, he’ll give her half as a token and she can panhandle on the E train. She tells him he is a moron. But he shouts he lives in the real world where he works for his money, and she is not giving another penny to that leftover beatnik faker and his mumbo-jumbo magazine, and he storms off. She turns and throws a vase at him, which misses and hits the wall. She says she wants a divorce.

At the home of Don McCallum, Nichols and Wheeler are at the door, and McCallum says to his wife, holding a little baby, that he should talk to them in private. Outside, they tell him what Emma Cohen had told them, and when Wheeler wonders out loud if his wife knows, he says Lauren came to see them but they didn’t have sex, they started something they didn’t finish. She didn’t want to do it, Jacob wanted her to. He didn’t think that Jacob advertised to her that he “whored out” his previous girlfriends. He says if he doesn’t believe him to go ask Jacob.

The detectives head to the Village Quarterly, finding the door open as they arrive. They find Jacob at his desk, head down, bloodied, and dead. Nichols says, “We can ask him, but I don’t think he’s gonna answer.”

Later, with CSU people on scene, the detectives are told that the guy on the floor below saw Jacob at 6 PM. The same neighbor came up to borrow the newspaper at 7 and found the body. That ruled out Don as he was with them. ME Rodgers counted 7-8 stab wounds, and Nichols notices that the blood spatter pattern may indicate fury. Rodgers said they found bloody scissors under the desk, and adds the victim should have known to keep his eyes open – because he had been through it before. She points out and old knife wound on his arm from maybe 10-15 years ago. Nichols asks what are the odds of one poet getting stabbed twice by two different people. Wheeler plays back a message on the answering machine for John Dunbar, yelling that he can’t hide forever, calling him a damn bastard and telling him to answer the phone, and then hanging up.

They head to the Dunbar residence, where Sandra tells them John is not there. She seems upset. She begins to cry, saying she is not good at this. She says she and John are splitting up. She says she never complained about his interests but she donates a few dollars to a poetry journal… Nichols says they have more bad news for her, and Wheeler tells her Jacob has been murdered. She asks why anyone would want to kill Jacob. Nichols says he made some of his girlfriends sleep with donor for money, but Sandra says that is not possible, he didn’t care about money, he only cared about art. She said John cold never understand that.

Later, in the Major Case interrogation room, the detectives play back John Dunbar’s message on Jacob’s answering machine to John. They ask if he ever found him, and he asks if they think he killed him. Wheeler comments that he sounded angry, but John says he is the happiest guy in the world. She says the divorce was Sandra’s idea. When Nichols asked why the angry calls to Jacob, John says that he conned Sandra of $100 grand of his hard earned money. He adds when he met Sandra, she was working three jobs to pay tuition at Queens College, and thank god for prenups, she’s taking out of this marriage what he brought in, a nice rack and 100 bucks. He said he never spoke with Jacob, and at the time Jacob was killed he was having dinner with his girlfriend, he has nothing to hide.

Later, Wheeler says if her kid says she wants to be a poet, she will tell her to join the Mafia, they are nice people. They tell Ross John’s alibi holds. Nichols is looking up something on the computer, saying Jacob was stabbed about 10 or15 years ago, and he finds a police report that was filed from 1996 showing an assault by knife for Jacob, no charges filed, the victim a student from Queens College – where Sandra Dunbar went. Nichols brings up the page for the 1996 Queens Poetics Guild, with Jacob’s name on the list, and also Sandra O’Bannon. There is an old photo of them together. Nichols says the poem he thought was about Lauren was about Sandra.

Back at Sandra’s home, she is reading Jacob’s poem. She puts it into the fireplace and allows it to burn.

Later, the detectives show the old picture or Jacob and Sandra to another women who was part of the poetry group. She says they were all in awe of them, and they were in crazy love and lived and breathed poetry. They would have these fights and then lock themselves up in the bedroom for says. They would argue about mundane things. Sandra caught Jacob with another woman from Romania and stabbed him right in the bar.

Later, at Sandra’s home, Nichols arrives alone. He indicates he was concerned because she was so upset when they were last there, and she calls him a cop who cares. He plays the piano for her, and she says, “Wow” when he finishes. He says he wrote that when his wife left, and adds they had been together since they were kids. She didn’t want him to be a cop. Sandra says John didn’t want her to be a human being, she met him senior year at Queens College. She liked Jacob but she married John. She moves to sit down on the piano bench next to Nichols, and goes on to say she saw a poem a few months ago written by Jacob, and she decided to get back in touch. Nichols says that he was going to be a musician he thought, he’s a middle-aged cop who can bang out a tune or two at a party. Sandra said Jacob would have starved before he gave up his poetry for a paycheck. Nichols continues to play.

The next day, back at Major Case, Wheeler asks Nichols how was last night. He says that we have a lot in common, smiling. He adds they both think that Jacob Garrety was a prince, it turns out she got back in touch with him after she saw the poem in the December issue, and it brought it all back. He asks Wheeler if she would like to go to a poetry reading, and brings out a blank legal pad.

At a memorial gathering for Jacob, Sandra is there, kissing Nichols on both cheeks, saying if she knew he was coming she would have arranged for him to play. He says the player is doing all right, he’s pretty good. Don McCallum tells them they are ready to begin, they are there to pay tribute to the life and work of Jacob Garrety. He says he knows many of them want to speak and read, and Nichols raises his hand immediately. He says he is not there officially but would like to read something, and Don asks if it is a poem. Nichols says yes, and moves to the stage, nudging Don away from the microphone. He tells the crowd that they had been investigating his death and searched Jacob’s office and he found a poem in his desk, it was a poem, unfinished, and he felt it was fitting he shared it with all of them. He begins to read it back, using some of the phases from the poem that Jacob wrote about Sandra. Sandra walks out, and Nichols follows her on to the street. He says he needs help to understand the poem, it seems to be about a long lost love who has come back to life, but they know that Lauren was the girlfriend. Sandra says it was not about her, and when Nichols says no, Jacob said Lauren was the love of his life, Sandra yells that it wasn’t about her. She said he didn’t love her. Nichols says Sandra may be right, it was about a long lost love, and the poem says “the years that flew retraced their steps” and asks if this is about her. She nods yes, and he goes on to say that she new Jacob in college but married John Dunbar, and then she came back. She admits she did. When he tells her she is the kind of woman Jacob would love because she understood his art, she begins to sob, and says, ‘Oh god, why didn’t he say something?” She continues to get upset, and says when she went to see him…she pauses, and Nichols comments it was the night he was killed, what did he say to her? She said he told her to go back to her husband before it is too late, that he didn’t want her he only wanted his money. Nichols says that is a horrible thing to say. He adds she got angry of course and got the scissors, and she cuts him off, saying he didn’t mean it and it was the pressure from losing the magazine. Nichols says he wrote this for her, even after he knew what she did to Lauren. She said it was an accident, she tried to reason with her and told her she would pay for her to go to graduate school in Europe if she would just go away and get away from him but she wouldn’t. She said they loved each other and she was old news, nothing, a joke. Sandra said she knew he didn’t love Lauren, he loved her, and she was right. She continues to sob.

Later, as the police take her away, Nichols says to Wheeler, “Nothing like a good love poem to let the emotions flowing.” Wheeler asks, “So you’re not gonna tell her you wrote it?” Nichols responds, “That would be cruel.”

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Jachelle said...

Great recap as always. I agree that Jeff Golblum is a great addition to the show. I've been enjoying his episodes more and more. The Goren/Eames ones will always be my favorites, but I liked the Logan and now the Nichols ones as well.

I was afraid Goren and Nichols mihgt be too similar, and their both very intelligent and know how to get into the suspects' heads, but in totally different ways. I like that Nichols is so knowlegable about psychology because of his parents. Goren is savvy about psychology also, but he gets his information from books. By the way, I also liked your observation about Wheeler reminding you of Lennie Briscoe. May the spirit of Lennie live on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recap! Do you know where I can find the poem that Jacob Garrety recites at his reading at the beginning of the episode? It's about the street and how people think the pavement is there for them to walk on but how it's there even when they are gone. Thanks for any thoughts.