Friday, February 26, 2010

USA Network Kicks Off New Season of Law & Order Criminal Intent

Here is a press release from USA Network announcing their spring line up and it includes some information that Law & Order Criminal Intent fans may like to know.

Released by USA
New Faces and Guest Stars Illuminate 10pm slots on Tuesday and Wednesday Nights

NEW YORK, NEW YORK February 26, 2010 USA Network will offer all-new seasons of its highly-rated series LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT and IN PLAIN SIGHT this spring featuring 16 consecutive action-packed episodes and all-new time slots. The line-up continues the network's commitment to 10pm quality programming with the ninth season of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT premiering Tuesday, March 30 followed by the season three premiere of IN PLAIN SIGHT on Wednesday, March 31.

IN PLAIN SIGHT reigned as the most-watched series on basic cable Sundays in 2009. LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT was second only to IN PLAIN SIGHT on Sundays in 2009 among total viewers and ranked as the #3 drama among P25-54, P18-49 and households.

Season nine of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT gets underway as we say goodbye to old friends and welcome new faces to the Major Case Squad. Saffron Burrows ("Boston Legal," "Troy"), the beautiful and talented SAG nominee, becomes the newest partner to Jeff Goldblum's Detective Zach Nichols. As Detective Serena Stevens, Burrows plays a highly educated, worldly single parent with a broad range of life experiences to draw upon in solving even the toughest of cases. Teamed with Detective Zach Nichols, they create a partnership of challenging intellect and street-smart savvy. Dick Wolf's third installment in the "Law & Order" franchise follows the Major Case Squad as it investigates high profile crimes. The cases often revolve around homicides, serial killers, VIPs, government officials and figureheads from the business and creative worlds. Unlike other procedural dramas, CRIMINAL INTENT focuses on the criminal psyche. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio steps into the role of Captain Zoe Callas after an action-packed tw o-part series premiere. The exciting guest line-up for season nine includes Dan Lauria, Ralph Macchio, Dan Butler , Tracy Pollan and William Mapother. LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT comes from Wolf Films and Universal Cable Productions.

The season three premiere of action-packed IN PLAIN SIGHT kicks off in dramatic fashion as Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) and partner Marshall (Frederick Weller) search for the person who nearly killed Mary in the season two cliffhanger. The most-watched series on basic cable Sundays in 2009, IN PLAIN SIGHT stars Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon, a U.S. Marshal working in the highly secretive witness protection program (WITSEC). Her job is to relocate Federal Witnesses, some of whom are career criminals, and some of whom are innocents who had the misfortune of witnessing a crime. But they all have one thing in common someone wants them dead. Mary's job is to make sure this doesn't happen, while at the same time dealing with her own dysfunctional family. IN PLAIN SIGHT also stars Frederick Weller, Nichole Hiltz and Paul Ben-Victor, along with returning guest-stars Lesley Ann Warren, Cristian de la Fuente, and Joshua Malina. Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner Rita Moreno ("Cane," "The Guardian"), four-time Emmy winner Allison Janney ("The West Wing," "Juno"), Steven Weber ("Wings," "Studio 60"), Tess Harper ("No Country for Old Men," "Breaking Bad"), Josh Cooke ("Committed," "Four Kings") and Donnie Wahlberg ("Boomtown," "The Sixth Sense") have also been cast to guest star in season three in the USA Network hit original series. Showrunner John McNamara ("The Fugitive," "Eyes") joins the show this year as writer/executive producer, further elevating the show's narrative drive, production value and design. IN PLAIN SIGHT comes from Universal Cable Productions.

USA Network is the #1 network in all of basic cable and is seen in over 98.5 million U.S. homes. A division of NBC Universal, USA is the cable television leader in original series and home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, acquired television series and entertainment events. The award-winning USA website is located at Characters Welcome.

USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.

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

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


Jane said...

Looks like they have changed the names of Saffron and Mary's characters, they had them down as Julia Porter and Sarah Brooks before. Its going to interesting to see Saffron and Jeff work togetehr, I am going to miss Goren and Eames ( and Ross) like heck though:'(

Music Wench said...

Well, they've already decided to not even mention Vincent, Kate and Eric. Nice job USA. I hope you tank. Sorry, but to me the show is Goren and Eames. No Goren and Eames, no LOCI. They should have just cancelled it outright and started a whole new show.

The only reason they have maintained decent numbers is because of Vincent D'Onofrio's ardent fans. Face it, the series was horrible in season 8. The only reason anyone is still watching is for the lead characters. I predict great ratings for episodes one and two and then nothing. Maybe it's just wishful thinking but with all the chatter on the internet, it certainly sounds like the show is dead after that.

All Things Law and Order said...

I'm trying to go in to this with an open mind, but admit that after I read that press release that I just did not have a very good feeling about what is happening to that show.

Jane said...

Series 8 was only awful because of the way they[USA] broadcast the episodes out of sequence and because of the scripts that were written[Dick Wolf "got rid" of all his good writers] I only count a couple of good ones on both sides. They need to establish Jeff's character this season, they didn't need to do that with Logan since he was already a fully fledged character in L&O. Yes I am not happy about them treating the originals as an afterthought either but that's NBC, they even own Hallmark UK now so they advertise the show the same way as USA>:(

Rob said...

Well, I for one am excited. The thing this show needs is a kick in the ass and the writing last season had moments that recaptured the essence of the smart, clever procedural that made the show good in the first place. The finale was probably the best episode since Balcer left, even - shockingly - without D'Onofrio. I'm keen to give Burrows, Goldblum and Mastriantano their fair shake.

And maybe it makes *me* the insane one, but I do not see the whole situation as some multi-season conspiracy by NBC and USA to drive D'Onofrio and Erbeoff the show.

Music Wench said...

Guess I just like character depth. Not shallow procedurals. I can watch shows on cable that show that.

So now we who stand up for the actors and characters are now conspiracy theorists. Figures coming from a Balcer groupie.

Anonymous said...

What I saw when looking at the photos of Goldblum and Saffron Burrows (here: that the other blog poster yesterday is that maybe the producers didn't think Nicholson or Erbe were pretty enough to pair with Goldblum. It seems Saffron is vamping for the cameras, something that Erbe and Nicholson would not have done. I do not think there is any conspiracy to get rid of D'Onofrio or the rest of them, I just think that the show wantsd prettier people because they think that only pretty sells.

Gina said...

Unlike some people who apparently don't follow fan sites that pick up interviews and news of the actors, it seems I believe musicwench is right.

I also agree with anonymous. Glad some people are happy but mark my words, the only reason people watch is for Goren and Eames.

If you thought season 8 was good writing, you have bad taste. It was no where near as good as what Balcer gave us in the early days and not as interesting as what Leight gave us. That atrocious 'All In' was stupid and lazy writing. Any long time fan would know that.

Here's a real conspiracy for you if you want one. Anyone who praises season 8 for the writing is probably someone who works for Wolf Productions and not a real fan. Clever procedural? Hardly. It's an insult to Balcer to even put season 8 in the same category of his work.

Rob said...

I didn't say I thought season 8 was good writing as a whole. I said there were moments that displayed promise. It was a new writing team, and there were problems on the Goldblum side. Rome wasn't built in a day and that jazz. The last episode by L&O vet Michael Chernuchin was one of the best episodes in a long, long time.

And yes, I believe the show was a lot closer to what it was conceived as than it was under Warren Leight, who turned it into an overwrought, melodramatic pap fest that was saved from SVU-territory due to better actors. Was season 8 at the same level? Not for most of the season, but at least it was recognisable.

If you want in-depth character drama, watch MAD MEN, or IN TREATMENT. L&O's character development comes from moments, not over the top backstories and implausibilities. Good actors - like Erbe and D'Onofrio - can make more of those moments than bad ones and CI gave them more meat for to chew than the mothership, but prior to season eight it was still contained organically within the realm of a crime procedural.

As to this Balcer groupie crap? Whatever. I'm not going to get into a flame war on a blog. Just check the fan sites, it goes beyond "defending the actors".

Rob said...

*prior to season SIX. My bad.

Gina said...

I stand corrected then. Season 8 had one writer that made the show bearable. Michael Chernuchin wrote the one episode of season 8 I found tolerable. So he shows promise. But one writer does not a series make. And to be honest, I can't stand Jeff Goldblum. So it made it hard to take. Kind of like some people don't like Vincent D'Onofrio.

So I am another fan who will leave the show with Vincent and Kate. I was actually starting to enjoy Ross, too.

Oh well, I certainly will be watching Mad Men and other shows. You all can have the sterile procedures.

Anonymous said...

The general consensus seems to be Jeff Goldblum has made an excellent addition and re-energized the series.(As much as there able)He has received and I quote "rave reviews". The ratings are virtually identical.In fact the season's highest rated episode was a Nichols. If there is a greater sense of humor over all.(thanks to Jeff)That's most welcome imo.Should we get more episodes as good as In Treatment,Major Case, and Revolution I will be happy.

Max said...

Well I heard Michael S. Chernuchin is about to get his position kicked down to co-exec. producer and Neal Bear (SVU exec. producer) is coming in, idk When (probably Puntland or Mad Mullah now.) the way LOCI's promo leads us, it's gonna be a rockin' premiere. Seems like Baer's work. Characters dying in explosives or gunshots usually are on SVU more so than LOCI. NO LOCI character has EVER been killed off.

I'll watch Blun/Burrows, But If I don't like... I will reject and take my attention back to the original Law & Order. (With Rene Balcer).

Max said...


Anonymous said...

Michael S. Chernuchin was the head writer for Law & Order (1990) for the first couple of seasons with Dick Wolf (the first season) like Balcer. So he was the first writer under Dick Wolf's wings. So Chernchin (and Balcer) know(s) more about a L&O type episode than anyone else and their mama's. Not offending anyone of course (fanfic writers and etc.)

Anonymous said...

Matt Nix (USA: "Burn Notice") needs to be on the LOCI writing staff. He writes a pretty good crime, spy, dramatic, explosive episode. I think he has what LOCI could use. "NEWER YOUNGER Fresh Eyes". Like Max said most of LOCI's writers have been around since the mothership, when they were young & fresh.

I think Burn Notice's season finale is this upcoming Thursday. I might watch it. Depends on if I'm in a USA Network mood or not.

As for VDO/KE & JG/JN episode fans. Don't blame the actors (as Linus Roache said in an interview): it's the writers... they write.

Actors... they act out what writers write. So take the blame game off of our stars and on Wolf & NBCU/USA Network. They employ these writers. Michael S. Chernuchin is probably the best of the new LOCI writers. He should have wrote Faithfully & Playing Dead.

Music Wench said...

Don't you love anonymous praiser(s) of a show? ;-)

I'm done. Sorry if I started a panic and brought along the cheerleaders to finally comment to try and move the negative trend to positive. Good luck you all. It was nice while it lasted. lol

Gina said...

Whose general consensus?

And who said it was any actor's fault?

Guess we stirred up some of the troops to come riding in to support the show, though.

And they say Vincent D'Onofrio fans are rabid!

janethyland said...

Its all very predictable.This sudden cheerleading to defend the brand forward at all costs has been going on for years and contaminated most sites. They must see this as an important site if they have turned up here.

Actually the ratings for season 8 were significantly lower than the comparable period for season 7, and those for Goldblum werent any higher for Goldblum than for Goren. Ratings were random and up and down for the entire season 8.Best rating was for Eames with goldblum and she is leaving.It was the curiosity factor there.

And Revolution was awful. A simplistic comic book rendition with the melodrama of an SVU episode.

All Things Law and Order said...

As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to go into this with an open mind. I liked Goldblum a lot and agree he put more energy into the show, but also qualify that with saying he did it while paired with Nicholson or Erbe. I didn't much care for the brief character profile of "Serena Stevens" and just shuddered at the name, since Serena has negative L&O memories for me. I am going to take a wait and see, but the whole character profile just seemed a little to corny for me. All we can do right now is wait and see.

if I can throw my 2 cents into the ring on the Neal Baer rumors, I personally don't like what he's doing with SVU so I don't think that would be a good thing him coming to LOCI.

Gina said...

Well, all I know is, I think this is a great blog. So is the These Are Their Stories blog. And I believe it is highly regarded.

I do want to know where all the Goldblum cheerleaders came from all of a sudden and where they got their stats and "general consensus" from.

From everything I've seen, it's been okay to mostly negative on Goldblum. Maybe they're only visiting Goldblum fan sites. lol

Again, not saying he's a lousy actor or anything. Obviously he's successful so he must be doing something right. My dislike for him is just a personal preference. Like I agree Jack Nicholson is a great actor but I can't stand him either.

So really, it's the writing everyone's been criticizing. Where you get people are critcizing the actors are beyond me. The fans have been defending the actors and being thought of as "the crazy" ones apparently.

At least from what Rob says, I get that's what started the potential flame war. lol

Carla M. said...

You know what I think:

Law & Order: Criminal Intent should just be...


The ratings are going to fall dramatically after episode 9.02!

I don't see much of a future for LOCI unless VDO/KE come back and/or the show moves to NBC to pick up ratings.

I heard Neal Baer was coming to LOCI too. And he is going to screw the series up more if he does. That's why SVU's 10th and 11th season SUCK! 8&9 weren't up to par on SVU standards either. Seasons 1-7 are probably the best of the series, esp. season 3 because he was the highest rated and Neal Bear didn't work with SVU that much back then... then it was under Dick Wolf with help from Rene Balcer. (GO BACK TO LOCI RENE!)

Personally I think Dick Wolf should write for all 3 (soon to be 4) of his series'. He is THE only one who knows what a REAL Law & Order episode is.





Mark said...

I agree with Carla M. The show should just be canceled. The Burrows character doesn't sound attractive although she looks it apparently. It smacks of desperation.

Anyone who thinks Goren and Eames aren't important to the show is delusional.

And I can bet that if Balcer were writing for the show again, he'd have come up with a better character than the Nichols one. Perhaps he doesn't want to have anything to do with the LOCI any more since it resembles nothing of the show he left.

While I prefer the earlier seasons that Balcer ran the show, I thought at least Leight was competent as a show runner even if he did take the show into an overly emotional direction than is suitable to my taste. Season 8 was abysmal and if the actors are happy to leave that's probably why.

It should have been canceled outright instead of being revamped into something unrecognizable except maybe as L&O light. It's certainly not LOCI.

Anonymous said...

LOCI & SVU Fans are blowing up now!

To me Rene Balcer is probably the best showrunner for LOCI. I think Michael S. Chernichin should go to the mothership and run it.

Like Carla said above it's too political not like it used to be... about homicides, suicides, attorney's and trials. The character Jack McCoy is not himself anymore. Even if Sam wants his character to be on screen less time they shouldn't change his personality.

Neal Baer SHOULD LEAVE SVU & NOT GO TO LOCI. I want SVU like it used to be about the sex crimes and putting the perps trials... not making the show Day of our Lives or Passions!

LOCI needs Rene AND Warren back TOGETHER. I'd watch LOCI with Jeff Goldlbum/Saffron Burrows if Rene and Warren were on the series.

Dick Wolf's series themselves are fine, the actors/characters and timeslot. But the employees like the writing teams and the executive producers they want to make the show in an image that THEY see it, NOT the way Dick Wolf and the L&O fans see it.

DICK WOLF & NBCU NEEDS to FIRE the following people: Neal Baer, Amanda Green, Dawn DeNoon, Daniel Truly, Mick Betancourt, Michael S. Chernuchin, Ed Zuckerman (should stay on L&O not LOCI), Judith McCreary, Michael Angeli, Antoinette Stella (stay on L&O not LOCI), Pamela Wechsler, & Walon Green (stay on L&O not LOCI).

DICK WOLF & NBCU NEEDS to REHIRE the following people:

L&O: Douglas Stark, Kathy McCormick, Richard Sweren, Barry Schindel, Robert Palm, Eric Overmyer, William N. Fordes, & Sean Jablonski. (Seasons 10-12)

SVU: Marilyn Osborn, Robert F. Campbell, Jonathan Greene, Lisa Marie Petersen, Jeff Eckerle, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Samantha Howard Corbin, Kathy Ebel, Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Stephen Belber, & Patrick Harbinson. (Seasons 1, 3, & 7)

CI: Rene Balcer, Warren Leight, Stephanie Sengupta, Jacquelyn Reingold, Jim Sterling, Marlane Gomard Meyer, Charlie Rubin, Julie Martin, Gina Gionfriddo, and Siobhan Byrne O'Connor (Seasons 3 & 5)


Fecci said...


* Why is Neal Baer even trying to go to CI? He's already messed up SVU.
(DOOL, lol.) And he needs the 8888 slapped out of him too for letting SVU go down like it has. It's too much drama between the main characters and their personal lives. NOT ENOUGH drama between the guest characters, the victims, perps, et cettra.

* For the mothership, I think some of the writers from shows like NCIS or CSI need to come in and pick it back up. The mothership has great actors that you wouldn't find anywhere else... but the writing and producing sucks because it doesn't 'touch all the bases' like it used to. And the mothership needs a good face-lift anyway, 20 years.

* CI: It's been ****ed up since season 6 after Rene Balcer threw in the towel and went back to the mothership. And the series moved to USA Network (the blue skies network); which really messed up the series anyway. Season 8 could have been WAY BETTER than what it was if both Leight and Balcer were in charge. Then D'Onofrio, Erbe, and Bogosian are taking off and Goldblum (no offense to him) is taking over which messes the shows fanbase up even more. Fans finally got used to VDO/KE after season 7 and then BAM! This 8888 happens.

Like it was mentioned above NBC should just fire a bunch of people. The shows need revampig 'executively' (the staff) and not actually (the actors and their characters).

Anonymous said...

Well Rob who makes snide remarks about fans who stand up for the actors and the anomymous who insults fanfic writers. Thanks for making us feel unwanted. Guess you all feel you found new fans for the shows then? Fine. We will all probably be watching the other shows that are better written and developed. Don't forget it's the fanfic writers who are the core group of fans. Lose us and you lose a lot. As for USA's press release, it's an insult and if you don't see it that way fine but don't go insulting those of us who do by implying we're crazy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I know a guy on who is pissed off and is going to start making LOCI G/E fanfics... and I ask you, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT?


LOCI/SVU are based soley on pretty fair writing w/ certain actors & characters. So I understand why the fans of LOCI/SVU are mad.

Sara said...


"They must see this as an important site if they have turned up here."

You're right, this is an important site. This and the author's other Law & Order blogs are the most comprehensive Internet resources for information on any L&O franchise. In fact, the author was featured in TV Guide's Law & Order Edition last summer.

After Chris Noth departed, I only watched the Season 8 episodes with D'Onofrio and Erbe. I am not a big fan of Jeff Goldblum--he's not even on the same level as Chris Noth. I too will stop watching this show when Goren, Eames and Eric Bogosian leave.

What a shame such a great franchise had to end like this.

Rosemary said...

I just re-watched an old episode of CI tonight - Conscience, about the woman whose husband put her in the vegetative state. It reminded me what a great show this was. I wish somehow that they could bring Goren and Eames back (I was fine with Jeff doing half the shows) along with Rene Balcer, to save LOCI. But we may have to settle for the DVDs :(

janethyland said...

Actually the franchise is not what it was,but has entered into a sort of populist phase in a desperate attempt to compete with other procedurals for ratings.

None of the writing compares to those early days of the mothership when it came into the 90's with innovation and energy.

Whatever fans think, all the Law and Orders have become more personal and emotional. SVU has become very melodramatic, Mothership has just become polemical which is not good drama and LOCI seems to have lost identity altogether.They have all become very repetitive,rehashing previous storylines etc.There is an anger and desperation in the writing that was never there before.

The energy is completely different,a franchise that seems to be reflecting the tired network it serves.Mothership is on the bubble year after year and only survives because of its history, If it was on another network with better competition it would not survive. But it almost seems like any competition is blown out of the water, like Southland or Prime Suspect, both of which came to nothing on NBC.

Music Wench said...

Just wanted to say I've been following most of this author's various blogs and I have to say they are all very well informed and well written.

So not having realized the two L&O blogs were featured in TV Guide, I offer a belated congratulations.

Gahks said...

@Anonymous: William N. Fordes and Richard Sweren are still on the mothership. Fordes hasn't yet written an episode for season 20, which is surprising. (Maybe he's writing the 450th?)

I am keeping my fingers crossed for some decent writing for season 20, as an 18-year-old British viewer who won't likely see "current" episodes of the mothership until 2014... But if it is as intelligent, thought-provoking and powerful as L&O has always been(not the way L&O:UK is going sadly - too sensationalist and not gritty enough, I will remain a loyal fan. Besides, if Balcer is exec. producer, who can complain? At least he's experienced enough to be able to tackle controversy well, not superficially skirt around it.

As regards CI, I will definitely miss Goren & Eames. They always were the show. Season five is currently being rerun here (the last of the Balcer years), and the writing never fails to impress me, even on the Noth episodes. It's a shame to see CI meet such a hideous fate as it appears to be. I am looking forward to seeing what Leight does in season 7 (I may just be able to forgive him for season 6), and fingers crossed season 9 premiere will be great.

If the Neal Baer rumours ARE true... I shudder to think what will happen to the show. Okay, he may be great on SVU (drawing on my expertise of seasons 1-7), but CI is a very different type of show. It's much darker and more cerebral. But really... couldn't they have kept VDO and KE until the 200th episode?

If anything, I want to see Wolf and Balcer do a three-way crossover, as proposed back in 2001, with VDO and KE given extremely prominent roles. A la CSI, but much much better. That would be awesome!

Josie said...

I think ALL L&Os are good shows! But the people behind the smoke and mirrors need to get NEW material instead of 'ripping from headlines (and old episodes) so much'

I can think of a bunch of ways to write a standard L&O episode and turn the minor characters crazy and make the regular characters stay regular.

L&O is alive because it's not so character based. SVU (seasons 8+) and LOCI (seasons 5+) they shouldn't have been related towards the main characters... it's just wrong!


As for LOCI's 9th: Goldblum shouldn't be taking over the series... they KNOW DIEHARD G/E fans aren't going to watch. (ME!) So the show needs to meet the NBC Universal trash can.

As for SVU's 11th: "The Stabler-Benson Hour" needs to been turned back down to "The Special Victims Drama" again, Neal Baer [and a few others] need[s] to step down as Executive Producer. SVU shouldn't be so melodramatic.

L&O - 20 years and going strong (in some capacity.) If L&O writers would keep the 'political' writting to the polititions I'd be ok in my book. Episodes like Reality Bites, Doped, Shotgun, Fed, Blackmail, Steel-Eyed Deaths, and Boy on Fire are great for Law & Order episodes. The episodes about Jack McCoy and his DA status are kind of irrelevant, maybe back in seasons 17 & 18 but here almost 3-4 years later, it needs to be turned down and Jack (Sam) needs to get back in the courtroom.

Dick Wolf does need to think about laying off some key people currently in the USA L&O franchise.