Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Law & Order CI “Loyalty Part 2” Recap & Review

All photos NBCU

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Loyalty Part 2” marked the exit of two of the show’s stars, Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, and this episode showed clearly that these two are one of the best detective pairings in the history of the Law & Order franchise. Their performances were excellent, with Erbe probably doing some of her best work ever on the series. During the final scene with D’Onofrio and Erbe together I felt they were giving a farewell to the fans who loved this team so much. It was as if one could feel the love coming through the screen, with D’Onofrio giving viewers a virtual hug. While Goren is now fired, I hope the door remains open that he can come in to either consult, or, do other work for Major Case that would allow D’Onofrio to make guest appearances. It would also be a nice move for Erbe if Eames would have a change of heart and take the captain’s exam and maybe qualify to take Anita Van Buren’s spot when she exits the 2-7. Anything is possible.

The story, however, wasn’t all that great. Putting both Part 1 and Part 2 together, the story was over complicated. I also felt the same thing in this episode that I felt in Part 1 – the appearance of Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) plus Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) was jarring. It ruined both the momentum and the overall tone. They seemed to interject light lines from Nichols that seemed awkward and ill placed. And, did Nichols honestly believe that the FBI would just drop the Goren issue just because Nichols said that Major Case should look at Goren as suspect? If I had control over writing these two episodes, I would have made it all about Goren and Eames, or at least not added Serena Stevens into the mix. It always is hard for fans to accept a person in their first appearance, especially when coming into a show with an established cast, so I will try to refrain from being too brutal on Saffron Burrows. My first impression is tepid at best. What I see on the surface is a pretty face without much personality in the acting. (You may think that IS being too brutal but I've said worse about other newbies.) My opinion may change once I’ve seen a full episode with her and Goldblum working a case themselves from start to finish. One thing is obvious with this episode, the Nichols/Stevens partnership won’t be anything like Goren and Eames, and we could be seeing a very different kind of Criminal Intent this season. The big question is: will the change be a turn off for fans? I know that many D’Onofrio and Erbe fans won’t be returning, and I can understand why. The show may pick up viewers who are fans of Goldblum to offset the loss, but the truth will be in the numbers, and I am sure USA Network will be watching those numbers closely. I will continue to watch, to recap, and be honest about what I see. I hope it won’t be wasted time.

Here is the recap:

Bagpipes play at the Captain Danny’s Ross’s grave service as Detectives Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio), Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe), Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) look on, solemnly.

Back at the courthouse, Van Dekker (John Sharian), after being released on $2 million bail, is being led away by the FBI, accompanied by Agent Stahl (Amy Landecker), to be placed in federal custody and Goren and Eames arrive with a DA’s warrant to arrest him. As Van Dekker is reluctant to go, Goren grabs him, pulls him away, and angrily shoves him against the wall and is pulled off by nearby police and FBI. A custody disagreement ensues, and one of the FBI guys says they are not releasing Van Dekker to a maniac. But Eames reminds him they have a warrant, with Stahl saying she can stick that warrant. As the FBI leads Van Dekker away, Eames says, “This is bad, Bobby.” Goren replies, “No, it’s good, it’s good.”

Later, Goren and Eames are in Captain Maas (David Zayas) office and he tells Goren that the issue has been taken to the commissioner. Zach Nichols is at his desk, and Detective Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) arrives from Chicago, saying she was Ross’s last hire. As they talk, Goren storms out of Maas’ office, with Eames and Maas following. Maas tells Goren he is suspended. As Eames shakes her head, Goren turns over his gun and badge. He walks off and Eames tells him she talked them out of the psych evaluation and he can thank her later. He turns over his information to Zach and tells him he will be in touch with him – and with Eames, and Goren leaves. Zach motions that Serena is new, and Eames says, “Oh, it’s fun here.”

Elsewhere, Hassan (Ato Essandoh) is with a man who is looking over the micro component in the gun, telling them it has a GPS which can locate the weapon to 30 feet. Kadra believes the Americans planted the weapons so they could be stolen, or that they could be honed in on and vaporized. Hassan tells him to leave the component in there, for the Americans to succeed, he must succeed.

Back at Major Case, Zach goes over the case with Zach. Zach wonders more about the man killed at sea, who was a descendant of Abdulla Hassan, a national hero to some. They wonder who is out there who cares about it.

At the home of Jan Van Dekker, Hassan is there with the nameless man who shot Ross (Babs Olusanmokun) and others. Van Dekker hands him an urn with the remains of his father. Hassan says he must reimburse Van Dekker for this, and saying it is a cultural thing. Killer man takes out his gun and shoots Van Dekker.

Later, the police are at Van Dekker’s, along with Nichols, Stevens, and Eames. Rodgers finds steel wool near the gunshot wound and Nichols assumes it was a homemade silencer. The FBI arrives, and Stahl asks if anyone asked Goren about this as Goren had threatened Van Dekker. Eames tells her to ask Goren herself. When the FBI thinks Goren could have used the pattern from another murder, Nichols says they have a point and tells Eames they have to go where the evidence takes them. Eames glares at him and says “Then go alone.” As she storms of, Nichols follows her, and Eames tells him not to ask her to buy into an idea about Goren, but he cuts her off and loudly argues back it is their job, but lowers his voice and whispers they don’t want the FBI putting anyone else on it. Eames seems to soften. When Stevens walks up and asks if this is private, Eames fakes being upset and tells her to join it, it’s “betray your partner day.” He whispers again that is not what he is saying and to tell Goren that. She storms off. Nichols tells Stevens, “See? It is fun here.”

Later, in Goren’s apartment, Eames talks with him about what is going on. He tells her is it is in all their best interests to go along with what Nichols is trying to do. He tells her when the shooting occurred he was home alone and it is clear he is still working the case. He also says Lofton’s tax returns shows income from Russell Alton Milgrim, and when Eames sees he has a DMV photo of Milgrim, she is worried that he is getting his information form a police database, saying they will add that to the charges. He says it doesn’t matter, but she says the FBI wants his head. He goes on to say that Milgrim is an investment capitalist and while he seems legit he may be the money trail. Eames says she should try to talk him out of this, and he says that has always been a wasted effort. She says, “Yeah, right.”

Back at Major Case, Nichols and Stevens continues to work the case. She shows him a picture which includes the dead sheik’s son who appeared unexpectedly at the wedding. She tells Nichols that his son is in New York and he owns an advertising agency. Later, At Qandala Worldwide, they speak with Hassan and his sister Kadra (Condola Rashad), who says they are two of forty children. The urn with the remains is on Hassan’s desk. When they ask Hassan about the wedding, he says he was in Europe on business and made a quick trip to see his father’s seventh bride. Nichols gets a little squirmy and notes the picture of Sayid Abdullah Al Hassan, and they say he is their great great grandfather. Nichols makes a move to leave and Stevens comments she assumes they know Jan Van Dekker, and Hassan says he is not certain. They tell him he is the murder victim and may have had a connection to his father, but Hassan says his father had so many connections and they were aware of so few. As they leave the office, Nichols complements her on bringing up Van Dekker, and she comments that the revelation they were in Djibouti has her sister hyperventilating, wondering if Hassan’s sister was going to ask him about it now. Back in Hassan’s office, Kadra is challenging Hassan on the matter, and he says he was there to warn his father. They hear someone at the door, and Hassan opens it to see Jill making a quick exit. Kadra asks if Jill heard, and Hassan says, “Tonight, I swear. I will deal with it”

Elsewhere, Goren is at a bar, tailing Milgrim. When Milgrim excuses himself to the men’s room, Goren follows. Goren confronts him, and smacks him in the neck, and as he pressures him and knocking him down, he gives him the impression he the killer going after everyone, Milgrim starts going off about the guns, telling him there is an industrial site he acquired and Lofton needed storage space. Goren takes out his phone – Milgrim seemingly thinking it was a gun – and Goren tells him to call there and say someone else is coming.

Goren arrives at the building and is given access to the area. He walks outside and sees the remains of a small explosion. He goes to a door and looks in. He goes back to the security guard post and asks to see the log, and hones in on R.J. Patel.

Later, Hassan is with Jill (Jicky Schnee), telling her about his father. She says she will embrace his culture and faith. When he says he will get them a drink, she says she thought Muslims had to abstain from alcohol. He says he was told by another man that Allah would change it to water after it crossed his lips. She goes up to the bedroom and he moves to add poison to her glass.

Goren arrives at R.J. Patel Electronics, and represents himself as a shipping broker. Patel asks how he came to this place, and Patel is suspicious and orders someone to come in and someone holds a gun to Goren’s head. Patel calls someone on the phone.

Elsewhere, Eames meets with Nichols and says she will work with him investigating Goren, and Nichols correctly guesses that Goren insisted. She tells him Goren has no alibi and he says it is good enough for him. Nichols tells him they are looking at Hassan as being connected to everything, and that Hassan is involved with Jill Peak,

Eames, Nichols, and Stevens arrive at Jill’s apartment, and find the door unlocked. They enter and Jill comes downstairs, Nichols commenting on making her apartment more secure. She has a photo studio in her apartment. They ask her about Hassan, then ask about Van Dekker, but she doesn’t know anything. She says she was with Hassan last night, but gets annoyed at their insinuations. She tells them she doesn’t want them there when her model shows up as they will make her nervous. As the detectives leave, they believe that Hassan has been excluding her, which doesn’t help them.

We then see a car speeding away with someone in the back who is restrained, their head covered with a black hood.

At Major Case, ME Rodgers comes in with the lab results for Van Dekker, saying she found human cremated remains under his fingernails. Nichols says this gives them probable cause. We then see Nichols and CSU at Hassan’s office and Nichols picks up the urn and takes it over Hassan’s’ objections.

Back at Major Case, Eames is going over Hassan’s computer and sees propaganda and Stevens identifies it as from Puntland. She is also able to read Arabic and Urdu. They realize Hassan was trying to start a new country, the Republic of Puntland and it seems like Hassan is engaging in both a coup and vengeance. Eames’ phone rings, and sees she has a message at 9 AM in the Chief’s office.

Elsewhere, we see that the restrained and hooded man was Goren, and we find he was taken by the FBI, with Stahl commenting that he is clever, but inconvenient. He says if they can figure out what to charge him with, go ahead, and an agent reminds him he was once committed to an insane asylum. Goren gives a wry smile, and says the insane thing follows him around. He thinks he can be useful to them, and when one agent questions if Goren knows what the greater good is, Goren gets testy that he does not think his patriotism should be questioned and he resents that. Stahl says he has his own problems with the police and when things hit the fan, there is nothing they can do for him. He says that Ross believed what they were doing and he had a lot of respect for that man.

At the office of the Chief of Detectives, along with Maas, the Chief (Mike Pniewski) suggests taking the captain's exam for a position for her as Major Case Squad captain. But Maas tells her she has to deal with Goren as he has become a liability.

Elsewhere, Jill is arriving at her apartment, and as she heads up the stairs, runs into someone and smiles at them, but is shot and killed, rolling down the steps.

Nichols and Stevens, along with ME Rodgers are on the scene of Jill’s murder, and notice her skirt seems to have been moved to cover her in modesty. Later, Hassan and Kadra are at the morgue looking at Jill’s body, and Hassan says he was her emergency contact. Kadra says their relationship was over, and Stevens comments that Jill didn’t have the right look to be the first lady of Puntland. They also bring up the cremation of Hassan’s father, Hassan saying his father’s body was decomposed. Stevens assumes Van Dekker was involved because the ash was on his fingernails. Stevens also thinks that Kadra wanted first succession to the throne. Nichols has phone records that imply that Hassan gave away his father’s location to be killed, and Kadra becomes upset. Kadra yells at Hassan saying they are cursed by what he has done, but Hassan yells back and tells her to stop and say nothing. She says she took a life so he could rule, and says it is over, saying she shot Jill, for Hassan, because he was weak. They continue to work on her, and she admits that they are right, she can’t live with what he has done.

Back at Major Case, Nichols tells Goren and Eames they got Hassan, that Kadra gave them everything, including the murder of Ross. Goren tells Nichols they have to talk. They all walk into the interrogation room Goren says Ross took on the dangerous assignment to validate his life, and they have to protect what he died for. He tells them the FBI put tracking devices in a shipment of stinger missiles and they wanted them to get stolen so they could track them t the locations of terrorist camps and can only work if Hassan goes free. Nichols questions how Hassan can kill Ross go free and be set up as a despot validate Ross’s death, and that it is not justice. Goren also tells him that Hassan found the devices but the man he took them to was FBI undercover and Hassan needs to smuggle those weapons in to Puntland. Eames tells Nichols that sometimes doing things they hate is part of their job, and Goren says it is what Ross believed in.

Nichols heads into interrogation where Hassan waits and tells him that he is skating on this, adding that someone that Hassan trusted may eventually do to him what he did to his father. He adds that Hassan knows it is coming, he just doesn’t know when, and Nichols walks out of the room.

Goren and Eames walk into the captain’s office and Goren congratulates her, but she says it won’t be for long. She says they know what he wants, and he knows she has to fire him, rather than go through hearings. She thinks this is the kinder, gentler way to go. He says, OK he is fired, he gets it, it is a long time coming and it is not bad. Eames says his trying to make it not seem bad is making it worse, and she begins to cry. She tells him, “You’re the best, you always will be.” He says, “Sure.” He kisses her and the cheek and hugs her. He walks out of the office and closes the door, leaving Eames to stand at the captain’s desk. She lays her gun and badge on the desk and picks up the phone to make a call. She calls the Chief and tells him that she won’t be taking the captain’s exam, as we fade to black.

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Music Wench said...

I agree with your commentary. The story was complicated and confusing and it should have been all about Goren and Eames. I resented any screen time given to Nichols and what's-her-name.

But I don't expect from Walon Green and company. If last season was any indication, this upcoming season will be a waste of time.

Thanks for your recaps and reviews. I've enjoyed them. I'll stop in at your other blogs but since LOCI is pretty much done for me, I won't be here a lot.

And no matter what anyone says, I think you're always fair to all the shows.

Esaul said...

I'm really sad now that Eames and Goren are gone. They made the show worth watching. I even enjoyed it when Logan was thrown into the mix, he was a great character to watch, who was flawed. Seeing Stevens and Nichols working together shows a huge change in dynamics, even without seeing them work a full case on their own. Plus, isn't this season like 12 episodes? To me, it's not even worth it compared to SVU and the mothership, who each get 20 something episodes. I think CI's been robbed to be honest, and I feel bad for the show. But hey, I'll still watch. Just wish things were different.

janethyland said...

I wasnt disappointed because I expected it to be dreadful, and Ill always have "Frame" as the real ending to the character of Goren.

Alot of us watched LOCI because it WASNT like the other Law and Orders. VDO made it something special and different.

Now its like all the others and they cloned Nichols and the new partner to be like Goren and eames...even down to Eames whispy hairstyle.They even want to give Nichols a nemesis,just like he had a notebook, just like Goren, as he sniffs for evidence just like Goren.

Clearly they cant think originally without those writers who left after season 7, some of whom followed Warren leight to In Treatment where they secured it a Peabody Award for 2009 for its quality of drama.

Meanwhile LOCI dies.
Sad to see it all end like this.Reminds me of the way Homicide went on too long and declined in quality.

Sara said...

My disappointment over the departure of D'Onofrio and Erbe is already a matter of record. I recorded last night's episode and watched it shortly after it ended. I knew I would be let down and the show didn't fail me in that respect.

The story line was so disjointed and Jeff Goldblum's performance at times appeared to be forced. Admittedly, I fast forwarded through most of the hour. Either I missed it or Dick Wolf, et al didn't think it was important enough to explain why Julianne Nicholson was being replaced.

The original Law & Order has survived in large part when cast changes went to successors who brought credibility to their roles. Mild-mannered detectives have never figured into the LOCI equation. Goldblum's resume lacks acting gigs that come close to tapping into the personality types inherent in LOCI detectives.

This shake-up is USA's version of The Tonight Show debacle with Goldblum playing Conan O'Brien. Goren and Eames fans can only hope this will play out with the same ending: the return of D'Onofrio and Erbe.

Shelly said...

I agree with everyone else that the case was overly complex. After they took Goren hostage and then they took him to where the FBI people were, I was thinking - Ok, did I sleep through part of this, or what? Maybe I was focused too much on this being Goren and Eames' farewell, and not enough on the rest of the show, but it sounds like I wasn't the only one confused.

I did like the ending. Not seeing them leave, of course, but I thought the scene at the end with the two of them was nice. At least they let them have the end of the show to themselves... there's a lot of love and mutual respect between the characters, and it showed during the scene. I especially love the way she "fired" him and then quit...

But I was confused on that. What was Eames' rank before? She might have been a Sgt, though I don't recall her ever being introduced that way. I'm going to have to watch that scene again - how could she take the captain's exam when she's not even a lieutenant? And since she wasn't currently a captain, why could she "fire" Goren?

I do agree with All Things - it would be great to have Eames reconsider and become captain at the 2-7.

I'll give the show without Goren and Eames a chance, but I imagine the numbers are going to "tank" and that this will probably be the show's last season.

If anyone finds ratings for last night, could you post a link? Would like to compare this week's numbers with next week's... thanks.

Lizzie said...

Last night's episode was in no way a fitting 'tribute' to the last 8 years that Vincent and Kate have invested in LOCI. To bring in the 'new' team and put them front and center was an unpardonable sin, in what was supposed to be a 'Farewell Goren and Eames' episode; or so we were led to believe. No wonder when asked about LOCI at the Kubrick festival Vincent was at last week, he said 'Never EVER again on that show' It's on video and he absolutely said it, and clearly meant it. He certainly hasn't been in any other Season 9 episodes(too busy doing other things), and I can't see it surviving into a 10th year, which saddens me greatly because it was 'unique' among the cop shows. Now it'll be just another cop show, with a Goren-clone and his muppet partner. It's over, and from the comments I've seen in lots of other places, USA have managed to alienate a HUGE audience. Bravo!

Esaul said...

@Shelly -

She didn't fire Goren. What happened was, the Chief of D's was offering her the chance of taking the captain's test essentially to help get Goren fired...even though that was going to happen with or without her. It was a bit of a bribe...and I'm glad she decided to stick it to them, and go with Goren. It was a nice way for them to leave, together, but it's also really saddening. :(

Melvin Gaines said...

In fairness to Goldblum and Burrows, no one was going to be happy with the departure of D'Onofrio and Erbe, and many of the comments made have merit while others have been unfair to the newest team. If there is any merit to the criticism, it would be that I would have liked to have seen a chance for the team of Nichols and Eames to have succeeded. If this program were still on NBC, I doubt very seriously that it would have seen the number of changes that had to occur. In addition, shows seldom have actors even reach a decade of participation. Changes are inevitable, and they are usually not appreciated. I say give the new team a chance before writing off the series. I plan to watch every week because I think Goldblum is a good addition to the show.

Walon Green said...

I have something to say to the fans of L&O: CI:

You ARE NOT BLAMED if you wish not to see Jeff Goldblum/Saffron Burrows and M.E. Mastrantonio on the show; as some of you like to refer to as 'the Jeff Goldblum Hour'. It's your decision!

We miss Vincent D'Onofrio/Kathryn Erbe too. But we HAVE to write the episodes a certain fashion or the network won't accept them and they will have to be redone. That is why the season premiere (and finale, "Revolution") was not 'up to par' like a normal episode would be.

To most fans the show will seem lighter to some it may be the same.

But saying that to lead to this: USA Network is NOT NBC so it can't be overly dramatic like seasons 6 and 7. We talked to Rene Balcer to see if he would come back to the team: we didn't get a response, especially since the actor of his character has left.

It'll be left up to the network to cancel the series and bring back D'Onofrio & Erbe (as majority of you want). The way the season premiere ratings have fallen I think those who plan to leave will get their wish.

I can't promise L&O: CI will make it a 10th season if the ratings bust. Who knows maybe the network executives may see the light????

janethyland said...

You are not logical.Season 7 WAS on USA Network and it was dramatic in the same way season 6 was on NBC.Do you know this show at all?

Alot of us liked seasons 6 and 7. Maybe you should have talked to Warren Leight about coming back instead.VDO has said in interviews that he liked some of Leights episodes the best.

I hope VDO has better things to do than to consider coming back to a show that is now substandard.

Anonymous said...

@ janethyland

I think I comprehend what Walon Green (if that's him, I wish) is trying is say... you do know that the episodes of LOCI are written and taped at least 5 months in advanced (April-May-June 2007, when the show was renewed and news came out about the show moving AFTERWARDS): Thus Leight and his crew were still writting while the show was still airing season 6 episodes on NBC.

But here is where I have to disagree with Green: The show has turned lighter: How the hell do you get a comedian like Jeff Goldblum to do a drama show like LOCI correctly without pissing people off?! - When Loyalty PT II aired I was mad when Goldblum woulnd't stop making minor jokes "See it is fun here?"! How is solving murders FUN?

I'm sorry but if you are Walon Green, (IMO) YOU need to be fired!

Music Wench said...

Gee, thanks for not blaming us for wishing to leave. How big of you, if you truly are Walon Green.

In my mind the show is already canceled and done even if it goes to season 10 by some miracle.

Anonymous said...

I am a Goldblum fan and I am glad he is on the show. I didn't care for Saffron but bringing in a new character in the middle of a story isn't always the best.

I will watch more episodes but I hope Saffron is better next week.

Sorry Vincent and Kathryn and Eric are gone, I enjoyed them all.

Drake said...

MY WISH CAME TRUE! LOCI's RATINGS ARE FALLING! 3.56 mil last week, 3.47 mil yesterday!!!!

I want the show TERMINATED!

Sara said...

@Music Wench

It's o.k. to give the heave ho to LOCI but try not to give up on this blog. It's focus is on all 3 L&O franchises, not just LOCI. In fact, it's probably the most comprehensive resource for everything Law & Order. Last summer, the author was featured in a special edition of TV Guide devoted to Law & Order. Chris knows her stuff and she'll be the first to share any scoop with us.

Animelee said...

Come on guys, that's not Walon Green, LOL.

Jachelle said...

I agree ATL&O with your assessment of the two-part episode. The writing was not all that great and I also agree that the main focus should have been on Goren and Eames. It's kind of funny, in the scene where Goren and Eames are trying to convince Nichols to let Hassan go, for the greater good and the memory of Ross and all that, I thought to myself "I am so not buying this" like two seconds before Nichols said the same thing. Anyway, the ending was very sad-the end of an era. It was wonderful while it lasted , Thanks to Vincent and Kathryn.

John Stodder said...

These two episodes weren't very good -- I think most episodes of TV shows that have a separate agenda of shuffling old characters off the stage and bringing in new ones pretty much always suck. I'm grateful that D'Onofrio and Eames had the scenes they had, particularly the last one.

However, I disagree with those who are abandoning the show. Goldblum's episodes last season were, I think, better than the ones written for D'Onofrio, and his character was interesting enough. What's wrong with watching CI a few more times to see if the quality of Goldblum's first episodes will be sustained this season. The ingredients are all there.

janethyland said...

They were deliberately designed to be better so that VDO could ease himself out of the role.These are seasoned writers who should be able to write a procedural blindfold.....but didnt deliver!

Thats not what happened between season 6 and 7. They didnt know whether they would have a season 7 right up to the Finale being aired. When they were eventually greenlit they were scrambling over the summer to write enough episodes to start the following October.They didnt have much time. And the tone of season 7 was the same as season 6 because at that time Bonnie Hammer LOVED the show as it was and often remarked about the quality of writing in interviews.

Lizzie said...

I'm happy for Vincent and Kate that the show is still no.1 - for the very LAST time!!

I no longer care what happens to it.

janethyland said...

It wasnt number 1 in the key demo.It only got 0.9 which you would normally associate with a repeat.

16 and Pregnant won the demo. LOCI was about 4th.Analysts are always telling us its the demo that counts, not the numbers.

However in terms of numbers Good Wife won the slot with twice as many watching as any other show.Great news for Noth, who left LOCI at the right time before it started sliding.

5.1 million turtned out to watch "Frame" end season 7. VDO was superb in that episode.He liked working with Leight.

Esaul said...

Well of course The Good Wife's going to win the slot. You're talking about a show on network, CBS versus a cable channel, USA. It'd be something else if CI was still on NBC, but it isn't.

Plus, once more, why are people blaming the writers and what not for the show? I was always aware that the actors wanted to leave the show on their own. I swore I read something about Vincent wanting to leave, and I mean can you blame him? They brought in Noth into the show originally 'cause Vincent was hospitalized due to exhaustion. Sure, you can have your opinion of the show, and choose whether to watch the show or not with or without Goren and Eames, but I think it's a bit unfair to go blaming the writers, who work hard on the show to make it what it is. :\

Music Wench said...

To Sara: I know it's a great blog. My point is I don't care about the L&O franchise as a whole any more. The only show I continued to watch was LOCI because of Vincent and Kathryn. I'll be checking in on her other blogs but probably not this one as the only reason I did was for LOCI. Now that I'm not watching it, I don't have much reason to read about SVU and L&O as I haven't watched them in years - actually never really got into SVU.But for those who are, this is probably the best blog to read to keep up with all the shows.

And we're not blaming the writers for VDO and KE's departure. VDO wanted to leave but KE made no such comment and from what I've read, she was blind sided when they dumped her. So it's really Dick Wolf and USA I blame. As the NY Times called it, it's the big salary dump. Get rid of the actors making more money than the new ones would.

I blame the writers for a bad writing and if you think it's going to be good because they wrote better for Goldblum last season, you're in for a disappointment. Walon Green was in charge of the lesser quality G/E episodes and now he's in charge of the whole thing.

Season 8 was mediocre at best and so far, season 9 with Goren and Eames was not good. So I have no incentive to watch.

And yes, it's probably not Walon Green posting here. At least I hope it isn't. You'd think he has better things to do than argue with angry fans. If it really is him, he needs to pay more attention to the show. Maybe it would have been better if he did.

Anonymous said...

"Lady's Man" certainly suggested a major turning point was to be expected in Goren's life. His cases in season 8 involved facing, week after week, the challenges of late middle-age - the regret over a family member who died before the issues between them were resolved ("Identity Crisis"), worries about waning potency and falling to a younger rival (in "Alpha Dog" - remember how abruptly and irritatedly he interrupted Eames' interrogation of the pimp when she started to spar with him? And then there was Nicholas' arrival in the unit, the guy Ross called the best detective he ever knew). In "All In" he's even faced with the regrets over a child that hasn't lived up to early expectations.

So he was dealing with regrets for much of the season. Then, in "Lady's Man," even his relationship with Eames changes. When they went back to the case involving her husband's death in "Amends," Goren practically pleaded with her to get her to reconsider the evidence and her understanding of the case. In "Lady's Man" he's more adversarial with her than he is with ordinary perps - he even asks her, not too gently, about having "slept with" a man, rather than using the expression "being involved with" he usually uses. (Even after having told a man his semen was found inside a woman, Goren asks about his "involvement" with her in "Rocket Man").

The question of Eames' possible sexual relationship with Mulrooney seems to preoccupy him in "Lady's Man", even though it ends up having no real relevance to the case. His behavior certainly seems to throw Eames off stride, and she begins to treat him more warily than she ever has in the past. One more regret - he he gave up the woman of his life in return for a good working relationship and emotional support? Nothing's spelled out, of course, but there's no way these two were going back to being the cheerful playmates of the early seasons. And so, on to "Loyalty," with changes for everybody.

Now, shear unsupported speculation based solely on the observation that Eames is the only one who receives no loyalty in the episode: Goren is loyal to Ross, she is loyal to Goren - and he leaves her totally unsupported? No - he gains a meeting with that Deputy Commissioner they helped in "The War at Home" and begs, argues, pleads - whatever Eames has been doing for him all these years - in order to get him to call the C of D's to tell him to persuade Eames to take a leave of absence, as Nichols had done, rather than retire. And then Goren talks to Nichols, getting him to work on her to be amenable to the suggestion when it's made. Or something. He's a decent man, even though he's allowed Eames to support him emotionally for too long with nothing in return, and I can't see him simply walking off and letting her suffer for his behavior.

Anonymous said...

I heard a rumor...Erbe may be back...for the 5th episode. Apparantly Burrows is not working out. Don't know if its true but I guess we will wait and see.

All Things Law and Order said...

I saw that same rumor about Goldblum/Burrows but I can't remember the site that had it. There was also a rumor that Merkerson changed her mind and is going to stay on L&O. I think I will wait until the dust settles on these, it seems like things change by the minute in the L&O franchise universe!

Anonymous said...

...well I enjoyed it, for all its flaws.

How would Erbe be back for the fifth episode? Aren't they shooting episode eleven or twelve by now?

Music Wench said...

Here's where I saw the information:

Don't know how much I believe. I doubt Erbe will be back by episode 5. They definitely have been filming a while now.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:40, I want to read your analysis of season 8, it sounds interesting.

Oh, and I don't think it's implied that Goren goes off with the FBI... or is it? I read that the cut-off age is 37 or something, so that would be a tough sell. I just thought he was cooperating with them on that one case (i.e. promising not to get in the way).

Anonymous said...

Whitters said...

Oh, and I don't think it's implied that Goren goes off with the FBI... or is it? I read that the cut-off age is 37 or something, so that would be a tough sell. I just thought he was cooperating with them on that one case (i.e. promising not to get in the way).

I don't know what's up with the FBI, either - Goren certainly wouldn't be joining in the sense of becoming an FBI agent. It could be that all they wanted him to do was to convince the NYPD - Zach, that is - to release Hassan. (BTW, would you want to be that guy when the warlords realize that those fancy Stingers he'd been handing out are drawing drone attacks?) But with the money that Gage arranged for Goren sitting in a Swiss bank (the life insurance for his brother's death that he probably avoiding doing anything about while still on the force) and a reputation as a busted cop, some Washington agency may decide he's just what they're looking for for infiltrating into some organized crime organization. Life could be about to become very interesting for our Mr. Goren.

Anonymous said...

I read on SUBER that D'Onofrio said to them that he wouldn't mind coming back to the cast but he left due to some 'infuriating circumstances'

IDK what or whom he was refering too. I think USA Network & the covered faces of LOCI are hiding stuff from the fans.

(Other than budget cuts) How much would you want to bet if Jeff Goldblum left the cast of the show that Vincent D'Onofrio would come back? - D'Onofrio didn't leave because he wanted too (not just for the money): it's too much speculation behind a lot of stuff that's been said from the producers and cast members since August-September of 2009.

If Goldblum would leave the cast - D'Onofrio (and someone new or old/Chris Noth or Jesse L. Martin) would probably come back.

janethyland said...

I hope thats not Walon Green too, because who ever it is sounds senile!

Speaking of senility, The Reel is reporting that there is a Goldblum episode called "Legacy". Can they really be making the same mistake they did when they titled an episode called "Faithful"?!!Both titles have been used before.Does anyone there know what show they are making, or even care?!

The Reel also reported they have got to near the end of the season with filming, way beyond episode 5.

There seems to be complete disarray around the show, as there was over Robert Nathan as showrunner for season 8.

deisegirl said...

I really disliked these two episodes but as I had been only mildly keeping tabs on Criminal Intent for the last few years I wasn't really expecting them to be any good. I was maybe hoping they would up their game for last episodes of Goren and Eames but bah..whatever! I loved the Goren/Eames scene at the end, so sweet. But I won't be coming back to watch any more CI. I will however be buying series 2 and 3 (I have the first series) as enough time has passed for me to want to go back and see the early episodes again. I still watch old L&O (original series) episodes the whole time and up towards the end I'm still thinking "how does this verdict go again" (LOL maybe I need to start working on my memory!) so I think I would definitely get a kick out of seeing the older CI episodes again. When Goren was brilliant (and on a very shallow note, thinner!)

Anonymous said...

Life could be about to become very interesting for our Mr. Goren.

Anon 11:03, you write the fic, I'll read it. ;-)

As if is, it would probably be better than the Goren/Eames sendoff. In fact, this whole conversation is more interesting and well thought out than the convoluted mishmash we were given.

Kelly S. said...

I talked to Vincent D'Onofrio yesterday! - For reals! He was going into a clothing store off 5th Ave in the Bronx but anyway-

I didn't want to hold a deep conversation with him esp. not about LOCI but I did ask him why he left the show he answered: "I felt like it was time to leave."

I asked him did he and Kathryn Erbe ever plan on returning to LOCI full time he said: "Speaking for myself, I wouldn't mind coming back to the cast, but right now I don't want to come back. I know majority of our [his and Kathryn's] fans want to leave the show: if the show fails with Goldblum and depending on what is going to be done with the show, I would try to return. But return right now as a cast member is out of the question."

I then asked him which LOCI executive producer did he like most, he answered: "I liked when Warren Leight took over it really showed both sides of Goren and his back stories and personal life. Yet, I like the 'Goren-ness' that Rene Balcer brought to my character. Rene made my character who he was."

He went on to tell me about the new producers (like Walon Green & Michael S. Chernuchin): "They came in from the first Law & Order to pick up the series from where Rene Bacler somewhat left off - a police procedural like the original series. Some of the fans have disputed the writing/writers aren't the best but it seems like it's good enough to me for LOCI. I think we could USE Balcer or Leight back: but they may not come back; or for a while anyway."

I asked him was he still in contact with Kathryn Erbe: "We still talk occasionally; not as much as we used to. But we still communicate with each other. Sometimes we talk about the show."

We talked a little bit more about LOCI and then a few of his new movies (and some of the old ones). Before he went into the store he hugged me and autographed a picture for me! SPLEEE!!!!

From his voice I think he actually missed being on LOCI and working with Kathryn Erbe. I think he wants to come back - I don't think he will though... not long as Jeff Goldblum is 'running (ruining) the show'.

It's damn mess if you ask me!

Anonymous said...

Kelly S. said

"It's damn mess if you ask me!"

No - it's good. It's good. The Fates (i.e., the writers) have been telling Goren things can't stay the same for at least a couple of years now. First, Gage kills to give him a new start (and obviously had ideas where this should begin, but who ever listens to a self-confessed multiple murderer?). Goren doesn't deal well with change and stubbornly resists - he comes back after time off following his brother's funeral and pushes Eames away ("Faithfully"). By the second episode ("Folie a deux") the two appear to have agreed things have returned to the way they used to be when they first worked together - a shared delusion they both want very much to believe. The weather is glorious (Indian summer?), the crime is really more a mistake than pure evil, and Goren has dodged the need to make a conscious choice about the direction his life will take. But in the episodes that follow he confronts the big questions no one gets to dodge - declining vigor, regrets about things done and left undone, disappointments about what had been considered successes. Even Eames can't help spare him this series of trials. Then, in "Lady's Man," the logical end of the season, the numbness begins to wear off, he begins to feel again, to his own surprise and Eames' consternation. And he begins to think.

He returns from his TDY to Tennessee apparently more at ease than we've seen him for a long while - he's not arguing with or ignoring Eames, at least. And now when he's presented with the demand to decide on where his life is going, he doesn't hesitate. It's not bluster this time when he says, if not in so many words, "you can take this job and shove it." He tries to repay Ross for his loyalty to an uncomfortable subordinate. He even shows consideration for his long-suffering partner, maybe the only certifiably-sane person he's ever been close to. He's grown up, and grown out of the situation he's been unhappily inhabiting for too long, an intelligent adult being treated as a rebellious problem child because that how he has so often acted. So it's good now that he leaves MCS. He (and the Fates) are going to need time to consider how this works out, because it is psychologically impossible simply to return to the squad room and pick up where he left off. Don't rush him.

Prep said...

Kelly S. - How was it meeting D'Onofrio in the flesh.

I think the his character (and Erbe's Eames) was rushed off the show... 2 episodes were not enough... VDO/JG should have been alternating every other episode and we have a 2-part season FINALE.

I think Erbe's character could have developed some more than what it did over a 9 year span, she needed to be MCS next Captain. She needs to go to the 2-7 and replace Merkerson's character.

Chris Noth's character was rushed out TWICE! But we got a little bit of closure after the tv-movie "Exiled".

"Last Rites" left his character open: I'd watch the show if Chris ever came back more so than I will with Goldblum at the helm.

I think/fear LOCI is gonna reach cancelation by the middle of the season and the episodes will be aired on other sources (like TBJ did). If D'Onofrio/Erbe/Noth wouldn't come back then cancel it but if one of them would come back the show needs to stay open and LOCI's 9th season needs to be ran to DVD or something. It's not fair to the actors/dedicated fans.

DICK WOLF knows it, JEFF GOLDBLUM knows it, NBCU & USA NETWORK EXEC(S) know it!

I'm gonna do something when LOCI get's closer to the season finale: were gonna blow USA Network/NBCU UP!

Anonymous said...

So Goren completes his trajectory and comes crashing to earth, the victim of his own character - impulsive, entirely focused on his own interests, reliant to the end on his partner to smooth his way.

Years earlier Eames had withdrawn her letter requesting a different partner, saying - under oath, no less - that she had come to appreciate Goren as "an ethical person and an effective police officer." The truth, but not the whole truth, it seemed from the
look she gave Goren as he walked off after thanking her. She simply hadn't been able to bring herself to destroy his career, which a letter like that would surely have done. So Goren's content that his partner respects him and forgets the whole thing? It's not until years later that he learns she considers she's destroyed her own chances for a career in the police department, not just a dead-end job, by constantly running interference for him. While the realization may make him unhappy, he does nothing to change his behavior. Maybe he couldn't if he wanted to.

He's even the recipient of Gage's
murderous efforts to get him to change his life - his brother is sacrificed to give Goren a chance to start over, and what does he do? He takes some time off, and then goes back to work. He accepts sacrifices by others, hardly realizing they're being made. And then the Captain that had managed to keep him on the force is killed, leaving him nothing more to lose, and he behaves true to form, but knowing this time it's the end.

Does he comfort himself with the thought that he's finally made things right with Eames? She's got her promotion, she's got a better chance of finding another Joe without him lowering in the background ...

Except that she's made the greater sacrifice again. Perhaps while Goren was on TDY she had finally gotten around to taking the exam for lieutenant - she must have been planning on finally getting on with her life, and then she gives it all up to spare her partner one last time. So Goren gets another chance to start over and do it right, and she gets - what?

And she only got third billing?

Pledam said...

To the commentor above mine! Amen! That's why I'm done with LOCI!

Goren and Eames could have exited better than they did. This episode was too light for LOCI!

LOCI's new slogan:

Too light? - Get (Warren) Leight!

Anonymous said...

I too will no longer watch the show. Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe have always been the chief draw. D'Onofrio was brilliant, even when flamboyant and over the top, and Erbe was a genius of quiet expression. She is a major talent.

Jamey Sheridan was wildly sexy; Eric Bagosian super-interesting & edgy; Chris Noth appealingly world-weary; Alicia Wittt a clever addition and great foil to Noth. There's no good reason why these talented actors and some version of their compelling characters couldn't be retained.

Jeff Goldblum is a huge surprise and a nice compliment to D'Onofrio and Erbe.

The cast turnover is tedious, annoying and NOT a good way to award or retain my loyalty. If the director(s) and producer(s) of this show are bored or facing mid-life crises, they should have affairs or buy red Porches. And if the change was a salary dump, USA is about to learn that it's costs a lot more to attract new viewers than retaining loyal, repeat customers. The producers have made a grave error.

Wallyhorse said...

Based on how "Loyalty" ended on "CI," I think Balcer is behind the scenes setting up to have Kathryn Erbe return to "the franchise" with Eames becoming the new Lt./Captain of the 2-7 on the mothership to replace SEM. This is based on a couple of factors:

1. In the "CI" episode "Loyalty," Part 2 opens with the funeral for Danny Ross that according to what was posted on USA Network's official site for "CI," was originally supposed to be at the end of the episode. That was why we saw Goren in a suit rather than his dress blues, as originally, that scene was supposed to be after Goren was fired by Eames, who had taken a temporary promotion to Lt. of the Major Case Squad so she could fire Bobby without his being slung through the mud.

2. Eames originally was supposed to officially resign at the end of the episode, but we never saw her actually say the magic words (though she did say she was not going to take the Captain's exam).

These lead me to suspect there were some very last-minute changes made to this episode at the request of Balcer (who developed "CI" in the first place), as "Loyalty" was originally filmed last October, well before we knew Epatha was leaving the mothership. If he was behind the changes, it is likely because he wants KE to replace SEM.

Anonymous said...


They should have left things where they were. A lot of people got confused by the Memento-like sequence of events. And there would've been more closure that way, because you see Goren and Eames still side by side, even after the firing.

Maybe it didn't "flow" right to them to have two dramatic sequences back to back, or whatever. But I would have preferred it the original way.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree that it would have been better to have the funeral as the last scene, if only because Ross was Jewish and waiting so long would have been very strange. Goren being out of uniform is no problem, BTW - he was picking up the warrant they attempt to serve in the next scene and didn't have time to change. And being visibly the odd man out symbolizes his relationship to the department: he really doesn't fit in anymore. Also, his standing there, stubborn (note his stance) and seemingly out of place, emphasizes how seriously he takes his commitment to avenging his boss's death, even if it requires going outside department regulations.

In any case, showing Goren and Eames side by side after the firing would undercut the thrust of the entire film. By this time Goren has nothing left to lose, everyone he has ever been close to has died (or is Gage on death row?), and even Eames has decided to move on (she took the exam for lieutenant four months ago). He simply takes the last, long-expected step.

Eames, on the other hand has everything to lose, even her own job, a possibility neither of them ever contemplated, and yet she commits professional suicide for him. After something like this, the relationship between them has to change - actions have consequences, after all, and one thing they can never be again is simply "good friends."

mom and i love bobby said...

gonna miss u so much, alex and bobby.

Anonymous said...

"Whitters said... Anon 1:40, I want to read your analysis of season 8, it sounds interesting."

This took a while, because for a while I couldn't see how to fit "Family Values" into the scheme. I wrote about some of the individual episodes in season 8, but I didn't like FV (not fair, killing the dog), so I ignored it and assumed that the logical end was "Lady's Man" because that made things easier. Anyway ...

Season 8 can be seen as either the beginning of the end for Goren or perhaps the end of the beginning of his life, which had not been going well for the past couple of years.

Season 7 ended with Gage telling Goren he had killed his brother, his "nemesis," and set himself, his mentor, up for execution or life-imprisonment as a way of freeing Bobby to live – he was younger than he realized, and he would no longer be blocked by other peoples' hold on him. Gage obviously had an idea about what he should do with his new freedom: he kept pointing out Eames' closeness to him, her resemblance to the two most important women in Goren's life, he had even sent the two of them on a treasure-hunt ending up in a bridal suite (with the heart of her only potential rival packed in dry-ice).

After his brother's funeral, Goren goes to visit his mother's family – they'd probably attended his mother's and brother's funerals and suggested he come see them. He returns a week early from his visit ("Faithfully"), but something is wrong. When he meets Eames at the ferry and she tries to reconnect, he abruptly turns away, saying they should get to work. She gives him a "what's got into him now?" look, but says nothing. Throughout the episode she determinedly ignores his moodiness and withdrawal from her and by the end they seem to be working together again as they always had. Goren made a choice while away – he refused to take Gage's suggestion and chose the job over the girl.

In "Folie à deux" it seems as though the two have reestablished the old easy rapport – something they both want to believe. This is their shared delusion, their "folie." But there's no going back, if only because time is passing: they're not kids anymore, Eames' chances for promotion and a reasonable relationship with anyone else are fading as she continues to keep Goren functioning and on the job.

Four thematic episodes deal with Goren's preoccupation with his past as he enters middle age. In "Playing Dead" he identifies with a girl abandoned emotionally by a weak mother and her efforts to find strength in herself; in "Identity Crisis" he's forced to face the fact that his life-long conflict with his brother will never be resolved due to the brother's murder; in "All In" there's the disappointment in the outcome of a promising child; and in "Alpha Dog" there are the problems no male escapes – loss of status (there's a new detective in the squad, one the Captain describes as "the best he's ever known"), nervousness about virility (he is distinctly uncomfortable in the scene where Eames is questioning the self-confident pimp). There's even Eames' old partner Stash reappearing – she's had partners before him, is she going to have others after him? (cont'd)

Anonymous said...

In "Lady's Man" he discovers things are not as simple as he'd hoped when he made his choice. His attitude toward Eames becomes almost belligerent, and all over the question of whether she had once slept with a man. The answer is irrelevant to the case, but he won't let it go. And then at the end, after having unmasked Mulrooney as a murderer, he treats him with an arrogance and roughness he's never shown to an arrestee, before ceremoniously handing him over to Eames for cuffing. Back in an early episode ("Crazy") the young Goren had described the actions of a man in love trying to win his woman – roughly, "he kills the wolf at the door, throws the body at her feet, and the doors of heaven open unto him." Mulrooney may only be a skulking coyote, but he's not treated much better than that wolf. Goren remains behind alone after Eames takes Mulrooney away for booking, frowning slightly, trying to figure out what the devil has happened to him, or if this strange feeling is "love," what he's going to do about it.

And then in "Family Values," he's faced with the problem of a love that results in multiple murders and the attempted murder of a child. "How can you kill the ones that you love?" he shouts at the religious fanatic. If love leads to killing, it is not irrelevant, it's perverted. And he's killing Eames by blocking her professional and personal life. So does he suggest, before he goes off on TDY, that Eames stop stalling about taking the exam for lieutenant? In any case, he accepts that things are going to have to change and makes his decision. He can't kill Eames' chance at life, he can't see continuing in his job with a different partner (that's been shown not to work), so he's going to have to find a way to get himself out of an untenable situation without saying anything about his reasons. They'll continue as friends and partners until a situation arises, or that he provokes, that Eames can't get him out of, and then he'll let himself be forced off the job. So "Loyalty" opens showing them seemingly at peace with each other, with a calmer Goren even being able to offer support rather than simply accept it, until he seizes his chance to end it all, one way or another. But Goren is better at solving puzzles created by others than at solving the puzzle of his own life, and Eames acts in a way he had never considered in his thinking, ruining his plans for her happy future and – we have to assume - his own peace of mind.

Tyson said...

Just seen this over in the UK. It's like a train wreck. What have they done to the show? Getting rid of two of the best pairings in L&O is crazy. Let's just rename it the JG show. His new partner is unbelievably dull, dull, dull. Did I mention she is dull?

I will continue to watch it, but things better improve. Rapidly.