Monday, May 23, 2011

Law & Order CI “The Last Street In Manhattan” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCUnversal

Law & Order Criminal Intent continues its string of excellent episodes. ”The Last Street In Manhattan” had it all – an interesting story, compelling characters, fantastic writing, and great acting on everyone’s part. It is so obvious that Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe are enjoying themselves,  and this makes the show fun to watch. The best part is that the writers have such a great feel for Goren and Eames that we are getting dialog that seems very natural for both characters. I laughed out loud at one of Eames lines at the dating service when she referenced the process of finding a soul mate as “soulless.” (They gave Eames some fantastic lines in this episode.) I also enjoyed the brief session with Goren and Dr. Gyson;   it was well written and provided a peek into what makes Goren tick as far as trust issues.

Law & Order Criminal Intent may very well be the best of the Law & Order brand this year, and I can’t imagine this really being its last season.

Here is the recap:

A wall street hot shot David Kellen (David Alan Basche) who has been dating women through a upscale dating service, is on an arranged date. Meanwhile, Frank Driscoll (Nick Chinlund) beats up on bar owner, Sean (Jack McGee) for ratting him out to someone, calling him a snitch. Later, the man talks to his daughter Vanessa (Alexandra Silber) and denies being a snitch.

Later, David is confronted by ex-girlfriend Nikki (America Olivo) in front of his date Andrea and also in the men’s room. After his date with Andrea is over, he is shot twice and left for dead on the street.

Detectives Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe) are called to investigate the scene as Davis is a CEO of an investment company (Eames refers to him as “another master of the universe” to explain why Major Case was called). As he was shot twice in the chest, Goren thinks this is personal and not done by a pro. Goren notices David is wearing a cheap watch and the round face does not match the square tan lines on his arm. Goren thinks David was ambushed.

They speak with a woman at David’s office who tells them he had a date at Le Chat Blanc last night. Aston Skinner was David’s #2 but Aston has been out of the office. She says David has been acting different lately. Goren notices David has been reading Proust.

The detectives head to Le Chat Blanc and speak with a manager who remembers him being with a woman who said something in French which Goren recognizes as Proust. Eames gets a message that Aston Skinner in back in town.

They speak with Skinner and ask him about David’s last call to him. He said David was upset and called him a dead man. David thought Aston was in Southampton with their top client to take him away from David, which he admits he was. He and David respected each other and just completed a huge deal for Salton Foods. Now that David is dead, Aston is the new CEO.

Back at Major Case, another detective got a warrant and as a result, has David’s high priced square-faced watch. As it still works,  they think David made a choice to wear the cheap watch. Captain Hannah (Jay O. Sanders) tells them some think this is a calculated attack on bankers but Eames thinks this is unlikely. They think the woman he is with, who was referred to as “Doctor,” is a doctor of education because of her knowledge of Proust.

Later, they track down his date Andrea, who David met through a dating consultant, The Swan Club. She tells them about David’s ex-girlfriend confronting David and following him into the men’s room.

At the office of Stephanie Miller (Julie White) at the Swan Club, she explains the service. She said David said he didn’t feel it with the women. His longest relationship was with Nikki Vanson, for 3 months. When Miller offers to put Goren in her database, Eames says she is sorry but he can’t afford her “meat market.”

Meanwhile, as Frank Driscoll is arguing with someone, Vanessa storms in and yells at him for beating up her dad as he had nothing to do with it. She admits it was her. He swears he had nothing to do with the the beating.

The detectives speak with Nikki who admits confronting David, only after Goren confronts her with her lie about it. She says afterwards she was home with her new boyfriend - Aston Skinner.

They speak with Aston about this, and he denies killing David. Goren confronts Aston about David trying to fire him over the Salton Foods merger over possible insider trading. Aston denied being the leak and the board agreed. He said David was disliked and liked to talk tough.

Afterwards, Goren says he will have their forensic accountant check out the trading information. Eames wondered how he got set up with Nikki. They go back again to Stephanie Miller and find that Aston met Nikki while dating David. She add that David was not interested in Nikki, he dumped her for someone else - some teacher in Inwood.

Goren and Eames head to P.S. 121 where Eames also went to school. They speak with Vanessa who talks about how she met David. She lives in Inwood on 218th street – the last street in Manhattan, where the Hudson meets the East River. They dated two months and last saw him a week or two before he died. She is sad he’s dead. The night he was killed she was working at her father’s bar and suggests they check the cameras.

The detectives check the bar and speak with Vanessa’s dad Sean who has big plans for the bar. They see he is running book. As they check the surveillance video,  Vanessa’s father said Vanessa was devastated that David was killed.

Back at Major Case, the detectives tell Hannah that Vanessa was at the bar until late and that her dad also has big plans for the bar. Another detective enters and tell them they have someone who said he saw David’s killer. They later speak with Michael Connelly who picks out Nikki from a photo array.

Later, Eames speaks with Nikki in interrogation who denies it and does not even own a gun. But she admit she lied, she was embarrassed that she went to the restaurant but did not kill him. She points the finger at Vanessa because Vanessa is white trash and David dumped her too. Goren and Hannah are listen in and Goren does not think Nikki killed David. He also wonders about the witness, Connelly.

Eames gets info on Connelly, who seems clean as a whistle. His brother Greg lives in Inwood and has many drug busts. Goren wonders if Connelly is doing someone a favor.

Back at the bar, Vanessa is upset and her father comes in. She says she never wanted him to die. He tells her to stick to home with guys so she won’t get hurt.

Back in Inwood, Eames reminisces about living there when she was young. They speak with Vanessa about the Connelly boys who denies knowing them. They talk about David dumping her and when Eames mentions her being white trash from Inwood, Vanessa says she has to go. When Eames continues to press, Vanessa says clearly Eames has been hurt by men. She says David was a good man and she will not crap on his memory.

When the detectives leave, they discuss that Vanessa defended David. Goren thinks she knows more than she is letting on. Eames gets a call – they found Michael Connelly. They head to the morgue where Connelly lay dead. ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) said that Connelly was shot execution style and dumped in the river. He appeared to have been chained but his body slipped loose and he floated.

Back at Major Case, the detectives review what they know with Hannah. Greg Connelly worked for Jack Driscoll who has been a suspect for being involved in crimes such as extortion, loan sharking and murder. Hannah tells them to bring him in.

With Driscoll in interrogation, he denies knowing David Kellen. He knows Sean who runs the bar and runs book on the side. Driscoll says Sean settled up with his loan. They tell him Sean’s daughter Vanessa was dating David and Driscoll acts surprised. Driscoll refers to David as the merger king, saying he learned that name from the papers. Goren confronts him on the criminal accusations made against him and then accuses him of betting on stock like Salton Foods. He tells them forensic accountants are looking in to allegations of insider trading. Driscoll says he wants his lawyer.

Watching from the observation room, Hannah says Driscoll breathes “douche bag.” The detectives think that Driscoll used Connelly as a alibi and then knocked him off when he thought Connelly would admit to being a false witness. They need Driscoll’s motive for killing David.

Back at the bar, they speak with Sean about Driscoll and ask how much he owes Driscoll. When Goren pushes him,. Sean admits he is in to Driscoll for $70K. Goren said Driscoll told them he settled up. Sean says he is not a snitch and is saying nothing.

Later, in his analysis session with Dr. Gyson (Julia Ormond) Goren talks about his father. He has a flash of his encounters with his father. His father asked Goren to lie about some of the things his father did when Goren was with him as a child. He says his father taught him that everybody lies all the time, and this is one of the early survival skills and it serves him well in his work. She tells him work is not the only place he applies this lesson. Goren asks if she ever gets tired of asking questions she knows the answer to. When she says she is sure they both do, he says “then say what you mean.” She says he is letting her know that he can’t trust her and that she lies to him and he is putting a distance between them and this is not the first time he has used this rule in an intimate relationship.

At the home of Johnny Eames (Raymond J. Barry) Alex tends to her father with Goren present, and her dad clearly drinks a lot and smokes a lot. They talk about Driscoll. As they leave, Eames tells Goren her father has Irish Alzheimer’s, he forgets everything but the grudges. Goren has an idea – he thinks he knows how the Salton Foods information got leaked and they need to move before someone else gets killed.

When Vanessa arrives at her father’s bar, crime scene tape is up. She races in and Eames tells her they think Jack Driscoll killed her dad. They question her at the bar about David and Goren brings up the $80 watch on David’s body. Goren says he was wearing the one she got him. Goren presses her on the breakup and why she bought him the watch. She says when he was young he sold seeds door to door so he could buy a watch. He got the watch and lost it a year later. She loved the story so she got him a new one. Goren brings up her father and his grand plans and that it took money which he borrowed from Driscoll. Goren and Eames press and she admits that she tipped off Driscoll to the stock trade that she overheard David talking about. She says Driscoll saw David as the golden goose. She admits she told David about what happened not her father, and that when David talked tough to Driscoll about it, Driscoll killed him. She asks what they need her to do.

Later, as Driscoll is being led in to Major Case in cuffs, Vanessa watches. Eames says there is something they have to tell her, and she is apologetic about it. Eames said she is from Inwood too and knew there was only one way to get Vanessa to tell the truth. They lead her into a room where her father is alive, sitting in a cell. She is overjoyed and her father consoles her. As Goren and Eames leave the room, Eames comments that Vanessa tried to save her father’s life and it cost David his. Goren says, “show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy….Fitzgerald.” As they walk off, we fade to black.

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Esaul said...

This storyline was fantastic. One of my favorites, and the lines for Goren and Eames were by far the best in a long time. I don't want to wait two weeks for a new episode. :\

gahks said...

David Alan Basche who played the first victim in this episode also played one of the key characters in a season 5 episode, "Wasichu". Talk about a repeat offender getting his comeuppance!

Maybe Chris Brancato is a worthy successor to Balcer and Leight?

UDENGUI said...

Esa sesión con la Psiquiatra,quisiera ver, porque como Bobby sabe mucho de psicologia le es muy facil discutirle, ademas seguro que utilizará toda su seducción, su voz ronca y su languida mirada como para derretir el polo. Por lo que lei, ellos tiene una relación intima?, según la tradución, será posible, si eso es totalmente antietico, claro que nadie se le puede resistir, VOTO POR MAS LOCI.

xfool said...

I am really impressed with Law & Order Criminal Intent since the return. I agree, the writers did their homework on Goren and Eames and seems to understand what the fans liked about them. I hope USA reconsiders ending this after this short season, I would LOVE to see more. CI is far better than SVU and way way better than LOLA right now.

deisegirl said...

Love it love it love it! They've really lightened the mood with these new episodes. The interaction between Goren and Eames is sparky, Goren seems a lot more playful and the stories are really good.

But I now I see there's a two week break? Meeso sad :(

GreatFurry1 said...

I agree with the high quality of these new episodes......BUT.....I think we need to remember that it is far easier to produce 8 decent quality episodes in a production run than a full 22 episode season, which will inevitably have a few clunkers. The writers and producers (and clearly the actors) are putting their best into these eight......and it shows.

sirmikelogan said...

I agree, very solid episode. I still think Jay O. Sanders is kind of a scenery chewer though. And when Goren hopped into that director's seat like a little kid, I nearly cringed. For some reason it always bugged me when Goren did stuff like that in the old episodes.

Esaul said...

USA doesn't even produce full 22 season episodes anyway... I think Jay O. fits in quite well, and I'd love for them to make more.

letsallchant said...

It's the first flawless episode in years. That therapy scene with Goren killed me and I LOVED that there was focus on Eames (and that we finally got to meet her dad). This was perfect amounts of casefile & their personal lives.

IA, I really hope this isn't the last season. This ep definitely left me wanting more.

ReviveLawandOrderLA said...

Chris Brancato has turned LOCI around! Although I doubt USA will renew it without some kind of catch... makes me wish Chris Noth would return an alternate to keep V'DO/KE from being tired. (USA renews shows for 16-18 episodes).

But bravo to the cast and the writers. I can compare these episodes to the good ole days and say "Yes, that is Law & Order: CI". Seasons 8 & 9 were not.

All LOLA needed really was is to dump Blake Masters from being EP and Chris Misiano as well and move Ed Sherin and Fred Berner over. Plus Skeet, Megan, and Regina needed to go really, Skeet's a good actor, just not on LOLA... sorry.

All SVU needs is Warren Leight not to follow in Neal Baer's footsteps.

Dick Wolf could turn these L&O shows back around if he re-tools them like he did with LOLA and Brancato with LOCI. For L&O shows, it's about the writing more so than the acting, it will follow about 90% of the time.

Even Terrence Howard would be okay on LOLA if he didn't break down in the middle of every court scene. He did wonderful in Silver Lake, Benedict Canyon, and East Pasadena.

Jachelle said...

Thanks so much for your diligent and faithful work to recap all these shows for us. This was by far my favorite episode of this season. I loved the balance between humor and angst and the parallel stories of parents and children - Vanessa and Sean, Goren and his father and mother, Eames and her dad.

I thought this was one of the better written episodes in years. The scene where Vanessa is telling the story of the $80 dollar watch and her picturing Staten Island carpeted in marigolds was so poignant it made me cry. I think I've cried maybe twice watching any show in the L&O franchise. Alexandra Silber who played Vanessa was excellent. Not everyone can pull off such an emotional scene. This tenth season has made this long time LO:CI fan very, very happy.

London Still said...

Thank you for tuning in! So enjoyed filming it. -- Alexandra

reindeergirl said...

Great review (indeed, Eames had the best lines in this episode - Kathryn Erbe can deliver!).

But please review the episode. It was Eames who noticed the change in the victims watches, not Goren.

I'm sad to see this series go, but how fitting that it began and ended with Goren and Eames - two of the most interesting detective-partners in TV decades. It's also clear that Goren and Eames, more than any other detectives, would give their lives for each other.

All Things Law and Order said...

Right at the beginning when Goren is examining the body, it is Goren who notices that the victim is wearing a cheap department store watch with a round face, and his tan lines show he had a watch with a square face. I just checked it again to verify it.

reindeergirl said...

It was also great to see Eames with her father, in her cynical-daughter role. Loving sister (carrying her sister's baby), devoted daughter; it's rare to see an Eames back story, but they're always well-done.

Music Wench said...

Been so busy this week I've had no time to do much but I did want to add that this is my favorite episode of the season. Thank you Chris Brancato for giving us back great case files AND great personal insights to our favorite detectives.

Really enjoying the shrink sessions. Love learning more about Eames. This show is getting better and better.

Fiona said...

One of my favorite L&O episodes. Really well written and acted.