They’re back! Like putting on your favorite pair of jeans that have been broken in and fit just right, Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe made a comfortable return to Law & Order Criminal Intent. It is as if they never left. In fact, the return was so low key that I don’t recall anyone mentioning in the episode exactly how they both managed to get back to working together at Major Case. It’s as if nothing had happened in the 2 part episode "Loyalty." In the scene where Goren and Eames first appear in "Rispetto," I think heard someone say “welcome back,” but that was it. As next week's episode “The Consoler” was originally listed as the first episode of the season, maybe we’ll get more of an explanation when that episode airs.
Goren and Eames also have a new captain, whose name is Joseph Hannah (Jay O. Sanders), according to the NBC bio. I don’t recall hearing his name mentioned or seeing it anywhere. He seemed perfect for the role – a big, bold authoritative presence…just one that no one calls by name! I think any time a regular character is added to the show that it’s simply poor manners to not to make some reference to their name.
The episode was classic Criminal Intent – seeing the lead up to the crime and meeting the key players, Goren and Eames working the case, and the big reveal at the end where Goren usually gets in the killer’s personal space in one way or the other, just to rattle them into confessing. I loved the scene were D’Onofrio makes a phone call pretending to be someone from Armani - that squealing giggly thing he did was priceless. Clearly the episode was playing off the recent – and overexposed - Charlie Sheen meltdown. While no one can do crazy quite like Charlie, Jay Mohr did a good job as the celebrity nut job who first was a murder suspect and then found himself a victim of murder himself.
While there was nothing remarkable about this episode, it was still enjoyable. Just the fact that Goren and Eames – and D’Onofrio and Erbe – were back doing what they do best left me with a good feeling. Hopefully, many viewers tuned in and will continue to tune in; nothing would make me happier if the series was given another chance and another season.
Here is the recap:
Nyle Brite (Jay Mohr) is working his successful fashion show. Meanwhile, Sarah Bell prepares to attend the after party, her boyfriend Nathan seems jealous. Later, at the party, Teddy Scola (Neal Huff) brings a new girl – Sarah - to Brite and he is horrified when he sees her. She also seems shocked and she runs off. Brite becomes angry and tells everyone to get out of his house, declaring the party over.
Back at home, Sarah hears a knock at the door - she thinks it’s Nathan. But when she opens the door, it’s Nyle, and he wants to talk. She thinks he’s high and she wants him out. He forces his way in.
Flowers are delivered to Nyle with a note that says, “You said I was your one and only. Now reap what you’ve sown.” When he gets home, he tells his wife that he screwed up. She tells her son that they need privacy.
At a later time, when Nathan knocks on Sarah’s door and there is no answer, he enters and finds a body wrapped in a rug, the arm sticking out.
Later, Detectives Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe) are on the scene. They are welcomed back. Goren unrolls the carpet to examine the body - it's Sarah. She was shot in the chest. She has a lot of clothes designed by Nyle Brite. She has $5K in cash in her apartment. They also find a lot of wigs and condoms – and a clarinet that appears un-played. Eames finds nasty text messages on her phone.
They speak with Nathan about the text messages he sent to Sarah. He denies killing her. Eames gets a phone call. Goren continues to press Nathan about their relationship. He admits he paid her rent this month. Goren asks if anyone else may have been paying her rent, implying she was a hooker. They send him downtown for his alibi to be checked out. Eames tells Goren the ID is fake, she did not go to Hudson University, she was pretending to be a student. Goren comments that rich old guys love college girls.
Back at Major Case, the detectives confer with Captain Joseph Hannah (Jay O. Sanders). Nathan’s alibi checks out. Sarah has no record. They have record of calls from Nyle Brite, and all the calls came from the main office. But Eames says only one person brags about paying to play.
Back at Nyle’s design studio, he and Teddy look over a new design. But Paul Keller (Spencer Garrett) enters and sees that Nyle is stoned and is concerned as the bankers will be there in an hour. Nyle is wired and Paul says he is a mess and needs to see a doctor as there is no room in the business for psychotic behavior and gross stupidity. There is a $300M deal at stake. Nyle thinks he is under control.
At the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) goes over what she found with the detectives. There seems to be an injury on Sarah that occurred a day before the shooting. Goren thinks someone was swinging at her as she was turning away, like an argument that got out of control.
Goren and Eames arrive at Nyle’s design studio and they speak with him about Sarah, with Teddy standing nearby. Nyle says he does not recognize her and gave her none of his clothes. Goren shows him a photo of her dead and he freaks at it, saying it is bad mojo. He says he was at his shrink’s that morning and then he had breakfast with his wife Debra and his friend Teddy who works at the studio.
They speak with Teddy and he confirms the breakfast. He knows Sarah and is shocked that she is dead. He says they “dated” several times and she is a sweet kid. He saw her a few days ago at the after party as he asked her and a few others to come. He says Nyle was otherwise engaged. He says he did not call her, only texted. Goren sees that Teddy is a special consultant to Nyle. Teddy says he is a sounding board, and Goren says that means he does everything for Nyle, and Eames adds like buying cocaine and hookers. Teddy says they grew up together. Afterwards, Eames suggests they talk to Nyle’s shrink.
At Dr. Harper’s office, she tells them Nyle mentioned he received flowers from a girl and he was very upset. He never gave her name. Goren sees a magazine on Palm Beach Real Estate on her desk and comments that he thought people were cutting back on pricey therapy. She says there is only one reason to have wealthy clients over poor ones, the wealthy ones know money does not solve your problems.
At the florist shop, they check on flowers Sarah purchased last Sunday and find she sent a bouquet to Nyle. She reads the note back – the same message Nyle got with the flowers. Afterwards, Goren thinks Sarah had something on Nyle that could blow him up. Goren recalls the skull ring on Nyle’s hand and thinks he is the one that hit her, Eames thinks because she was blackmailing him.
Back at Major Case, Captain Hannah tells them Nyle’s company was working to go public in 3 weeks. Goren tells him it is clear Nyle lied about the victim, and it seems either Nyle or Teddy could have had the time to kill her. Paul Keller, the CEO, and Nyle’s wife Debra are suspects, Debra went to Florida after the breakfast but has since returned. Hannah thinks that people could get rich from the IPO and that is a damn good motive for murder.
The detectives speak with Paul Keller and suggest that Sarah was blackmailing Nyle, and they mention the IPO. He says he knows nothing about Sarah and he tells them to contact his attorneys for any more financial information. When Goren suggests he will call Goldman to tell them Paul is involved in a murder, Paul relents and says he will have the information sent over to them. Goren brings up Nyle’s addiction and Paul says he lost a brother to addiction and he takes it very seriously. Goren adds he lost his own brother in the same way. Goren thinks Paul should be focusing more on getting Nyle into rehab than on the IPO, and Paul replies that he is a businessman, not a saint.
At the apartment of Debra Brite (Noelle Beck), Goren and Eames speak with her about the murder and her trip to Florida. She says they are looking at condos there, and said she never met Sarah. Her son overhears the discussion add she tells him to go to this room, that it is OK. She admits that he is hers' and Nyle’s son, Tyler. She has been with Nyle for 20 years and says he has multiple addictions and would not hit or kill a call girl. Goren notices some purple wrist bands and says he has some of those “live strong” bands at home. Eames comments about how much money Lance Armstrong rained with those bracelets.
After they leave, Eames thinks Debra must know those “live strong” bracelets are yellow. Goren says the purple ones are worn to raise awareness of domestic violence. They think she is a victim, and Goren says her son’s behavior is like someone who is raised around violence. Eames suggests they go back to Teddy.
At Teddy’s apartment, they ask him about Nyle possibly being blackmailed, and that Sarah sent him a text the day before. He said she wanted out. He says about six months ago a woman named Jasmine had a video of Nyle that was pretty ugly.
The detectives speak with Jasmine, who said Paul Keller paid her off to keep silent about Nyle's drug use. She saw Sarah at Nyle party and when Nyle saw her he freaked out and ended the party. She said they looked like they were married.
The detectives go back to Nyle and they mention they know he shut the party down when he saw Sarah because she was blackmailing him. Nyle asks if she is a crazy person and then threatens to sue them for slander. Goren asks if Nyle ever played a music instrument, and he tells them he picked up the clarinet when he was 12. When Goren asks if he gave Sara a clarinet as a give, Nyle gets evasive. Goren suggest Nyle gave it to her when she was 12 – and adds that is why Nyle called off the party – the hooker Teddy brought was Nyle’s daughter. Eames mentions “reap what you sow.”
Later, at Major Case with Nyle in interrogation, they grill him about Sarah, whose real name was Chloe Miller and she is his daughter. Nyle talks about Chloe’s mother, and that Debra does not know. He wanted to pretend she never showed up at the party and was not a prostitute. He didn’t judge her. Nyle admits he tracked her down to talk her, and she slapped him first and he lost it, he had been on a bender. He begins to get unhinged and said if they want to hook him for assault that is fine but if they can’t get him for murder because he didn’t kill her. He continues to get more and more upset and Eames tells him he is a train wreck.
At Debra’s, Paul tells her they have to do what they can to protect Nyle. The shrink Dr. Harper is there too. Debra says everything will be fine. He asks the doctor if Nyle did it and she says she can’t breach her confidentiality. He tells her to save the speak, he knows the game she and Debra are playing.
Back at Major Case, Goren and Eames talk about a family trust that Nyle set up within the last 6 months – and the money will be controlled by his wife.
They speak with Debra about it and she tells them Nyle wanted to set up a nest egg for them in case something happened to him. She mentions Dr. Harper and admits Harper is her shrink too – and Goren brings up Nyle abusing her. While they are talking, Tyler comes into the room to tell them Nyle is on TV. We see Nyle on a talk show and he is on a rant, speaking somewhat irrationally, talking about “Instinct! Instinct!” Debra turns off the TV. Goren brings up the fact that Nyle had a daughter named Chloe Miller, and Debra glares at him and says if they have any more questions to talk to her lawyer.
Back at Major Case, Hannah speaks the with detectives about what to do next, trying to find any reason to bring him in. But they are having a hard time locating him. There is a townhouse registered to his company on Hudson Street, maybe his home sway from home. Hannah suggests they move him into a studio at Sing Sing.
When the detectives arrive at the townhouse, the door is open and the TV is on but no one seems home. They draw their guns when they seem Nyle dead on the floor. They hear a noise in a closet and open it to find a woman hiding, and crying.
Later, with more police on the scene, the woman said she did not see anything and she hid in the closet. The paparazzi are outside. They see a dress that matches a sketch in Debra’s apartment. It appears he was shot 5 times and the killer was likely pissed.
Back at Major Case, the detectives are told ballistics match the same weapon that killed Sarah Bell. One of the escorts at Nyle’s that night recall Nyle getting a phone call and Nyle calling someone a selfish bitch.
Later, they bring Debra down to Major Case for questioning while her son Tyler waits at a desk. Debra said she did not kill Nyle, she was at home with Tyler. Goren confronts her about her intimate relationship with Dr. Harper and Debra is evasive. They also confront her with the fact that she and Harper were working on acquiring a $15M house, and accuse her of killing Nyle for the money. She still denies killing Sarah or Nyle. Goren looks out of the room to Tyler, and then excuses himself. He approaches Tyler and sees him drawing. Tyler is not sorry that Nyle is dead. It comes out that the sketches were not Nyle’s, his mother and everyone else has been covering for him for years. Goren asks if it’s not Nyle’s sketch, then whose is it?
Later, Goren I knocking on Teddy’s apartment door. When there is no answer, he gets the super to open up. They go into his at home studio and see sketches, apparently designing his own line. Eames says Teddy has still not shown up in his office according to the receptionist. Goren thinks the receptionist is lying, and takes the phone and calls the office, faking that he is from Armani and his name is Martin Flan. He talks in an effeminate manger and giggles, and manages to get an appointment with the elusive Teddy.
At the design studios, Teddy runs into Paul and Teddy tells him he has a meeting with an investor. Goren an Eames arrive and Teddy is surprised to find that it was Goren who called as Martin Flan. Goren and Eames discuss what they now know are Teddy’s designs. They look at his design book with the new design called “Spetto.” Teddy said Nyle was the star, and Goren says Teddy was the fool, just a part of the entourage. Goren goes on to talk about Nyle’s and Teddy’s history and the perks of working with Nyle. Eames brings up the IPO, saying it was not enough to launch a line. Nyle told Teddy his line was derivative. Goren continues to press him about bringing Sarah, and that Teddy did not know that was Teddy’s daughter. He admitted that she came to his place after she fought with Teddy. Goren presses on whose idea it was to blackmail Nyle. Teddy goes on about how Nyle strung him along. Goren said she and Teddy sent the flowers and then she regretted it, sending Teddy the texts that she could not do it anymore. Goren said that Nyle was not going to allow him to step into the sun, teddy was just the faceless silly guy backstage. Teddy feels he was more than that. Goren asks if that is how he came up with the work “Spetto” which was shortened from the Italian word ”rispetto” meaning respect. Teddy laughs, saying he loves the sound of it, it is mysterious and strong and it motivated him, it helped him to fight obstacles. He said he had no choice with Sarah, she was going to tell Teddy about the blackmail. When Goren said she was going to go on national television and destroy the company – Teddy said he just wanted his moment. He doesn’t care what anybody says, he was good, he really was. Goren said Teddy was better than good, and shakes his hand, saying he was brilliant. But Goren cuffs him, saying Teddy had to kill a father and a daughter for anyone to notice. As the police take Teddy away, he cries out. Eames says that on the bright side, he’ll have his moment in the sun – in the yard, an hour a day. She looks at Goren, who looks straight ahead as we fade to black.
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