Law and Order: Criminal Intent
New York City police detectives of the Major Case Squad investigate murders, kidnappings, and grave robberies; real-life headlines inspire this television show.
Each episode begins with a cold open that introduces its victim and suspects at various points before the crime, leaving viewers to deduce their identities and motives.
Major Case Squad
The Major Case Squad combines some of the region’s finest criminal investigators into one organized unit. When requested by local law enforcement agencies, this unit responds by dispatching one or more teams to investigate cases on-site – providing more thorough coverage than could ever be achieved using limited resources from just one department alone. It has proven effective at solving major crimes with an impressive 80% clearance rate!
This squad’s primary function is to aid with investigations of murder and serious felonies; however, they are frequently called upon for other crimes like rape, burglary, bank robberies, car thefts, etc. Its detectives are trained in interviewing suspects and witnesses, processing crime scenes, collecting evidence, creating search warrants, and performing other investigative duties as required. Working alongside federal agents, they prosecute violent criminals such as gangs or organized crime syndicates.
An investigator wishing to join the Major Case Squad must possess outstanding investigative abilities, including gathering and analyzing evidence, securing citizen cooperation, and reporting findings to superiors. Furthermore, they must be willing to work 24/7 as team members; undergo extensive professional training; have at least five years of experience; and participate in ongoing professional training.
Additionally to the Major Case Squad, various other specialized units have been established to handle cases outside the purview of precinct detective squads and borough homicide squads. For example, the Arson and Explosion Squad investigates fire or explosion cases, serves as a central repository of citywide intelligence regarding such incidents, and maintains liaison with the NYC Fire Department/Bureau of Fire Investigation/New York City Fire Department as needed. Computer Crimes Squad conducts forensic examinations of digital and multimedia devices for information relevant to crimes; additionally, designated lead agency/coordinator of the New York City Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The Missing Persons Squad’s primary mission is to locate missing people. This team of investigators also reopens cold homicide cases when detectives cannot progress with their investigations. Once transferred to this team, all statements, reports, and physical evidence is thoroughly reviewed before it remains active. No further steps can be taken, or new information becomes available; any next-of-kin are informed about its progress.
Detectives are police officers with specialized skills who conduct investigations of various forms of crime. This may include murder, sexual assault, drug abuse, public and child protection issues, corporate fraud, or cybercrime. Detectives work alongside uniformed officers as equals in rank, using fingerprinting, crime scene analysis, or interviewing witnesses/accused as investigative methods in solving crimes.
Detective work requires strong written and verbal communication skills. Furthermore, detectives need to have the ability to analyze evidence, decipher written documents and other records, conduct thorough background checks on suspects, deal with stressful or dangerous situations while simultaneously dealing with those grieving for lost loved ones or injured parties, think quickly while making decisions quickly in the field, think critically and act quickly when making decisions in the area.
Also essential is their ability to access information from sources they cannot physically reach, such as arrest photographs, credit reports, hotel registration records, answering machine messages, and surveillance camera footage. They may also search a database of fingerprints and criminal convictions. In addition, detectives must collect evidence at crime scenes without risk of bystanders tampering before the medical examiner arrives and make necessary arrangements.
Detectives must possess in-depth knowledge of laws and regulations, from state and federal policies to local ordinances and procedures. Additionally, they must have an in-depth understanding of using technology for their job and be adept at writing clearly and succinctly, as they often draft reports and testimonies for court proceedings.
L&O: CI was launched into competition from Desperate Housewives’ nighttime soap opera Desperate Housewives; nevertheless, it maintained decent ratings during its initial seasons. As the show became popular enough, NBC decided to split off L&O: CI into two series; the original Law & Order was kept airing while L&O: CI returned as its distinct program on NBC while both versions are currently streaming via Peacock.
Law and Order: Criminal Intent featured many memorable characters during its 10-season run, as it followed the NYPD Manhattan Major Case Squad to investigate high-profile cases involving VIPs, local government employees, financial industry executives, and the art world. Det. Robert “Bobby” Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Det. Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe) became household names among viewers.
The show also featured an impressive roster of guest stars who added depth and variety to its cast, such as Viola Davis in “Badge.” This episode focused on corrupt police networks, featuring an exciting chase scene at one point.
Criminal Intent stands out from its original Law and Order counterpart by taking an approach driven more by character development than its original. This was in no small part thanks to D’Onofrio, who gave a fantastic performance as Goren. His character was nuanced and complex, providing us with insights into his personal life as a result of Criminal Intent.
The show’s writers were also adept at creating memorable villains for their performance. Many were frightening, while some weren’t always bad – such as Frank McNare, who preyed upon women for decades before killing them, taking photographs before each killing, never showing remorse for his deeds, and creating genuinely terrifying antagonists like him.
Nicole Wallace (Olivia D’Abo) was another notable villain. Introduced during season two and quickly becoming Goren’s arch-nemesis, Nicole proved an effective opponent to overcome. Her calculated, determined, and persistent approach was an intimidating foe for Goren and his fellow detectives.
Jeff Goldblum made for an exceptional guest star appearance as Zack Nichols; his signature humor and sarcasm added much-needed zest to the role and made for an engaging part. Chris Noth also brought great character to Mike Logan, while Annabella Sciorra’s Detective Carolyn Barek made for an intriguing pairing.
Law and Order’s cases often featured high-profile crimes involving celebrities. It was widely known for its use of forensic science and dramatic courtroom scenes, making Law and Order one of the most beloved television series ever produced, inspiring many other crime dramas.
Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, and Courtney B. Vance star alongside Chris Noth and Olivia d’Abo from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit spin-off series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in this series; they both also reprise recurring roles as Detective Michael “Mike” Logan played by Noth and Carolyn Barek played by Scivora respectively – two characters made famous from previous Law and Order episodes. NBC recently renewed this show for another season.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent boasts an impressive roster of guest stars, such as former President Bill Clinton and Whoopi Goldberg (both appearing in season 4).
In its initial decade on air, this series featured an ensemble cast and cases that explored criminal motivations for their actions. It centered around New York City police detectives such as Det. Robert “Bobby” Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio), Det. Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe) and ADAs Michael “Mike” Logan (Chris Noth) and Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian).
Law and Order: Criminal Intent was developed into its Russian version by TF1 Alma Productions in 2007. While its characters and plot are similar to its U.S. series, some minor differences exist due to cultural and language barriers.
Law and Order: Criminal Intent was a beloved TV series for nearly 17 seasons on both USA and Bravo cable networks, with its reruns available to watch anytime. Furthermore, its cast has gone on to star in other tv series and movies.
Law and Order: Criminal Intent episodes are captivatingly compelling and often shocking. In one such attack, a man kills his wife using a drill; their son attempts to notify the police; however, due to being a celebrity herself, this complicates their investigation and highlights inequality within law enforcement.