'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' recap: Are you missing Goren and Eames?

Last week, Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, and Eric Bogosian were ushered out of Law & Order: Criminal Intent with all the finesse of a bouncer at a cheap nightclub. In a lumpy hour that forced D’Onofrio’s Goren and Erbe’s Eames to act as supporting players to Jeff Goldblum’s Zach Nichols and Saffron Burrows’ Serena Stevens, Goren and Eames had a brief farewell scene together (Bogosian was in a body-bag by then), and the new era of L&O: CI began.

Last night, we saw the first full-fledged Nichols-Stevens edition of CI, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio taking the position of their new captain, Zoe Callas. It was an ungainly hour. Guest stars Kevin Conway and Marin Hinkle starred as residents of an Irish enclave of Queens involved in a murder that was so easily solved, extra air-time had to be given over to long close-ups of Goldblum looking soulfully into space, and all of it was framed by a perfectly awful song sung by someone with a gravelly voice meant to convey a grit that wasn’t present in the script.

If I’m being hard on Criminal Intent, it’s because I feel a little cheated — I’ve always liked this Law & Order franchise. D’Onofrio became too much of a self-conscious showboater as the seasons progressed, but Erbe was never less than first-rate, always undervalued and kept in D’Onofrio’s big shadow. CI also, over its run, has featured some of the best female characters in the L&O franchise. Julianne Nicholson and Alicia Witt were terrific in the show. At its best, CI has possessed the leanness of the original Law & Order‘s crime-solving first half, and without the blubbery emotionalism that makes Law & Order: Special Victims Unit almost unwatchable for me.

Last season, Goldblum’s Nichols was introduced as a smart-alecky bohemian police detective. The character seemed suited to Goldblum’s hip-giraffe physicality and smokey-voiced wryness. Last night, none of that backstory hovered over a grim, humorless Nichols, which makes me worried for the actor and his role. It’s impossible to pass judgment on Burrows yet — other than establishing last week that she can speak many languages including Urdu, it’s difficult to tell how her character will evolve, or not.

But the fact that excellent actors such as Conway and Hinkle were squandered on a melodramatic tale doesn’t bode well. I fret about Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It’s long been the poor stepchild of the L&O shows, moved off from network to cable when its ratings fluttered. In theory, the show should flourish on USA, where, you know, it’s “characters welcome,” and who’s more of a character than Jeff Goldblum?

So I ask you: Are you missing Goren and Eames? What do you think of the new Law & Order: CI? Are you going to give Goldblum and Burrows a chance to prove themselves on the Major Case Squad?

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Comments (550 total) Add your comment
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  • PBJ

    I didn’t watch. I wasn’t impressed with Goldblume’s character last season and I really had no desire to watch the show without Goren and Eames.

    • clebleu

      Very boring without Goren and Eames!! Will probably never try to watch it again since they are gone.

      • Uffdaje

        COMPLETELY AGREE WITH clebleu, PBJ, etc etc. CI without Goren and Eames is BORING, FLAT, completely uninteresting! Goren and Eames made the show without them CI is not worth my time.

      • aLisa

        why did you do this to us talin off Goren and Eames. It’s not worth watching now. So long my friends, I miss yall

      • Gavin

        Criminal Intent is over without Goren and Eames, will never watch the show until they return

    • Diane Lutzen

      Surely Goldblum & his partners can’t last. The show was flat. It was my favorite show and Goren, Eames, and Ross made it click

      • vicki bailey

        there is no cohesive chemistry between the characters. jeff would probably stand a chance if they bring back the fellache character at least she had fire and spunk to make the show worth watching as it stands the show is dull as dishwater. and if it stays on this course end it. the captain and the dectives character is very underwhelming just because the detective has good looks it is not enough to keep us intrigued.

    • parkR

      Not missing Goren and Eames yet, but that is probably b/c I expect to see them every other episode… I’ll notice the void next week

    • Lia

      I loved Goren, Vincent D’Onofrio and Eames were the reason I kept watching especially D’Onofrio, he was great in that role.I watch all the Law & Orders, I like Jeff but I will no longer watch the series. If they bring them back on I will but until than it’s over. Are they playing any other series I would like to know.

      • sean

        I agree, I have been a long time fan of the criminal intint series of law and order. Though i do like SVU, Crininal intent was my favorite, but now that Eames and Goren are gone i might have to say that SVU will fill that slot! Eames and Goren made the show to me, mostfully (Goren) Vincent D’onofio as i think he was brilliant on the show as a detective, prob one of the best on the whole law and order series as i am a fan of all of them! I think it was a huge MISTAKE to eliminate him and Erbe (Eames) as the lead cast, They made the show! I have know idea what the producers were thinking, I think he (or her) have made a huge mistake and the ratings are goin to fall even farther. (As well they should!)

      • Kat

        Agree Lia. I loved D’Onofrio. Think he’s an amazing actor. Always interesting. Also love Kathryn Erbe. They are wonderful together—love my Goren and Eames. I won’t watch CI without them. Used to watch SVU but haven’t for years now. This doesn’t feel like Jeff Goldblum’s thing, so it’s a pass for me.

      • Uffdaje

        will return to watching CI when Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe are brought back but until then I will not watch CI and will/do no watch reruns with out them exception is Christoper Noth but my main like are Goren and Eames. Network/CI producers made a HUGE HUGE HUGE mistake! No Goren and Eames will be the end of CI!

      • Patricia

        I agree with Lisa, Sean, Kat, and Uffdaje. I will NOT watch CI again (except reruns that have Goren and Eames in them). They have ruined the show (in my humble opinion) and I believe that people who were really into the show were fans because of the Goren and Eames characters. Jeff Goldblum’s an okay actor, but I don’t believe he can replace Vincent D’Onofrio on the show. The same goes for the rest of the actors who replaced the regulars of the show. AND that was a CRAPPY send-off for these fine actors!!!

    • Sue1

      Loved Goren and Eames, they were the reason I became a devoted fan of the show, and their departure was the reason I didn’t watch last night.
      D’Onofrio was given some pretty intense story lines to work with, and always delivered.

      • voluptuousdate

        i thought Jeff died

      • sonia

        Crimal Intent was my favorite, I like SUV also, I guess suv will replace Crimal Intent for me as well. If Goren and Eames come back they will alway be my favorite, but without them there is no Crimal Intent anymore

    • Brenda

      Yes, I will miss them both. However, I am such a fan of the whole franchise I’m willing to give the new characters a chance.

      • Rob

        I liked Goren and Eames and I love the original and SVU. I want to give this trio a shot as Goren and Eames weren’t always smooth either. Goldblum has a lot of different sounds and looks and he hadn’t worked with the actress before so I’m giving them a chance to get off the ground. Stabler and Benson weren’t always magic and the original L and O faltered after Jerry died-they still aren’t getting it right yet. Thompson, Waterston and Merkerson are a great supporting and main cast but the detectives haven’t been right on with each other as a team since
        Jerry and Jesse. So I give them a chance now. I haven’t watched L&O since Jesse left. IT isnt’ the same for me and I respect fans feelings too but I appreciate Brenda’s open minded atttitude.

    • sonia

      tried to watch, keep losing my interest during the show. Goren and Eames are not replaceable

      • John Levandowski

        i agree, Goren and Eames just gave the show that much more character needed that always kept me watching. I feel Jeff Goldblum simply cannot play the character as needed, someone seriously messed up for taking away D’Onofrio. Yes Dick Wolf, You did wrong. Let’s make it right.

    • albean

      I haven’t watched the show ever since Jeff Goldblum came on board. I know that Goren was too out there at times but I liked him & Eames but never really liked any of the alternate partners. There are other shows to watch out there instead so won’t be checking back in.

      • bobby

        ditto to Goren is the Man. and Eames is the Women!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jennifer

      I was a big fan of goren and eames. I will not watch the new episodes.

    • Uffdaje

      Totally Agree – I will NEVER WATCH CI again without Goren and Eames. Do not care for Goldblum never have his acting is over acting.

    • Kimberly

      I can’t believe Goren and Eames are gone. I went through several captains with them and to get rid of them the way they did, sleazy. I will no longer watch it. Just like I will no longer watch the original Law and Order when Van Buren leaves.

      • mlf

        Kimberly, I totally agree!

    • CJ

      I liked Goldblum last season when he alternated with D’Onofrio/Erbe. I found the storylines interesting and Goldblum just quirky enough to hold my attention. However, my interest has waned. Yes, I do miss D’Onofrio/Erbe — so badly, that I’ve ordered the first two seasons on DVD. LOCI was such a great idea, but I can no longer watch it.

    • Gloria

      I agree. I love Goren and Eames they made a perfect team. Sorry to see them leave

  • chattypatra

    Am I missing Goren and Eames? Do bees bee? Do bears bear? I watched last night and was bored out of my mind. Thanks for nothing, Dick Wolf!

  • Amiee

    Once Kathryn Erbe was out I stopped watching.

    • BP

      That was last night.

  • auntz

    I’m done with it.

  • AK

    I am absolutely missing Goren and Eames. They are the reason I watched the show and now that they’re gone, I don’t. I think USA/NBC has been trying to dump this show for a long time as evidenced by the quality of the shows over the past couple of seasons and getting rid of its two stars is the nail in the coffin.

    • will s

      I love ci but usa sucks.its shows are cheesy and way off the quality on the nbc shows. Moving it to usa killed it and while I hate it without goren and eames there were smart to leave when they did

  • Megs

    Yeah, I agree. D’Onofrio and Erbe were pretty much given the shaft.
    Jeff G is fine, but it’s the franchise I’m bored with. Don’t get me started on the CSI’s. They should have wrapped that franchise up years ago (though I’ve not seen CSI:NY, maybe it has legs to stand on…I love G.Sinise).

    I switched on LOCI last night for a taste and got the “goldbloom glazed gaze” you mention in your article. Like someone else moving into you childhood home, or worse, knocking it down to build a new one, I said my goodbyes to LOCI and wished Erbe & D’Onofrio tons of post LOCI success!

  • RJ

    I hate to judge people based on one show because it does take time to settle into your character and let the writers figure out where they want to go. However, I really didn’t see anything that gave me hope for these new characters. I was never a fan of Goldblume anyway and this new girl doesn’t interest me. I believe I will stop watching.

    • MaryJane

      I love Jeff Goldblum, but I am not loving his new character on this show. As for Saffron Burrows, I haven’t liked her since the first movie I saw her in, “Deep Blue Sea”, where she was the idiot scientist who “protected” the killer sharks go who proceeded to go on and decimate the cast, so first impressions count. And I wasn’t impressed with last nights’ show, and seriously doubt if I’ll watch again.

      • Sina

        I love Jeff Goldblum also especially his guest stunts on The Colbert Show. But he badly needs Julianne Nicholson back to play his partner. They had an easy chemistry and the way she would give him those “What the F” looks use to crack me up. I have also hated this new chick ever since Deep Blue Sea. She does a horrible American accent.

      • What?

        Wait you are judging an actress by a freaking plot in a movie? so can she judge you on being dumb enough to see the movie since she acted in it ACTED. You do get what acting means? right? and I don’t even care for the actress but this was dumb.

  • derek

    Erbe was lame. Goldblum was great last year, but you are right, he didn’t show the same charisma yesterday.

  • diane nugent

    criminal intent was always my favorite of the law and order shows. it is a pity.

    • BILL ROSE

      d’onofrio; erbe, eric; they were a great team. it made the best law & order. the three they have now will never be as good. they have lost another viewer.

  • deadcatfromtexas

    Erbe had been phoning in her performace the last couple of years. Did she ever smile or show emotion? The show did a disservice to Goran and Eames by letting D’Onofrio go off the reservation with his wacky nearly out of control super detective act. They deserved a better ushering out of the show they created.

    • Joyce

      D’Onofrio was autistic and that shows that some autistic people can make something of their lives. It was good influence on others like him and I loved the way they worked together. I won’t watch it anymore and I missed the very last show and cannot find any where to watch it.

  • Irwin

    Goren and Eames were the show. I have no interest in the show now that they are gone.

  • Emma

    It’s just not the same. :-(

    • Patricia

      I am with all you guys, Goren and Eames was the show. I can’t watch it anymore.

  • jeanie

    I’ve always been a fan of the L&O franchise but will no longer make an effort to watch the new CI. Goldblaum is tolerable in small doses when they would rotate between him and goren, but the new girl is boring. I loved Goren and Eames together and think the powers to be treated them rather shabbily. I did like how Capt. Ross ended up.

  • Anne

    NBC has blatantly been trying to get this show off the air for years. Changing its day/time, then putting first run episodes on USA, then on NBC and calling them “first run” again, psssht. I love love love Vincent, and loved how they brought Chris Noth back (did they ever explain where Logan went AGAIN?), but can’t get into the shuffle off to buffalo they have pulled with this poor show. I don’t watch anymore, but not because I don’t want to-because NBC can’t decide when-and where-it will air. I did enjoy Jeff Goldblum, but am afraid NBC has trashed the show so badly he’ll never get a chance to really develop his character. Good thing Chris Meloni is still going strong. :)

    • Purpleslog

      Logan retired. He said he would at the end of his final LO:CI episode.

    • BP

      Yeah, he’s leaving SVU at the end of the season. Sorry.

    • MaryJane

      CI has been mostly a USA show these last couple of years anyway. I never watched it on NBC because they kept screwing around with the schedule. At least on USA, you get to see it as often as you want. I guess I’ll be sticking with the old episodes though, I’m not interested in this new version.

    • Amanda Attwood

      Meloni quit people.

      As for Burrows, she is British born and started her career here in OZ, so she is likeable. Though i do prefer her with the Aussie accent as she had in her early film work. D’Noffrio gave Gorin an unusual way of being, unique on TV. Though, the character always seemed to be the smartest in the room and almost psychic when suddenly knowing the truth…Eames was a good side-kick.

  • Starr Connally

    I see that we are all in agreement about the butcher job they have done to LOCI. I have no interest in seeing what quirky thing Donofrio will do or anyone else on the show. Mr. Goldblum was better last year…I thought he was going to nod off in the last episode. Will give it a look next week to see if it will be deleted from my DVR, however would like to know the story behind them leaving?

    • anita kover

      I am finished with it. I only watched for Eames and Goren

    • urmila ranade`

      I loved Goren and Eames together Please bring them back. I also want to know the reasons why they left.

      • t.Hannon

        There is NO Criminal Intent without Goren & Earnes. Case closed.

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