Law & Order: Criminal Intent Let's talk Vincent D'Onofrio and Law & Order: Criminal Intent . You say showboat. I say unfairly maligned delight. After dialing it down to an… Law & Order: Criminal Intent Let's talk Vincent D'Onofrio and Law & Order: Criminal Intent . You say showboat. I say unfairly maligned delight. After dialing it down to an… 2001-09-30 Crime Drama Vincent D'Onofrio Kathryn Erbe Jamey Sheridan Courtney B. Vance NBC
TV Review

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001)

Chris Noth, Kathryn Erbe, ... | DREAM TEAM CI 's D'Onofrio, Erbe, and Noth
Image credit: Law and Order: Criminal Intent: Virginia Sherwood
DREAM TEAM CI's D'Onofrio, Erbe, and Noth
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Start Date: Sep 30, 2001; Genres: Crime, Drama; With: Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Jamey Sheridan and Courtney B. Vance; Network: NBC; More

Let's talk Vincent D'Onofrio and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. You say showboat. I say unfairly maligned delight. After dialing it down to an 11, D'Onofrio — along with some creepy stories — is turning CI into the best of the L&O franchise. CI has its own unique, filmic aesthetic: In an Andrea Yates-inspired story, a shot of a cul-de-sac captures the looping anxiety of the murderous housemom who lives there; in another episode, a Bobby Fischer-like prodigy is surrounded by police, who close in on him like pieces on a chessboard.

Sure, D'Onofrio's Det. Robert Goren is still a know-it-all. This season, he diagnosed emphysema, confidently discussed antique silver — even disarmed a gang of killer prison guards using only psychology: ''You belong to your church choir...you were in the Navy...'' Goren's still written big, but the actor has toned down his tics while maintaining a low-heat oddness refreshing in L&O's reserved world. (Although his partner, Kathryn Erbe, so mesmerizing as a baby killer in Oz, deserves more to do.) A guest appearance by Chris Noth, reprising his role as roguish Det. Mike Logan — plaid tie and foxy grin intact — was a surprising treat. That's key, since next season Noth will share the CI caseload with D'Onofrio. Here's hoping for SVU-style flashes of the detective's haunted background. (Dig up ''Indifference'' from season 1 of the original L&O: In a few violent sentences, Logan creates a deeply disturbing portrait of his never-seen mother.) Perhaps Noth, with his doting Sex and the City fan base, can help revive this low-rated Law & Order. It deserves a second look.

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Originally posted Apr 14, 2005 Published in issue #816 Apr 22, 2005 Order article reprints
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