Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001) 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

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 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.

Sign up for's What to Watch Newsletter!

What to watch on TV. Hear what's on tap for the night ahead and get witty, morning after recaps of top shows (sent weekday mornings).
Originally posted Apr 14, 2005 Published in issue #816 Apr 22, 2005 Order article reprints