Quirky Robert Goren's Holmesian technique of using close observation and obscure knowledge to make deductions sets "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" apart from both the other exceptional "Law and Order" series and run-of-the-mill police procedurals. Goren's angst and general alienation that are the price for seeing the world more clearly and for being smarter than the average detective is just icing on this very tasty cake.
Alicia Witt's Nola Falacci comes in a close second for favorite "Criminal Intent" character. That detective's dark sensibility and bulldog style remind me a great deal of Witt's wonderful character, the brilliant and Addams Family level dark late teen Zoey Woodbine in the unfairly maligned '90s CBS sitcom "Cybill."
Seeing Falacci interrogate Zoey for murdering Zoey's preppy upbeat brother-in-law Kevin, played by Peter Krause, would have been a dream come true.
Shout Factory's recent release of the seventh season of "Criminal Intent" was a dream come true; thank you Shout for once again releasing seasons of one of television's best shows after a studio stopped doing so.
The seventh season is the year that "Criminal Intent" moved from NBC to the USA network and experienced budget cuts that reflected the difference between a broadcast television show and one that aired on basic cable.
The good news is that "Criminal Intent's" quality survived the transition and that the show received impressive ratings on USA.
Aside from having great actors portraying wonderfully damaged characters, "Criminal Intent" offered the terrific twist of having its major case squad devote its resources to solving crimes that involved New York City's elite.
The brutality of the often rich-on-rich violence and the pride that goeth before the fall of the arrogant malfeasors who thought that their position justified their crime and/or that the police were too inferior to catch them made for good television. This well-written and directed series was definitely geared to the 99-percent with a taste for intelligent programs.
Two particularly noteworthy episodes come early in season. The season premiere had Goren both recovering from a tragedy that occurred at the end of the sixth season and furhter alienating himself from his brothers in blue by using his exceptional detection skills to discredit another police officer's credibility. Seeing Goren literally left out on the street was tough.
A second "must-see" episode involved a respcted couples therapist, who was married to a divorce court judge, getting killed. Falacci's particularly dark humor and Hitchcock caliber twists made this presentation feature-film quality.
One of the better seventh-season "ripped from the headlines" episodes for which "Law and Order" series are well known revolved around charging college jocks with raping strippers who the athletes hired for a party. Having '80s preppy Andrew McCarthy play a prosecutor out to get the privileged athletes was a nice touch.
Given Shout's consistent history of releasing seasons of a show within a few months of each other, I will chanel my inner-Goren in eagerly anticipating watching eighth season episodes of "Criminal Intent" this October.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Criminal Intent" is encouraged to email me.