Readers, The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is stepping away from politics for a day to talk about it’s favorite television show.
One thing Judge Sotomayor and I have in common is that we liked Perry Mason when we were kids. She said it inspired her to become a lawyer. It made me a crime show addict.
I am a Law and Order junkie. My DVR is set to record all of the Law and Order and Law and Order CI episodes. Special Victims is a distant third but since I’ve met Richard Belzer a few times and he paid me a great compliment on my act once I still enjoy watching that series.
In case you have been living in Tibet with a Yeti for the last eight years I’ll give you a little background on the show. Criminal Intent, producer Dick Wolf’s homage to Sherlock Holmes, is by far the most engaging of the three Law and Order shows. This franchise was carried for the first four years by Vincent D’Onofrio’s Detective Robert Goren and his Dr. Watson, Detective Alex Eames played by Kathryn Erbe.
After four years Mr. D’Onofrio wanted a lighter work schedule and actor Chris Noth as brought in to reprise his Law and Order character, Mike Logan. In addition Annabella Sciorra was added as his partner. It is usually a bad sign for a series when they start bringing in “star” names to bolster and aging series. While Ms. Sciorra is an admirable actress her character never seemed more that a second banana to Detective Logan who was constricted by his Law and Order past. Episodes of Criminal Intent with Logan often seemed like episodes of the original Law and Order. Ms. Sciorra lasted only one season, another bad sign. The next season Eric Bogosian replaced series veteran Jamey Sheridan as the captain. Mr. Bogosian, known mostly for his comedic one man shows, seemed an odd choice for a role as a tough big city police officer but his portrayal of Captain Daniel Ross has been outstanding and a boost to the show.
This season I was sure I heard the death knell for Criminal Intent when Jeff Goldblum was hired to replace Chris Noth. If I were to make a list of my least favorite actors Mr. Goldblum would be right near the top. His laconic and ironic acting style is like chewing tinfoil to me. I watched the first episode featuring him sure I would be able to stop watching my favorite show every other week.
I don’t know who should get credit for the creation of Mr. Goldblum’s character Detective Zach Nichols but it has breathed new life into the Criminal Intent series. While I fully expected to tune in and see him walking through a few paychecks until his next movie role he is amazingly good. His neurotic, troubled yet somehow coping Detective Nichols is a perfect counterpoint to D’Onofrio’s Goren who seems to be on the brink of falling off of a cliff at any second. I know he probably wasn’t losing any sleep by being on my least favorite actor list but Mr. Goldblum can rest easy because he now has a new fan.