In New York City's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the detectives of the Major Case Squad. These are their stories…
Before Jerry Bruckheimer started stamping the letters, C-S-I, in front of all his shows, writer/producer Dick Wolf was blazing his own path to the upper echelon of pop culture with his most renowned creation, "Law & Order." Debuting in 1990, "Law & Order" ran on NBC for twenty years and stands as one of the longest running programs on television. The format of the acclaimed drama followed the police investigation of a crime through trial and prosecution. The crimes themselves are "ripped from the headlines," loosely based on cases from Bernie Goetz to the death of Anna-Nicole Smith. In 1999, the show became a franchise with the debut of its first spin-off, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," which focused on crimes of a sexual nature. The second spin-off, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," debuted in 2001 and revolved around the NYPD's Major Crimes Squad as they handled cases involving high society, celebrities, and politicos. "Criminal Intent" differed from its compatriots in that it focused more on the detectives as well as the criminals themselves.
The series had quite the revolving cast of characters. In its initial seasons, the lead protagonists were Detectives Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe). Their relationship has often been compared to that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with Goren being the brilliant eccentric and Eames as the straight-laced partner dealing with his unorthodox methods. By season 4, the producers hit on the idea to alternate investigative teams and reintroduced Chris Noth as Det. Mike Logan, a character he played during the first four seasons of the original "Law & Order." Noth is paired briefly with Annabelle Sciorra before she was replaced by Julianne Nicholson as Det. Megan Wheeler. Both teams worked under Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian), who was introduced as their new superior officer in season 5.
"Criminal Intent" entered its eighth season without Chris Noth. He was replaced by Jeff Goldblum as Det. Zack Nichols, another unconventional investigator. Nichols was a former partner to Capt. Ross before leaving the police force after 9/11. Julianne Nicholson would also depart by season's end with Saffron Burrows taking her place as Nichols' new partner.
Shout Factory has released the complete eighth season in this 4-disc set with the exception of one episode, "The Glory That Was." No official reason has been given though it could be because of rights issues with the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's," which plays a pivotal role in the episode.
The episodes included are:
- "Playing Dead" – The stepdaughter of a prominent politician pretends to be dead when a hired killer guns down her boyfriend, who was blackmailing her stepdad.
- "Rock Star" – Nichols and Wheeler look into the murder of an aspiring musician living amongst other young artists in a loft.
- "Identity Crisis" – Goren and Eames investigate a man who came from a poor background, who has now conned his way into high society.
- "In Treatment" – Stocks are falling and bodies are piling up as Nichols investigates a therapist treating several traders and investors.
- "Faithfully" – Goren and Eames uncover torrid love affairs within the holy confines of a church while working the murder of a doctor.
- "Astoria Helen" – Nichols and Wheeler are on the case of an armored car robbery after one of the culprits is killed in an explosion.
- "Folie A Deux" – Goren and Eames discover the kidnapping of a baby girl from a high-class hotel isn't all it appears to be.
- "Family Values" – Goren and Eames must stop a religious fanatic on a murder spree.
- "Salome in Manhattan" – Nichols and Wheeler are in the spotlight as they investigate the death of a tabloid friendly socialite.
- "Lady's Man" – Goren and Eames look into the death of a man who escaped a murder charge and became a successful TV personality.
- "Passion" – Nichols and Wheeler investigate a writer who would do anything to keep his poetry journal afloat
- "All In" – Goren and Eames work the case of a former professional poker player, who was forced to become a debt collector to pay back his loan shark.
- "Major Case" – While Wheeler is giving birth, Nichols teams with Eames to hunt down a killer who may be working inside the department.
- "Alpha Dog" – Goren and Eames delve into a world of sex and drugs when a handsome poster boy is found dead.
- "Revolution" – Nichols and Eames pursue a group of extremists after the attempted kidnapping of a wealthy CEO goes bad.
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. "Criminal Intent" doesn't have the slick presentation of "CSI," but the transfer is solid. Colors are strong with an inherent graininess that doesn’t detract from the clarity.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. It's always nice to hear the trademark percussive sound that dots the episode. Dialogue is crisp and clear.
Cue ominous sound effect.
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" doesn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to the police procedural. However, there's no real need to you have such a highly addictive and compelling drama. The eighth season of "Criminal Intent" is another enjoyable installment with Jeff Goldblum and Vincent D'Onofrio as the show's anchors.