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" was in a state of flux for the seventh season with the 2007 writer's strike being just one of the causes. The show moved from NBC to the USA Network while Julianne Nicholson was on maternity leave for the first half of the season. She was temporarily replaced by Alicia Witt as the feisty Det. Nola Falacci.
The previous seasons of "Criminal Intent" were released by Universal. Shout Factory has taken the torch and released the complete seventh season in this five-disc set. The episodes included are:
- "Amends" – The murder of a police officer forces Det. Eames to reopen the investigation into the death of her husband, who was also killed in the line of duty.
- "Seeds" – A fertility doctor is found ritualistically murdered in the clinic he ran with his brother.
- "Smile" – The death of a dentist leads to the discovery of tainted mouthwash.
- "Lonelyville" – When a dead woman is found in a motel, Logan & Falacci follow the trail to a lonely writer profiling the city's singles scene.
- "Depths" – The FBI is quick to cry terrorism when a Middle Eastern diver turns up dead.
- "Courtship" – The murder of a judge's wife uncovers a web of deceit involving a hot-headed movie director and his starlet wife.
- "Self-Made" – The brutal torture and murder of a young writer lead Goran & Eames to believe she was a victim of the violent past she worked hard to escape.
- "Offense" – The rape trial of a group of college football players is in jeopardy when a key witness is murdered.
- "Untethered" – Goren goes undercover as a prisoner to investigate claims by his nephew of abuse and murder by the staff.
- "Senseless" – Logan becomes personally involved in the random slaying of three college students.
- "Purgatory" – Goren works to clear his name by gathering evidence against a pair of corrupt cops.
- "Contract" – Logan & Wheeler find no shortage of suspects in the murder of a controversial gossip columnist.
- "Betrayed" – Captain Ross is put in an unenviable position when an ex-girlfriend is accused of murdering her much-younger husband her his lover.
- "Assassin" – Logan & Wheeler must protect a crusading activist from an assassination attempt.
- "Please Note We Are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger" – Goren & Eames investigate a series of seemingly random killings of wealthy victims in Central Park.
- "Reunion" – A television host (guest-star Joan Jett) is bludgeoned to death and suspicion points to her drug addict son and a washed up rock idol.
- "Vanishing Act" – The body of a famous illusionist mysteriously appears in the cabinet of his former mentor, played by Christopher Lloyd.
- "Ten Count" – Logan & Wheeler delve into the amateur boxing scene when a protégé of Logan's is shot outside a nightclub.
- "Legacy" – Goren & Eames investigate the supposed suicide of a student at a ritzy private school.
- "Neighborhood Watch" – An enraged community is under suspicion following the murder of a recently released sex offender.
- "Last Rites" – A man's confession to his priest leads Logan to reopen a 16-year old homicide case.
- "Frame" – Goren is pitted once again with his arch-nemesis, Nicole Wallace, a serial killer, who puts his loved ones at risk.
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.
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"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" doesn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to the police procedural. However, there's no real need to when the wheel is so well constructed. "Criminal Intent" is a highly addictive and compelling drama.