Normally, I don't watch this show. I think I have made a mistake in not
I watched the first episode and didn't really like it because it was so
different from the other L&O franchises. I believe that two things have
happened: 1) I made too hasty a judgement, and 2) the show has improved since
its first season.
The other L&O's are great because they are true ensemble shows that don't
depend on the actors or their characters to be great. The stories are the
real stars. In Criminal Intent, however, that's not true. The star
is definitely Vincent D'onofrio, or rather, his character. He is a
strange, quirky guy, a sort of Sherlock Holmes. Actually, the person he
most reminds me of is "Cracker" from the British series of that name.
There was an American version, but it was not very good. I believe Law & Order:
CI is the true American version of that show, at least as far as the
characterization of its lead. Unlike Cracker, Detective Goren is not a
gambling-addicted, womanizing, boozehound, but the rest of the character and how
he solves cases is very similar.
The other characters on the show are pretty bland, but they have to be to
balance out the weirdness of Goren/D'onofrio. This is very different from
the other L&O shows where everyone is a solid, interesting character, but no one
person is the star (and everyone's replaceable). If D'onofrio ever decides
to leave the show, this franchise may not survive as well as the others.
He is a great actor, but seeing as how he looks to be a middle-aged, slightly
rotund, balding-guy, he would be crazy to leave. He's no Benjamin Bratt,
let's put it that way!
The DVD collection is good to have (has it really been 3 seasons already?).
Besides the episodes, there are some interviews with a few of the cast members,
a tour of the set, an interview with the show's technical advisor (a former
cop), and a lengthy character analysis of Detective Robert Goren. This
should tell you, if nothing else does, how different this show is from the other
L&O shows. You aren't going to find a lengthy character analysis of
Detectives Briscoe or Stabler on the other DVD's.
Like all of the L&O DVD's, this one comes with a nice box and a beautiful
colorful booklet with episode descriptions.
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