|Law & Order character|
|First appearance||Law & Order: Criminal Intent (CI): "One"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU): "Acceptable Loss"
|Last appearance||CI: "To the Boy In the Blue Knit Cap"|
|Portrayed by||Kathryn Erbe|
|Time on show||2001–2011 (CI)
|Credited appearances||144 episodes (CI)
2 episodes (SVU)
146 episodes (total)
|Preceded by||G. Lynn Bishop (season 3)
Megan Wheeler (season 8)
|Succeeded by||Serena Stevens (season 9)|
|Title||NYPD Detective - Senior (CI)
NYPD Lieutenant (SVU)
|Family||Husband: Joseph Dutton (deceased)
Father: Jonathon Eames
Siblings: Elizabeth Eames (sister)
Other: two nephews
Alexandra "Alex" Eames is a fictional character within the Law & Order universe portrayed by Kathryn Erbe. Eames first appears on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as a detective partnered with Robert Goren. Following the end of the series in 2011, Erbe reprised her role in two episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with her character promoted to lieutenant and now working in the joint City/Federal Homeland Security Task Force.
Erbe received a 2008 Satellite Award Nomination for Best Actress: Television Drama Series for her portrayal.
Eames entered the police academy in 1993. Senator Maureen Pagolis spoke at Eames' graduation from the academy. Eames greatly admired her as a role model for women. Before joining Major Case, Eames was with Vice for five years. For two years of that time, she was stationed in Chelsea. Her badge number is 5798. On one occasion, when she is shown in uniform, she is wearing the American Flag, 25 year service, Excellent Police Duty, Meritorius Police Duty, and pistol proficiency citation bars. On another, she has the World Trade Center, and a unit citation bar, with the flag and the duty bars.
In Law & Order: Criminal Intent
In Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Eames is a police detective with Manhattan's Major Case Squad (MCS). While stationed in MCS, Eames is partnered with Det. Robert Goren, and is the senior partner of the two.
Eames is kidnapped in the sixth season premiere episode "Blind Spot" by Jo Gage, the daughter of Dr. Declan Gage, Goren's mentor. After the incident, Eames returns to duty, but (in the episode "Siren Call") it is revealed that she is seeing a therapist to deal with the trauma.
At the end of season six, Eames works a case with Detective Wheeler (portrayed by Julianne Nicholson) that has ties to Goren's nemesis, Nicole Wallace (portrayed by Olivia d'Abo). Eames also began partnering with Zack Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) in the season eight episode "Major Case" after Wheeler, Nichols' regular partner, goes into labor.
In the Season 9 premiere "Loyalty," she and Goren are pulled off a pair of homicides by Capt. Ross, who has been working undercover for the FBI on a case involving one of the victims. When Ross is subsequently murdered, Goren and Eames team up with Nichols to find his killer, only to be stonewalled by the FBI. Goren soon gets into a physical altercation with the prime suspect, leading to his suspension and Eames' decision to covertly help him with his own investigation.
Partnership with Robert Goren
Eames' pragmatic, analytical investigative style and acerbic humor serves as a balance against Goren's often eccentric investigation and interrogation methods. Their working relationship is loyal and supportive, but there is sometimes tension and conflict between them. It is revealed that she and Goren did not see eye-to-eye at first; puzzled by his interrogation methods, she had asked her superior officer for a new partner. She soon learned to appreciate his investigative skill, however, and withdrew the request, all without ever revealing this to Goren. In turn, Goren respects Eames' tenacity and steadiness under pressure.
Although Goren and Eames have never been romantically involved, they both have shown professional and personal loyalty to one another. During Eames' absence due to her maternity leave, Goren makes the connection to a suspect missing his partner and compares his temporary partner unfavorably to Eames. In the episode "Blind Spot," when Eames is abducted, Goren is in obvious distress over her welfare. When Goren is suspended and decides to go undercover on his own, in a prison where his nephew has witnessed abuses ("Untethered"), Eames keeps in communication with him and asks for their Captain's help when his plans go awry.
In the episode "Purgatory", when Goren decides to go undercover during his suspension, he does not inform Eames of this decision, which causes a considerable conflict between them after his actions are revealed. Goren apologizes and states that he wanted to keep Eames away from the situation, but she reacts angrily and replies that his actions were based on selfishness and that "all [his] wounds are self-inflicted." Additionally, in the Season Seven premiere "Amends", when the case of Eames' late husband is reopened (see "Joseph Dutton" section below), Eames is in obvious distress regarding Goren reviewing her late husband's case and tells him that it's "not one of [his] puzzles."
In the two-part Season 9 premiere "Loyalty," Eames is offered a promotion to Captain of Major Case on the condition she fire Goren. She and Goren discuss this matter and agree that it is best he resign, as he believes his recent actions will soon have him dismissed anyway. He kisses Eames on the cheek and they share an embrace before he leaves; Eames herself then resigns from the force altogether.
After a year's absence, Eames and Goren again became the series' lead characters for its tenth and final season.
In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Eames appeared in the fourteenth season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as having been promoted to Lieutenant in the joint City/Federal Homeland Security Task Force. She appeared in the fourth episode, "Acceptable Loss", as the SVU squad crosses paths with Eames when their investigation of a sex trafficking ring uncovers a connection to a terrorism case on which Eames is working. She tells the detectives to stand down and briefs them on her investigation. After SVU goes forward with their prostitution investigation, Eames blames SVU for making her lose her target. When Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) realizes that one of the alleged working girls was connected to the terrorism plot, Captain Cragen calls Eames in and Benson pleads with her to let them work the raid with her. Eames agrees, and they foil the terrorism plot in progress. At the end of the episode, Benson asks Eames why she stared at the suspect with a tilted head, and Eames responds that it was something her partner taught her while at MCS. She briefly mentions to Benson that her partner at MCS moved on after 11 years of working together and for her it was also time for a change. Eames returns to help SVU track down a sniper who injured Detective Rollins in the episode, "Poisoned Motive".
Personal and family life
Eames joined the NYPD to follow in the footsteps of her father, Johnny Eames, also a cop. Eames' younger brother has three kids all in private school, is part of the FDNY, and is married to a nurse. It was once stated in the episode "Vacancy" that her aunt, a promiscuous alcoholic, lived with them for a year. After she hit Eames' younger brother, Eames said they never saw her again. In "Vacancy", a suspect senses her anger towards alcoholics and uses her vulnerability to sabotage the case against him. In "The Last Street in Manhattan", Eames takes care of her elderly father who complains that she has given him no grandchildren. Eames jokes that her father has Irish Alzheimer's, i.e. only remembers the grudges.
In 2003, Eames volunteered to serve as a surrogate mother for her sister's baby, a storyline intended to coincide with Kathryn Erbe's real life pregnancy, as the unmarried Eames had no onscreen romantic attachments.
Eames is widowed. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2001, Erbe said of Eames, "Her husband was a cop who was killed in the line of duty. None of this you will probably hear in the show." However, in the 2006 episode "The War at Home" and in subsequent episodes, it was revealed that her husband, Joseph Dutton, was killed in 1998. In the season seven premiere "Amends" Dutton's case needed to be reopened, and it is discovered the wrong man had been convicted; DNA evidence pointed to another suspect who was subsequently arrested by Goren and Eames.
- 6:14, "Brother's Keeper"
- Chicago Tribune, Michael Kilian, November 1, 2001
- NBC biography of Alexandra Eames
- USA's Law & Order: Criminal Intent site, including 18 "Character Insight" videos
- Detective Alexandra Eames at the Internet Movie Database