Family Values (Law & Order: Criminal Intent)

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"Family Values (Happy Family)"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode
Episode no. Season 8
Episode 9 (#164 overall)
Directed by Jean de Segonzac
Written by Dick Wolf (creator)
René Balcer (developer)
Walon Green (teleplay)
Walon Green & Antoinette Stella (writers)
Production code
  1. CI8017
Original air date June 21, 2009
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Glory That Was..."
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"Salome in Manhattan"

"Family Values" (alternate title: "Happy Family") is an eighth-season episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and the 163rd episode overall. This episode was originally set to air after "Playing Dead" which was the episode chosen to be the season premiere.


A man disturbed by the imagery of a girl wearing a low-cut costume in a school play walks out and drives to a house reciting religious scripture. He sips a mug while wearing rubber gloves. A dead woman lies on the floor next to his table. The man of the house returns and the assailant ambushes him with a hammer. Eames and Goren are called to the scene in the morning. They note that the case is peculiar because of the woman's apparent familiarity with her killer but nothing of value, even one-thousand dollars in cash was taken, nor any sexual assault took place during the home invasion.

It turns out the killer, Paul Devildis (David Harbour) and his wife Mary (Susan Misner) are the victims' relatives. He is extremely socially-conservative, even having used a towel to cover the chest of his sister-in-law after killing her. Paul learns from his daughter Kathy (Britt Robertson) that she will next be performing in a Tennessee Williams play, which he disapproves of, because of Williams's homosexuality. Paul confronts her drama teacher, Vilma (Karen Ziemba) over this. He later walks out of an alley, dropping his hammer in a dumpster. She is found dead the next morning, being killed by a hammer.

It is revealed that despite being a lesbian, Vilma taught at a conservative Christian school and not every parent approved of the drama program, of which Paul was one. Paul builds a pipe bomb which is delivered to and detonated by the boss who fired him from his bank job at which he has been pretending to work for the past five months. The body count continues to escalate as Paul's wife and pet dog are found dead in his house, but he has absconded with his daughter. Goren theorizes that Paul's mother will be next. Listening to the radio, Kathy discovers what her father has done and unsuccessfully attempts to escape. After apprehending Paul near his mother's retirement home, Eames and Goren now must race to look for the now-missing daughter before hypothermia sets in. Goren manages to use Paul's fanaticism against him to reveal Kathy's location in time.


  • This episode was originally set to air after “Playing Dead”. But to due to the reset dates of the season premiere (Nov 08, Jan 09, and Feb 09) and the Goldblum/Nicholson episodes not ready yet, the network shifted the episodes around, no reason why has been mentioned to this date.


Vincent D’Onofrio   Det. Robert Goren
Kathryn Erbe Det. Alexandra Eames
Eric Bogosian Capt. Daniel Ross

External links[edit]