|Law & Order character|
|First appearance||Season 1: "One"|
|Last appearance||Season 10: "To the Boy In the Blue Knit Cap"|
|Portrayed by||Vincent D'Onofrio|
|Time on show||2001–2011|
|Credited appearances||141 episodes (total)|
|Succeeded by||Zachary Nichols (Season 9)|
|Title||NYPD Junior Detective|
|Family||Frances Goren (mother) (deceased),
William Goren (step-father) (deceased),
Mark Ford Brady (father) (deceased),
Frank Goren (brother, potentially half-brother) (deceased),
Donny Carlson (nephew),
G. Lynn Bishop (temporary)
Detective Robert "Bobby" Goren is a fictional character featured in the NBC-USA Network police procedural and legal drama television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio.
Goren is a detective investigator first grade for the Major Case Squad in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). He is partnered with Det. Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe). As created by executive producer René Balcer, Goren is an intense, extremely intelligent, and imposing man, but is also unpredictable and sometimes volatile. He appeared in 141 episodes.
Fictional character biography
Personal and family life
Robert O. Goren was born on August 20, 1961, and grew up in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, near The Rockaways. A phenomenally bright young man, he took the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory in his senior year of high school and was sent to speak with the school counselor and school psychiatrist as a result.
Goren's mother Frances (Rita Moreno) first started showing symptoms of schizophrenia when Goren was seven years old. In later years, she is hospitalized at the fictional Carmel Ridge mental health facility. She is then diagnosed with lymphoma which eventually results in her death.
Goren is estranged from his older brother, Frank (Tony Goldwyn), a drug addict who also has a gambling problem and is depicted as being sometimes homeless. Frank has a son, Donny, who asks for help while being incarcerated. While high on drugs, Frank is murdered by Goren's nemesis Nicole Wallace (Olivia d'Abo).
Frances' husband, whom Goren had believed to be his father (see "Mark Ford Brady" section below), gambled frequently on horse races and was a serial adulterer. He left Goren's mother when Goren was eleven, making little effort to stay close to the family. In season 2, a personal friend of Goren's mentions a funeral, implying that Goren's stepfather had died before the series began.
Mark Ford Brady
In the episode "Endgame", serial killer Mark Ford Brady (Roy Scheider), anxious to delay his scheduled execution, arranges for Goren and Eames to interview him about victims not yet attributed to him. Goren, with aid from his brother, pieces together a story which shows that Brady and Frances Goren had a short relationship, which continued until Robert was four and Frank was seven.
Military and early police life
After college, Goren served in the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division. He was stationed in West Germany in 1987, and did a six-month tour in South Korea.
While Goren was with CID, he met Dr. Declan Gage (John Glover), one of the first criminal profilers, who was on loan from the FBI to offer advice on a South Korean serial killer. Gage became Goren’s mentor in the field of criminal profiling.
Major Case Squad
In the backstory of Criminal Intent, Goren has been partnered with Det. Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe) since sometime before 2000, posted to the Major Case Squad under Captain James Deakins (Jamey Sheridan) and later Captains Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian) and Joseph Hannah (Jay O. Sanders). Goren is temporarily partnered with Det. G. Lynn Bishop (Samantha Buck) in the 2003–2004 season while Eames is on maternity leave.
In the episode "Untethered", Goren, on his own, goes undercover at a prison where his nephew is incarcerated; he is then suspended and sent for a psychological fitness evaluation. While waiting for his reinstatement, Goren decides to go undercover to take down a high-level drug dealer, but does not inform Eames of this decision, causing tension between them.
In the two-part Season 9 premiere "Loyalty", Goren and Eames are pulled off a pair of homicides by Ross. Ross is later murdered, and Goren is suspended for a physical altercation with their prime suspect. As a result of Goren's conduct, he is fired, and Eames resigns.
After a year's absence, Goren and Eames again became the series' lead characters in its tenth and final season. While it was not explained how or why they were reinstated to the police force, it is clear that one of the conditions is regular sessions with a psychiatrist (played by Julia Ormond). Their new captain, Joseph Hannah, also briefly refers to his and Goren's "friendship", perhaps implying that his character used personal influence in bringing Goren back to the force.
In the Season 14 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit titled "Acceptable Loss" which guest-starred Kathryn Erbe as Alexandra Eames, it is revealed that Goren has left the Major Case Squad. Eames (now working for the City/Federal Homeland Security Task Force) states: "My partner moved on and I decided that it was time for a change". Eames has also picked up some of Goren's old habits, such as cocking the head at odd angles when interrogating suspects.
D'Onofrio has called Goren "a modern-day Sherlock Holmes", and creator René Balcer further cites Georges Simenon's Commissaire Maigret as influencing the development of the character. Balcer also says the character owes a lot to Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe.
D'Onofrio made a cameo on Saturday Night Live's March 1, 2008 episode, hosted by Ellen Page. The cameo poked fun at Goren's mannerisms, as D'Onofrio attempted to interrogate Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler) in her televised debate with Barack Obama (Fred Armisen).
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Anti-Thesis"
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "The War At Home"
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Frame"
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "A Person of Interest"
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Blink"
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Endgame"
- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Frame"
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Untethered", originally aired December 6, 2007
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Purgatory" originally aired June 8, 2008
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "The Consoler", originally aired May 8, 2011
- Vincent D'Onofrio on Robert Goren, Radio Times, 3 February 2004
- USA's Character Insights: "Detective Goren" (a.k.a. Creating Goren)
- NBC biography of Robert Goren
- USA's Law & Order: Criminal Intent site, including 18 "Character Insight" videos
- Detective Robert Goren at the Internet Movie Database