Zack Nichols

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Det. Zack Nichols
Law & Order character
In the eighth season episode "Major Case"
First appearance "Rock Star"
Last appearance "Three-In-One"
Portrayed by Jeff Goldblum
Time on show 2009–2010
Seasons 8–9
Credited appearances 24 episodes (total)
Preceded by Mike Logan
Succeeded by Robert Goren
Family Dr. Theodore Nichols (father)
Unnamed mother (deceased)
Unnamed brother
Rita (cousin)
Partner Megan Wheeler
Serena Stevens

Zachary "Zack" Nichols is a fictional character, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, featured in the NBC-USA Network series Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Nichols is a police detective with the NYPD Major Case Squad. He was introduced in the series' eighth season to replace Mike Logan (Chris Noth). During that season he and his partner Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) were featured in half the episodes shown, alternating with Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe); the next year, during the show's ninth season, he and his new partner Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) were the only detectives featured. Neither Nichols nor Stevens returned for the tenth and final season of Criminal Intent, however, their characters were not specifically written out or addressed in any way during that season.


Detective Nichols was once partnered with Captain Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian) in Anti-Crime. However, after September 11, 2001, Nichols left the police force for seven years. Ross remarked that during this period, his only clue to Nichols' whereabouts was a postcard from Cleveland.[1] Little is explained as to how and why Nichols returned to the NYPD.

Detective Eames began partnering with Zack Nichols after Nichols' regular partner, Megan Wheeler, went into labor and gave birth. Together they investigate Henry Muller, a forensics scientist with the NYPD, and Nichols' suspicions of the man cause conflict between him and Ross, who comments that he himself risked being suspended almost every month while he and Nichols were partners due to the latter's behavior.[2]

Nichols became full-time partners with Detective Serena Stevens, who was introduced in the second part of the two-part Season 9 premiere episode "Loyalty". Both detectives worked under the command of Captain Zoe Callas (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) during this season, after Danny Ross was killed while taking part in an FBI sting operation.[3]

Personal and family life[edit]

Nichols is the child of two psychiatrists, but shunned their profession; becoming a cop is said to be something of a rebellion for him.[4] Nichols had not spoken to his father, Dr. Theodore Nichols (F. Murray Abraham), in years even though both live in New York City, however, in Goldblum's final episode, "Three in One," he asks his father for assistance with the case and they reconcile at the end of the episode. Nichols also mentions having an older brother although the character is not shown.[5]

Nichols is seen visiting a preparatory school named "Emerson Academy", where he studied in his youth, and is seen playing the piano on many occasions.[6]

Awards and decorations[edit]

The following are the medals and service awards fictionally worn by Detective Nichols.

WTC Breast Bar.jpg World Trade Center Brest Bar
NYPD EPD.jpg NYPD Excellent Police Duty
NYPD Unit Citation
American Flag Breast Bar.jpg American Flag Breast Bar


  1. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Rock Star"
  2. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Major Case"
  3. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Loyalty, Part 1"
  4. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent Character Profile, Det. Zack Nichols". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Abel & Willing"
  6. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episode "Salome in Manhattan"