Law & Order: Criminal Intent (season 8)

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Law & Order: Criminal Intent (season 8)
LawAndOrderCI S8.jpg
Season 8 U.S. DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 16
Original network USA Network
Original release April 19 (2009-04-19) – August 9, 2009 (2009-08-09)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 7
Next →
Season 9
List of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes

The eighth season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent premiered on the USA Network in the United States on April 19, 2009. It consisted of sixteen episodes, and concluded on August 9, 2009. The day following each episode's broadcast on television, they are made available to purchase and download from the iTunes Store. Law & Order: Criminal Intent is an American police procedural television series set and filmed in New York City. It is the second spin-off of the long-running crime drama Law & Order, and was created by Dick Wolf and René Balcer. Law & Order: Criminal Intent follows the New York City Police Department's Major Case Squad, which investigates high-profile murder cases.

Season eight starred Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Robert Goren, Kathryn Erbe as Detective Alexandra Eames, Julianne Nicholson as Detective Megan Wheeler, and Eric Bogosian as Captain Danny Ross. Jeff Goldblum joined the cast as Detective Zack Nichols. The season was executive produced by the following teams: Walon Green and Michael Chernuchin; Ed Zuckerman and Tim Lea; Dick Wolf and Peter Jankowski; and Norberto Barba, Diana Son, Julie Martin, and Arthur W. Forney.


Law & Order: Criminal Intent is the third series in the crime drama Law & Order franchise, which was created by Dick Wolf in 1990.[1][2] It was developed by Wolf and René Balcer, who began working on the original Law & Order series during its first season.[3][4] Law & Order: Criminal Intent is a police procedural crime drama that follows a distinct division of the New York City Police Department: the Major Case Squad, and its investigations into high-profile murder cases, such as those involving VIPs, local government officials and employees, the financial industry, and the art world.[5] Unlike the other series in the Law & Order franchise, Law & Order: Criminal Intent gives significant attention to the actions and motives of the criminals, rather than primarily focusing on the police investigation and trial prosecution. Episodes do not usually contain trials, and often end in confessions rather than plea bargains or verdicts.[6]

Pier 62, at Chelsea Piers, Manhattan contains the set used to depict One Police Plaza, the real headquarters of the NYPD.

USA Network made a sixteen-episode order for season eight on May 22, 2008,[7] down from the twenty-two episodes of season seven. Production for season eight began at the end of the summer of 2008, shooting on location in and around New York City using local color.[8] The main set of One Police Plaza is located at Pier 62, Chelsea Piers, Manhattan.[9][10]

Following the departure of Warren Leight, who served as show runner, executive producer, and head writer in seasons six and seven,[11] it was announced in July 2008 that Walon Green and Robert Nathan would share Leight's role for the forthcoming eighth season, handling eight episodes each;[12] however, after making two episodes, Nathan was replaced by Law & Order executive producer Ed Zuckerman.[13] Michael Chernuchin co-executive produces Green's episodes, and Tim Lea co-executive produces Zuckerman's episodes.[12] Wolf and Peter Jankowski are also credited as executive producers, as with all other Law & Order series. Other executive producers on the series are Norberto Barba, Diana Son, Julie Martin, and Arthur W. Forney. Charlie Rubin is credited as the supervising producer, and Balcer, Eric Overmyer, and Siobhan Byrne O'Connor are consulting producers.[12]


Chris Noth, who played Detective Mike Logan, left Law & Order: Criminal Intent at the end of season seven.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent does not have an ensemble cast,[14] and therefore differs from Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which feature six and eight actors, respectively, receiving star billing in their seasons which are aired during the same 2008–2009 television season.[15][16] The eighth season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent has five actors in starring roles, but only three appear on screen during an episode: two lead detectives and the Captain.

Four of the lead actors from the seventh season returned for season eight. Vincent D'Onofrio plays Detective Robert Goren, a hyper-intuitive contemporary Sherlock Holmes-type investigator who used to work for the US Military Police.[17][18][19] Goren's partner, former vice squad detective, Alexandra Eames,[17] is played by Kathryn Erbe.[20][21] Eric Bogosian appears as Captain Danny Ross,[22] and Julianne Nicholson continues to appear as Detective Megan Wheeler.[23] Jeff Goldblum joins the cast as Detective Zack Nichols,[24] replacing Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth) as Wheeler's partner. Each episode features an alternate investigating team of detectives. D'Onofrio and Erbe appear together in one episode, and Goldblum and Nicholson appear together in the following episode. D'Onofrio and Erbe are in the third episode, and the fourth features Goldblum and Nicholson. Bogosian appears in every episode of the season. This format will continue until episode twelve, when Nicholson will leave the series temporarily on maternity leave. Erbe's character will then partner with both Goren and Nichols for the final four episodes of the season.[25]

In a recurring role, Leslie Hendrix continues to appear as Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Elizabeth Rodgers, the same character she has also played in Law & Order and the first season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[26] She has appeared in all episodes of seasons 7 and 8. Steve Zirnkilton provides a voice-over at the beginning of each episode's opening credits, saying "In New York City's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the detectives of the Major Case Squad. These are their stories."[27][28]

Actor/Actress Character Episodes
Team A
Vincent D'Onofrio Detective Robert Goren 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15
Kathryn Erbe Detective Alexandra Eames Main 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15–16, recurring 14
Team B
Jeff Goldblum Zack Nichols 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16
Julianne Nicholson Detective Megan Wheeler 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14
Eric Bogosian Captain Danny Ross All


Season eight of Law & Order: Criminal Intent first aired during the 2008–2009 television season on USA Network, an American cable channel. The season premiere episode's air date changed twice before it was eventually broadcast on April 19, 2009, at 9:00 p.m. EST.[29] It was originally scheduled to air in November 2008,[30] just three months after season seven's final episode, but was then pushed back to January 2009.[31] It was rescheduled a second time in January.[32] It was reported that the episodes were held back because the two starring Goldblum and Nicholson, and produced by Nathan were "terrible" and had to be scrapped.[13] Episodes aired weekly – except May 24 – for sixteen weeks until August 9, 2009.

When Law & Order: Criminal Intent first premiered in 2001, it aired on NBC, the same broadcast network that the rest of the Law & Order franchise airs on. Under a $100,000-per-episode shared or second window syndication agreement made between NBC and USA Network,[2][33] USA Network was allowed to broadcast episodes out of primetime a week after their premiere on NBC.[34] In 2007, following a ratings decline, first-run episodes moved from NBC to USA Network,[35][36] and NBC reaired the episodes beginning January 2008. The same deal continues to run for season eight; NBC began airing episodes from June 3, 2009.[37]

The day following its broadcast on US television, each episode was available to purchase and download at the iTunes Store and Amazon Video on Demand;[38][39] however, unlike most other NBC and USA Network series, they were not streamed on USA Network's website or Hulu, which was co-owned by NBC Universal, USA Network's parent company.


Critical interest in season eight focused on the arrival of Jeff Goldblum as Detective Zack Nichols. Ginia Bellafante of The New York Times wrote, "[Nichols] is better suited to Mr. Goldblum's sensibility than the hallucinating detective he played on the short-lived series Raines, on which he was required to do too much feeling." She continued, "Goldblum’s initial scene has the effect of a star’s first walk-on in a stage play: you feel moved to applause... you trust him to break through the show’s melodramatic solemnity; he signals a kind of first-aid relief." She went on to say that Nicholson, as Detective Wheeler, Nichols' partner, "is destined to fade even further into the background than she did with her previous partner, Mike Logan," and that D'Onofrio's Detective Goren will now seem even more annoying when compared to Nichols.[40] Brian Lowry, reviewing for Variety, echoed Bellafonte, commenting that "Goldblum's deft touch with rapid-fire delivery makes him a particularly good choice for the show's cerebral brand of crime drama, although as a consequence, that approach tends to leave the secondary detective with even less to occupy her in most episodes than the flagship [Law & Order]'s assistant district attorneys." He added that the addition of Goldblum to the cast "should breathe a bit of life into Law & Order: Criminal Intent's familiar cat-and-mouse format," noting that it is the least consistently interesting series of the franchise. He noted, though, that due to the nature of the series, attention to the main characters' lives takes a back seat to the perpetrators, victims, and their investigations, saying it is a shame for Goldblum's admirers, as he is limited by the series' "fairly rigid parameters" and cannot fully showcase his acting talents. Lowry did, however, warn Goldblum's fans to "be content. Be very content."[41] In Entertainment Weekly, Mandi Bierly said of Nichols, "he's so laidback that he often does not even appear to be moving when he's walking... He's exactly what you thought you were getting from the casting of Jeff Goldblum." Of Wheeler, she said she hoped that in the forthcoming episodes, Nicholson would get to do more with the character than she did in Goldblum's premiere episode. "I'm assuming she's not always that irrelevant?" she questioned. "She was just feeling her new partner out, which is why she did nothing?"[42]

"Playing Dead," the season's first episode featuring Detectives Goren and Eames, had 4.578 million viewers,[43] over 400,000 more viewers than the following episode, which was Goldblum's premiere.[44] For the remainder of the season, however, episodes featuring Goldblum and Nicholson were watched by more viewers than the episodes featuring D'Onofrio and Erbe, although the viewing figures for all episodes continued to drop over the following weeks. The May 10 episode was watched by 3.14 million viewers and placed outside the top twenty cable network television shows for the week, although eight programs that did place inside the top twenty were NBA Playoff matches.[45] Subsequent episodes were watched by 3.709 million viewers[46] and 4.012 million viewers,[47] but the June 7 episode saw the figures begin to climb.[48] "The Glory That Was...," which aired on June 14, was the second-highest-rated cable television program for that night. It was watched by 4.14 million people from a total of 3.19 million households, and was watched by 1.87 million people within the 25- to 54-year-old demographics. Its viewing figures were beaten only by an episode of In Plain Sight, which was broadcast immediately after Law & Order: Criminal Intent on the USA Network. It was also the most-watched episode of the season that features Goldblum and Nicholson.[49] The following week's episode, "Family Values," also received high viewing figures. Beaten out by In Plain Sight again, it was that night's second-highest-rated cable program among 25- to 54-year-olds, 1.625 million of whom viewed it. It was also the second-highest-rated program for total viewing figures, being watched by 3.44 million people.[50]


No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
U.S. viewers
156 1 "Playing Dead" Michael Smith Antoinette Stella April 19, 2009 (2009-04-19) (USA)
May 6, 2009 (2009-05-06) (NBC)
08009 4.57[43]
Detectives Goren and Eames investigate the shooting of Stacy Hayes-Fitzgerald and her boyfriend Rick Siebert, two drug addicts who are blackmailing Stacy's stepfather, Neil Hayes-Fitzgerald (Scott Cohen), a politician running for mayor. Rick was killed in the shooting, but Stacy survived by playing dead for hours under his bleeding corpse until they were found by Stacy's mother, Josie. After returning home from the hospital, Stacy attempts to commit suicide. After seeing how she reacts when Neil is around, Goren asks Stacy if she has been abused, but she denies it. Goren discovers that Stacy and her family moved to Switzerland for a year when she was in high school, and realizes that Stacy's younger sister Sophie is actually her daughter by Neil. While questioning Neil and his mother, Camille (Kathy Baker), it is revealed that she had Rick killed because he was threatening to expose Neil's family scandal, thwarting his mayoral bid.
157 2 "Rock Star" Bill D'Elia Ed Zuckerman April 26, 2009 (2009-04-26) (USA)
May 13, 2009 (2009-05-13) (NBC)
08008 4.10[44]
Detective Wheeler and her new partner, Detective Zack Nichols (Jeff Goldblum}, investigate the stabbing of an artist, who was found in a neighborhood rife with ethnic tensions. First Appearance of Jeff Goldblum
158 3 "Identity Crisis" Michael Smith Pamela Wechsler May 3, 2009 (2009-05-03) (USA)
May 20, 2009 (2009-05-20) (NBC)
08005 3.14[51]
Two young brothers live with their schizophrenic mother, who dies in the bathtub by electrocution. They are questioned about the turn of events, and the younger brother Anthony tells police that he saw his brother Tommy push the electric heater into the tub. The two are subsequently separated and put into foster care. Twenty years later, Anthony reappears in Tommy's life, and Tommy responds by shooting him. Goren and Eames are brought in to investigate the murder, and Rodgers tells them that the victim, Anthony, was dying from lymphoma. Meanwhile, over the years Tommy (Sam Trammell) has been living a mysterious life, pretending that he is a graduate of Princeton University and taking on false identities. He rents a house on Nantucket under the name Tyler Chisholm, and the owner's daughter takes a liking to him. The owner is suspicious and runs a background credit check on "Tyler." The credit check is reported to the detectives, as Tyler Chisholm was one of the names noted when interviewing people at the Princeton Eating Club. They travel to Nantucket, where they find Tommy and take him into custody. Back in New York, Eames questions the owner's daughter and asks if there was anything strange or out of the ordinary that she could recall. She tells Eames that she remembers Tommy throwing something into the water and staring at it. Goren then questions Tommy and reveals that Anthony did not return to bring back old memories and haunt Tommy, but to make amends because of his imminent death.
159 4 "In Treatment" Jean de Segonzac Timothy J. Lea May 10, 2009 (2009-05-10) (USA)
May 27, 2009 (2009-05-27) (NBC)
08010 3.14[45]
Detectives Nichols and Wheeler investigate the murder of a Wall Street executive who is murdered during a gala. Nichols believes that his company is more involved with the case than they have admitted to the police. During the investigation the detectives discover that news of a falling stock, which plunged more after news of a fraud investigation, is tied to this murder. However, their investigation leads them to a treatment clinic, where their prime suspect is under the care of a controlling psychiatrist (Dennis Boutsikaris).
160 5 "Faithfully" Jean de Segonzac Antoinette Stella May 17, 2009 (2009-05-17) (USA)
June 29, 2009 (2009-06-29) (NBC)
08001 3.70[46]
When a devout celebrity doctor is murdered, Goren and Eames enter the unexpectedly steamy world behind the pulpit.
161 6 "Astoria Helen" Norberto Barba Timothy J. Lea May 31, 2009 (2009-05-31) (USA)
July 6, 2009 (2009-07-06) (NBC)
08004 3.97[52]
A charming con man named Joe Gallagher (Creighton James) targets a lonely, single mother named Helen Bramer (Arija Bareikis) to try to hit an armored truck carrying millions of dollars, Bramer worked for the company of the armored truck. Detectives Nichols and Wheeler investigate when one of the con man's partners dies weeks later in a bomb blast. Bramer and Gallagher become the prime suspects in the case when a van owner named Frank Stroup (Domenick Lombardozzi) is ripped off and later shot. But the detectives later learn that Bramer and Gallagher aren't the prime suspects when Bramer's son Kevin gets abducted by Frank Stroup, and to rescue the boy, Detective Nichols has to put himself in the middle of a hostage situation.
162 7 "Folie à Deux" David Manson Michael S. Chernuchin June 7, 2009 (2009-06-07) (USA)
July 13, 2009 (2009-07-13) (NBC)
08003 4.01[47]

Detectives Goren and Eames investigate when a couple’s 2-year-old daughter mysteriously disappears from her room during a robbery at the hotel, where her parents dined. They learn that a family member (Lynn Redgrave) is financially supporting the couple, while also dying of a heart condition. Glass fragments and a stolen key-card become substantial evidence which leads them to the robber, although there is no child with him. Further investigation leads Goren and Eames to receive a ransom call. However, they learn that someone relatively close to the family was taking advantage of the crime, attempting to win money over in the process. The detectives find out the parents have been giving a false description. There never was a child at the hotel. As they uncover a shocking conspiracy, Goren and Eames learn that the unstable mother (Piper Perabo) has been delusional about the months-ago accidental death of her daughter, prompting her husband (Luke Kirby) to exploit her condition in order to continue receiving financial support from his rich but childless aunt.

163 8 "The Glory That Was..." Norberto Barba Robert Nathan June 14, 2009 (2009-06-14) (USA)
July 20, 2009 (2009-07-20) (NBC)
08002 4.14[49][53]

What should have been a simple meeting turns to murder, leaving Detectives Wheeler and Nichols to question an embassy, a security company, the victim's relatives, and how it all connects to the Olympic Site Selection Committee.

  • This episode is omitted in the DVD release of season 8.
164 9 "Family Values" Jean de Segonzac Teleplay by: Walon Green
Story by: Walon Green & Antoinette Stella
June 21, 2009 (2009-06-21) (USA)
August 3, 2009 (2009-08-03) (NBC)
08015 3.44[50][54]
When a flier from a local Catholic high school drama production connects three murders, Detectives Goren and Eames are back on the case to understand the psychology of a religious fanatic before he claims another victim.
165 10 "Salome in Manhattan"
Steve Shill Andrew Lipsitz June 28, 2009 (2009-06-28) (USA)
August 10, 2009 (2009-08-10) (NBC)
08006 4.70
A celebrity chef’s star is on the rise as he plans the opening of a trendy restaurant with powerful partners. Yet his world is upended when his tabloid-friendly, gorgeous girlfriend and business partner is killed under mysterious circumstances. Detectives Nichols and Wheeler enter the seductive world of power and privilege and discover desperation and murder, but the more they learn about the victim and the men in her life, the more they learn about who the true killer is.
166 11 "Lady's Man" Ken Girotti Michael S. Chernuchin June 28, 2009 (2009-06-28) (USA)
August 17, 2009 (2009-08-17) (NBC)
08011 4.60
Detectives Goren and Eames are back on the case to investigate the killing of a man who became famous for dodging a murder conviction because of a mishandled trial. The man spun his notoriety into a TV show but turned up dead on his birthday. Eames had worked the case of his first wife's murder 10 years earlier. The case also involves an ADA (Raul Esparza) who has proven a thorn in Eames' side more than once.
167 12 "Passion" Jonathan Herron Michael S. Chernuchin July 12, 2009 (2009-07-12) (USA)
August 24, 2009 (2009-08-24) (NBC)
08012 3.47[55]
Egocentric poet Jacob Garrety (Will Chase) would do anything to keep his poetry journal, "The Village Quarterly", afloat. When foundation president Don McCallum shows up and announces he is cutting funding to the journal, Jacob appeals to assistant and lover Lauren to use her sexuality to change Don’s mind. Though reluctant, she agrees. While Jacob enjoys the advances of arts patron Sandra Dunbar (Sarah Rafferty) at a poetry reading, Lauren carries out Jacob’s wish, and winds up dead on the street. Detectives Nichols and Wheeler discover the deadly passion that exists behind the arts.
168 13 "All In" David Manson Teleplay by: Pamela Wechsler, Antoinette Stella, & Walon Green
Story by: Pamela Wechsler
July 19, 2009 (2009-07-19) (USA)
August 31, 2009 (2009-08-31) (NBC)
08013 4.14[56]
When poker genius Josh Snow (Aaron Stanford) loses $80,000 in a card game, backer and bookie Lou Cardinale (Boris McGiver) forces him into collections to work off the losses. Lou gives him a .38 and a box of blanks to extract gambling debts, and sends along his mistress, Angela (Aleksa Palladino), to keep an eye on the money. When Josh first collects from a guy in the local neighborhood, he shoots a blank at him. The guy gave him twenty thousand dollars and then he collects from Kip McGonagle (Robert Leeshock). He fires the gun expecting a blank, but a real bullet kills Kip in the street. Detectives Goren and Eames, who know Snow from a former case (identical historical plot elements, but different actor and character's name, from season five's "Cruise to Nowhere"), enter an elaborate game where they must join in the play, or be played.
169 14 "Major Case" Chris Zalla Andrew Lipsitz July 26, 2009 (2009-07-26) (USA)
August 31, 2009 (2009-08-31) (NBC)
08014 4.63[57]

A drug dealer is killed the night before she plans to leave town to live on her cousin's farm. After Wheeler goes into labor, Eames pairs up with Nichols to investigate and find the girl's killer. But when Nichols suspects the girl's killer is an old friend (Dylan Baker) who works in the medical examiner's office, Nichols does all he can to prove that he killed the victim, but it could cost Nichols his job in the process.

170 15 "Alpha Dog" Norberto Barba Walon Green August 2, 2009 (2009-08-02) (USA)
September 7, 2009 (2009-09-07) (NBC)
08007 4.23[58]
A hunky posterboy with a million-dollar torso has what others crave: sex appeal. When he shows up dead after a night of sex and drugs with an elusive woman, detectives Goren and Eames uncover the sexual paranoia behind the murder.
171 16 "Revolution" John David Coles Michael S. Chernuchin August 9, 2009 (2009-08-09) (USA)
September 7, 2009 (2009-09-07) (NBC)
08016 4.83[59]

A revolutionary plans the kidnapping of a powerful banking executive, but the heist goes wrong and the executive is killed. While probing the murder, Nichols and Eames must also prevent a terrorist campaign.

  • After this episode, Ed Zuckerman and Michael S. Chernuchin leave the show as executive producers. Zuckerman returned to Law & Order as its executive producer and Chernuchin as its co-executive producer. Walon Green takes over as executive producer/show runner for all episodes.

Preceded by
Season Seven
List of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes Succeeded by
Season Nine


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