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]

Detective Eames began partnering with 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 becomes full-time partners with Detective Serena Stevens, who is introduced in the second part of the two-part Season 9 premiere episode "Loyalty". Both detectives work under the command of Captain Zoe Callas (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) during this season, after Ross is 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 police officer was a form of rebellion.[4] Nichols and his father, Dr. Theodore Nichols (F. Murray Abraham), do not speak for years afterward. They reconcile when Nichols asks his father for assistance with a murder investigation involving a suspect with dissociative identity disorder, which happens to be the elder Nichols' specialty.[5] Nichols also mentions having an older brother although the character is not shown.[6]

Nichols attended a public grade school,[7] but as a teenager went to preparatory school named "Emerson Academy". There, he learned to play piano.[8] He also had a relationship with a young woman named Lenore Abrigaille (Mili Avital) that ended when she descended into mental illness.[7]

Awards and decorations[edit]

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

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


  1. ^ "Rock Star". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 8. Episode 2. April 26, 2009. NBC. 
  2. ^ "Major Case". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 8. Episode 14. July 26, 2009. NBC. 
  3. ^ "Loyalty (1)". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 9. Episode 1. March 20, 2010. NBC. 
  4. ^ "Law & Order: Criminal Intent Character Profile, Det. Zack Nichols". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Three-in-One". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 9. Episode 16. July 6, 2010. NBC. 
  6. ^ "Abel & Willing". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 9. Episode 6. May 4, 2010. NBC. 
  7. ^ a b "Palimpsest". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 9. Episode 14. June 29, 2010. NBC. 
  8. ^ "Salome in Manhattan". Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Season 8. Episode 10. June 28, 2009. NBC.