Sunday, June 26, 2011

The End of Criminal Intent

While the final first-run episode of Law & Order: LA (a leftover from the Skeet Ulrich pre-reboot stretch) is tomorrow night on NBC, the more important Law & Order finale is tonight, as USA airs Criminal Intent's final hour after ten seasons of quirky crimebusting from star Vincent D'Onofrio and partner Kathryn Erbe. While the decision to replace D'Onofrio with Jeff Goldblum didn't extend the show's lifespan the way the producers had no doubt envisioned, it's still something that they were able to rope in the show's original detective duo for one last season, giving CI the kind of ending no other Law & Order series has ever been able to enjoy: a planned one.

There's also a kind symmetry (albeit entirely coincidental) in Criminal Intent ending so near the death of Columbo star Peter Falk (who passed away this past Friday), as D'Onofrio's Det. Goren had been the most clear heir to Columbo's TV legacy. In marking the end of the series, Ken Tucker makes the case that it also effectively marks the end of Law & Order as the television force it once was, notwithstanding the continuing Special Victims Unit. I'm inclined to agree, with the one caveat that the brilliant Law & Order: UK is still chugging along, and that makes me happy. For some reflections from D'Onofrio and Erbe on the close of their Law & Order chapter, click over to MSNBC.

No comments: