Criminal Intent - An Era Ends

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Registered: 11-15-2001
Criminal Intent - An Era Ends
Mon, 06-27-2011 - 10:33am

When Law & Order: Criminal Intent brings the gavel down one final time tonight, an era will have ended: the entire Law & Order franchise will essentially be finished. Oh, sure, Special Victims Unit will come back this fall, but without Christopher Meloni and only a limited number of Mariska Hargitay appearances. The creepiest of the L&O spin-offs (all those pervs; all those children and women in jeopardy plots!), SVU exists primarily as manipulative Emmy-bait and tarnishes the Law & Order legacy. No, it’s Criminal Intent‘s departure on Sunday night that signals a singular TV institution’s end.

Once upon a time, the original Law & Order existed as a clever throwback to TV’s earliest, just-the-facts-ma’am days of terse realism (its format was Dragnet wedded to The Defenders). Then producer Dick Wolf started churning out spin-offs and moving cast members around like a man with his own rotisserie baseball league staffed with cops and lawyers. You have your favorite mix ‘n’ match Law & Order teams (perhaps you’re most fond of Jerry Orbach and Jesse L. Martin among the gumshoes, and Linus Roache and Carey Lowell of the prosecutors?), and I have mine: give me Chris Noth and Orbach, and Sam Waterston and Angie Harmon any rerun. (I also freely confess to a long-standing crush on Carolyn McCormick’s crisp police psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Olivet.)

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