Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 2 Episode 23

A Person of Interest

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 18, 2003 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
105 votes

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Episode Summary

A Person of Interest
Goren and Eames investigate the murder of a former nurse and discover a possible anthrax terrorist plot. The case takes a turn for the worse when Goren is blamed for driving a suspect to commit suicide. Now disgraced, Goren learns that a cunning adversary from his past may be involved.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Well-written and acted.

    This episode gives a really good look into the mind of Det. Goren. Nicole Wallace has to be the best adversary he's faced and the two play so well off of each other.

    Vincent d'Onofrio does a superb job of showing the frustration of dealing with someone like Nicole. You can practically feel it coming from the set. It's good to see the human side of these people and not just dry detective work. The one flaw (and it sticks out like a sore thumb) is that one of the characters refers to "the virus". Anthrax is caused by a bacterium, not a virus.moreless
  • Detective Goren is accused of instigating the supposed suicide of a murder suspect, but the plot unravels, as many fine CI plots do, to reveal a completely different, more sinister suspect.moreless

    Although I've been a fan of CI for years, I somehow managed to not see this episode until tonight. I saw Nicole Wallace's dramatic entrance to the series, and saw her weighted exit, but "Person of Interest" is the real meat behind the story of the hero and his anti-thesis. I believe I caught this one at the perfect moment, already in love with the character of Robert Goren and always eager for the infrequent insights into his past, and understanding much of his attraction/revulsion for Nicole. If anything, this episode made me respect Nicole even more, for her calculative, so-far infallible shrewdness...absolutely the perfect foil for Goren. This episode was riddled with nail-biting, heart-wrenching scenes...more of the real Robert Goren than anything before or since. Emotion, from a strange angle of human perspective.moreless
  • An ex Air Force nurse is found murdered and she appeared to be have been selling anthrax boosters to who knows who. The detectives are faced with a possible terrorist plot, but wait! Even worse than mass murder is the deadly damsel Nicole.moreless

    What could have been a riveting storyline, that of a mistakenly avenging detective usurping his own good judgment, resulting in a suspect's suicide, became very sticky schlock as a result of the Nicole Wallace nonsense.

    The man who falls under suspicion for the nurse's death and the anthrax scare is a pretentious lout whose puffed up ego has him allowing folks to call him 'Doctor', when he ain't. He's just, in Goren's words, "a lab rat" and Bobby "knows his type". Mr. Arrogant Pompousity is also a deadbeat dad, a sin which Goren deeply detests, based on his own dad's failings.

    Evidence is strongly pointing to the loudmouth as a misfit with a terror hit list, and after mega macho posturing with Goren (and some shrill threats fit for a fishwife), a press conference, and bombastic speeches that he can't be victimized, the suspect goes and uhh.....victimizes himself at the end of a noose.

    This 'person of interest' hardly seemed the type to go the hemlock route. In fact, he'd be more apt to drive others to suicide than commit it himself. When it turns out he was not guilty of much beyond deadbeatism and terminal obnoxiousness, poor Bobby is left looking like the vigilante cop whose own issues sent him on a crazed vendetta. "Man hounded to death by ruthless and incompetent detective!" screams the tabloid headline.

    But not to worry! The man driven to suicide (and of course, he wasn't REALLY...Ms. Archcriminal strung him up ) was just part of a fantastically plotted jihad by Ms Wallace, whose motivation is getting back at Bobby for the mean things he said to her at their last meeting. Sob.

    Of course, the storyline ends with another of those charming 'tit for tat' sessions between Goren and Nicole, in which they trade deep psychic wounds like so many jelly beans. And of course, the good boy gets the goods on the bad girl once again.

    I don't know. The one watch-worthy aspect here was the V D'O histrionics, the yelling, wall punching, screaming, baiting, table pounding, and various other testosterone laden antics. Also adorable was the defeated look on his sweet little cherub face when he learns of the suicide, boo hoo! It was fun seeing Goren fairly out of control, even though it was not believable for one darn second. And his scenes with Wallace were tantalizing if only because they are both such beautiful people, and their animosity, we suspect, may indicate some serious sexual attraction, even if Bobby sneers "don't flatter yourself" when Nicole suggests he's hot for her.

    I like D'Abo, if only because female sex appeal appears anathema on CI. She is simply lucious. As any other believable villain, she'd be tops. But her character defies credibility to such a degree, that even what minor chemistry she can unleash with Goren becomes wink-groan-sigh suds.

    Even worse, the Goren character has to take an incredibility bath to serve her persona and level of evil.

    Yes, we know Goren dislikes dead beats, yes, we know he's sitting on top of a load of potentially explosive emotions. But if there has been no sign for two seasons that he is apt to forget his training, abandon his cerebral approach, and turn into a mess of goo over an unsigned health insurance form, then how oh how could he be set up so quickly and accurately by Ms. Mastermind?moreless
  • Gotta love misdirection

    Another great episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. When Goren and Eames begin to investigate a homicide of a young girl in a bathroom, all the evidence points in the direction of a middle aged man. Trusting of his own hunches, Goren leans into him, only to find out shortly afterwards that the suspect has hung himself in the bathroom. As bad press and Gorens own self-effacing uncertainty take their toll, an old nemisis from the past, Nicole Wallace, taunts him in a local restaraunt. After some investigation they find that the past evidence had been set up, Nicole had wanted to frame Goren, or discredit his deductive abilities. Ends in a great conversation between Goren and Wallace in which a lot of character detail comes to the fore. Quite a good episode, though they're starting to use Nicole a little much as of late. A nemesis works fine for a few occurences, and becomes redundant after that. This, being her second appearance, leaves her character fresh and wonderfully deviant. Well work the 45 minute watching time.moreless
  • Nicole is back and more vicious than ever. With many tricks and twists up her sleeve. This time it\'s revenge on Robert Goren.

    This episode is one of the best. Nicole is back. Back to ruin Goren\'s reputation and self confidence. Nicole hits all the emotional, painful marks in Goren\'s life. She makes it out that Bobby drove Dr. Croyden to suicide because of Croyden\'s past. Which hits Goren close to home. His perspective and self confidence are truly shooken. It\'s heart wrenching and tear jerking. Her approach to him is in Sal\'s Restaurant and hits him with the most awful, heart breaking remarks. He then soon discovers that she has a surprise for him. This episode was truly amazing and filled with the best plots.moreless
Patrick Quinn

Patrick Quinn

Croydon's Attorney

Guest Star

James McCaffrey

James McCaffrey

Dr. Dan Croydon

Guest Star

Richard Joseph Paul

Richard Joseph Paul

Gavin Haynes

Guest Star

Olivia d'Abo

Olivia d'Abo

Nicole Wallace

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Nitpick: Detective Goren tested Nicole Wallace's left hand for anthrax. However, she pushed away the anthrax packet with her right hand, and never touched the spot on the table with her left hand.

    • Goof: At one point, the Director from Haznostics refers to anthrax as a virus. It is actually a bacterium, a difference someone in his position should know.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Goren: (referring to Nicole) Croydon. She picked a man I already didn't trust... I already didn't respect. That's how she blindsided me. She, uh, she picked a man like my father. She, uh, she got me. She got me good.
      Eames: Then let's get her back.

    • Eames: I would never say anything in front of the captain, but...
      Goren: Everything pointed to Croydon.
      Eames: You didn't listen, Bobby. You didn't listen to what his wife said.

    • Carver: Dr. Croydon will be a hit with the jury.
      Eames: He's not ready to give it up yet. He had a lot of fight left in him.
      Goren: We stay on him. We wear him down. He'll break. He'll make a mistake.
      (Later, as Eames and Goren discover the body of Dr. Dan Croydon)
      Eames: He's broken now.

    • (Nicole Wallace gets out of her car as Goren and Eames approach.)
      Robert Goren: Hello, Nicole.
      Nicole Wallace: If you insist on calling me that name, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ignore you.
      (He takes her handbag and hands it to Eames then handcuffs her.)
      Alex Eames: Nicole Elizabeth Wallace Hitchens Haynes, whatever. All of you are under arrest for attempted bribery.

    • (Goren comes of a restaurant to find Nicole and her husband, Gavin about to hop into a car.)
      Nicole Wallace: Oh, I was hoping you'd join us. (to Gavin) This is Robert Goren, my friend I was telling you about. (to Goren) This is my husband, Gavin Haynes.
      Gavin Haynes: Oh nice to meet you. Elizabeth tells me you're one of New York's finest.
      Robert Goren: Not these days. So you're married?
      Nicole Wallace: I told you. Gavin has made an honest woman and American citizen out of me. We should give you our number and you should join us for dinner one night. Oh, better yet, you should jot down my license plate and you can find us that way.
      Gavin Haynes: (laughs) She's a remarkable woman isn't she?

    • Nicole Wallace: Hello Bobby. I would call you Detective Goren but given your press coverage lately you'd probably want a low profile. Keep your hands on deck. We don't want you playing with your pistol under the table. (chuckles)
      Robert Goren: Nicole Wallace.
      Nicole Wallace: Hitchens. Same as it was and always will be.
      Robert Goren: Yeah, I thought we cleared all that up. Your identity, your pathology.
      Nicole Wallace: Oh, right, your little theory. But like many of your theories lately, it wouldn't butter your parsnips. What will they do with you, Bobby? Do you think they might find a nice tunnel for you to guard? (chuckles) Well you know there is a bright side. I mean you have more time to spend up at Carmel Ridge.
      Robert Goren: Oh you're just hitting all the marks … I was right about you, Nicole.
      Nicole Wallace: Elizabeth, and you were wrong about me. Just like you were wrong about Dr. Croydon. Read the papers, detective. Your insights have no currency anymore.
      Robert Goren: Is that what this is about?
      Nicole Wallace: Do you remember what you said about Moby Dick and the unrelenting pursuit of evil? I know why you were unrelenting about Dr. Croydon. I know what it was about him that stuck to your hide like a harpoon. (gets up to leave) He ran out on his poor sick wife? (leans in closer to Goren) Cheers, Bobby. This was everything I'd hoped for.

  • NOTES (2)


    • The episode title, "A Person of Interest", is a word play which has two meanings within the episode. One suspect, named by the police as a "person of interest", is a government scientist who works with anthrax and falsely claims 'covert ops' experience. This accused domestic terrorist could be ripped from the headlines of Steven Hatfill's case. Additionally, the return of Nicole Wallace is of interest to both the detectives and viewers alike.