Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 2 Episode 2

Bright Boy

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 06, 2002 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
98 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Bright Boy
The double murder of a social services worker and a deputy mayor lead the detectives to suspect a couple who may have a grudge against the social worker for taking away their children. When they learn that the social worker had taken special interest in a child prodigy being considered for admission to a prestigious, accelerated school, they examine both the boy and his obsessive father.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • A social worker gets murdered and it all has to do with a little boy.

    I loved this episode for so many reasons. In Bright Boy, Detectives Goren and Eames are led to discover that a boy named Robbie Bishop was being evaluated by a social worker. Her evaluation would determine his standing on enrollment into a school for gifted children.

    Robbie's dad home school's him and believes his son to be a genius.

    We see Detective Goren take a liking to the kid right away. He's a good kid, smart, and loves baseball; something the two bond over. But when the detectives take a closer look at Robbie, they discover the kid is miserable, and even suicidal. In a scene where the detectives are talking to a teenage genius turned punk rocker, we see how amused Goren is by the kid's hair and attitude. This part brings a smile to my face every time.

    As with many episodes of CI there are subtle comparisons with det. Goren and this is no exception. I loved that Bobby and Robbie both love baseball. They're both extremely bright to the point that it interferes with their social lives. Yet, neither may be considered a 'genius'. I love that Goren gets close enough to Robbie, that the boy reveals to him why he is so miserable, and lets go of a secret that was eating him alive. You can see how Goren cares for the boy despite knowing him a short while. It's another classic example of Goren at his best, and for that I love him and this episode.

    The character of Robbie nearly brought me to tears when he was crying at the end and it only shows how great an actor that kid is. I don't have any complaints for this episode because it was amazing.moreless
  • The Deputy Mayor and a Social Worker that helps evaluate child prodigies are murdered on a city street. It becomes obvious that the Social Worker was the main target and the Deputy Mayor collateral damage. Goren and Eames must discover why?moreless

    An OK storyline that sort of had trouble being told. We are pretty sure as viewers who did it shortly after the murder. So do the detectives. Now of course is the time for them to figure out how to get the information and confession they need to close the case.

    This guy was guilty and it was pretty cut and dried. With a minor involved and custody issues I think it was a very difficult story to find loop holes in. The fact that they had to coerce the school into allowing them to speak with the child alone. The fact that the father was so paranoid. All were factors in making the story hard to tell.

    What you had here was a child that was pushed too hard by a father who wasn't happy with the way his life turned out. Not an uncommon story. Most parents aren't willing to kill to get their kid a head start though.

    Obviously the boy was going to struggle once he was on his own and no one including the counselor, the school, or the father seemed to realize that fact.

    So this story goes into the harder to believe pile, but the acting was great. Goren and Eames did a great job individually as well.

    Sometimes some stories are harder to put together and I just think this one was a little awkward. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • A social worker who recommends child prodigies to a special university program is murdered, and a deputy mayor along with her - altho his death is of the wrong time, wrong place nature.moreless

    The "attention-seeking" father of the "bright boy" targeted the social services worker fearing she would not recommend his son to the program. The child's anxiety level was high enough for him to try to sabotage the admissions, and to faint dead away at his first interview.

    But father knows best - how to live vicariously through his son. What dad won't tolerate is real or perceived obstacles to that second shot at glory. But Goren and Eames realize the child is stressed out to suicidal level.

    Some well done scenes between Goren and the boy, revolving around the detective's conversational attempts to redefine 'added value', the father's terminology for those pursuits that don't necessarily land you a Nobel. Ie, Sox vs Yankees.

    As usual, D'Onofrio's scenes with children are tender and touch poignancy, and Eames gets in a few classic wisecracks. The dad gets cracked for the two murders when he is forced to admit he has stressed his son to a cruel and inhuman extent, and to face the reality his son is extremely bright, but perhaps not a 'genius'.

    V'DO looked pretty pudgy that week, altho adorable - this guy must yo-yo on a thrice-daily basis. Looks like a bag of potato chips fed some not-so-long dormant fat cells over a weekend.moreless
  • A look into the extremes that parents will go to help their children succeed where they failed.

    This episode is a look into the extremes that parents will go to help their children succeed where they failed. A social worker is found murdered and the trail seems a bit hard to pin down until Goren and Eames get a look at the high pressured entrance requirements of a school for ‘gifted’ kids.

    One of the interesting things about this episode is seeing Goren taken back by people, kids actually, who are way smarter than he is. It shows how people can be very good at one area of mental exercise (solving crime in Goren’s case and remembering baseball stats in the boy Robbie’s case) without being a “genius”. This helps to explain as the series progresses that Goren is not a super-detective. There are certain connections he makes to solve crimes, but he has limitations.

    A fantastic episode with twists that leave you guessing as to the direction the case is going. Unless you read this first.

Liam Aiken

Liam Aiken

Robbie Bishop

Guest Star

Lisa Eichhorn

Lisa Eichhorn

Dr. Leonard

Guest Star

John Hillner

John Hillner

Bill Webster

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The Riemann Hypothesis, first formulated by Bernhard Riemann in 1859, is one of the most famous and important unsolved problems in mathematics. If unsolved in 2009, it will have remained an open question for 150 years, despite attracting concentrated efforts from many outstanding mathematicians. The Riemann Hypothesis is one of the most important open problems of contemporary mathematics, mainly because a large number of deep and important other results have been proven under the condition that it holds. Most mathematicians believe the Riemann Hypothesis to be true. A $1,000,000 prize has been offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute for the first correct proof.

    • In every scene where there's a computer, a Gateway EV500 (or similar models EV700, EV900, EV910) monitor is used. This is the only episode where this monitor has appeared.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Robert Goren: (pulling evidence from victim) Looks like Webster had a passenger sat close to him. Wore a purple cashmere sweater.
      Alex Eames: Tight-fitting size two with a plunging neckline.
      Robert Goren: Mm… that I can't tell from this.
      Alex Eames: I can tell from the bull he was feeding his wife.

    • Alex Eames: Me? I was so well-adjusted they elected me prom queen.

    • Alex Eames: There can't be that many places in town that give mortarboards to Baby Einsteins.

    • Robert Goren: The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. It tests social adjustment.
      Alex Eames: I remember this. We had to take it the last year of high school.
      Robert Goren: So did we.
      Alex Eames: How'd you do?
      Robert Goren: I had to go to my counselor's office and have a talk with the school shrink.

    • David Bishop: (to Goren) There's nothing I hate more than discussing my child with a know-it-all.

    • Dr. Leonard: Please, you are going to disturb the children.
      Robert Goren: Are they working on that problem, on the board?
      Dr. Leonard: Yes, this is a special math tutorial.
      Robert Goren: Really? These little kids are gonna solve that?
      Dr. Leonard: These are profoundly gifted children.
      Alex Eames: You have to forgive my partner, Dr. Leonard, he's feeling very humble right now.

  • NOTES (0)


    • A Beautiful Mind:

      A math genius asks if all "math girls" look like Jennifer Connelly, an allusion to her character Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Justin Chapman case. Justin was considered a child genius, but his mother, Elizabeth, eventually admitted that she had fabricated his test results. Justin was removed from her custody after developing emotional problems.