Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 9 Episode 3

Broad Channel

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 13, 2010 on USA

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
58 votes
  • This episode is a brief summary of everything that has been wrong with this series lately.

    In a hapless attempt to capture the mind of audiences with the "lovable neighborhood gangster" appeal of films like "The Departed", whoever is responsible for putting the ink on the paper that led to this disaster has incriminated him or herself for the crime of robbery; the victims being advertisers who paid to keep this tripe on the air, and the general public who can never get that hour back. From the opening "dun-dun!" we are dropped into the world of Broad Channel, a South Boston-like sliver of southern Queens that juts into the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and is flanked on the other side of the water by JFK airport. Our Frank Costello (complete with the FBI informant status) is Jackie Dooley. The episode opens with the old man and the sea rowing up to the dock and being handed an envelope of money. A couple minutes later a cop is found dead. The story line plays out, we find out a lot of dirty secrets (as is a requirement in every small town type of crime drama), until we arrive at an ending that although not as predictable as you might imagine for something written so badly, is still a genuine masterpiece of cheesy camp, custom made to twiddle your parental instincts into producing some emotion...but it doesn't. The reason it doesn't is because you've long since stopped caring about the one dimensional characters who are little more than archetypes and are never really fully fleshed out. It's as if the writer assumes you know the stories he's taking his lines from and should therefore already be familiar with the characters and know exactly how to feel when their little drama comes full circle. A thoroughly boring, badly acted, horribly written, and remarkably uninspired half-homage to all of the movies that fit the same criteria. Perhaps that is more the robbery charge that the writer or writers of this wet fart of an episode should be brought in for. When you're watching Dooley in the interrogation room, you'll start to realize that "Criminal Intent" really just doesn't feel like "Law & Order" anymore.
  • Well Done, considering a nearly complete cast change. Kevin Conway is a one-in-a-million character actor, & worth the price of admission alone. Good Story, but direction, flow, and tone "seem" rough around the edges, which is completely to be expected.

    Broad Channel... a nice start.
    I don't know if anyone out there has ever worked on a television or in theater (films for that matter), in any capacity but, when you're working on a "running project", by that I mean a project that over time mostly uses the same people, same writers, same directors, same almost everything... It becomes like a perfectly running engine, a live being almost. If you make a major cast change, you consider yourself lucky if you don't fall flat on your face, the first few episodes. It generally takes 5 or 6 episodes for the writers to begin to get into the "skin" of the new actors they're writing for. Same with the director, the camera people, all the way down the line really. It's a jolt to the creative system. It's actually easier to write & direct a brand new show. In LO Criminal Intent, the show's audience (like all audiences) expects some form of continuity. They tend to get very upset. Look at what the county is going through try to deal with Barack Obama.. oh yes, it's ALWAYS about the unfamiliar and the unknown. Vinnie D'Onofrio is a real "character", which is why Criminal intent was moved to USA. It was a MUCH better fit. He has from the beginning, always played odd characters (see "Full Metal Jacket"). So Jeff Goldblum's selection was a pretty rational one. This was, and is still going to upset D'Onofrio fans. I was personally a bit jarred way back when the by the Goldblum/Nicholson team was introduced... (and I LOVE Jeff Goldblum AND Juillianne Nicholson). Why the fools at NBC didn't send "Conviction" to USA is beyond me. WITH THAT CAST? It would have done well there, but NBC was as always, being NBC (i.e. stupid) with their show selection. Some of the audience "jumping ship" I completely understand. The question is whether the new lineup gels and finds it's OWN following. The choice of Kevin Conway, one of the great character actors (who is currently still living) to anchor the first post Vinnie episode was excellent imho, and he did a fine job, with what looked like zero direction.

    The problems the episode had, as far as I can see, can all be explained by what I've written above. The story was sound, the casting was phenomenal. "Broad Channel" just didn't have that same 'whatever' that Criminal Intent has had for many years. You really have to think of the first 5 episodes with the new cast as "Pilot", then episodes. 2,3, 4, & 5. Everybody's getting used to everybody. Like a jazz band with new players. It's gotta cook a bit It's really easy to take shots at the thing. I found it less than perfect, but as a pilot... it got a 9.
    I actually stopped watching Criminal Intent back when they started the split cast thing. I found with my schedule, I just couldn't deal with alternate weeks. This week I Stumbed by accident on the dual episode "Loyalty", and I feel now I'm ready to watch the show again weekly, like I did the first three seasons. Since I stopped watching & started again, Goldblum's character has changed subtly but dramatically, for the better. Regardless, the switchover was due. There's no way for two oddball savant detectives to share the same screen, and Goldblum's portrayal has evolved considerably to my eye.

    Now he is the lead character... that tends to change things. I find him less 'Dr. Weird' and more, hmmm... smoothly intense (weirdly/confidently/intense?).
    Regardless, the flaws of "Broadbank" were to me, that of new symphony of quality players, not quite sure of each other yet. Give them a chance. Unless you just hate Jeff Goldblum. Then look elsewhere. I'll be tuning back in actually. I read an interview with D'Onofrio in which he all but announced that he'd be making appearances in the new show, I'm assuming unrestrained by a badge.. what fun!
  • An Irish mobster is involved in a police detectives murder, but who and how it was done are the problems. Was it an inside job or just a sloppy hit? Nichols and Stevens have to work against their own department to find out.

    Unfortunately this is what was expected when you completely wipe out all of the familiar characters and resurrect a show with a new cast surrounding the one player who is left.

    Goldblum is fine as Detective Nichols. Also I didn't really have a problem with Saffron Burrows as Detective Serena Stevens, but she is a carbon copy of Nichols character to a point. Quiet, quirky, full of ideas on psychological motives. The thing that has always worked in this series is two different type of characters working together. Unfortunately Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as the new Captain Zoe Callas was nothing out of the ordinary as well.

    The opening episode of the season was dynamic and strong and if this show is too survive they need to bring a little of that back. Goldblum is strong enough to pull this off and Burrows is an attractive, quality actress with a quality that could work in this setting.

    I'm not sure if this was the right story with the right edge to have this early in this new season. You could see that they were tying the relationship of Nichols and his former partner Ross who died to the mobster and their dealings with him many years before. The only problem was the story was very clear cut and there were no real questions that were answered. It was pretty cut and dried. Adequate acting, decent production values, and a weak plot overwhelm the story in this the third episode of the new season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Let's hope things improve quickly! Thanks for reading...
  • Not bad for the first episode of the new cast

    I appreciate that a lot of people are quite upset by the loss of D'Onofrio and Erbe but considering they chose to leave (that's right, it wasn't that they didn't get the raise they wanted, it was that they wanted to move on) I think that the crew of CI have done relatively well at moving on. It does indeed make things difficult that we have a virtually brand-new cast to get to know, but I think they've got potential.

    This episode reminded me more of the sort of thing we were seeing in seasons 4 and 5 than the weaker story-lines of last season. It was interesting to see how all the threads wove together and while you had an idea of who was involved, it definitely was a bit of a ride to the end. I particularly liked the character of Jackie Dooley: he was the right mix of cold crime boss with a veneer of caring patriarch of the community. The new detective Stevens (played by Saffron Burrows) seems like a character that could develop in a number of useful and interesting directions. I felt like she took too much of a back seat to Goldblum's Nichols in this case, but there were times I thought that about Erbe's Eames too. Can't say much about the new Captain but she also seems like she could be a somewhat softer version of Captain Deakins from the start of the series.

    I will admit, this episode wasn't the superb example I was hoping that it would be, but I'm willing to keep giving the show a chance to see if it successfully makes the characters what we care about. I would say to those that just wish that the series had been cancelled: either give it an honest chance or give up on it. Resenting the cast changes but still watching isn't going to do anything other than upset and bother you. Either give the new characters and actors a fair chance or just call it quits on the show, because you're not going to end up liking them despite yourself. You're right: they're just not THAT strong of characters, from what's been demonstrated so far.
  • I think folks are being a little harsh. Of course, Nichols and Serena and new Lt. are different from Goren and Emms...Goren is the absolute question about it. But lets give these guys a chance to get their legs under them.

    Did anyone notice the style change in this episode of others ?? Most have the crime, then Goren trying to figure it out....then at the end a confession in the box. This had music at the beginning...for the crime....then some more music in middle....then alot at the end. It really put me in the mood and helped the episode. This had a "Miami Vice" feel to it. I hope this new style stays. I dont remember any "duh duh's" like most Law and Order episodes, this was filled with music. Seren's character will probably evolve...just like Nichols will also evolve. The new LT, i'm not to sure of yet. Why is the Chief of Det's aways pissed off ?? Is he ever happy ??
  • So when are we gonna have some new Southland episodes.

    The first "post-Goren/Eames" era episode is (how you say) awkward... it began with tacky and distracting music, which I suppose they strategically included so that a person might actually long to see Jeff Goldblum just to make it stop. And yet Goldblum-bashing aside, the cast isn't bad, per se. Saffron Burrows isn't bad, the new chief isn't bad, Goldblum is fairly restrained- unfortunately it still doesn't feel like Criminal Intent to me. It is a case of too much change too quickly- it was a difficult transition when DA Carver and the original Chief jumped ship, but when the only connective thread between this and the original CI is a detective they only recently introduced, its hard to accept this as the same show. Wolf should have ended Criminal Intent on a high note with Goren and Eames- it was Onofrio's show, nothing will ever change that.
  • I was barely being able to stand Nicholes but the first NON Goren and Eames Episode and they blew it.

    This episode was truly one of the worst CI episodes I have ever seen. I really was waiting for it to be over and not to mention wanted to fall asleep several times. This is your first non goren and eames episode so you think they would have gone all out and tried to show the fans don't worry we still have a show for you. Unfortunatly this did not happen. The characters I am sorry to say are unlikeable. First, Det. Stevens looks like she is just bored. Not just the character but even the actor looks completely bored with the role herself. Her character just looked miserable. Det. Nicholes????? What happened I mean I still prefer Goren but Zach I was kinda likeing but in this episode his trademark "ZEN" was completely gone. He looked confused, bored, and "sleepy". No one in this show looked like they were having fun. I am sorry to say that CI should have just ended with Goren and Eames. If USA and Dick Wolf wanted a Monk style show they should have kept Nicholes and made a completely different spin off show. Worst Law and Order episode in a long LONG time. I will watch the next few and if they all follow this pattern. The ratings are truly going to drop into nothing.
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