Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 8 Episode 7

Folie a Deux

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 07, 2009 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
49 votes

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Episode Summary

A missing girl, left alone in a hotel room while her parents dined, leaves Goren and Eames sorting out a completely dysfunctional family and hangers-on to determine her whereabouts. Elsewhere, Eames spends time with her sister.

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  • Goren and Eames take the investigative lead in a series of hotel room burglaries that also involves the kidnapping of a baby girl. The child was left unattended while the parents were dining in the hotel restaurant.moreless

    The episode is entitled "Folie a Deux" which was probably intended to clue the viewer as to the plot. However, the English translation "madness shared by two" makes the title somewhat of a misnomer, as it becomes clear with the plot development.

    The story revolves around a married couple, Andre and Calista Haslum, who come to New York at the request of Andre's wealthy and dying aunt, Emily Huntsford(Lynn Redgrave). Her only desire is to see the Haslum's daughter Emma before Emily dies. At first glance, all seems well, but the child is never actually seen, either in the baby carriage in the sidewalk scene or in the hotel room. The Haslum's leave Emma in the room alone while they dine in the restaurant with Calista's friend Celia. Andre seems preoccupied at dinner and leaves the table with the excuse that he needs to check on Emma. While smoking a cigarette, he overhears of the hotel burglaries and rushes to his room to find his daughter missing. Calista joins her husband but their seemingly shallow grief is oddly out of place. Also, Calista remarks, "I keep thinking of Emma in the ground. I keep thinking of Emma." This statement foreshadows a gruesome truth.

    Goren and Eames begin to look for suspects based on trace evidence found at the scene of the burglaries: glass fragments and pieces of styrofoam. They track down a petty thief, Mark Carston, who as it turns out was responsible for the hotel thefts. He was proven not to have been involved in the kidnapping. Since most kidnappers want some form of ransom, the detectives and family await a call. Eventually, the call is received and a ransom of two million dollars is demanded. A stakeout and subsequent arrest prove to be fruitless. Emily's trusted assistant George and his British boyfriend decided to take advantage of the situation to scam Emily out of the money. After interrogation, it is evident that they had no knowledge of the baby's whereabouts.

    With the suspect pool depleted, the parents become the center of the investigation. Andre's background reveals that he taught at a small college where it was rumored that he had affairs with his female students and that he had published a poem in his own name. The poem was actually written by English poet Robert Herrick and before he could be charged with plagiarism he quit his teaching post.

    Calista's background revealed a history of emotional problems after the birth of their daughter. She became obsessed with her husband's fidelity and would follow him to work to keep tabs on his movements. If she couldn't find him, she would frantically go knocking on motel doors, all the while with her baby in tow. It was on one of these occasions, that the baby was left alone in the car with the air conditioner running so the baby wouldn't die enclosed in a hot car. However, the engine stalled and the baby died from apparent heat stroke. Goren and Eames follow the trail to the Haslum's home where they find a stash of toys in near pristine condition. They also note the lack of playground equipment that is visible is a family photograph. The next door neighbor is questioned and when his child appears, Goren and Eames realize that the neighbor's daughter is the child in the Haslum's family picture. Also, back at Goren's desk, he is seen consulting a psychiatric diagnostic manual that reveals the diagnosis as well as the episode's title, "Folie a Deux." Now the stage is set for the final confrontation.

    Goren questions Calista and she admits that her daughter's death is the result of her negligence. Andre had manipulated her into believing that keeping quiet was the best solution. As it is later revealed, Emma was buried a few feet off the road on her Great Aunt Emily's property. In the final scene, Goren's expression is quite poignant, as the small body bag containing Emma's remains is rolled into the autopsy room. It is a sight one doesn't easily forget.

    Overall, this was a good episode. The diversions of the hotel thief and Aunt Emily's assistant as suspects became slightly cumbersome. As for the title being a misnomer, a diagnosis of Folie a Deux requires that both people share the same psychotic features. In this case, Calista was definitely delusional from the loss of her child while Andre was nothing more than a manipulative, womanizing, plagiarizer. Carpe diem best describes his character or lack thereof.moreless
  • During a hotel robbery on several rooms a young girl is abducted at the same time. Goren and Eames investigate the case and work toward finding the child. A ransom is placed on the child and the team races to recover the child before its too late.moreless

    Interesting psychological case for Goren and Eames. I was confused from the very beginning as you never saw a child in the room and were wondering what was going on. The bassinet was shown right at the beginning and there was no child there and then later that was where the father Andre claimed the child was sleeping.

    There have been many cases similar to this in the news about parents that leave their children to go eat and return to find them gone. Then again there are a lot of stories of parents leaving their children in the car and having them die of heat exposure as well. This case seemed to bring the two together.

    Unfortunately they wasted a performance by Lynn Redgrave on this poorly put together episode by L&O:CI standards. She was fine as were all of the regulars in this episode. The father, mother, friend, and assistant all acted peculiarly and seemed duplicitous and guilty from the beginning. For me it was just a matter of what they were guilty of. Did we ever piece together that they all were in cahoots (not the girlfriend she was just sleeping with Andre)? I guess it is implied by the fact the father was in the right state of mind and was manipulating his wife. I would be curious what exactly she would be charged with and considering her mental state whether she would ever go to trial. Was the burglar aware of the supposed kidnapping? I think not.

    I am giving this an 8.5 for D'Onofrio, Erbe, and Redgrave. Redgrave played a very believable woman dying with a bit of sadness for what she will not leave behind. Let's hope we don't see another plot like this for a while. Full of holes from the beginning. Finally there is nothing worse than an artist so full of himself he starts to believe his own propaganda. Thanks for reading...moreless
Luke Kirby

Luke Kirby

Andre Haslum

Guest Star

Piper Perabo

Piper Perabo

Calista Haslum

Guest Star

Ali Marsh

Ali Marsh

Celia Foreman

Guest Star

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Poets and poetry cited:

      -"Guess now who holds!"--"Death," I said. But there
      The silver answer rang,--"Not Death, but Love."
      (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "Sonnets from the Portuguese")

      -"Sleep that no pain shall wake,..."
      (Christina Rossetti, "Dream Land")

      -(Robert Herrick, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time")*
      *Note: No particular work cited.

    • Goof: Goren's beard, which is full when the episode starts, is shaved later in the episode during scenes at the Police Precint (sort of a 5 o'clock shadow with whiskers). Then they proceed to a scene one assumes takes place later that day at the residence of the family involved in the episode and the beard is there in full again. Final scene also has a semi-shaved Goren.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Robert Goren: I need you to tell me about Emma's last day. Did you go looking in the wrong motel? Maybe if you knew who he was with-- How could you? There were so many women available to him. And not just students. Let me read you something. (opens Andre's book) Says, "What music have I sipped from your siren eyes?". Andre, your husband, inscribed this book, gave it to Celia. (to Celia) Were you with him that day?
      Celia: I'm so sorry.
      Robert Goren: It was afternoon, mid-summer in Yonkers. It was a terribly hot day. Right?
      Calista Haslum: Yeah, I burned my feet on the pavement. I left my shoes at the house, I was so anxious to find him. I went everywhere. I knocked on doors at all the motels.
      Alex Eames : You left Emma in the car.
      Calista Haslum: Yeah, but I left the air-conditioning on.
      Robert Goren: Checked it like you checked the thermostat in the hotel room?
      Calista Haslum: Yeah, I would never have left her in the car without the air-conditioning. How could I know that the engine was gonna die?
      Andre Haslum: Calista, shut your mouth.
      Calista Haslum: Her skin was so hot to the touch; it was white. She didn't move. I took her home and put her in her room and pulled down the shade so it was cool and dark, and when Andre came home he looked at her. He said I did the right thing. He said everything would be okay if we didn't tell anyone. He said Emma was alive, and all I had to do was believe him. But Emma is dead. He said I killed her.

  • NOTES (3)


  • 10:00 pm