Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 4 Episode 4

Great Barrier

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 17, 2004 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
85 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Great Barrier
When Goren and Eames search for a jewel thief who murdered her accomplice, they discover that the clever larcenies are the brainchild of her lover, Nicole Wallace, Goren's long-standing nemesis. As the detectives delve into the personal and working relationships between the two women, they uncover a plot to cause the death of Wallace's ex-husband, the only person who can lead them to evidence of the very first murder Wallace committed.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Goren's nemesis returns

    Nicole is one of those characters that make this show what it is. She is deep, complicated, yet calculating, malicious and vicious. She would take an ordinary story and take it up to notched. Yet this episode has a first class story of its own.

    From the first act when we witness the initial crime we are purposely fooled into thinking that these perpertrators are going to be the main targets of Goren and Emes efforts. Instead we are tricked. The apparent fall girl is actually using her submissiveness to manipulate her "master" into another trap of her "real" masters conception - Nicole's.

    Once Goren and Emes get past this initial curveball, we are shown the real crime that is going on, Nicole's manipulation of the young Japanese woman who cant see the reality of the situation. As youd expect we learn alot of her background and you will no doubt feel a mixture of sympathy and serve's you right for her.

    Yet this is only half the story. The real meat of the middle act is a journey through Nicole's past as Goren and Emes dig deep to uncover events from her past to explain her current motivations and the trigger that set her off on her journey of manipulation and crime. It is for this that makes this episode a must see. That and one of the most exciting finales of the show. Just when everything is weighed against Nicole and it looks like her time of freedom is up, we see the immeasureable depth of her conviction.

    Definitely not to be missed.moreless
  • The partnership between a strikingly attractive pair of jewel thieves ends when the female crook disengages from her partner by killing him. Lo and behold, the uniquitous evil of Nicole Wallace is responsible for the crime. Bobby's nemesis returns..yawnmoreless

    Another Nicole soap opera installment.

    Eames and Goren discover a fatal needle mark in the male jewel thief, "the disposable partner', and the diamonds are no where in sight.

    Bobby determines the female crook is not Japanese, but Japanese-American, based on watching store videos that indicate a decided lack of deference. The detectives gather some clues after a lead from the dead man's friend who had traveled with him to Japan, and learn the couple were in rehearsal for the heist.

    Bobby also intuits someone else 'was running the show'..and learns from the young thief's parents the girl was a materialistic young woman...and then finds that she has now gotten mixed up with a more experienced criminal, whom they assume is male -'a sugar daddy'.

    But of course, the maistro behind the scenes is a lady. With an Oxford accent.

    In due course, the detectives arrest the young jewel thief, Nicole's lover, and play back the tape of Bobby's original, season one interrogation of her, when she goads him and admits critical aspects of her past. Goren is obviously more affected by the flashback than the girl is. In fact, in this scene, a pensive V D'O looks like his career is flashing before his dear eyes.

    BG tells the girl Wallace has "overwhelmed her sense of right and wrong", when who shows up to support her puppet - but the woman herself. Asking for a 'truce'.

    Bobby "smells blood in the water"... (yes Vincent, you're definitely in shark jumping territory in this one)...the lengths Wallace has gone to cut the young woman off from her family indicates to him 'a level of possessiveness' that hints of vulnerability in Nicole.

    The detectives also convince Wallace's ex-husband she was about to kill him, death by switched asthma inhaler (he's leaked that she's infertile, but she's not, and she has a daughter she apparently killed or allowed to be swept to sea, sigh, it never got so soapy on freaking Dynasty.).

    In the next interview, Wallace taunts Eames about bearing her sister's child, and Bobby goes back to his abuse mantra, and a treatise on how uterus size can prove if a woman has borne a child. Wallace claims her child is with a relative, and Goren pulls out the accident report. Out of jealousy of her lover's affections, the abused-as-a-child Wallace killed the child. Even Freud would laugh his arse off at this one.

    Wallace gets one good shot in at DollBoy tho, "Who helped you concoct this theory? Your mother?"

    (Well, that would explain the atrocious writing).

    Bobby apparently gets Wallace's young accomplice to see the errors of her ways, when he lays out evidence the daughter didn't drown, but had her neck broken at age three by her own mother. But it's yet another epi in which the detectives get a suspect to help them but he/she ends up DEAD, (how do Goren and Eames stay employed..the accused must also be 'disposable', and it does save the taxpayers the expense of trials).

    And of course, the girl's real death and Wallace's faked one make for more histrionics and more over-the-top sequel ops.

    Imo.. this Wallace persona brings little to the table. Even the character's bi-sexuality (real or contrived) is bland. If giving Goren an arch-nemesis is deemed a way to draw in viewers, fine, but the storylines have got to be a little more plausible, and less melodramatic, than this one.

    I dunno..maybe you had to be watching from the beginning to 'get' the Wallace thrill, and repeats just don't build the suspense, but I really can't fathom how folks voted 'live' on this one..unless, of course, they were saving 'die' for the writers. Or they watch afternoon weekday tv.

    V D'O watch: The very next episode, the delicious curly locks are shorn. Why why why???? I guess he was looking just too pretty to tangle with Nicole.

  • This is a fine example of why I watch this tv show. This is one of the best episodes of Law and Order Criminal Intent that I have seen.

    This is a fine example of why I watch this tv show. This is one of the best episodes of Law and Order Criminal Intent that I have seen. With Nicole Wallace returning for the third time, much about her past is revealed. Not only mystery, death after death, australian crimes, new info, and much more, but the end leaves with a cliff hanger. You never find out whether Nicole Wallace still lived or not.moreless
  • SHe is back and deadlier then ever

    She had a child and may or may have not killed her it just gets better. SHe tries to kill her ex husband she fakes her own death. Shes uses a tennager to get what she wants then asks for a truce. I like that they kept her alive I want Goren to bring her down.
Grace Hsu

Grace Hsu

Ella Miyazaki

Guest Star

Richard Joseph Paul

Richard Joseph Paul

Gavin Haynes

Guest Star

Jay Patterson

Jay Patterson

Terrence Boyd

Guest Star

Olivia d'Abo

Olivia d'Abo

Nicole Wallace

Recurring Role

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Goof: Goren has lightning hands. In one scene he is seen holding a gun in his left hand and a flashlight in the right. In the next shot, one second later, he has holstered his gun and the flashlight is now in his left hand.

    • Nitpicks: There are numerous errors in regards to Australia. First, Australian police forces are state-based, not city-based. So it would be the Queensland police, not the Brisbane police. Second, Nicole Wallace states she left her child with mid-wives at the Mater hospital in Brisbane, and pronounces it May-ter, when it would actually be pronounced Mah-ter. Third, the birth certificate for Nicole's daughter is grey with a green seal, but Queensland certificates are white with a red seal. The baby was murdered on Stradbroke Island, and the circumstances involve a swim at the beach. It is unlikely that a Brisbane resident would travel to Stradbroke when it would be much more convenient to go to the Gold or Sunshine coasts, or to Bribie.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • (Nicole is seated across from Eames and Goren)
      Nicole Wallace: You're both so transparent; punishing Ella just to get at me.
      Robert Goren: That's Nicole's maternal instinct rearing its little head.
      Alex Eames: You can't deny those feelings, even if you can't have kids of your own.
      Nicole Wallace: Yes, thank you. Not all of us can be blessed like you, with eggs ripe and ready for hire.

    • Nicole Wallace: I didn't come here to engage you. I want... (deep sigh) I want a truce, Bobby.
      Robert Goren: A truce? (speaking over her) That's not in your nature!
      Nicole Wallace: Notwithstanding your unrelenting pursuit of evil.
      Robert Goren: Evil, Nicole, is also unrelenting in its pursuits.

    • Nicole Wallace: Who helped you concoct this theory, your mother?
      Robert Goren: In her wildest delusions, she never spawned anything like you, Nicole.

    • Alex Eames: You know the economy's tanking when investment bankers start knocking off jewelry stores.

    • Nicole Wallace: (reading the bulletin board) The greatest detectives in the world -- you have to wonder about people who need so much positive reinforcement.

    • Robert Goren: She kills her young. She kills her lovers. And you? You, Ella? You're both.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Although this episode does include crimes that are actually covered by the real Major Case squad (commercial burglaries in which the value of the property stolen exceeds $100,000), it initially starts out as a murder investigation (something that's usually covered by the homicide department).

    • "Great Barrier" was aired in Australia on February 20, 2005. Viewers across the country were shown both endings, then asked to vote for their preferred ending via sms over the next half hour. An hour later (after NCIS) the Channel 10 network aired the ending voted most popular. Whereas in the US the final online poll showed 53% of viewers decided Nicole Wallace should live, Australians showed less compassion. Viewers in all states voted to kill her, with South Australia (59%) being the toughest state. When the episode aired in the UK, there was no poll, and the episode shown had Nicole living.

    • NBC offered alternate endings to this episode, allowing viewers to decide whether Nicole Wallace lived or died. Viewers on the East Coast saw an ending in which the character lived, and viewers on the West Coast saw one in which she died. Both endings were available for viewing on NBC's web site. Over 116,000 votes were cast at the poll there, the majority of which chose to keep Nicole Wallace alive. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit did the same thing with the November 24, 2004 episode, "Doubt" allowing viewers to vote on whether a sexual encounter was rape or consensual.


    • In the opening segment, Ella Miyazaki (Grace Hsu), in a sarcastic gesture, puts both hands in front of her mouth and giggles, practising for her performance in the store. This is a direct imitation of the female characters in Gilbert & Sullivan's opera The Mikado (or The Town of Titipu). The opera, which debuted in 1885, established stereotypes about Japanese which persisted until the post-WWII era.

  • 9:00 pm
    What Would You Do?
  • 10:00 pm
    Dateline NBC