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Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 8 Episode 1

Playing Dead

1
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 19, 2009 on USA
8.0
out of 10
User Rating
67 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
A councilman becomes a suspect after Goren and Eames discover that the murder of his stepdaughter's boyfriend may relate to blackmail plots they'd begun. The investigation slows down when the family closes ranks, and the only way to make an arrest is to outwit the councilman's mother, who will forgive anything in her quest for political power.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Disappointing for the season premiere.

    4.5
    I had been counting down days to this premiere, just like I am sure many of my fellow fans. With USA postponing this episode for such a long time, I was sure it had to be amazing. Sure, I may have hyped it up in my mind, but still, considering it's a premiere it should be pretty good, right?



    Wrong. I was bored to tears through this entire episode. As most know, Goren's character the past few seasons has been lacking the emotion and quirks that made him so lovable early on. And this episode just proved it further. With last season's finale, one would expect USA to pick up right from there and address Goren's personal dilemmas and struggles. But there was no mention of "Frame" and Goren's angst. There was no mention of how Goren might or might not be "free" from what Declan did for him. It's as though USA and the writer's forgot that a major plot twist had occurred just months earlier. The character Goren would would have addressed this somehow if he had been written well.



    Moving away from the character development aspect of the episode, even the plot was weak. I predicted what was going to happen in the first 10 minutes. It was too reminiscent of the dozens of SVU episodes that have been overdone.



    I judge TV shows based on how often I get up to do something else. "Playing Dead" made me actually clean and do HOMEWORK, I was so bored. Sure, I had it on in the background, just so I could say I saw it, but there was no point. Since I started watching L&O:CI I have never been this disappointed with an episode, including the Chris Noth ones (which I really didn't care for).



    Honestly, the only reason I gave it as good of a rating as 4.5 is because Vincent D'Onofrio has shaved and looks a little better than last season.moreless
  • A ho-hum episode from a formulaic writer.

    2.5
    As the season progresses, I may come to understand why this episode was vaulted from mid-season to the season premiere. I doubt it, though.



    As I watched the episode again, desperately hoping for usable quotes or an allusion, it occurred to me that I was not the only one who felt like I was watching from the peanut gallery with no investment in the plot; the actors also appeared to be just going through the motions. A big part of that is the script. Antoinette Stella, fresh from the abysmal Canterbury's Law is not a good match for this series. Everything the detectives do and think is laboriously explained in the dialogue, step-by-freaking-step, leaving little room for the usual snappy dialogue or one-liners. Not that Stella seems to have the wit to pull this off, both Eames and Ross - usually good for a wry remark or two - were given stilted lines with no oomph, and Goren was stripped of all his brilliance.



    In one scene Ross tells the detectives to "find the raw nerve." The next scene has Goren saying, "It's a raw nerve, huh?" to the mother like it means something. Except it doesn't to her, she wasn't present for Ross' line. I guess the viewers are supposed to be wowed by this -- feel that they're part of an in joke. Wrong. It's just an incredibly awkward scene that wasn't needed, because everything was figured out at the squad room before the interview. Under the old writing team, I doubt these two scenes would have made it past the first read.



    The best example of how the episode lost its way is the final scene. After 40 minutes of everything being laid out so there's no twist to keep the viewer tuned in, the episode culminates in an interrogation room. But Goren's usual dig into the perpetrator's psyche to achieve a confession is left off for the mother turning on her son. Just another typical procedural.



    Antoinette Stella should go write for CSI: Miami. That's just about her speed... the audience expects drivel, loves emotional end scenes, and no one wants the writers to perform beyond that framework. She'd fit right in. And, although it grieves me to rate a CI episode this low, I find I can't justify a higher rating.moreless
  • The season premiere is here at last! But...was it worth the wait?

    9.0
    Ok, so I think maybe I was a bit too gracious with the rating. I'll leave it as it is, however, because while this wasn't my favorite episode, it was still pretty good.



    As someone mentioned in their review, this episode didn't live up to all the hype. Seriously, where is all the ansgt from last season?! Please don't tell me they can just start a new season and not even address what happened to Goren. I mean, c'mon, does the word "Frame" mean anything to you writers? Please! I highly doubt one would get on with their life and get over it that fast. Goren is more than likely not over it, but it definitely didn't show in this episode. They NEED to address what happened. Can ya at least give us a small scene? Seriously, you're killing me here! The same person that mentioned all these things, which I agree with 100%, rated the episode a 4.5. I honestly couldn't disagree with what he or she said (although the rating I found to be a bit low). This episode...it was just missing something.



    One part I really did like was when Goren addressed the girl about how his life sucked. It was a nice, though quick scene that was touching. The softness in his voice and eyes were back and that scene broke my heart. It added to the list of yet another scene where I wanted to reach into the TV and hug the man! The case, though, it was pretty predictable. It was...ok, but it did feel like something that should be on SVU. I loved the end when Bobby Goren got that look in his eyes. The look when he's going in for the kill...in his eyes it reads: "I've got you. You're dead!" Awesome!



    I usually judge an episode (of any show) by how much I want to watch it. I always record every episode and keep them. If it's a good episode like Untethered, Purgatory, Betrayed, Frame, etc., from last season alone, then I'll watch it over and over again until my TV explodes. This episode, however, I didn't do that. I shut it off right after it was over. I'm hoping that down the road, there will be more episodes like last season where I WANT to watch the episode over and over again. This episode just didn't excite me like I was hoping. Bobby was clean-cut again, shaved and in a suit, which was kind of nice. I didn't mind the "jeans Bobby" and the 5 o'clock shadow Bobby at all though, but I'll take him either way! I'm not picky! I've never been picky about his looks and I think its ridiculous to judge him because of such a thing. I know some people didn't like last season (or even the season before) because they got too personal. I love the personal stuff, though! I thrive on it. It was interesting to watch, and, really, how could you not get personal in some of these cases?



    As with any other review, like I always say, I'll be back to watch next weeks episode!



    ~Snyder~moreless
  • Season Premiere

    10
    I was very excited for the season premiere and this episode did not disappoint. You really want to jump through the tv and punch the child molester son of the political family. This episode kept me glued to my seat and it was great to have Criminal Intent back! I hope the Goren/Eames epsiodes are still as angsty as last season, because last season was AMAZING. I will be excited to see how Jeff Goldblum's episodes are, which start April 26th. Overall, good episode, although I wish it could have been a stronger episode with more action. It was a great, entertaining episode for the season premiere!moreless
  • Goren and Eames are called in when a councilman's step-daughter and her boyfriend are shot killing the boyfriend. It seems they had been blackmailing the councilman and the question is who paid to hit them.moreless

    9.0
    I started to watch this show because Jeff Goldblum is going to be on it. I am so glad I did as Vincent D'Onofrio is a national treasure and Kathryn Erbe is his perfect foil. The two of them are wonderful together. So much chemistry without them even needing the romance. Unbelievable.



    The councilman is a scumbag and his mother really doesn't turn out to be much better and to think this guy was running for Mayor? The councilman's wife is an enabler and the step-daughter took the full brunt of the brutalization that went on behind the power. The step-daughter has been sexually abused by her step-dad. As we see in these crimes the abused is the one who feels responsible in that she is ashamed and feels used, but still she feels powerless to do anything. When confronted the step-dad blames her for everything. Enticing him, etc...



    Through their usual psychological twists and turns Goren and Eames come to see the abuse and the fact that it is about to repeat itself all over with the younger daughter who turns out to be (in a shocking twist) the step-daughters and dads child.



    Oh, and it turns out the mother of the councilman has been pulling the strings all along and she is the one who hired the killer. So both Mom and Son are going to fry over this one. Nice work detectives! Thanks for reading...moreless
Betty Gilpin

Betty Gilpin

Stacey Hayes-Fitzgerald

Guest Star

Otto Sanchez

Otto Sanchez

Gonzo Ruiz

Guest Star

Brian Tarantina

Brian Tarantina

Johnny Di Rogga

Guest Star

Traci Godfrey

Traci Godfrey

Det. Agnes Farley

Recurring Role

Leslie Hendrix

Leslie Hendrix

Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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