Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 5 Episode 9

Scared Crazy

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Dec 04, 2005 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
107 votes

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Episode Summary


After Aidan Grant, an employee for a local computer company is found dead, Goren and Eames investigate. Initially they believe Grant was murdered because of a business deal gone wrong involving biometrics, lip-reading, the company Ubicool, and the military. Their investigation leads them to a young man who worked in the office opposite Ubicool. Goren soon realizes Robbie isn't fully in control of his actions and suspects his therapist of wrongdoing.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • One word: boring.

    This had to be the weakest episode of the season so far. I didn't care about the therapist, who killed the victim, or why he killed the victim. I don't like the actor who played the crazy killer guy. I do like how they switch the detectives every week but the story should have been a lot better.
  • A reserved computer geek turns out to be a psychotic killer, whose shrink turns out to be the source of his violence.

    This episode clicked for me in a number of ways. Personally, I'm big into the "tech" stuff and the radiowave-proof computer company and its infiltration was really quite neat. More generally, I think that the psychological battles faced in this episode is what makes this show so great. In the first layer it was the shrink with the Guantanamo connection who broke the psychotic kid to heal her own conscience. The psychological battle goes deeper though, when Goren breaks the shrink with his "treatment" of her patient. The writing of this episode was well plotted, and this episode makes me wonder why they even have Barek and Logan in the show. It really is a different Law and Order when Goren and Eames are in it.moreless
  • A young computer expert murders an employee of a rival company. Motive appears to be information age espionage at first, but the plot twists to a fatal brand of operant conditioning...the killer is a victim of an errant shrink.moreless

    There are really two stories here, the first which would have every computer security nut salivating, and the second, the main plot, which deals with a devolving psychatrist, wrestling with personal demons unleashed on Gitmo.

    The young killer has social and emotional programs to begin with, he is paranoid, perhaps even psychotic, but is highly functional within the constraints of his job. His downfall involves getting mixed up with the psychiatrist.

    The doctor's journey has taken her from training US special forces in how to resist breaking down under torture, to being involved in actual torture at Guatanamo. She is so troubled and even traumatized by her involvement in unethical practices, so upset over betraying the Hippocratic Oath, that she seeks a way to make her participation in government sanctioned torture 'right', and that is to use the methods she applied at Gitmo to actually HELP someone. She evidently feels the young man can be taught to control his psychosis.

    So enter the vulnerable computer expert, who is already on the slippery slope to total escapism, or complete breakdown. By isolating the young man, depriving him of darkness and shadow, and blasting house music into his eardrums for a few weeks while preaching an endless chorus of 'trust me', she hopes to get him to a state of inner strength from which he may be able to better cope with life - to distinguish truth from lies, control his moods, and improve his personal interactions. (his sister has sent him to the doctor - living with such a withdrawn and erratic brother, always on the verge of panic, has become problematic. Doesn't exactly help your love life either.)

    But the misfated venture is a classic flop. Like Pavlov's dogs, the young man now hears the blare of monotonous and continuous house music (is there any other kind?)and thinks 'kill.'

    So do I, so I loved the story.

    V D'O looked like this plot actually engaged him. In season 5, that was quite a feat. Some neat scenes with the lady doc...she initially sees through his trickery and guile easily, and doesn't hesitate to say so, but inevitably is brought down by her own flaws and the detectives' persistence.moreless
  • An exceptional example of how excellently, thoroughly, intricately, and honestly this show's crew (writers, casters, producers, directors, and actors) can create a 'best-of-kind' episode from what might at first seem to be yet another 'hum-drum' plot ideamoreless

    I missed this episode's original airing, but caught it last night (not much of a football fan), and must say that very few times over the past years have I so thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of a character so much as I did DJ Qualls' of 'Robbie,' the seeming-computer-nerd.

    This performance, in my humble opinion, ranks right up there with Schuyler Fisk's (Sissy Spacek's daughter) in a recent "L&O: SVU" episode of a serial-baby-killing young mother incestuously involved with her corrupt politician father (played with class by Zeljko Ivanek), and with Martha Plimpton's role as 'Mr Big' in "Surface."

    One of the reasons I so enjoy this version of Mr Wolf's "L&O" franchise-empire is the interaction between Gohren and Eames. I don't dislike the alternation of investigatory teams that started this year, but I'd like way lots less being unable to enjoy Vincent D'onofrio's creation of a genuinely thinking detective (he was hospitalized for exhaustion at the end of the fourth season).

    No disrespect, but Detective Logan wouldn't've been anywhere nearly so enjoyable in the box with Mr Qualls' Robbie as was Detective Gohren.

    The upshot, that the supposedly well-known-and-therefore-exceptionally-qualified shrink, Dr Pynchon, was not only the villan in this set-piece, but would also deign to confess to Gohren and Eames in the midst of dramatically maintaining her cover of tearfully pleading for her patient (actually her victim), all the while illustrating her crippled intellectual prowess (a velcro fastener on the back of a fake light switch box next to a lowered blind!) to boot, was, to me, one of the more elegant solutions this show has managed.

    Certainly not the least of that elegance was illustrated in the final scene, when the blind was raised, the fake switch box removed from the wall, and Mr Qualls' "Robbie" was standing precisely as before, muttering the mantra given him by the evil doctor to guard him from fear.

    Ordinarily, I don't rate much of anything above a '9.0' because that's the way I am; however, I've given this episode a '9.1' because of Mr Qualls' contribution. The integrity of his portrayal of Robbie clearly contributed to a better-than-usual (at least in my humble opinion) performance by Mr D'onofrio (as well as Ms Erbe), and made all the more credible the extent of the villany Ms Van Dyck's portrayal of Dr Pynchon included.

    As this was the ninety-eighth episode and no one's ever mentioned "...cancellation..." I'll happily look forward to enjoying this one again when the boxed-set of DVDs finally hits the market. From the so-subtle-it's-almost-taken-for-granted ingenuity of the method of defeat for the computer office's anti-emissions protections to the equally genius interpretation of those knots, this episode displayed honesty, integrity, and high quality throughout.


  • An OK episode with a stellarly planned and executed interrogation at the end.

    The way that Goren and Imes play the phsychologist's concern for her patient to get her to confess is masterful. Those two are so good at psychological manipulation that it's almost scary sometimes, but it's why I watch this show! Besides that interrogation, I didn't think much about this episode was very memorable, but I did enjoy it while it was on.

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