Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 6 Episode 3

Siren Call

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 03, 2006 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
136 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Goren and Eames investigate after Ashley Gardela, a fellow officer's teenaged step-daughter, is found dead in her car after a night of partying, which leads them to her boss, an ex-boyfriend with a record, and the boss's wife.

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  • Bobby would never act like that.

    Bobby would never act like a scared child. Bobby is calm and tries to get into your head. And seriously those cops let the guy take the gun and shoot himself. This episode was so bottom of the barrel it still stinks days later. Brooke Shields looked beautiful though. And I love the guy who is on The 4400.
  • Siren Call

    Modle strangled in her car after a party. Struck her so hard her head hit steering wheel. and then choked her with a cell phone charger. Step fathers holds man believed to have killed Ashley. Wife found out that he was going to let Ashley be the head over the jewelry dept. in new business. Ashley left 13 year old little sister with a drunk man Believed her step-father killed her because of her leaving Emily at the party. Step dad, Ray, holds gun to detectives and then Emily is at the door with detective Benson. Officer has a lot of stress on him. Elliot then gets Ray off guard and knocks out gun cut of he's hand. Ray kills himself and grabbed officer gun and kills himself.moreless
  • In my opinion, this is the best episode of Season Six so far. Great acting from regular and guest actors alike, suspenseful plotting, and compelling examinations of character motives make for an exceptional, stand-out episode.moreless

    [This review contains spoilers.]

    Much of the sixth season of Criminal Intent has been uneven in quality. Many episodes with otherwise compelling plots have given way to either campy melodrama or mediocre writing, and the new elements often have not made up for the missing elements from prior seasons.

    Starting in the fifth season, Goren went from being a passionate and fiery presence to a detective who seemed exhausted, beleaguered, and haunted by personal demons. In the fifth season, this change in Goren was not explained, and one surmised one might just be seeing D'Onofrio's own personal fatigue creeping into the depiction of his character.

    Season Six has taken the risk of introducing a personal story arc for Goren that has revealed the reasons for the character's signs of personal distress. These forays into the personal have arguably been the highlights of this season, because they have offered some of the psychological insight that the crime stories have often been lacking, with Goren's "arias" having disappeared from the show.

    This season, in place of such past staples as the "aria," viewers have been treated to numerous gimmicks such as the "stalker cam" and teasers in the form of "music videos"; it seems that those running the show have been attempting to make it more stylish and muscular, and less driven by dialogue. This has generally been to the show's detriment, as what has made it compelling over the seasons has been its intellectual scripts and psychological insights. Criminal Intent will never be as stylish and hip as CSI, and its drift away from its niche as a thinking person's show has generally not been successful.

    That said, not all of the new elements this season have been negative in and of themselves, and "Siren Call" stands out as an example of how these elements can be made to work in the show's favor. The suspenseful, visceral quality of this episode is unparalleled in the history of the series, but this quality does not detract from the show's emphasis on "intent"; one manages to get a sense of the characters and their motivations even as the plot develops rapidly through action rather than analysis. How the writers managed to give the viewers character insights, a portrait of an entire insular community and its social dynamics, a compelling crime story, and many moments of action and suspense in forty-five minutes is impressive.

    The guest acting in this one is superb. Even Brooke Shields is convincing as Kelly Sloane-Raines. The small-town police officers, the family of the victim, the victim's peers, and Jason Raines (Joel Gretsch) all work together to create a convincing picture of an insular world in which everyone is searching for some measure of security and solace, a personal haven shielded from outside threat and disruption. The standout by far in the guest cast is David Warshofsky, whose Officer Ray Wiznesky is chillingly potent as a man so determined to protect his home that he will go to any length to neutralize even the vaguest threat. Bulldog-like in his compact muscularity, tenacity, and easy-going aggression, he radiates intimidation. Warshofsky's charisma compels attention, and the desperate man he portrays offers a disturbing look into a dark psyche controlled by paranoia and aggression.

    Much of Criminal Intent takes place in the interrogation room of the Major Case Squad. However, in this episode, the detectives are constantly on the move, getting repeatedly thrown into situations in which they are called upon to neutralize an immediate threat. There is the pointing of guns and the breaking of windows, physical grappling and much car travel. The intellectual, introverted quality of the show is completely gone in favor of a very different style and feel. Yet it works in "Siren Call," and is in keeping with the show's original goals. The script writers and actors show us the motives of the characters in as much detail as we need, revealing their secret fears and passions in economical bursts of speech and action, and there is no need for lengthy exposition or detailed confessions. This is the perfect meeting point between the show's original features and its new direction.

    I respectfully disagree with ebrown about the final scene of this episode, which I found to be transcendent, lifting this episode from simply being a solid story to being one of the most powerful episodes of the entire series. What I saw was not Goren "cowering like a poltroon" (what a great word!) in fear of his own life, but a man, beleaguered with relentless exposure to intense suffering, overwhelmed by empathetic and existential distress. Goren is confronting the face of human despair, a man who has tried to be good but who has been destroyed by wave after wave of the kinds of anguish and helplessness Goren has confronted himself in his work as a detective. I think what we are seeing in Goren in that scene is the horror of the realization that there is no evil exterior to us that can be separated from the whole and neutralized, just human torment and its reverberations, as unstoppable in the destruction it can cause as a raging wildfire.

    A point of interest for me with the show is the story behind the emotion the viewers see onscreen. As D'Onofrio is a method actor who emphasizes the importance of expressing genuine emotions, there is always the question of just what he is experiencing in some of these intense scenes. Part of what makes the show so compelling is how real and powerful these emotions seem to be. I wonder what D'Onofrio called upon for his intense delivery of that final scene, which I see as moral terror rather than a fear of death. I see a real sense of existential despair there--the sea of suffering finally eroding away at Goren's amazing will. How much can you take before you just want to give up in despair on the human condition? You look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you--does it pull you under? If not, how do you overcome that darkness of spirit? How can you save yourself, much less humanity, from what seems intrinsic to the human condition?

    We live in a world full of confused and desperate people, and one moment of moral error on another's part can irreversibly damage or end the lives of many others. All of us are susceptible to heinous behavior. How do we resist the urge to hurt or exploit? What does it mean to do good in this world? What can we do to help? I find that Criminal Intent portrays a very real sense of the feel of wrestling with these sorts of things, and finding one's way through the darkness. I see the final scene in "Siren Call" as a microcosm of this struggle, and as such I think it's one of the finest moments the show has produced, a shining conclusion to a great episode.moreless
  • Law and Order Criminal Intent!

    After a night of partying, the step daughter of a police officer, Ashley Gardela, is found dead. They trace a stamp that was found on her hand to a bar that she had visited that night. With the help of the bar tender, they are able to find the man that Ashley spent the night with. After giving his alibi, Goren and Eames begin to look at Ashley's boss, who called Ashley's cell phone seven times the night of her murder. They find that he was having an affair with Ashley and that his wife was upset when she found out that he was willing to let Ashley design some jewelry for their new line. Both of these give them the motives to commit murder. But what Goren and Eames do not expect is to find out that neither of them are responsible for Ashley's death, but the one who is, lives a little closer to home.

    This was a great episode. I was really interested from the moment that the episode started. It definitely kept you guessing as to who was the person who was responsible for the death of Ashley Gardela.moreless
  • Goren: Born-again wimp

    This was actually a decent episode until the penultimate scene when Goren started cowering like a poltroon. Compare this to "Phantom", when he had a shotgun pointed at him, or "Stress Position", when he, Logan, and the nurse were facing four prison guards armed with billy clubs. Goren may have been scared, but it didn't show in his face so obviously! A rare mis-step by the great Vincent D'Onofrio.

    In his attempt to "humanize the characters", Warren Leight is bastardizing the show. He's denuding it of the subtlety and intelligence that made it great. Lurid melodrama and mawkish subplots are not what "LOCI" is about.moreless
David Warshofsky

David Warshofsky

Ofc. Ray Wiznesky

Guest Star

Joel Gretsch

Joel Gretsch

Jason Raines

Guest Star

Signy Coleman

Signy Coleman

Joyce Wiznesky

Guest Star

Traci Godfrey

Traci Godfrey

Det. Agnes Farley

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: When Officer Wiznesky shoots himself, the gun he uses is a subcompact Glock model that he pulled from a uniformed officer's holster. Uniformed officers do not carry subcompact models. They carry full size or compact models.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (Discussing Jason Raines relationship to the victim.)
      Danny Ross: He call her last night?
      Alex Eames: Her call log didn't list him, but her LUDs did – seven times. Last one at 2:00 am. His calls were deleted from her cell around the time of her death.
      Danny Ross: That's half-clever. Which sounds about right for a trophy husband.
      Alex Eames: Some trophy. He marries Kelly Sloane, and cheats on her.

    • Jason Raines: Ashley seduced me.
      Alex Eames: You've gotta be kidding.

    • Kelly Sloane-Raines: This is a small town. I've learned to ignore the rumor mill. I just try to kee--
      Robert Goren: Smiling.

    • Danny Ross: Man marries a model, he's not looking for a soulmate.

    • Danny Ross: (about Officer Wiznesky) He's got his whole department alibi-ing him. Small town police force, protecting their own; one of my worst nightmares.

  • NOTES (2)


    • The news caption during Nicole's confession that she also had an affair with Raines read '2ND LONG ISLAND LOLITA SURFACES'. The nickname 'Long Island Lolita' was given to Amy Fisher by the media back in 1992 when the teenage girl showed up at the home of Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco and shot Mary Jo. Amy, 17, had been having an affair with Joey Buttafuoco, 36. It was her young age and the severity of her crimes that helped the media coin her nickname.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Peter Cook scandal. Architect Peter Cook was the fourth husband of supermodel Christie Brinkley, and the two separated after his affairs became public knowledge. The character of Kelly Sloane-Raines is also inspired, in part, by supermodel Kathy Ireland, who has a successful home decor business, kathy ireland HOME.

    • Danny Ross: You sure Ferris Bueller's alibi checks out?
      The 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off followed a day in the life of Ferris Bueller, a high school student who came up with a series of elaborate lies and alibis to get himself and his friends out of school for the day, and was followed by a short-lived series titled Ferris Bueller.

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