Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 1 Episode 8

The Pardoner's Tale

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 18, 2001 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
98 votes

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Episode Summary

The deaths of a reporter and his fiancée, gunned down on orders, leads the detectives to investigate political bribery involving the governor's office, which Deakins isn't pleased with.

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  • The detectives investigate a double murder and uncover the governor's pardon of a bigtime money launderer stems from a 3/4 mil endowment to a university chair in his name. The Govs brother-in-law is the key figure in the quid pro quo pardoning-donation.moreless

    Wonderful story about corruption on the highest state level and two detectives' reaction to it. Well written and casted, and a chance to show the similarities between Goren and Eames, not the superficial differences. And in this case, the important similarity is a very visceral distaste for corruption at the highest levels, and the related ability of influence wielders to 'stop the buck' before it reaches the true seats of power.

    The storyline also created tension between Goren/Eames and Carver/Deakins. Some excellent scenes, not just the infamous 'boo, you looked' one. Goren's final angry remark that this case should be taught in law school ethics classes was a promise the show would feature an ongoing challenge to authority and commitment to "follow a case wherever it leads".

    Engrossing hour, and as a bonus, V D'O at his absolute non-stop cutest. :)moreless
  • When a reported and his fiancee are murdered in the front of a restaurant, a story of bribery and entitlement reaching to the Governor's office begins to unfold.

    Goren and Eames investigate a very sloppy double homicide of a reporter and his fiancee on a city street in New York. Catching the driver of the getaway vehicle and then the shooter was easy. The difficult part comes when everything involved points to the Governor's mansion in Albany.

    It seems there was a high profile gang financier who was specifically involved in 37 gang related deaths. A pardon of the said financier through a payoff to the Governor. This being arranged by the Governor's wife's brother to allow for some distance.

    In a typical move to protect itself the political system shut down all sources and the Governor's wife's brother and another person acting as a consultant will take the fall but the DA wants the financier for his involvement in the double homicide as well.

    Through all of this the DA is manipulating the detectives as much as the other players are manipulating the system.

    Much to the dismay of Goren, Eames, and the financier's wife the system does what it will, to get whomever they can, using whoever they will, for whatever they need too. Quite a disheartening situation.

    A very interesting episode showing entitlement and privilege has its rewards. The writing in this episode was especially sharp and the dialogue memorable. Well done! Thanks for reading...moreless
  • When a reporter is murdered, Goren & Eames have to unravel a web of corruption involving the governor and his wife, which concludes with Carver forcing them to do some things that they'd rather not.moreless

    I really like this episode for several reasons. The main reason is that Carver forces to Goren and Eames to threaten to arrest a fugitive's wife after they promised her that they wouldn't. They indignantly refuse until Carver threatens to get someone else to arrest her. The obvious reluctance with which they wheedle her husband's location out of her is poignant, as is the epitaph she hurls at them as she finally storms out. Another reason for my approval is that it includes some of my favorite Goren antics, as encapsulated in: "Boo! Made you look." Very mature, Detective. :)moreless
Joseph Siravo

Joseph Siravo

Joe Nawrocki

Guest Star

Kevin Carroll

Kevin Carroll

Greg Generae

Guest Star

Walt MacPherson

Walt MacPherson

Roy Fitzgerald

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: Although the financier is called Richard Uffland, a computer screen displaying an arrest record uses the name "Robert Ufland."

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Ron Carver: They should teach this case at the governor's school of government.
      Robert Goren: Law school ethics class -- that's where they should teach it, counselor.

    • (Eames looks under a car's hood at Goren's buddy's shop.)
      Alex Eames: 351, 4-barrel. Who you trying to outrun?
      Lewis: Whoa. I think I'm in love.

    • Linda Basinger: Oh, come on. My mom and dad both like you a lot.
      Derek Freed: The only people in America still impressed by reporters.
      Linda Basinger: No. They like you in spite of the fact you're a reporter.
      Derek Freed: (dryly) Thank you.

    • Greg Generae: My mom and my son, what are you offering them? State witness protection program?
      Robert Goren: Yo-You might as well buy them a plot at Woodlawn.
      Greg Generae: Yeah, you got that right.
      Robert Goren: B-but I know people, uh, people in the Fed. People that owe me favors. I can get someone in so deep even I couldn't find them.

    • (Carver wants them to arrest Uffland's wife, although she was promised no jail time.)
      Robert Goren: I'm not arresting her.
      Alex Eames: Count me out, too.
      Ron Carver: (angrily) Detectives!
      Robert Goren: We are supposed to be better than the people that we're prosecuting.

    • Robert Goren: Eames, I gotta see a buddy about a '71 Malibu. You wanna come?
      Alex Eames: Sure, I love meeting your buddies.

    • Sarah: Here, let me highlight it for you.
      Robert Goren: It's okay. The search warrant doesn't actually stipulate highlighting.

    • Robert Goren: Boo! Made you look.

  • NOTES (2)


    • The title of this episode, "The Pardoner's Tale," is a reference to the title of one of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, "The Pardoner," telling the tale of three men out to kill Death. The character of the Pardoner is a religious man of the church, who reveals himself in fact to be corrupt and hypocritical, very much like some of the characters in this episode who are themselves in positions of power, but corrupt.

    • Alex Eames: There they go. Down the rabbit hole.

      A reference to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, where Alice disappeared by falling down a rabbit hole.

    • Nawrocki's Attorney: You can tell the "wizards" behind the glass this will never survive a motion to dismiss.

      This is a reference to The Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum, where the wizard hid behind a curtain, watching everything that went on without revealing his presence.