Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 3 Episode 1

Undaunted Mettle

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 28, 2003 on USA
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Undaunted Mettle
A famous architect's promiscuity becomes the key to solving the murder of a promising young designer who was his closest competitor for a prestigious commission, and Eames makes an announcement.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • It's old, but why I feel in love with L&O: CI in the first place.

    I absolutely loved this episode, although I recently switched over to Cold Case as my favorite police drama, they don't have as many episodes to watch as Law & Order because of the differences of the length of the shows. I just watched this show now in 2007 but it premiered in 2003, but it is a series classic I think. Goren and Eames investigate the murder of a young promising photographer. Investigation of the victim's background history leads them to a man with a big reputation in the architecture business who work is similar to that of the murder victim's or vice versa. After doing some research, they learned that this man is a polygamist with 3 wives and seemingly just a little too much love for women, so much to the point that he what he's been looking for in his life ends up dying. One of his wives finds out some information about the promising photographer that could completely change her position as the #1 wife as she is pregnant right now with a child that his suppose to carry on the legacy of this great architect's work, which is what the architect is looking for. After further investigation, Goren and Eames find some very interesting information about the young photographer that basically glues everything together, so tune in to see what that information is, which wife is in trouble, because this was just a great episode.moreless
  • A talented young architect who's been following and taking surreptitious photos of a man has his throat punctured with a phillips head screwdriver, and the trail leads Goren and Eames to a very successfully operating trigamist.moreless

    Goren surmises the victim was attacked in his car, which was later vandalized by someone else. Bobby connects ink marks on the young man's hand to architectural symbols, and wonders why the victim, who was working at his profession, still had not yet taken his licensing exams. His designs were 'bold', and reminiscent of the work of a famous architect.

    Photos in the victim's apartment which have sections missing alert the detectives to the possibility the killer could be in the photos. A letter from a professor mentor to the victim indicates his father was concerned he had not yet taken his professional exam. "A stage dad", determines Eames.

    Bobby (love how he not so subtly ridicules academics) pegs the low-paid mentor as a moon-lighting recruiter and finds the victim had a 'silent partner' who was licensed. The prof felt uncomfortable submitting the victim's designs to a competition without knowing who else might be involved. The unknown collaborator could be the killer.

    Turns out the competition committee was hot for the victim's design, but the clue of the missing photo sections proves the most valuable. Determining the area brings the detectives to a famous architect who has been leading a masterfully staged double, oops, triple life. He is actually the victim's father, and the killer was one of the trigamist's wives.

    A pretty entertaining epi, but again, one that I think lacked the punch of a season opener (or maybe I just haven't seen enough season openers). But this episode did inform the viewers Eames was acting as a surrogate mom for her sister, and that Bobby would be getting a temporary partner. "Pity the fool", quips Eames.

David Costabile

David Costabile

Professor Roth

Guest Star

Laura Stepp

Laura Stepp

Sydney Laurette

Guest Star

Karen Ludwig

Karen Ludwig

Bergen County Clerk

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Going through the wallet of the victim.)
      Alex Eames: (to Goren) Library card. Man after your own heart.

    • Alex Eames: For a guy who likes chaos, he's about to get it in spades.
      Robert Goren: Well, buildings may crumble, but infamy's forever.

    • Alex Eames: Well, I told him.
      Robert Goren: What'd he say?
      Alex Eames: He gave me a big hug. He said it was a great thing I was doing for my sister and he said when the time comes he'll hook you up with a temporary partner.
      Robert Goren: Oh no! I didn't even think of that. What'd you say?
      Alex Eames: I pity the fool.
      James Deakins: How 'bout our gal, huh? Surrogate mom.

    • Alex Eames: If he wanted to get inside Laurette's head, he needed more blondes in his life.

  • NOTES (4)


    • The title of this episode, "Undaunted Mettle," is a reference to the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Spoken by the title character, the full line is: "Bring forth men-children only;/ For thy undaunted mettle should compose/ Nothing but males" (Act I, Scene VII).

    • Alex Eames: : I pitied the fool.

      A reference to Mr. T's catchphrase "I pity the fool' from the television show The A-Team.

    • This episode appears to be ripped from the headlines of the Louis Kahn story. Kahn had three separate families: one with his wife Esther Israeli and their daughter Sue Ann (born 1940), one with Anne Tyng and their daughter Alexandria (born 1954), and one with Harriet Pattison and their son Nathaniel (born 1962). Nathaniel Kahn made a 2003 Academy Award-nominated documentary about Louis called My Architect: A Son's Journey. Louis Kahn died of a heart attack in a men's room at Penn Station in 1974. Penn station serves as a flashpoint for both killer and victim in this episode.

  • 10:00 pm