Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Season 5 Episode 17

Vacancy

0
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 16, 2006 on USA
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
85 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Goren and Eames investigate after a bridesmaid is found dead in the cheap motel room she had been sharing with another bridesmaid at their friend's wedding.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • An episode about method acting gone awry with Vincent D'Onfrio. Can't go wrong really.

    9.0
    The story was interesting and was actually well executed. A lot of red herrings that almost got a bit distracting, but ultimately made it more enjoyable (because it made you think). My issue was based on where they were and where they wanted to go, why did they go to the most out of the way shady hotel they could find? And what did ultimately happen to the needy friend? They played up her dependency issues and then just dropped it.



    It seems like the writers of this episode just watched/read every single interview that D'Onofrio ever gave about his process of doing the movie "The Cell" and just pushed the character over the edge. It makes you wonder about method actors and their mental strength. How many actors prepare for their roles the same way? Statistically, you'd expect some to snap. Frightening really.moreless
  • Was it drunk girl or actor freak?

    6.0
    This was a lousy episode. First the drunk girl kept hitting on all the men she came across. Then the whole thing about the actor studying to be a serial killer. Then the jerks hitting on the drunk girl. Could this episode have been any more lame? This show definitely has a couple of toes in the shark infested waters.
  • Pretty good episode. Method acting... nice!

    9.2
    Overall good episode. The thing that made it special for me was the topic of method acting. Talking about method acting to "the human chameleon" – that was so cool! Not to mention that the guy talking was the really bad guy from "Ghost Ship", Desmond Harrington.

    The D'Onofrio – Harrington scenes were priceless.
  • Vincent is great again!

    8.3
    Again no wonder I put CI as the second L&O show that I love not just because of the writing but also because of two words:Vincent D Onferio!

    He is the show and without him, the show lacks that high noon drama you know.

    As he goes up against an actor and proves that being an actor really doesn't give you so-called "special treatment!"
  • A young woman is murdered in her bed in a seedy hotel, unbeknownst to her drunken friend who has accompanied her. The investigation takes the detectives to a method actor in training, drawing on his 'affective memory' to prepare for a serial killer role.moreless

    9.5
    Gotta love this one, if only for the dialog between the world's greatest character actor and the fictitious actor trying to school him. :)



    The dead girl and her pal were bridesmaids in town for a wedding, snowed into the Brooklyn dive. The pal was drunk as the proverbial skunk, and left the door unlocked, allowing the murderer to get in. Initially, two decidedly uncharming guys the girls drank with at a bistro fall under suspicion, but they are cleared. The murderer is a fledgling actor who hung out at the establishment and witnessed the girls' interaction with the two cads, and gave them a ride to the hotel in his cab.



    The charm of this one, of course, is in the scenes in which Goren discusses method acting with "Tim", the culprit. Tim parrots VD'O's fascinating belief that a method actor is 'going in the wrong direction' if he tries to pretend to be the character, live the role. Instead, he must use his 'affective memory' to find that piece of himself that will render his character authentic, in this case, his 'feral aspects'. D'Onofrio has said method acting entails always being yourself, and when one considers the variety of roles he has played so well, you understand how complex this man truly is.



    It was hilarious to see "Tim" tell "Goren" that that it is impossible to "explain method acting in one sitting to a non-actor" and witness the discussion on finding an authentic affective memory..'the only emotions authentic to you are your own'..VDO's well known if not always well understood creed.



    Another scene has Goren telling Tim that he respects what he does, and another maintains that a method actor's own life is the "toolbox" he creates his characters from. In this case, the danger was 'opening the box', and then being unable to close it. (I wonder if this is a real danger, or just plot development). In his research for his serial killer role, Tim found the most affective memory that of his own murdered mother. What he didn't know is that she had been stalked in much the same way he was now stalking women.



    D'Onofrio had some interesting things to say about the road he had to travel when researching his own serial killer role for "The Cell". There is a lot more courage involved in the endeavor than most people imagine. And perhaps that is why the sympathy between Goren and Tim rang true.



    I wonder whose idea this storyline was. Certainly the philosophy was pure D'Onofrio.



    A real treat, the best by far I have seen from season five, and there were several other nicely done scenes in addition to the ones discussing method acting. In particular, the Goren and Eames 'undercover' set up of the killer to arrest him on a charge which was flat out entrapment, and the murderer's insightful playing of Eames based on his observation of her reactions to drunkenness...good actors indeed would make serious criminal adversaries.



    Wow, any VD'O fan had to be all over this one.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Robert Goren: (to the suspect) You know, some people believe that if you live a guilty life… it will kill ya and the people you love.

    • (After Carver refuses to withdraw a material witness warrant.)
      Alex Eames: It'll work out, Alice, hang in there.
      Ron Carver: Thank you, detective, I'm trying to walk a tightrope, and you just sawed it in half.

    • (Eames and Goren interrogate Alice.)
      Robert Goren: Now the suggestion that you might be gay. It offended you.
      Alice: It's not fair to assume. Just because I'm single I... I--
      Alex Eames: Were you afraid that Megan got the wrong idea?
      Alice: How would I know? I was drunk.
      Alex Eames: You keep saying that like it's an explanation.
      Alice: But I blacked out.
      Alex Eames: But you know Megan told you somebody was watching her. You know you woke up and couldn't find the key. You can't black out and know anything, Alice. You can't have it both ways.
      Alice: Everybody thinks that I don't wanna help. But I do. I have been so sick over this. I wanna remember. I wanna help you.
      Alex Eames: Try now, Alice. You wanna help? Try remembering now.
      Alice: Yes. Yes. I--I asked them for two beds. I think I was worried about Megan. I think she... got too close and... I panicked... I hit her--
      Alex Eames: Alice...
      Alice: I... I... I pushed her. I think she must've hit the floor and bled-- I killed her! I killed her! I killed her! I killed her! I killed her! (sobs)

    • Robert Goren: This search for the truth, it's... it's not for the fainthearted.

    • (About Lester Summerhill's photo gallery.)
      Robert Goren: You know, half-naked women and animal carnage, it suggests violence against women without really showing it.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Robert Goren: ...because you opened the box, and now you're not sure if you can close it.

      This line is most likely a reference to Pandora's Box. A tale from Greek mythology, Pandora was not able to resist her curiosity and opened the box that Zeus had entrusted to her care, setting loose evils into the world with no way to put them back. The story's redemption was that the final item in the box was hope.

    • Tim Rainey: I can't explain method acting in one sitting to two non-actors.
      Robert Goren: I've read a little about method acting...
      This is likely a nod to Vincent D'Onofrio on two counts. As did the suspect for his film, D'Onofrio studied serial killers for his role as Carl Stargher in the 2000 Tarsem Singh film, The Cell. He has said that he's still haunted by images he viewed in preparation for that part. Additionally, he trained at both the Stanislavsky American Theatre and the Actor's Studio.

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