The 10 Best Episodes of ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent,’ According to Fans
The Law & Order universe got a little smaller a decade ago when spinoff series Law & Order: Criminal Intent ended its 10-season run on June 26, 2011. (And unlike the original Law & Order: Criminal Intent got a proper send-off!)
To mark the tenth anniversary of Criminal Intent’s finale, we’re revisiting the top 10 viewer-voted episodes of the NBC-turned-USA procedural, as identified by Showskimmer. Some are season premieres and finales, as you might expect, but others are just superlative installments from the middle of their seasons.
Season 1, Episode 20: “Badge”
In an episode featuring Viola Davis in a guest-starring role, the investigators discover all is not what it seems at the scene of an apparent murder-suicide in the city’s comptroller office. “A big asset is Davis, who is brilliant in a performance that’s sinister, oddly amusing at other times, and—on occasion—moving,” an IMDb reviewer said.
Season 2, Episode 1: “Dead”
An embalmer is found dead at a funeral home, and the case takes a turn when NYPD detectives Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe) discover a crematorium hasn’t been doing its job. “A pair of nice guest star performances dominate this Criminal Intent episode,” a fan raved. “Jay O. Sanders and comedian Jim Gaffigan play a most brutal but extremely clever killer and a hapless cousin.”
Season 2, Episode 3: “Anti-Thesis”
Two episodes later, a professor, a grad student, and a visiting lecturer are all under suspicion after a university president is killed, as guest star Olivia D’Abo (The Wonder Years) makes her debut as the villainous Nicole Wallace. One fan reviewer said this is “an outstanding episode, one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Season 2, Episode 23: “A Person of Interest”
Nicole Wallace returns to haunt Goren in the Season 2 finale, killing a man just to do damage to the lawman’s reputation. “Our hero soon figures out she’s behind all of this, knowing just what buttons to push,” an IMDb reviewer wrote in a 9/10-star review.
Season 3, Episode 4: “But Not Forgotten”
The disappearance of an accountant and the death of her brother years earlier take the investigators on a winding trail leading to the Mob. “There is so much good here, but a big advantage is the great acting from all the leads,” one fan observed.
Season 4, Episode 3: “Want”
Neil Patrick Harris guest-stars as a loner who kills women, and in the interrogation room, Goren persuades the guy to show remorse and thus save himself from the death penalty. A reviewer on IMDb said Harris “knocks it out of the park” in the role.
Season 5, Episode 1: “Grow”
“I could not turn it off,” one fan said of this episode, in which the murder of a health inspector puts Goren back in Nicole Wallace’s orbit. Meanwhile Law & Order alum Chris Noth brings his character, Mike Logan, to Criminal Intent as a new series regular.
Season 6, Episode 21: “Endgame”
In his last on-screen TV role, Jaws star Roy Scheider guest-stars in this episode as an imprisoned serial killer with a surprising connection to Goren’s mother. “Best episode in the series by far!” wrote on IMDb reviewer.
Season 7, Episode 1: “Amends”
Eames and Goren revisit the murder of her husband after the late cop’s former partner is killed. “Put quite simply, Kathryn Erbe gives one of the finest performances of her excellent career in this episode,” a viewers wrote.
Season 7, Episode 22: “Frame”
The Nicole Wallace storyline comes to a bloody end just after Goren’s brother, Frank (Tony Goldwyn) is killed. “D’Onofrio really outdoes himself in this one,” observed one impressed viewer.