“Law & Order” is one of the most remarkable franchises to emerge from television. That trademark clung-clung, as definitive a reverberation of authority as the old “Dragnet” fanfare in its day, was heard on the permutations of the classic series, which ran 10 years, and its four spin-offs. The legacy is as remarkable as the variety. “Law & Order: Criminal Intent—The Eighth Year” will be out Oct. 23 as a five-DVD set.
Let’s be upfront: after all those years, the plots in CI had gone a little thin. What buoyed the eighth season were the two memorable lead characters, detectives Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Nichols (Jeff Goldblum), who trade off cases and episodes under the supervision of the slightly cynical Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian). D’Onofrio plays his sleuth in a low key; observant and introverted, his emotions uncork slowly as he puts the perps in his sight. Goldblum’s detective is more flamboyant, a humorous master of mind games whose dismayed eyes view the world above a set of smirking lips.
The character-driven series also draws from a strong cast of guest stars, including Lynn Redgrave and Eric Balfour.