Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Biggest Mistake Made by 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'

Associated Content, 10.21.10
by Gabrielle Rice

Too Many Changes was Too Much for Loyal LO:CI Fans

When Law & Order Criminal Intent announced the departure of four cast members earlier this year, I knew that the series was in trouble. Only six months passed before the USA Network considered canceling LOCI. Season 10 is rumored to be the final season of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. However, Jeff Wachtel, President of Original Programming for USA, is not committed to ending the show. According to TVSeriesFinale.com Wachtel said, "The plan is for this to be the series finale, but with a Dick Wolf franchise, one really never knows until it's over."

Because of the series' uncertain future, Jeff Goldblum decided to leave the show. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Saffron Burrows contracts expired over the summer.

This is not a surprise considering that the new cast just couldn't reach LOCI fans. The fans were not emotionally invested in the new characters like they were with Goren, Eames, Ross, Logan, and Wheeler.

Maybe LOCI executives got too cocky. After all, they've had actor/character changes in the past and the show never suffered big repercussions. For example, when Courtney B. Vance left the fans missed him, but they were able to live with the show without him. Another example is Jamey Sheridan, who played Captain Deakins during the early years of LOCI. Fans missed Sheridan when he left, but D'Onofrio, Erbe, and Noth were there to pick up the slack while Bogosian worked his way into the fold.

Allowing (or making) Erbe, Bogosian, D'Onofrio, and Nicholson to leave the show at the same time was one of the biggest mistakes that Law & Order Criminal Intent executives could have made. These four held the show's original fan base. If executives thought they could catch new viewers with a large cast shake up they over estimated the television public. Nowadays, sitcoms are competing with a large multitude of reality game shows and celebrity reality show entertainment. A sex obsessed man isn't going to watch Jeff Goldblum at One Police Plaza when he can watch The Girls Next Door. Lets face it, sex sells these days and the things that Law & Order doesn't have is titillating sex and busty girls running around in tight clothes. However, what Criminal Intent does have is (or was) intriguing storylines, engaging characters, and quality programming that was cutting edge, but not overly offensive to sensitive adult viewers.

Another big mistake Law & Order Criminal Intent executives made was writing the final show that had Erbe, Bogosian, and D'Onofrio exit in such a disrespectful manner.

Captain Ross was gunned down like a dog in an alley. Bogosian earned his place on that show. They killed his character, Captain Danny Ross, for no good reason. They didn't even give Captain Ross a proper funeral. Executives would argue that they didn't have the television time for that. Hey, Captain Ross was a major character, so they should have made time. If sweeping Captain Ross under the rug like week old dust bunnies wasn't enough, LOCI fans were forced to swallow the odd and somewhat lame exit of Goren and Eames. Alexandra Eames fired Bobby Goren and then she quit. Goren kissing Eames on the cheek was sweet, which made the gruel easier to swallow, but LOCI fans still had to eat it. These crappy exits were the final nail in the coffin as far as loyal Law & Order: Criminal Intent fans were concerned.

The only piece of good news is that Vincent D'Onofrio is coming back for the next season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Critics speculate that Jeff Wachtel and Dick Wolf are secretly hoping that D'Onofrio can save the series. Under different circumstances D'Onofrio would be able to pull it off. However, LOCI executives really screwed up the flow of the show. It will also take Erbe, Noth, and Nicholson to bring the Criminal Intent brand back to the eminence that it had. Other cast members, who remain nameless, are in negotiations to return, so who knows.

If by some miracle LOCI can be saved, lets hope that executives and producers of the show learned their lesson and never try to pull such an elaborate stunt again. The 10th season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent is expected to air in 2011.

Thanks Dani!


11 comments:

SnarkAngel said...

Nice to know that the fans aren't the ONLY ones who called USA executives on their massive egos and stupidity. Let's just hope it's not too little, too late. Even if this IS the final season.

havers said...

I really like this article, there is so much truth behind, but also Gabrielle Rice made a mistake...

...Kathryn will also come back to Criminal Intent to save the show. The articles popped up at 8th October. You couldn't miss them. She wrote her article 21st October.

judith said...

You are so right SnarkAngel.

janethyland said...

I hope this is the final season so that they can write decently to that knowledge.There is more value in quality than endless quantity.

Its the writing team of seasons 1-7 that need to come back most of all.They need Leight and Balcer together in an honourable final season....but I doubt that will happen.

Miex said...

Amen!

Diane said...

I just don't see Vincent wanting to spend another year of his life on LOCI after Season 10. He and Kate are obviously happy to do 8 shows to put right the TERRIBLE wrong that was done to their characters in Season 9 and give them the decent ending they've earned and deserve. I don't think we should, or could, ask for more than that.

Nice to see someone in the media 'gets' what we told the Network all along though!

Music Wench said...

Agreed Janet. And with Balcer involved in LOLA a coast away, I seriously doubt his involvement and as for Leight, I heard he was involved in development of a new series. I just know they need to get rid of Walon Green for this to be a good final season.

Aubrey said...

I truly hope that each of the eight episodes is brilliantly written in a way that brings closure for each character that was either disrespected or minimized to nothing. It was ludacris to think that viewers would watch beloved characters be treated so badly & then happily accept the new actors ushered in. What drew me to CI is STORY & how well things are woven together. How a little detail now might come back & mean something in 5 episodes. They remembered the history. I pray that if this is the end then they honor the history once again.

val said...

All true - except I think the writer means that the execs UNDERestimated fans, not OVERestimated us. Not possible to overestimate us, we are too sophisticated for that!

TJara said...

I feel like saying... "Duh - of course!!"

jamie said...

I feel the only way to correct that terrible ending is to say someone had a bad dream, let them wake up to find everyone having a respectful departure. That would be a better departure. Get a Grip Writers.

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