Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interview: ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ Executive Producer & Showrunner Chris Brancato, 6.28.11

This past Sunday, after ten seasons of solving crime, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the second spin-off of the now cancelled mothership series, said farewell. The series brought back original leads Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe as Major Case Squad detectives Robert Goren and Alexandra Eames for an eight episode season that was advertised as the series’ last. Although USA Network (the network airing the show) maintains that as of now there are no plans to renew it, decent ratings and fan support indicate there could be more life in the decade old series. No stranger to the L&O franchise, Chris Brancato was tapped to executive produce season ten while also working as the showrunner for the final eight episodes. In this exclusive interview Brancato talks about his time on the show, constructing a final season, and the chances of LOCI returning to the small (or big) screen.

Saunders: This past Sunday marked the series finale of the show, but fan support and steady ratings show there’s still interest in it continuing. Is there a chance the show could come back?

Chris Brancato: When the show was picked up for this season it was agreed upon, or it was understood by Wolf Films, that this would be the last eight episodes of the show. To my understanding that was a decision that was made by the programmers, by the network, etc. What I’ve always liked in regards to Dick Wolf is that he never really views a series as having been over no matter what the network thinks. So do I think there will be efforts made by fans and by the production company alike to bring the series back if possible, yes. I don’t know what USA’s intentions are; certainly the season turned out good from a ratings standpoint and from a fan appreciation standpoint. But again, it’s a numbers game so I can’t tell you for sure either way.

I know for sure on the part of the filmmaking team which is Dick Wolf and his whole organization, myself, and Vince and Katie all of us would like to see it come back. We’d do episodes for USA Network or any other network that would broadcast us.

Saunders: Are there possible movies you would be interested in doing?

Brancato: There’s nothing that I’m aware of specifically related to the continuance of Criminal Intent on a movie level or any series or short order. That said the desire there, and I think we all do, is that this would be eight and it would be over for now. I don’t think any of us thought it would be immediately picked-up as it was running; we just weren’t geared writing wise to continue immediately. So I always thought it would take a while for dust to settle, quote unquote. In terms of what you could do with these characters from the series would be well poised to be a series of movies. Another short order series of episodes, again, those are decisions made by the programmers, not the showrunner.

Saunders: Goren calling Eames by her first name in the finale. Was there any significance to that? If I remember correctly that was the first time Goren ever spoke to his partner on a first name basis.

Brancato: It was kind of amusing. Initially it had been scripted when he comes out [of therapy] he says Eames! So we were actually sitting there in the editing room and we were looking at the theme in its entirety and came to the conclusion that after being team members and partners for all these years it would be more likely for him to refer to her on a first name basis. We weren’t thinking about the subtext. We weren’t trying to address anything other than the characters know each other so well at this point and I think that Goren in that moment is extremely touched that she is there to wait for him, or to see how he’s doing, or to see how it will all work out. So that was what occasion of us having him say Alex instead of Eames.
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Anonymous said...

I seem to remember he called her Alex at least ONCE before Sunday night....

Jane said...

He has called her Alex before, in Amends when she found out her husband was shot by someone completely different and that the guy had lied. I guess they had forgotten that.

Sandy said...

It was special both times. It had to be special for them as well.

Billygrl said...

Bobby did call her Alex before in Amends after she found out he was investigating her husband's murder and she became very upset with him. After Alex tells Bobby, "This is not one of your puzzles," Bobby feels her pain but has to be straight with her about his suspicions that the wrong man is in prison, and that the real culprit "got away with it." Later, in the presence of Captain Ross, this is the first time he calls her Alex instead of Eames.

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