L&O Criminal Intent: Goren

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Holadem, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Right now, somehow CI has become my favorite series of the franchise. A very unlikely development as it was exact opposite a year or two ago. Anyway, I watched the very earliest episodes (reruns) including the pilot for the first time and the difference between that Goren and this current one is striking.

    Young Goren was a little weird, sure, what with the habit of getting into people's face, etc... but he was not the rundown, deeply dysfunctional all-around weirdo the character became. More, young Goren wore a confident smile and exuded authority when facing down suspects or criminals. His imposing frame could be menacing. Old Goren is more like a harmless, soft-spoken, disheveled, even broken man whose occasional bouts of anger resemble children tantrums than anything else. IMO it's just an unfortunate, less compelling and far more irritating version of the character I am seeing in the earlier eps. A shame...

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  2. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    Same thing happened with David Caruso on CSI: Miami.

    When that show began, he was everything he isn't now - now he is a caricature to be parodied and laughed at. Then...he was the man.

    In both cases, is it the actor? I don't think so, not entirely. The writers find something that draws the viewers in and they cater to it - if they think a Goren with issues is more popular, that's who they put on screen. Lots of shows have a natural evolution with its characters, but with cop shows like these the change is a little jarring and unnatural.
     
  3. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I did think Goren was sort of toned down this week, though - I half-wonder if the producers knew it was getting over the top and that's why they did the great purge that happened at the end of last season, where all the characters who connected to Goren were killed off.

    I was kind of surprised how much the character had changed when I accidentally caught one of the Samantha Buck episodes Saturday night - Goren was Sherlock Holmes when he started out.
     
  4. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Exactly. I am immensely enjoying the first season, and kinda dread the onset of his eventual descent into instability. This guy is a lot more fun to watch than what he has become.

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  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The few times I have caught the Goren episodes of "Criminal Intent" (as opposed to the Mike Logan episodes), I've always come away sympathizing more with the perpetrators than with Goren and Eames, especially because he starts really pursuing them long before he has any concrete evidence to tie him to the crime. For instance, there was an episode featuring an anti-Semitic serial killer who Goren quickly figures out did not kill his wife, the victim they were called in on. But Goren makes it his mission to pick every scab in the man's family history, turn his daughter against him, undermine his authority at the factory he runs, destroy his memory of his dead wife, and finally confront him with a lead pipe. This guy's the scum of the earth, and yet we've only seen him be restrained and reasonable while Goren systematically rips his life apart. Yes, justice is ultimately served. But Goren comes across looking less reasonable than the racist serial killer. That takes some doing.

    I read somewhere that co-creator (and longtime writer on the original L&O) René Balcer ran the show for the first five seasons. Warren Leight took the reins starting in season six and shifted the focus more on the personal stories of the characters and away from the more intricate mysteries. He also updated the editing to a more contemporary style than the earlier seasons (and other L&O series).

    My personal favorite team is the SVU lead partners. The original series has survived several cast turnovers, and CI has basically become two shows in one with a few common sets. But SVU would not work without Stabler and Benson, and captures just the right balance between the personal development of the characters and the mystery of the week.
     
  6. Joe Bernardi

    Joe Bernardi Supporting Actor

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    I'm another long time Criminal Intent fan, especially Goren and Eames. I love how he knows everything about everything.

    I don't enjoy Law and Order itself with its current cast. I don't like the male prosecutor. Sam Waterston was much better in that role.
     
  7. photogray

    photogray Auditioning

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    I agree its the most interesting character of all the L and O's
     
  8. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    What I don't understand is why they're dumping Kathryn Erbe and bringing in someone new to replace Julianne Nicholson. You'd think they'd merge the two casts by partnering Eames with Nichols.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Well, they did team Eames and Nichols up for one episode. Maybe they weren't happy with the chemistry. Or maybe the producers didn't dump Erbe. This could have been her choice. She's been playing the same part for a long time, and actors do just burn out on roles after awhile. In addition her long-time co-star is leaving and they're talking about changing the tone of the show a bit. Maybe she just decided this isn't the same show that she signed on for, and that this would be a good time to move on.

    It could also be a budget thing. It might simply be cheaper to bring in a new unknown at this point than to re-sign Erbe if her current contract is up. I'm assuming that Goldblum doesn't come cheap, and if they're doubling the number of episodes he's going to appear in, they have to save money somewhere.

    i agree that the characters and actors on SVU are probably the most interesting of the lot. But I hardly ever watch it, and almost never watch a complete episode, because the kinds of cases they investigate are just too grim for my tastes. (And some of the soap opera angst they pile on the characters in their personal lives in a misguided search for "gritty drama" is just annoying.)

    I haven't watched the "mothership" in year. It just became a sad parody of itself. I could almost always guess the identity of the guilty party immediately - not based on any clues in the case itself, but on race/class/occupation of the suspects and where they stood on the political issue-of-the-week. There used to be a hilarious Mad-Libs style "L&O Plot Generator" somewhere on line that was frighteningly accurate. In fact, I sometimes wonder if the writers didn't actually start using it for real at some point.

    L&O: CI has been more interesting, but I think D'Onofrio's acting has become more and more mannered, Goren's demeanor increasingly quirky for the sake of quirkiness and the whole thing has lost some of the sense of fun it once had. While I admire D'Onofrio as an actor, I'm in the camp that won't miss him and thinks the change will be good for the series. I would have been happy to see it turn into the Mike Logan show, and I'll take Jeff Goldblum in a pinch. I've always like Erbe as Eames, but she played best as a foil for Goren, so I can deal with it if we have to lose her.

    Regards,

    Joe
     

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