I'm something of a Law and Order fan, although I don't usually watch the first-run broadcasts of the shows – I generally catch the replays and spinoffs on TNT and the USA network. But of all the many permutations of the long-running crime drama, I've never really watched L&O: Criminal Intent much – mainly because I can't stand Vincent D'Onofrio (Oh, no! not D'Onofrio!). Well now, actually Vincent might be a wonderful guy, I'm sure it's just the character he plays that I can't stand. Not too happy about his partner, either; but at least she's usually mostly in the background. And I totally missed the Chris Noth era on LO:CI. Which is too bad because I like him a lot. Mr. Big and all that.
But now I find that Jeff Goldblum has joined the cast of Criminal Intent, and that makes me very happy indeed. For some reason unknown even to myself, I've always been a Goldblum fan. I know he always plays slightly mysterious, weird, arrogant characters. In fact, it's probably that arrogant quirkiness that I like so much. So last night I stayed up late to watch the rebroadcast of his debut appearance (couldn't watch the first run of the show because we were watching a DVD of Quantum of Solace, the latest Bond feature – and that's a whole 'nother story, for some later post).
And Jeff didn't disappoint. As Detective Zach Nichols, he's just as self-assured, quirky – and yes, even a little mysterious – as always. And possessing a nice, laid-back, 60s-survivor quality that is such a welcome relief after the hair-trigger angst of D'Onofrio's Detective Goren. His Detective Nichols solved the crime with an appealing aplomb and lack of histrionics, worthy of Poirot and his "little grey cells." In fact, it seems to me that Goldblum/Nichols may be the closest thing American TV crime fiction has to the stylish British masters like Morris, Dalgliesh, and Inspector Barnaby. Well, that may be stretching things a bit, but it does give me great hopes for the future of LO:CI.