Law & Order: Criminal Intent: The Ninth Year
Season nine of consistent Dick Wolf franchise Law & Order: Criminal Intent gets off to a bang with a devastating story arc split into two episodes. At the center of an international weapons ring, Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) faces a sudden tragedy while working undercover for the FBI (while it's normally best not to give away major plot lines, the fact that Bogosian's mug isn't visible on the cover of the DVD case should be a dead giveaway). This season opener shows a yacht out on the Indian Ocean, complete with big guns, sexy ladies in bikinis and some impressive explosions. It almost feels like something straight out of CSI: Miami, but don't be fooled: after the detectives, played by Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and Jeff Goldblum, close the book on their slain Captain's death, the show attempts to dive back into familiar waters. Chiefly, the show attempted to re-establish and introduce new characters, since Julianne Nicholson left at the end of the eighth season and D'Onofrio left after the first two episodes of this season. Joining Goldblum in this set is Mike Figgis regular Saffron Burrows, who does very little to inject new life into the series. The same goes for the team's replacement Captain (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who proves to be a woefully inadequate replacement. Beyond all of the character shuffling with the cast, the writers took another step to screw with the show by doing away with the formulaic alternating two-team storylines, something which was unique to Criminal Intent. In season nine, they merged everyone together in each episode, having them work together, seemingly in an effort to resolve the issue of so many actors disappearing and reappearing at the drop of a hat. At the very least, fans of the show could find solace knowing Criminal Intent forged ahead with storylines, ranging from Irish mob bosses to a mysterious "vampire" murder, schizophrenic serial killers and the usual crimes involving New York senators. There's even a guest appearance from Ralph Macchio playing the role of a promising young boxer, proving the writers still had a knack for creativity. And like the previous Law & Order box sets, there are no special features.
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