[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Criminal_Intent_7388.jpg]]

->''"In New York City's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the detectives of the Major Case Squad. These are their stories."'' '''''DONG DONG'''''

The second SpinOff from the popular ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' series, ''Criminal Intent'' shows the viewer what is happening from the criminal's perspective as well as the ongoing police investigation. Basically, what happens when ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' is brought into the ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' universe, complete with a quirky genius detective - Robert Goren (Creator/VincentDOnofrio), a twitchy, anti-social detective in the NYPD Major Case Squad who has a very sharp mind for piecing together details and lateral thinking. Together with dryly sardonic partner Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe), they investigate the most serious crimes that occur in New York (most of which seem to be murders or end up in murders), whilst the show also gives us the perspective of the people responsible for it (or at least people who are connected to the people responsible for it).

In 2005, Mike Logan (Creator/ChrisNoth) - formerly of the [[Series/LawAndOrder original series]] - joined the cast when D'Onofrio began to suffer from exhaustion. The episodes alternated between Goren and Eames one week, and Logan and his partner the other from that point. In 2009, Logan was replaced by Zach Nichols (Creator/JeffGoldblum), though Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) has stayed. In 2010, Goren and Eames left the show at the conclusion of the second half of season 9's two-part premiere. Eric Bogosian also left the show and was replaced as the Major Case captain by Creator/MaryElizabethMastrantonio. Nicholson's character, too, has left the show and was replaced by Saffron Burrows as new detective Serena Stevens.

The show was renewed for a tenth season that brought back D'Onofrio and Erbe for eight final episodes. ''Criminal Intent'' aired its finale on June 26, 2011, ending its run after ten years and 195 episodes.

!!Additional Pages:
* [[Recap/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent Episode Guide]]
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!!Provides examples of:
* AbusiveParents: An ''abundance'' of them, most of them seen to be something other than physically abusive and who usually end up being a KarmaHoudini:
** [[ManipulativeBastard Psychological abuse]]: "The Saint," "Shibboleth," "Magnificat."
** [[ParentalNeglect Neglect/Indifference]]: "Shrink-Wrapped," "Tru Love."
** [[WhyCouldntYouBeDifferent Verbal abuse]][=/=][[ParentalFavoritism Preferring one child over the other]]: "Beast," "Wrongful Life," "Unrequited", "Bedfellows," "Saving Face."
** [[ParentalIncest Sexual abuse]]: "Death Roe," "Playing Dead."
** Other: The father from "Homo Homini Lupis," who embezzled from his company and took money from a loan shark to pay it back... [[UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom which caused his family to be kidnapped for collateral and his elder daughter to be raped]]. He wasn't abusive per se (he clearly loved his family), but his actions proved him to be incredibly irresponsible at ''best''.
** The biological parents from "The Good Child," who killed their daughter's foster parents [[{{Greed}} to get their life insurance]] and then [[MoralEventHorizon tried to kill her as well so that they wouldn't have to raise her or have her inherit the money to live on.]]
** Goren’s older [[spoiler:half-]]brother, Frank, is implied [[GlorifiedSpermDonor to have little to nothing to do with either of his children]].
** Even if she was sick with schizophrenia, it was still implied Mrs. Goren was this to her younger son, namely psychologically abusive and neglectful, [[UngratefulBitch in spite of him being the one who cared for her in her final months.]]
* AccidentalMurder: "Albatross" had the set-up that the obnoxious lout of a husband arranged to be shot in a duel, only for his partner to be killed instead.
* AllForNothing: The killer from "Neighborhood Watch" killed the victim because he always wanted to know what it was like to kill someone, but ended up deeply regretting it, not because it was wrong to do, but because of what a hassle the aftermath of the murder was.
* AllThereInTheManual: Although some fans believe it to be of the AssPull variety, Kathryn Erbe revealed in an interview from ''2001'' that Eames [[spoiler: had a husband who was killed in the line of duty]] and even she believed that [[TemptingFate it would never be brought up in the series.]]
* AllWomenLoveShoes: From "Ex Stasis":
-->'''Eames:''' "No woman with a 40-slot shoe rack willingly walks around in a pair of crappy shoes."
* AlwaysMurder: Even though the real Major Case Squad does not handle murders. (At least not directly; it does handle bank robberies and kidnappings, both of which can certainly end in murder.)
* AmbiguousDisorder: Goren is all sorts of crazy, with multiple quirks and ticks, but avoids any specific disorder or symptom set.
* AmbiguouslyJewish: Captain Ross.
* AnachronisticClue: In "Trophy Wine", the counterfeit wine was an excellent forgery, but George Washington's initials had been machine etched, not hand etched, on to the bottles.
* AndAnotherThing
* AndIMustScream: Several times, there's someone who is in a dire medical situation to which there is no hope of recovering. "Phantom" (suspect strangled and left in a coma), "Conscience" (a woman suffers cardiac arrest and is left in a coma for several years), "Acts of Contrition" (a man viciously beaten by three thugs and left with permanent brain damage.)
* AndStarring: Creator/CourtneyBVance as ADA Carver.
* [[spoiler: AndTheAdventureContinues: How it all ends.]]
* AnimalAssassin: The VictimOfTheWeek in "Inhumane Society" is beaten up, drugged and dumped in a pen containing vicious attac dogs that maul him to death.
* AnywhereButTheirLips: In the season 9 opener, after [[spoiler: Goren is fired, he and Eames are saying goodbye as partners for the last time. They full-on embrace for the first time in the series, and Goren presses a rather intense kiss to her cheek for several seconds.]]
** May be [[JustifiedTrope justified.]] Despite his excellent skill at understanding homicidal maniacs, Goren is seemingly awkward in interpersonal relationships. Something as personal and intimate as kissing her on the lips would be difficult for him.
** It had all the intensity of a more obvious kiss, but without the non-shippers' outrage.
* ArmedBlag: "Astoria Helen" opens with a gang knocking over an armoured car that is delivering cash to [=ATMs=]. Major Case get involved months later, when one of the gang starts picking off his accomplices
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Used all the time to break perps.
* ArmorPiercingSlap: The main suspect in "Sound Bodies" did not appreciate being confronted by Goren with his criminal acts or his MissingMom, who ran out on him when he was a child.
* AssholeVictim: Subverted in "Contract," where the victim is a gossip columist who was blackmailing [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed a Bill O'Reilly-esque]] newsman when he was killed. After the credits, we learn that he only turned to blackmail to provide for his kid sister. [[spoiler:It eventually turns out that he was murdered for trying to expose the man who raped her.]]
** The manipulative hustler from "Collective" who caused the main victim to be accidentally killed by the police ended up being asphyxiated halfway through the episode.
* TheAtoner: A suspect from "Acts of Contrition", a nun who saves prostitutes from their pimps, is atoning for her youth for being a delinquent who slept around and hung out with racists.
* AutopsySnackTime: In "Lonelyville", Logan is eating a sandwich in the morgue while Dr. Rodgers explains the autopsy results. Rodgers takes the sandwich off him and dumps it in the garbage.
* AwfulWeddedLife: This was the relationship between the Police Commissioner and his wife in "The War at Home". Sadly, they were so distracted by their marital woes that they weren't there for their daughter, who went missing.
* TheBabyTrap: Both the killer and her sister in ''Dollhouse''.
** The wife in "Ill-Bred", whose husband was having an affair with his wealthy boss's wife, had set him up to get her pregnant by unknowingly poking holes in his condoms so they could blackmail her over the child's paternity so they could own their own horse ranch.
* BadassAdorable: Eames is five-foot-two, adorable, and blonde. And she is just as terrifying as Goren when she gets going, if not ''more'' so.
* BalletEpisode: In "Delicate", Nichols and Stevens investigate a murdered ballerina, whose killer may be a member of her elite school community.
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie: What allowed Jojo Rios, the main suspect in "Legion", to manipulate his young followers into doing his bidding: he told them that he was the lone survivor of a group of people sailing for America on a tiny, ramshackle boat from Cuba. In reality, he came to the country after [[spoiler: he had aged out of foster care, where he had been placed years earlier after his father went to prison.]]
* BatterUp: The VictimOfTheWeek in "Love on Ice" is a washed-up ball player who gets whacked over the skull with one of his lucky bats.
* BeardOfSorrow: Goren began to sport a few throughout season seven, as a symbol of his growing despair and decreasing sanity at the time. Interestingly, past that season while he still did wear beards, they took on [[BadassBeard a completely different meaning.]]
* BeastlyBloodsports: The career of a promising young boxer is derailed when authorities discover he's at the center of a dog fighting ring in "Inhumane Society".
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: The one suspect from "Depths" was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed bombshell that was able to use her looks into misleading the investigation into thinking that her ex-husband and Middle Eastern colleagues were the real criminals.
* BecauseImGoodAtIt: From "Rock Star":
-->Zach Nichols: "I like it, and I'm good at it... and that kid's a killer."
* BestFriendManual: Eames for Goren.
* BerserkButton:
** Never, ever, ''ever'' threaten or harm Eames. Goren will hunt you to the ends of the earth.
** Word of advice: Do not mess with Goren's mother or he will rip your head off.
** Don't disrespect your own mother in Goren's presence, either.
** And though it's not seen nearly as often, hurting Goren where Eames can get so much as a whiff of it is ''not'' a safe place to stand.
* BigNo:
** Done by Goren while interrogating Nicole Wallace and trying to get her to admit the truth about her past and her involvement in a recent murder.
** Logan also had one in "To The Bone" after learning that someone he thought was a thug pulling a gun on him and had shot in self-defense [[spoiler: was an undercover cop, who later died.]]
* BigScrewedUpFamily: Goren is probably the sanest member of his family. That should tell you a lot.
* BitchAlert: The daughter-in-law from "Proud Flesh", while at her sister-in-law's birthday party, wears a very unconvincing smile and "compliments" her on the "Moo-Goo-Gai-ese" she speaks at the age of three (the young girl is from the second marriage of the father to a younger Chinese woman, and for further posterity, the girl is turning four.)
* {{Blackface}}: Attempted but ultimately averted in "Gemini". While the suspect [[spoiler:would have framed his mentally ill brother as both a White supremacist and a killer, he would fly off to the Carribbean and disguise himself as such using food coloring and cold cream.]]
* BlackGalOnWhiteGuyDrama: Inverted in "Mad Hops", as the White coach had romantic feelings for his one player's Black mother, only for her to reject him and want only for her son's future.
* {{Blackmail}}: The driving force behind the actions of the killer of "Tuxedo Hill".
* BodyInABreadbox: The victim in "Semi-Detached", a controversial shock jock host who suffered from depression, ended up committing suicide via overdose and his body was found in a steam closet on a ferry.
* TheBoxingEpisode: "Ten Count."
* BrainsAndBrawn: Funnily enough, ''Eames'' is the muscle in her partnership with Goren. She's no slouch in the intellect department - she's shown to be much more computer-savvy than her partner - but she's physically very tough despite her size.
** Though it must be said that Goren himself, being both a police officer ''and'' a former military man, has proven to be more than capable of handling himself in a fight.
* BreakThemByTalking: A favorite tactic of Goren's is to either play psychological mind games or confront the perp of the week with evidence of what a truly pathetic and inadequate person they really are until they crack.
* BritishBrevity: The eight-episode tenth season is highly unusual by American TV standards, but greatly resembles the seasonal offerings of shows created across the pond.
* BrokenBird: Alex's husband was a cop killed in the line of duty.
* BrokenPedestal: What Goren eventually comes to think of his mentor, Declan Gage, and with ''damn'' good reason: [[spoiler: not only did his cold, unloving behavior towards his daughter, Jo, and early exposure to his violent casefiles turn her into a SerialKiller who kidnapped and tried to kill Eames, but also he himself murdered both his brother, Frank, and Nicole Wallace in an effort to "improve" his life.]]
** The son from "Shibboleth" idolized his biological father who abandoned him and always wanted a relationship with him in spite of the man having no redeeming qualities, to the point that he [[spoiler: almost went down for several of the father's murders.]]
** Wheeler has a slight one in "Blasters" after viewing that one of the actors of a show she liked in her youth was a JadedWashout who was stonewalling their investigation. She even said to Ross at one point "I can't believe that I used to have a crush on this guy."
* BrooklynRage: Usually downplayed with Goren, but he'll sometimes adopt an exaggerated Brooklyn accent if he thinks it'll help with his PerpSweating.
* ButNotTooBlack: Discussed in "Self-Made" when the detectives were interviewing a witness about the murder of an up and coming young Black author. The witness commented how the young man she was seeing was "more Black" than she was, which allowed [[DeadpanSnarker Goren]] to ask her, "Black? You mean obsidian?", to which she meant that he was more "hood" than she was.
* CarCushion: In "Boots on the Ground", the VictimOfTheWeek is thrown off the roof of a building and lands on a cab that has stopped underneath.
* CarFu: The victim from "Graansha" is killed this way, having been ran down by [[spoiler: her own brother due to allowing outsiders to learn about the world of their exclusive Irish sect.]]
* CarpetRolledCorpse: In "Three-In-One", the kidnapper cum killer is a painter who carries the bodies of his victims out of building wrapped in a drop cloth.
* TheCastShowOff: In "Rock Star," Jeff Goldblum's first episode, he has a scene where he gets to demonstrate his skill as a pianist.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Goren was initially seen as a brilliant detective with the ability to read people, comprehend situations better than most, solve the case and maintain his high clearance rate and [[{{Omniglot}} spoke several languages.]] After the first season, however, in order to curb down his [[MartyStu apparent invincibility,]] he was given a troubled past including a schizophrenic mother and declining social skills. He still had his former characteristics, but the latter ones [[{{Flanderization}} overtook his persona.]]
* CharacterNameAlias: In "Identity Crisis", a ConMan turned murderer leaves behind a wallet on the body containing a social security card in the name of Victor Lustig: the con man famous for selling the Eiffel Tower.
* ChekhovsGun: Actually, Chekhov's brick in "Untethered", as part of [[spoiler:Goren's plan to get into Tates]].
* ChildrenAreInnocent: Subverted in "Grow". After the drug-related death of her Uncle, the little girl told the detectives that he basically was weak and died trying to dull the pain of life. Turns out, she was only regurgitating something [[spoiler: Nicole Wallace, who was dating her father and attempting to ''protect her from them'', who were trying to deliberately poison her to get her life insurance money]] said to her.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Carver and Barek both left the series after season 5 without explanation, and each were mentioned exactly once afterwards.
* ChurchOfHappyology: The villain of "Con-Text" runs one of these, which he calls [=GraceNote=].
* ClearMyName: The season 7 finale has Det. Goren being framed for the murder of his brother by [[spoiler:his ArchEnemy Nicole Wallace and mentor Declan Gage]].
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}:
** Goren's mannerisms really give this impression (especially when he tilts his head).
** Nichols is Jeff Goldblum doing his Jeff Goldblum thing, so he counts too.
* CoattailRidingRelative:
** A suspect from "The Pardoner's Tale" was this to his sister, a high-ranking city official. Goren even compares him to Roger Clinton and Billy Carter.
** A non-relative version happens in "The Unblinking Eye", with the one friend, an aspiring actor, riding his more talented friend's coattails. He even went to deliberately sabotage an audition he had to appear in a major motion film by getting himself sick with ipecac poisoning the night before.
* CoffinContraband: In "Love on Ice", the killer disposes of the murder weapon by placing it in the coffin of the VictimOfTheWeek.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Plenty of the SerialKiller episodes qualify as well as some basic, non-multiple killings. A memorable episode (and by "memorable", it's meant to be [[NightmareFuel "horrifying"]]) was "Blind Spot" where [[spoiler: Eames]] was kidnapped and listened as the killer brutally tortured and murdered their victim. More disturbingly, the killer was [[spoiler: a ''woman''.]]
* ColdOpening
* ComatoseCanary: [[spoiler:Subverted]] in the episode based on the Terry Schiavo case.
* ComplexityAddiction: Several of the perps seem to suffer from this. For example, in the episode "Grow," a killer sets up a fake mugging to murder his brother, but kills him with an injection of poison under his tongue (to fake a heart attack), rather than just shooting or stabbing him like a mugger would do.
** It's revealed, however, that the killer was really the significant other of the victim's brother [[spoiler: and Goren's ArchEnemy, Nicole Wallace]].
* ContinuitySnarl: This was a common complaint of the later seasons given the GenreShift and rotating characters/blurry character motivations, but a prime example would be the season 8 episode "All In." To follow, it was an ostensible continuation of the season 5 episode "Cruise To Nowhere," but unless the slight similarities were pointed out, most fans missed the connection. This was because the character's name was unnecessarily changed from Joey Frost to Josh Snow; additionally, characters, plot lines and personality between both episodes were either left murky or forgotten all together (like Joey/Josh becoming more methodical and aware instead of just street smart with little to no skills at being an adult and no mention of the mother from before), and the character went from being in his early 20s initially [[DawsonCasting to being in his late 20s to early 30s in the later episode.]]
* ConvictedByPublicOpinion: Dr. Peter Kelmer in "The Good Doctor". The manipulative tactics of the police and badmouthing of his wife's family led in the public turning against him, forcing him to take the stand in his own defense and being convicted almost solely because he wasn't the nicest of people.
* CopKiller: Occasionally dealt with. In particular, Alex's first husband was a police officer killed in the line of duty.
** The couple from "Stray" who murdered two undercover cops also killed around seven other people.
* CouldntFindAPen: In "Three-In-One", the killer, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, paints on the wall in his victims' blood, and one of his personalities writes messages asking for help.
* CourtroomAntics: Strongly averted, as the series rarely focused on this aspect and Carver himself was more so into seeking confessions and plea bargains versus taking defendants to trial.
* CreepySouvenir: The one suspect from "Semi-Detached" was able to give her ex a keychain with his initials. What was believed to be "shiny black thread" was in actuality [[spoiler: the hair of his favorite DJ, who she had killed because he censored his calls and took his hair when he,was a patient at the hospital that she worked at.]]
* CrimeTimeSoap: Though perhaps not as much as ''Special Victims Unit'', although many would agree that it became this since Rene Balcer left after season 5.
* CrocodileTears: Lampshaded in "The Unblinking Eye", by a suspect who held a press conference to show the world that he was "grieving" his slain fiancée.
-->'''Eames''': There's nothing like watching a crocodile cry.
* CrossOver: With the original series, three times in the first season.
** One episode had a brief cameo by the lead character from ''Series/InPlainSight''. Strangely enough, a criminal later taunts that said character's expectation that he'll break down and confess was a product of her having watched too much ''CSI''. Such confessions are more or less ''Criminal Intent'''s trademark.
* CrazyPeoplePlayChess: The villain in the season 4 episode "Gone" was this.
* CripplingTheCompetition: In "Delicate", a shard of broken glass is inserted into a ballerina's shoe that causes a lingering injury that threatens to derail her career.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: "The Healer" (two women asphyxiated in plastic, life-sized cocoons), "Faith" (man set on fire with the accelerant being ''nail polish remover''), "The View From Here" (man attacked with a circular saw), "Shibboleth" (women are hog-tied and if they attempt to free themselves or leave their intricate position, they strangle themselves), "Blasters" (a man is systematically hanged by a group of mafiosos and then left to rot in a park), "Beast" (the victims poisoned with dioxin, which is difficult to come by and make), "Great Barrier" (a suspect has their trachea crushed then drowned), "Scared Crazy" (a victim crushed by a ''falling vending machine''), amongst others.
* CycleOfRevenge: This is basically what drove the killer in "Acts of Contrition". His brother was brutally beaten in a racially-motivated attack that left him [[FateWorseThanDeath with permanent brain damage]] several years earlier and he went to go kill one of the people responsible, only to find the elder nun instead and kill her since she refused to tell him her whereabouts.
* DaChief: Captain Ross is rather obviously outclassed by Goren, though he isn't shy to call Goren out on more blatant shenanigans.
* DamselOutOfDistress: [[spoiler: Eames]] escapes the ordeal in "Blind Spot" on [[spoiler: her]] own.
* DarkSecret: In "Monster", not only was the parolee [[spoiler: responsible for the recent death of his mother, but a cop who had investigated a rape case that some others were serving time for had been involved in a frame job of the boys for the crime that the parolee had done.]]
** The funeral home in "Dead" had one: [[spoiler: they would charge grieving families for the services, only to oversell them for fake ashes and hide the bodies on their grounds.]]
** "A Murderer Among Us" began with a woman committing suicide in an elaborate way which leads detectives to discover [[spoiler: that her husband was a serial killer of Jewish men in the same way she died; she did it to get him arrested for the murders and to protect their daughter from him.]]
* DeadHatShot: In "Contract", a gossip columnist is killed by an explosive charge planted in the headrest of his car seat. After the explosion, there is a close-up of his bloodstained fedora lying in the street next to his car.
* DeadpanSnarker: Detective Eames is made of this trope.
** Goren has his moments.
** And Wheeler gets her moments as well.
-->'''Detective Nichols''': "How's the, uh...how's the body?"
-->'''Detective Wheeler''': "Dead."
* DeathByFallingOver: One of [[VictimOfTheWeek Victims of the Week]] in in "To the Boy in the Blue Knit Cap" dies after he hits his head on a pinball machine during a fight with his brother.
* DeathByDespair: Discussed by the missing little girl's great-Aunt in "Folie a Deux". She said that the little girl was the only thing keeping her alive and she knew that she was dead [[spoiler: and that her nephew and his wife had killed her.]]
* DeerInTheHeadlights: Lorelai Mailer in the episode "Bombshell."
* DefectiveDetective: Goren, although Logan has his issues as well, which the former is more noticeable since creator Rene Balcer left.
* DeniedFoodAsPunishment: After going into solitary confinement in "Untethered", Goren is denied water by the guards for three days.
* DepravedBisexual: Nicole Wallace. To be fair to the show, her bisexuality isn't actually portrayed as a negative, and they make it clear [[AntiVillain she's just plain messed up, period]]. Also, it appears [[ManipulativeBastard her only confirmed lesbian relationship may have been simply a means to an end]] rather than due to any actual desire.
** Karl Atwood, the bad guy in the very first episode ("One"), had a girlfriend and an old prison buddy with whom he was intimate. Goren theorizes that he uses anal sex as a means of dominating others, but the girlfriend refuses to comment.
* DetectiveDrama
* DetectiveMole: In "Broad Channel", Nichols and Stevens investigate the murder of a DirtyCop in an isolated island community. They are forced to work alongside a detective from the DirtyCop's home precinct. This detective turns out to be a DirtyCop himself and the one who orchestrated the murder.
* {{Determinator}}: "Consumed" is about two married Determinators going head-to-head during their divorce. The husband has hidden fifteen million dollars in an offshore account. In order to avoid giving any of it to his wife, he spends ''six years'' in jail for contempt of court, which Goren says is a record for New York. The wife, meanwhile, has a secret life as a private investigator trying to track down the money. Goren and Eames find a storage unit (which Goren calls her "Batcave") filled with disguises, photography equipment, and even ''adult diapers'' that she uses on stakeouts because she can't risk missing anything. The detectives are stunned at the lengths to which these two will go to get the better of the other. (And it turns out [[spoiler:the wife, by committing the murders that open the episode, had gotten access to the money, but she burns the notebook with the bank account numbers because she doesn't care about the money; beating her husband was all that mattered anymore]].)
** In "The Saint", Stephen Colbert plays James Bennett, a man [[spoiler:who spent ''thirty years'' setting up the religious group that "took advantage" of his mentally unwell mother. He's smart enough to fool historical experts, and could've succeeded in pretty much any intellectual field. Goren says that if the foundation hadn't screwed over Bennett's mother, he would not have been so determined, which he seems to accept.]]
* DeusAngstMachina: Goren qualifies, if anyone does. Let's see... his schizophrenic mother hates him, even though he's the only one who takes care of her; his drug-addicted brother gets all the love from their mother; his father - who treated him like shit anyway - turns out not to be his real father; and his biological father turns out to be a murderer, who then gets executed, which on the show NEVER HAPPENS. He gets persecuted by the FBI, ends up in a mental hospital, and gets (temporarily) fired, not to mention his health and good looks go to shit, too. This is only a partial list of all the shit that goes down. If anyone can be accused of provoking the wrath of the writer-deities, this character would be definitely be it. The unrelenting, unceasing suffering that occurs was enough to make many fans stop watching the show, out of sheer disgust. Quite literally, Goren's relationship with his partner (however you choose to interpret it) is the ''only'' thing he has going for him -- no wonder she's his BerserkButton! If anyone earned a happy ending they never got, it's Goren. ShootTheShaggyDog, already.
** Even his relationship with Eames was messed with. When Goren goes undercover in season 7 (without her knowing beforehand), Eames almost shoots him in the face when the police raid the apartment. The resulting shouting match puts a strain on their partnership for a long time, though they eventually recover.
* DidYouActuallyBelieve: Used in "Eosphoros" when the lone survivor of a killing spree confronted the killer who used her for grandmother's money and said he'd never be with her because she was obese.
* DiesWideOpen: The [[AssholeVictim victims]] from "Con-Text" were found to be this. Naturally, Goren, while investigating their murders, [[{{Squick}} began to poke at their open eyes]]...which ended up being a clue to how and when they died.
** [[spoiler: Frank Goren]] also died this way after being shoved out a window.
* DigitalPiracyIsEvil: This is what got the victim in "Blasters" killed. [[spoiler:He sold bootleg [=DVDs=] of not yet released movies, which horned in on a similar racket that a foreign mafia was working on, resulting in his murder.]]
* DirtyCop: Aplenty: "Badge" (an NYPD school security officer), "Monster", "Untethered" "Purgatory" and "Broad Channel" have their fair share.
* DirtyHarriet: Detective Stevens poses as a HighClassCallGirl in order to get an interview with the madam of an exclusive escort service in "Gods and Insects". The squad room breaks into applause when she returns still in her outfit.
* DisabilityAsAnExcuseForJerkassery: Most of the deaf people in "Silencer." Not only did they consider themselves superior to hearing people, but one man, considered a "hero" by his deaf students, was nothing more than a bitter, antagonistic asshole who hated when one of "his" people associated with those who could hear.
* DistaffCounterpart: Carolyn Barek was a female version of Goren.
* DonutMessWithACop: Terrorists wire a car door to high explosives with a box of donuts in clear view inside the car. Nichols breaks the glass, confirms his suspicions, and tells a cop on-scene to call the bomb squad.
* DownerEnding: Plenty of times, but "Untethered" is a prime example. [[spoiler:After going undercover without authorization to rescue his nephew, Donny, from a corrupt prison after being manipulated into doing it by Frank, Goren not only almost starves himself to death by the guards, but ends up being suspended from the force and gets Eames and Ross in trouble in the aftermath. Then after learning that Donny managed to escape from prison himself by faking a burst appendix, Goren angrily confronts his brother, [[{{Jerkass}} who not only couldn't care less about his brother's suspension or his missing son, but also suggests that he should sleep with Eames to get out his aggressions.]] And to top it off, [[AllForNothing he never did locate his nephew.]]]]
* DracoInLeatherPants: Several in-universe examples in "Seizure."
-->'''Eames''': Serial killer groupies... And I thought I was pathetic with my Music/{{ABBA}} fan club card.
* DrivenToSuicide: Averted in "D.A.W.". As the suspect attempts to kill himself by slicing his throat with a ''steak knife'' in front of his wife and their guests at a dinner party after the detectives are about to arrest him, Goren wrestles it away from him, saying "You don't get off that easily."
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler: Captain Ross.]]
* DrugsAreBad: Seen a lot, but especially in the case of Frank Goren. Had he not been busy getting high, he would have noticed [[spoiler: Declan Gage and Nicole Wallace stalking and then killing him by throwing him out a window.]]
* EducationPapa: The father from "Bright Boy" was this; he believed that his young son was a genius and pushed him to all ends to succeed at his studies, to the point that the boy attended an elite school for child prodigies, the boy ended up being suicidal (which Goren noticed and was able to save him) and that he killed a social worker who tried to protect the boy from him.
* ElectrifiedBathtub: In a flashback in "Identity Crisis", a young boy seemingly kills his abusive, schizophrenic mother by pushing an electric heater into her bath. [[spoiler:It was actually an accident, but he took responsibility for it]].
* EmptyCopThreat: Carried out. A killer Goren interviews [[spoiler:(who is later proven to have been his biological dad)]] is later executed. However, the execution takes place in Pennsylvania, where it was still legal.
* EngineeredPublicConfession: Often used to get one suspect to turn on another. Mostly accomplished by use of the one-way mirror in the interrogation room.
* EnhancedInterrogationTechniques: Quite the specialty of Goren when talking to suspects.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: One suspect from "Badge" may have [[spoiler: savagely murdered a family of four, including two children]], but she genuinely loved her daughters and elderly mother.
** "Dead" has a brutal contract SerialKiller who is [[spoiler:HappilyMarried and a loving father.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: [[spoiler:In "Delicate," bitchy ballerina Alona may have had a fierce rivalry with Jessalyn, but even she was disgusted with how [[CuteAndPsycho Paulette]] put glass in Jessalyn's shoes to give her (Alona) the edge.]]
** In "Frame," [[spoiler: Goren's old mentor Declan Gage commits a murder and sends Goren on a wild goose chase meant to "free" him of the negative people in his life. He is, however, appalled by Goren's suggestion that he might have killed Goren's newphew Danny and insists that he wouldn't have touched him even if he'd been able to find him]].
** In "Homo Homini Lupis", a LoanShark willingly turns over information to the detectives after he finds out the guy he hired to collect money owed to him [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil raped]] the daughter of the man who owed him money.
** Ella Miyazaki, Nicole Wallace's one-time girlfriend, from "Great Barrier" had no problem robbing jewelry stores disguised as different Asian ethnicities and [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness helping to dispose of her male accomplice]], but turned on Nicole once she learned that she [[spoiler:murdered her own toddler daughter years earlier because she viewed the girl as competition.]]
* EveryoneHasStandards: Even for all of Eames' cranked-up snarkiness in "Cruise To Nowhere" (where she even made quips about the victim over his body while at his autopsy), she was genuinely disgusted that the suspect's mother traded him in as a child to her slain husband's bookkeeping partner for a maid and $10,000. She even told her partner, "I wanted to smack that woman!"
* EvilFormerFriend: Deakins encounters one in "On Fire", which culminated in him [[spoiler: resigning from the force.]]
* EvilMatriarch: The mother from "To The Bone," who was also a ManipulativeBitch as well, to the point of [[spoiler: manipulating one of her sons to commit suicide at the end of the episode to prove his "loyalty" to her.]]
* ExecutiveMeddling: In-universe example in "Faith," in which an autobiography written by a LittlestCancerPatient had to be tightened up a bit by an editor for publication. [[spoiler:It's eventually revealed the editor did more to improve the story than even she realizes, which gives Goren the psychological tools he needs to manipulate her into confessing to the episode's murder.]]
* ExplosiveLeash: "Pas de Deux."
* ExternalCombustion: A variation happens in "Contract". The VictimOfTheWeek is killed by an explosive charge hidden in the headrest of his car seat; detonated when he activates the cigarette lighter.
* FairCop: Eames, all of Logan's partners, arguably, Stevens and Capt. Deakins.
* FalseFlagOperation
* FatalMethodActing: Happens InUniverse in "Icarus". The actor playing Icarus in a Broadway show has his flying rig sabotaged and he plunges to his death on stage as he is supposed to be soaring towards the sun.
* FatAndSkinny: The murderers from "Yesterday" by chance; one a skinny, self-made millionaire, the other a fat, aimless addict.
* FinallyFoundTheBody: "Yesterday" had the victim's remains discovered buried underneath a house after being missing for twenty years.
** [[spoiler: "Folie a Deux"]] had the victim's body found in a field months after they died and in even less time after the "disappearance" was reported.
* FingerInTheMail: Inverted/subverted in a season finale episode when Goren receives a human heart while investigating the death of his brother Frank and possible kidnapping of his nephew. Turns out [[spoiler: it actually belongs to serial killer Nicole Wallace, who had killed Frank and was subsequently killed by Goren's unhinged mentor, who wanted to remove himself, Nicole and Frank from Goren's life in one fell swoop]].
* {{Flanderization}}: Both Goren and Logan went through this is different ways. Whereas the former was initially seen as an intelligent and quirky detective who could read people who devolved into someone with an AmbiguousDisorder with inconsistent social skills the latter, who was seen as CowboyCop who lost his cool from time to time in the [[Series/LawAndOrder first series]], denigrated years and a division change later into a regular hothead and troublemaker.
* FlawExploitation: In "The Saint," this is the criminal's motivation. [[spoiler: He believes the church is taking advantage of his mentally ill mother, who insists on donating everything she can to their cause - to the point of completely cleaning out their bank account because she thinks the church needs the money more.]]
* FocusGroupEnding: A blatant and unashamed example in the episode "Great Barrier." Viewers were asked to vote on which would be the true ending on NBC's website. The losing non-canon ending had Goren shooting his nemesis Nicole Wallace.
* FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling: Two of the suspects from "Tomorrow": one sister was an angry BrokenBird with a criminal record and obvious mental instabilities and the other was a soft-spoken, gentle girl who was HappilyAdopted and working in a cushy job as a nanny.
** Robert and Frank Goren. The former is a brilliant detective who served in the armed services and still found time to care for his dying mother. The latter is a manipulative drug addict and absentee father.
* FormerChildStar: The victim and his friend in "Blasters" both starred in a teenage sitcom when they were younger. Neither live a particularly happy existence; the victim is living hand-to-mouth in a [[BadHumorTruck decommissioned ice cream truck]] and has done nothing of relevance in the years since. His friend himself has delusions of grandeur and is [[JadedWashout stuck living in the past.]]
* FreudianExcuse: The killer from "The Posthumous Collection" kills women and poses them in elaborate, grotesque poses as a revenge fantasy towards his abusive mother, grandmother and three older sisters.
* FriendlyLocalChinatown: "Chinoiserie."
* FromBadToWorse: [[spoiler:Goren's mentor kills nearly everyone he knows and loves because he thought Goren would have fun trying to find out who did it. It was also done so Goren would be "free" of the two biggest burdens in his life: his druggie brother Frank and Nicole Wallace.]]
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: During the questioning of a witness in "Suite Sorrow," Goren casually snaps a picture of himself and Eames. As they're leaving, he slips the picture into his pocket.
* {{Gaslighting}}: Done to Goren in "Frame", which Eames lampshades.
* GilliganCut: In the episode "Weeping Willow." "Who's going on camera?"
* GoldDigger: "Phantom" and "Wrongful Life" had two women who ended up being this. The former was a traditional social-climber who was so obsessed with status, she didn't realize the danger she put herself in. The latter married into a wealthy family, only for him to die and to be left with their two children, including a physically disabled one who she didn't want in the first place and she refused to take care of.
* GoMadFromTheIsolation: In the episode "Untethered," Goren experiences isolation while undercover. He's strapped to a metal table and deprived of food and water. However, it is unclear whether he truly broke or if some of it was part of his undercover persona.
* GoodAdulteryBadAdultery: The suspect and victim from "The Good Doctor" both had affairs in their marriage, but since he was portrayed as a {{Jerkass}} and abusive ([[InformedWrongness apparently]]), his cheating was much worse than hers was, in spite of her being an addict with mental health issues and she could have easily ran off on her husband.
* GoodCopBadCop: Goren and Eames ''love'' to play this, switching roles as needed. You can tell that Goren is winding up to be the bad cop when he adopts a [[BrooklynRage really exaggerated Brooklyn accent]]. Eames, meanwhile, is liable to take on a StrawFeminist persona.
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: Averted in "The Third Horseman". The killer's former girlfriend became pregnant by him but she ended the pregnancy although he wanted to be a father.
* {{Greed}}: The one suspect from "Eosphoros" [[spoiler: killed his cohorts in crime one by one]], just so the large amount of ransom money wouldn't have to be split up between them.
* GreenEyedMonster: Used as plot devices in "Delicate", "The Unblinking Eye" and "Dramma Giocoso".
* GuileHero: Arguably the entire premise of the show. The criminals are the most extraordinary collection of {{magnificent bastard}}s and [[TheChessmaster chessmasters]] you can imagine. But when Goren's on the case, they don't stand a chance.
* HandyCuffs: Used at least twice:
** A former military suspect asks to be cuffed in front out of respect for his family. He then grabs a gun off one of the officers and kills himself. This is immediately after attempting to kill himself and being stopped by the officers who arrested him. One wonders why they thought that was a good idea.
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] when the police handcuff a deaf man with his hands in front, since handcuffing him with his hands behind his back would be akin to gagging him.
* HasAType: The killer in "Jones" is attracted to small, petite women, namely because he himself is of average height and build. Naturally, he flirts with petite Eames, and tall, strapping Goren had fun interrogating him, even bragging about his own size-13 shoe size.
** Bernard Fremont from "Slither" has a thing for beautiful and fit younger blondes and if they weren't already blonde, he would arrange for her hair to be dyed as such.
* HeroicBSOD: Poor Goren suffered from this throughout season seven, eventually coming to a head in the season finale "Frame".
* HiddenWire: Subverted in "Legacy", where the suspect destroys what he thinks are a cord and a CD recording his confession, only to find that neither were the real thing.
** Horribly played straight in "Great Barrier", where [[spoiler: Nicole Wallace discovered Ella had one and brutally murdered her as a result.]]
* HideYourLesbians: "The Glory That Was..." was pulled from rotation after its original airing due to the ColdOpen featuring a scene with two women in bed together. Unfortunately, the episode is also missing from the season 8 [=DVD=] set.
* HighClassCallGirl: The VictimOfTheWeek in "Rispetto" is a young call girl who poses as a college student and advertises on a website headed 'Generous Gentlemen Only'. The detectives find $5000 in cash and a rack of high-end designer dresses in her apartment.
* HollywoodAtheist: A suspect in "Brother's Keeper" was seen as this. He had long since given up his faith in God and turned virulently against religion because [[CynicismCatalyst his son was born mentally disabled.]] [[spoiler: Turns out, he had killed the victim because she had told her televangelist husband about this and he used this as a platform to explain God's "ultimate plan".]]
* HollywoodGameDesign
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The killer from "Slither" is the one who taught Nicole Wallace about the art of succinylcholine poisoning. [[spoiler: At the end of the episode, [[LaserGuidedKarma she ends up poisoning him when it looks like he's going to get away scot-free for the murders he and his "family" committed.]]]]
* HotForStudent: The teacher in "Tru Love", who was having an affair with a teenage student of hers ''and'' his father.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: The 6'4" Goren is much, ''much'' taller and brawnier than the petite and slender Eames.
* IAteWhat: Downplayed in "The Unblinking Eye". While the detectives are speaking to a witness at a bar, Goren is eating a bowl of peanuts...only for the witness to admit that a young woman had stuck her hand in the bowl [[{{Squick}} while she had some sort of ointment on top of a burn.]][[note]]Which begs the question as to why she would leave the bowl out even after that?[[/note]] [[CrowningMomentOfFunny He responds to this by silently sliding the remaining peanuts in his hand back into the bowl.]]
* IGaveMyWord: "The Pardoner's Tale" has the detectives promising a woman not to bring charges to her husband, a crooked executive currently on the run, only for Carver to demand they break their deal. It's one of the few times in the series that Goren and Eames were angered by the antics of the prosecutor instead of vice versa.
* INeverSaidItWasPoison
* InsaneTrollLogic: The killer from "A Murderer Among Us" had this, believing that not only that his mother being "raped" by her Jewish boss when he was a kid had destroyed his family and caused his father to become abusive towards them [[note]]or he was told by the father she was raped, although in reality, they had a mutual affair[[/note]], but that her ovarian cancer was the boss' fault, too, due to the affair.
* InsufferableGenius: "Folie a Deux" (a successful author), "Inert Dwarf" (a college professor) and "The Good Doctor" (a plastic surgeon).
* InterchangeableAsianCultures: Invoked in "Great Barrier" as the [[spoiler: Chinese-American]] jewelry thief disguised [[spoiler:herself as a Japanese woman and a Singaporean woman to avoid detection.]] Goren picked up on the atypical mannerisms in the surveillance system an was able to discover the suspect's true identity.
* InTheBlood: Eames comes from a family of cops.
** More disturbingly, [[spoiler:Goren's real biological father turns out to have been a serial killer.]]
* IReadItForTheArticles: While investigating the murder of a magazine editor in "Traffic", Nichols comments that his father used to read it and remembers an article featuring Ursula Andress in a brassiere that fired bullets. When Stevens wryly asks "Your father read it?", he admits it was shared, then adds there was always a fight over the crossword.
* ItIsPronouncedTroPAY Ms. Nobile insists it is pronounced "no-bee-lay", not "no-beel". It's seldom pronounced right except to her face.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Many suspects, but "The Unblinking Eye" in particular has the suspect [[spoiler: kill his so-called fiancée because she was getting more acting gigs than he was, try to pin the blame on a "jealous" ex-girlfriend (on whom he cheated with the victim) and both sabotage his best friend's chance to be famous and manipulate him into doing the actual murder, all so he can be famous.]]
** The suspect from "Blink" is a professional gambler and thrill-seeker who constantly risks his own life to the point that it shocks his heartbroken wife into thinking that he could be killed any day ultimately decides that it would be best to get police protection from the dangerous people he has been involved with, not for his wife and their son, but for himself.
* ItsPersonal: The episode where they finally solved Joe Dutton's[[note]]Eames' husband[[/note]] murder.
* IWarnedYou: Subverted at the end of "Betrayed":
-->'''Goren''': Captain...?
-->'''Ross''': Not a word, detective. Not one word.
* JoggersFindDeath: Happens from time to time. A subversion happened in "Want"; a couple was out walking their dog, only for said dog to run off and find the victim's body.
* JurisdictionFriction: Goren, Nichols, and Eames vs. the FBI during the investigation of [[spoiler: Captain Ross' murder.]]
* JustInTime: Logan and Wheeler in "Blasters". They arrived within seconds of the second potential victim dying from being hanged. Still, Wheeler still had to perform CPR on him and he had [[BodyHorror a deep rope burn on his neck for the remainder of the episode.]]
* KarmaHoudini: Since one of the sons in "To The Bone" ended up [[spoiler: killing himself after being tricked into doing it by a criminal mastermind of an adopted mother, she ends up walking on at least eight different murders due to lack of evidence.]]
** Nicole Wallace. Repeatedly. And loving to brag about it to Goren. [[spoiler:The day her KarmaHoudiniWarranty ([[NeverFoundThebody apparently]]) expired would have been cheered more if not for the fact that Declan Cage (the guy who did it) was acting out of some really twisted version of "TheyWereHoldingYouBack" aimed towards Goren... and that this meant Frank also had to go.]]
* KillEmAll: "Jones" had a married suspect who was having ''multiple'' affairs with women from all walks of life (including a emergency room doctor and an exotic dancer) kill almost all of his girlfriends to keep his secrets from his wife. The only reason why there was even any survivors was because the detectives managed to find her and tip her off to what he was planning.
* KillItWithFire: "The Fire This Time", "Faith", "Cherry Red" and "Contract" had the victims all die from being set on fire.
* TheKillerBecomesTheKilled: In "Slither", [[spoiler: serial killer Bernard Fremont ends up killed at the end of the episode by Nicole Wallace, who used the same poisoning technique he taught her to kill him out of revenge.]] Oops.
* {{Kneecapping}}: The M.O. of the killer from "A Murderer Among Us"; he would use a metal bar to club the victims in the knee to bring them down, then strike them with enough force to either kill them instantly or [[TimeDelayedDeath within a few days.]]
* KnightsAndKnaves: Goren sets this puzzle for his psychiatrist in "The Consoler". His version has a disguised angel guarding the doorway to Heaven, and a disguised demon guarding the doorway to Hell. The Angel tells the truth and the demon lies.
* LastNameBasis: Goren and Eames. [[YouCalledMeXItMustBeSerious Usually.]]
** Actually, Eames calls her partner "Goren" and "Bobby" pretty much with the same frequency. He, on the other hand, almost ''never'' calls her Alex, to the point where it's noticeable on the rare occasion he does.
* LaterInstallmentWeirdness: A particularly prominent example. After the original showrunner, Rene Balcer, stepped down after season five, the series went from being [[UniquenessDecay "a series that showcases crimes from the criminals' perspectives and was solved by a brilliant detective that had the ability to read people"]] to something between a composite of ''Series/{{CSI}}'', ''[[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit SVU]]'' and your average PoliceProcedural.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In "Purgatory" during an argument with Goren, Eames screams at him, "No, you're the great detective and I'm just supposed to carry your water!" While some fans loved her for calling him out on this, others were thinking "Well duh, Eames! What else did you think your role on this show was supposed to be?"
* LighterAndSofter: As far as the ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' universe goes; while the crimes are no less shocking, it gives perspectives on who the criminals are and what makes them tick and why they resorted to the actions they did. Also, many a criminal end up with a VillainousBreakdown or tearful confession and true monsters are rare (but [[Monster/LawAndOrder still exist]]).
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Goren tells his season 10 therapist that this is his relationship with Eames. (The therapist doesn't seem convinced.)
** Vincent D'Onofrio has also stated that this is the real life relationship between himself and Kathryn Erbe.
* LittlestCancerPatient: In "Faith"... [[spoiler:except she's not actually real. (It's based on the story of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Godby_Johnson Anthony Godby Johnson]].)]]
* LipstickAndLoadMontage: In "Lady's Man", there is a scene showing the killer slowly putting lingerie and makeup. [[spoiler:It is actually a VillainousCrossdresser]].
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard: A serial killer binds and gags [[spoiler: Eames and locks her in a basement with an electronic door lock. She escapes using wire, nails, electricity, and a ''giant hook'' left laying around the place.]]
* LongTitle: The season seven episode, "Please Note We Are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger." In syndication, the episode is either simply titled as "Please Note..." or "Kissinger."
* MadArtist: The killer from "The Posthumous Collection."
* MafiaPrincess: In "Maledictus", the victim's book and testifying against her father sent him to prison for life on multiple murders.
* MalignedMixedMarriage: "Proud Flesh" has a wealthy, middle-aged white media mogul marry a younger Chinese woman and have a daughter with her. Everyone around her, from her stepchildren to their families to even ''the husband himself'' disapprove of the wife and their daughter.
* {{Manchild}}: One suspect from "Cruise To Nowhere" is this. Unfortunately, it's seen that he was ''intentionally'' kept this way; after his father was murdered as a child, his mother slipped into alcoholism and was paid to give him up to her bookie husband's partner, who trained him to be a talented bookie instead of properly raising him to be an adult.
* MandatoryMotherhood: Implied in "Silver Lining". The suspect's girlfriend becomes pregnant, but isn't too happy about it. Even as she's about to be sent to prison, she still will have access to maternity care, making her situation worse.
* ManBitesMan: A suspect ended up painfully biting Goren in the arm before he was taken out by a sniper.
** In "Revolution", a banker being kidnapped attempts to escape from the thug holding him at gunpoint by biting him on the arm. Although he makes the thug drop the gun, he still gets shot by one of the other kidnappers.
* ManipulativeBastard: The husband from "Magnificat". He ignored his wife's post-partum depression and refused to allow her to seek professional help or medication to the point of thinking that if she did, she would be weak and felt that the only "therapy" she required was being a good parent who was [[GoMadFromTheIsolation cut off from the rest of the world.]] After she [[spoiler: killed three of their four sons]], he still saw that as a sign that she was a bad parent. In the end, while he hadn't done anything illegal, he is likely to lose custody of his surviving son.
* ManipulativeBitch: The therapist from "Scared Crazy". She methodically drove a patient of hers crazy by forcing him to stay up all night in the dark while listening to techno music as a part of her medical studies, which led him to kill someone. After tricking her into thinking they were torturing him the same way she did interrogation, the detectives got her to confess and then arrested her for obstruction and accessory after the fact.
** The mother, Barb, from "Faith" who [[spoiler:created a false story about a terminally ill young girl to bilk millions of dollars out of unsuspecting people and to elicit sympathy. As a result of this, an innocent financial backer who doubted the girl's existence ends up being killed by a social worker.]] [[LaserGuidedKarma By the end of the episode, she and her husband are arrested for their role in the crime and they find out that they're not entitled to any of the money they finagled.]]
* ManOfWealthAndTaste: The murderer from "Slither," who is a well-read, well-dressed, well-off SilverFox British man who manipulates beautiful women half his age to kill.
* MarilynManeuver: Lorelai Mailer is briefly seen performing a MarilynManeuver in "Bombshell," complete with [[IconicOutfit the famous ballooning white dress]].
* MeaningfulName: Mr. Devildis, the insane fundamentalist Christian, crosses the DespairEventHorizon and tries to save his family and friends by murdering them. Hilariously, no one comments on his name.
* MedicationTampering: In "In Treatment", a psychiatrist gives one of his patients an antidepressant that he knows is contraindicated with the antidepressant he is currently taken. The combination causes a variety of side-effects, including delirium, which causes the patient to commit suicide.
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot: Doubled. Murder is hardly a minor crime, but the reasons behind it always end up being ''far'' more complicated than was hinted at in the opening sequence.
* MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome: Lampshaded. In one episode, the media doesn't become interested in a series of murders until a white girl is killed. The mother of one of the other victims coldly tells a journalist that she is aware of this trope, and she'll still accept their help, but they are not to mistake her desperation for any kind of gratitude.
* MistakenForPedophile: The victim in "Crazy" was set-up to look like one, leading to his death.
* MonochromeCasting: An unintentional example. After ADA Carver was [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse written out in 2006]], the remaining five years of the show became this, unlike the other series in the ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' universe (or at least, the English-speaking ones, and no, Creator/JeffGoldblum does not counter this trope).
* MonsterFangirl: From "Seizure":
-->Eames: "Serial killer groupies... And I thought I was pathetic with my ABBA fan club card."
* MoralityPet: We learn that Nicole Wallace actually had one in "Grow," in the form of a teenage girl named Gwen Chapel, the daughter of a man that she was seeing. [[spoiler: She was the one person with whom Nicole was in contact that she didn’t kill, try to kill, send to prison, or otherwise ruin. Instead, she allowed her to be sent off to live with relatives out of state to protect her from both herself and her murderous father.]]
* MoreThanMindControl: This is the M.O. of two different villains, Randall Fuller in "Con-Text" and Bernard Fremont in "Slither." (Scarily, both are at least [[RippedFromTheHeadlines partially based]] on real people.)
* MotiveRant: Inducing these are Goren's specialty.
** Averted on occasion, when he breaks a suspect who then confesses to a crime they haven't committed.
** [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] in one episode where the overbearing nature of her husband causes a woman to kill three of her four children in a failed mass-suicide attempt. Goren successfully causes the husband to break into a motive rant, but it ends up being all for naught, because although the husband is a world-class JerkAss, nothing that he did was technically illegal.
* MsFanservice: Both victims from "Beast" were very beautiful women both involved with the same man. Even a happily married friend of one of the victims, Lisa, said that she was a "level 10 stud magnet."
* MultipartEpisode: "Zoonotic"/"A Person of Interest", "In The Wee Small Hours", "Loyalty".
* TheMurderAfter: In "Lonelyville", a writer is blackmailed after waking up next to the body of one of of the two women who [[TheSchlubPubSeductionDeduction picked him up in a bar]].
* MurderDotCom: The episode "Weeping Willow," although here the crime is kidnapping, not murder.
* MustMakeAmends: The one suspect from "Depths" is an interesting example. He is married to a Black woman to atone for his ancestors being slave owners.
* MyBelovedSmother: This being ''Law and Order'', it's played every way imaginable. One example is "Shandeh," where the mother had her daughter-in-law murdered - both for knowing her secrets and because she feared that she would divorce her son for his cheating ways and have their children no longer practice Judaism.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: How the killer from "Identity Crisis" ended up feeling. [[spoiler: He had killed his younger brother, who had just been released from prison for killing their mother twenty years prior when they were children and him fearing that he would screw up his new life and have him sent to prison, since he was older and more culpable in her death. Turns out, the brother was reaching out to him because he missed him and he was terminally ill. Furthermore, the brother ''never'' wanted to implicate him in their mother's death.]] When Goren explained this to him, [[TearsOfRemorse it reduced him to tears.]]
* MyGreatestFailure: The killer in "Maledictus" had this: as a child, he [[SelfMadeOrphan accidentally killed his own pregnant mother]] by poisoning her, in the hope that she would just miscarry his younger half-sibling. He did this out of jealousy of the child and worry that he and his sister would be forgotten. In the show, he killed the victim out of fear that she would have revealed this in her new book.
* NeverFoundTheBody: [[spoiler: Nicole Wallace, though what is believed to be her heart is found. Interesting case, as Goren refuses to believe that she's dead despite proof.]]
** The bodies of the husband and his mistress from "Betrayed" are never located in part to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Captain Ross' personal feelings and interference with the investigation.]]
** The philandering wife from "The Good Doctor" was never found, in spite of a ploy by the police that she was at one point.
** The son-in-law from "Death Roe" is a subversion. [[spoiler:He was murdered and butchered by his father-in-law and had his remains disposed of through cooking utensils, including a meat grinder, which were then thrown away and replaced. All that remained were [[NotEnoughToBury some surgical screws from his leg.]]]]
* NeverLearnedToRead: One of the suspects from "Stray" had a variation: he was dyslexic.
* NeverMyFault: As seen in "Playing Dead" where the CorruptPolitician tries to blame his stepdaughter for "seducing" him (at the age of ''twelve'') into raping her [[spoiler:and impregnating her with her younger sister/daughter.]]
* NewYorkCityCops
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed:
** The episode "Collective" centers around the fandom of an author named Carlotta Francis, whose works are quite clearly inspired by those of Creator/AnneRice.
** TV reporter "Faith Yancy" bears a striking similarity to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Grace Nancy Grace]].
** Lorelei Mailer in "Bombshell" is Anna Nicole Smith in all but name (and in-universe is compared to Creator/MarilynMonroe, as Smith often was).
* NoEnding: ''Criminal Intent'' doesn't indulge in this as much as ''SVU'', but there are several episodes that end this way, one of the most notable being "Flipped." Logan and Wheeler get the perp, a cop killer, but he is [[spoiler: murdered by an undercover cop while the guards at Rikers turn the other way. The episode ends with the cop walking away.]]
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Logan, Wheeler and other police officers end up being involved in one with the FDNY in "Maltese Cross".
* ObfuscatingDisability: "Inert Dwarf" had a Stephen Hawking {{expy}} who still had more mobility than he let on.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Goren has a tendency to do this at times.
** Wheeler engaged in this during "Maltese Cross" to fool a retired cop involved in corruption.
* ObliviousJanitorCut: In "Major Case", the VictimOfTheWeek screams and pounds desperately on the window when she sees a man walking his dog pass by outside. A cut to the outside shows the man has ear buds in and is oblivious to the desperate screams and poundings, as the killer drags the girl away from the window and back into the darkness of the house.
* ObnoxiousInLaws: The mother-in-law from "Please Note We Are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger", natch. She was a UpperClassTwit RichBitch who hated her daughter-in-law, believing that she was never good enough for her son (who wouldn't stand up for his wife since he was a MamasBoy) and was a bad mother to their son. In fact, she was ''so'' controlling that she managed to manipulate the detectives into stopping their interview with her by throwing a fit so that she could go home and use the bathroom, claiming that she could only use it there. [[spoiler: Turns out, she was completely right about her son's wife, as she was so desperate to get the son into a highly-rated preschool, that she killed the parents of children who were higher up on a waiting list for admission at the school, even leaving one of the children an orphan.]]
* OddballInTheSeries: Initially, this series was more or less a [[DownplayedTrope downplayed version]] of such, as it was didn't follow the ''Law & Order'' tradition of being an ensemble show, focusing solely on Goren instead and was the only show that neither [[Series/LawAndOrder McCoy]] nor [[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit Munch]] ever made an appearance on or was even referenced. However around season six, this trope became more blatant, beginning with the loss of the "Order" part of the series (and with [[Creator/CourtneyBVance him]], the only regular cast member of color), the lack of the title cards as well as the accompanying [[MostWonderfulSound "DUN-DUN!"]] sound heard during them and [[{{Flanderization}} the changing personalities of the criminals, their motives and the members of the Major Case Squad themselves.]]
* OddFriendship: Milton Winters and Dempsey Powers in "Cuba Libre." An AmbiguouslyJewish clothing store magnate and a MalcolmXerox drug kingpin.
* OffingTheOffspring: Averted in "Phantom" and "Family Values"; the former had a man decide to kill his two children in [[PaterFamilicide murder-suicide]], only to be talked out of it by Goren [[spoiler: and for him to then discover that only ''two'' bullets were in the gun]] and the latter wanted to kill his daughter to "save her soul" only for Goren to convince him not to.
** A subversion occurred in "Badge", where it only looks like the father killed his family and himself to escape mounting debts. [[spoiler: Turns out, a crooked cop did it for money and attempted to frame him for the homicides.]]
** Played straight in "Great Barrier", where we learn [[spoiler: Nicole Wallace had killed her young daughter years earlier out of jealousy. It's one of the few times in the series where she was genuinely rattled by Goren, even quasi-meekly saying "Very good, Bobby" after he revealed that he knew of the girl's existence.]]
* OffWithHisHead: "Maledictus", "Slither" and "Neighborhood Watch".
* OnceForYesTwiceForNo: Subverted in "Conscience"; the detectives used this technique to question a patient in a permanent vegetative state about a recent murder, using cards titled "Yes" and "No" for her to look at. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, she wasn't really answering the questions that they posed; rather they used the ruse to get the ex-husband to confess to the murder, which he did.]]
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: In "Chinoiserie", Goren and Eames immediately identify a supposed British lord as a fake by his atrocious accent which keeps jumping around the UK. The outraged impostor, an actor unknowingly hired to play the role as part of a con, keeps insisting that it is "a perfectly valid British musical hall accent."
* OnePersonBirthdayParty: The daughter from "Shrink-Wrapped" had one as a child where no one, ''not even her own parents'', attended. She was so alone that a waiter at the restaurant had to take her picture as she blew out her birthday candles.
* OpeningNarration: As per usual on a ''Law & Order'' series.
* OppositesAttract: "The Last Street In Manhattan" had this between the victim, a high-powered egotistical investment banker and his girlfriend, a homegrown, working-class girl who was employed at her father's bar. They grew up in the same neighborhood and had fallen in love throughout the years, with her even giving him a replica of a watch he bought as a young boy from selling garden seeds door-to-door and had lost a short time later.
* OutlawCouple: In "Love Sick", Nichols and Stevens have to track down a boyfriend/girlfriend pair of serial killers.
** The young couple from "Stray" were a pair of "Bonnie and Clyde" style robbers who killed two undercover police officers.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Eames is without question the best detective not named Robert Goren that Major Case has, but she is frequently overshadowed by the supernova brilliance of her partner. Perhaps not surprisingly, she often uses this to her (and his) advantage.
* ThePlan[=/=]EvilPlan: Each criminal has one and it frames the episode's plot.
* ParentalFavoritism: "Beast" has a woman with two daughters, one being very pretty and talented, who got all the glory in life and is now worshiped by the mother years after her death; the other is rather plain, lived in her sister's shadow, and was and is constantly put down by their mother. This treatment led her to be involved with two murders years later, [[spoiler: [[CainAndAbel including that of her own sister.]]]]
** "Bedfellows" has an even more blatant example, where a mogul's two sons are murdered on separate occasions, he grieved only one of the sons (whom he also put on a pedestal while they were alive) and is now continuing the behavior with each of his ''grandsons''. Even when he cried out over his dead son, Goren had to remind him "You had two sons."
* PaedoHunt: Used in "Neighborhood Watch", where the victim ends up being labeled as such for being with a fifteen-year-old when he was nineteen (which was consensual, but the girl was convinced to bringing statutory rape charges against him). He spends a few years in prison, has to register as a sex offender only to then be harassed and vilified by his neighbors after getting out and then he is brutally murdered.
* ParentalSubstitute: Declan Gage was sort of like this to Goren, taking a shining to him as he mentored him. Too bad he [[spoiler: did this at the expense of his daughter, Jo, leading her to become a serial killer and he ended up killing his brother and Nicole Wallace to improve his life.]]
* PasswordSlotMachine: A burglar uses one to crack a hotel safe in "Folie à Deux".
* PlatonicLifePartners: Goren and Eames have a lot of the trope's defining characteristics.
* PlayingGertrude: Creator/TonyGoldwyn played Vincent D'Onofrio's older brother. Goldwyn is a year younger than D'Onofrio.
* PoisonIsEvil: Used in "Poison", obviously, but also used in "Smile", "Inert Dwarf", "30", "The Healer" and "Conscience", to name a few.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: The perpetrators from "Acts of Contrition" beat a black man for dating a white woman who used to date one of them. Also, the killer from "A Murderer Among Us" killed [[spoiler: Jewish men]] because his mother had an affair with one and, in his mind, it ruined his family.
* PrettyInMink: Some of the guest characters, including a witness being identified by her Russian sable coat.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: In "Boots on the Ground", the VictimOfTheWeek is an activist who been infiltrating two rival private contractors. This leaves plenty of suspects with military training.
* TheProfiler: Goren.
* PutOnABus: All of the detectives who have exited the series over the years.
** TheBusCameBack: Goren and Eames returned for the tenth and final season!
* PyrrhicVictory: [[spoiler:In "Loyalty," Ross's killer walks despite concrete proof against him, as the U.S. government needs him in order to catch a bunch of international {{Greater Scope Villain}}s. However, he now has to live in paranoid fear of himself being betrayed and murdered in the same fashion as his victims.]]
** Also in "Death Roe". The killer is arrested in the end, but at the same time [[spoiler:his daughter]] now has a tainted name and most likely will have the restaurant shut down by the Department of Health and can't find work elsewhere, is left an emotionally damaged [[spoiler:widow and he bursts out that no one will ever want her once the truth comes out.]]
* QuipToBlack: During the Rene Balcer-era of the show, either Goren, Eames or Carver would end the episode with one of these.
* QuizzicalTilt: Goren likes to tilt his entire upper body during interrogations, leaving his head nearly sideways. This is probably less to express confusion and more to unnerve the person being interrogated.
* RageAgainstTheReflection: In "Betrayed", a domineering husband learns that his TrophyWife has run away, and turns and punches her mirror; cutting his knuckles in the process.
* RageBreakingPoint: Goren hit it twice in season seven, first in "Untethered" after Frank tricked him into going undercover to help his nephew and risked his career and again after Dr. Rodgers told Ross about [[spoiler: his true paternity, angrily confronting him in her lab.]]
* RealNameAsAnAlias: In "Trophy Wine", a con man who has been living for years under the name 'Bing Cullen', rents an apartment under his original name Arnold Binder.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech:
** [[spoiler: [[SoreLoser Leslie Lezard]]]] lectures Goren about his self-destructive behavior ruining his and Eames' careers.
** Zigzagged by Nicole and Goren as they tear into each other over the years.
* RefugeInAudacity: The detectives have used this with getting suspects to confess. In "Conscience" they used flash cards from the [[spoiler:long-standing semi-comatose wife]] to trick the suspect into confessing and in "Legion", they used a picture of a [[spoiler:now-dead accomplice taken while he was in a coma and claiming that he had survived]] to get his boss to admit to his crimes.
* RequiredSpinoffCrossover: With the mothership of course, but unfortunately ''never'' with ''SVU'', at least while it was still in production. Eames eventually made appearances on the show by herself in recent years, however. [[FanonDiscontinuity Not that many fans of the Major Case Squad cared.]]
* {{Retool}}: Started out focused entirely on the exploits of Goren and Eames until Creator/VincentDOnofrio began suffering exhaustion. After this, the show was retooled with Mike Logan (Creator/ChrisNoth's character from the original ''L&O'') being added and alternating every other episode with Goren and Eames. Things then stayed this way, though with Noth being replaced by Creator/JeffGoldblum in season 8.
** This remained the formula until a WhamEpisode that [[spoiler: [[PutOnABus writes out]] [[TurnInYourBadge Goren]], [[UndyingLoyalty Eames]], and [[DroppedABridgeOnHim Captain Ross]] in one fell swoop,]] which caused the show to return to the original format but with Creator/JeffGoldblum in the lead role. However, Goldblum decided to also [[PutOnABus leave the show at the end of season 9]]. This in turn led to [[TheBusCameBack Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe both returning for the 10th and final season]], thus bringing the show full circle.
* ReverseWhodunnit: Each episode begins with the foul deed being done, and then goes back and forth between the perps' perspective(s) and the cops'.
** This is true of the early episodes, at any rate. As the series went on, more and more episodes would just be straight whodunnits.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: Subverted in "Weeping Willow"; Willow, unlike [[WebVideo/Lonelygirl15 Bree]], turns out to be an actual girl. [[spoiler:[[DoubleSubversion Double Subverted]] when it turns out the kidnapping was a fake that had simply spiraled out of control.]]
** One noteworthy episode ("Want") is based on Jeffrey Dahmer, and includes things like the killer being employed in a candy-related job, his longing for a permanent companion, cannibalism of body parts, boiling water being poured into holes drilled in the victim's head, and [[spoiler: the killer being murdered in prison while on work detail]]. Creator/NeilPatrickHarris even looks frighteningly similar to Dahmer in the episode.
** "Smothered" is based on the murder of [[http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/classics/dd_maternal_instinct_du_pont/1_index.html Pati Margello]].
** The killer from "Gone" is a murderous version of Bobby Fischer.
** In the episode "D.A.W.," the killer is an American version of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_shipman Dr. Harold Shipman]].
** The first character played by Jay O. Sanders was obviously based on famous mob hitman Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski.
** The last two episodes are based on ''[[Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark]]'' and the [[Website/{{Facebook}} Zuckerberg-Winkelvoss controversy]], respectively.
** The murderous group from "Slither" are based off the the Manson family. The episode even lampshades this.
** "The Good Doctor" is based off of Dr. Robert Birenbaum.
** The first season episode "Poison" is strongly inspired by the Stella Nickell case, commonly known as "the Tylenol murders."
** "The Saint" is based on Mark Hofmann, who sold forgeries to the Mormon church. Said forger is played by Creator/StephenColbert.
** "Happy Family" is based on the murder of Ted Ammon.
** "Baggage" is based on the still-unsolved 1992 murder of Susan "Su" Taraskiewicz.
** "Monster" is based on both the so-called "Preppie Murder" case of Robert Chambers which coincided with his release for manslaughter in 2003 [[note]]only to be sent back to prison for twenty more years on drug charges[[/note]] and the Central Park Jogger rape case.
** "Acts of Contrition" is based upon the racially-motivated Howard Beach, Queens beatings of the 1980s.
** "Magnificat" was inspired by the Andrea Yates case.
** "Bedfellows" was based on the murders of Robert and Andrew Kissel.
* RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: "Delicate," which is also an {{homage}} to ''Film/HeavenlyCreatures'' (itself based on a true story). The two girls' names begin with the same letters, and the nuttier of the two even has the PortmanteauCoupleName of Paulette (Pauline/Juliette).
* RuthlessModernPirates: In "Loyalty."
* SadisticChoice: Holy hell, "Able & Willing." [[spoiler: The one forcing the choice is ''the son of a Holocaust survivor'' whose own father and grandparents had to choose (father and grandfather survived), who's also a therapist.]]
* ScareChord: As if the episode "The Healer" wasn't scary enough, the soundtrack of the episode also featured a rather unsettling rattling noise heard throughout it.
* TheSchlubPubSeductionDeduction: In "Lonelyville", a writer is approached in a bar by two beautiful women who say that they have always had a fantasy about [[AThreesomeIsHot a threesome with a stranger]]. The next morning he wakes up in a TheMurderAfter situation: with one of the women dead and him being blackmailed.
* ScreamDiscretionShot: The victim from "Pravda". We hear her screaming as she's being murdered from behind her front door.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney [=/=][[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections Connections]][=/=][[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem I Make Them]]: Used by the suspect and his father in "In The Wee Small Hours", being able to continously impede the investigation because of these tropes. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, it comes out in spite of what total assholes they both are, it was the mother and wife who did the killing.]]
* SelfHarm: The daughter from "Playing Dead" cut and tried to kill herself on a routine basis. Considering [[ParentalIncest what she's been through]], you can't blame her from wanting to escape through this and drug usage.
* SelfMadeOrphan: "Maledictus" and "Suite Sorrow", though the former is subverted as it was a case of AccidentalMurder.
* SensualSlavs: Mira from "Blasters", a hired slut working with TheMafiya who had attracted the victim, his friend and her bosses, amongst others.
* SerialKiller: "A Murderer Among Us", "Stray", "Poison", "Legion", "Dead", "Shibboleth", "To The Bone", "Loyalty", "Probability", "In The Dark", "The Posthumous Collection", "Blind Spot", Nicole Wallace.
* SerialKillingsSpecificTarget: In "Poison," Trudy Pomeranski uses poisoned [=OTC=] painkillers to murder her husband, and slips the extras onto store shelves to allay suspicion and set up a lucrative class action lawsuit.
* SexyPriest: The dashing Monsignor Brady in "The Consoler". He is very popular with the female members of his flock. Goren and Eames also discover that he is noticeably lax regarding his vow of chastity, and that he preys upon vulnerable women. He is not, however, a murderer.
* SheIsNotMyGirlfriend: Goren's mother [[NotThatKindOfPartner doesn't understand that Eames is her son's partner]], and demands to meet his new girlfriend. (Goren's reaction is adorably bashful.)
** Goren's mother got the wrong impression from his brother Frank, who assumed partner means domestic partner; Bobby weakly tries to correct him, but it doesn't sink in for a while. He gets it eventually, but he still has his suspicions - see UnresolvedSexualTension, below.
* ShipTease: Man, Goren and Eames have a lot of fun posing as a married couple, don't they? There's also an episode where they pretend to be strangers, and he walks up as she's having her portrait drawn by the murder suspect and talks about how pretty she is. Her reaction seems like she's genuinely charmed by the compliment.
* ShootHimHeHasAWallet: Subverted in "Pas De Deux"; the suspect really ''did'' have a gun, but it was a starter's pistol. Had he not been clumsy and dropped it, the police would have followed through with this trope, [[SuicideByCop which is exactly what he wanted.]]
** Played straight with Logan in "To The Bone" where he shot a suspicious man who was reaching for his [[spoiler: ''badge'']]. They both had been set up by a suspect that was [[OffingTheOffspring related to the man.]] [[{{Understatement}} The eventual revelation of these events left Logan horrified.]]
* ShootOutTheLock: Done by [[spoiler: Eames]] in "Blind Spot" to escape being kidnapped.
* ShoutOut: The ending of "Neighborhood Watch" has a one-shot moment with Logan and Ross sitting in the office together and sharing drinks while mulling over the case they just solved. [[Series/LawAndOrder Sounds familiar?]]
* ShowerOfAngst: The VictimOfTheWeek takes one in "The Consoler" following a sexual encounter with a priest that has shattered her faith. She is murdered shortly after.
* ShutUpHannibal: Logan gets a great one in after the suspect in "The Healer", an alleged Voodoo priestess who is nothing more than a master manipulator and a poisoned who even poisoned him and [[WhatAnIdiot continued to make thinly-veiled threats against him upon being arrested]]:
-->'''Logan''': Yeah, well, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you go to jail. ''(mockingly waves bye to her)''
* SlashedThroat: The fate of the victims from "Legion".
* {{Sleepwalking}}
* SlutShaming: Discussed in "Masquerade", as the suspect, in his ransom note to the kidnapped and later murdered young girl, said that "We have your whore daughter", because she was a child actress who apparently dressed provocatively.
* SmallNameBigEgo: The killer from ''Unrequited'', who had starred in a play as a young girl and still had delusions of grandeur over fifty years later and manipulated her toady into killing her husband.
* SoreLoser: Plenty of examples, but the killer from "Smile" particularly stands out. Being motivated by greed and not having any remorse for poisoning the victims (who were not only ''children'', but were even called stupid as well - [[NeverMyFault "It was mouthwash; they should have known to spit it out!"]]) is bad enough. But after being arrested, [[spoiler: she]] blurts out about knowing the detectives' secrets and that because of Goren's issues, he'll never make Senior Detective and Eames will never make Lieutenant.
* SpeakIllOfTheDead: A witness from "Sound Bodies" said that the three boys who had drowned some months earlier deserved it, believing that ''they'' were the ones with no respect for the dead since they were taking a boat over to an island to hang out and drink at a cemetery on the island, even saying that they thought it would "be fun to cavort around with the dead". [[spoiler: Turns out, he had every right to be angry with them, [[RightForTheWrongReasons but not for the reasons he thought;]] while he just believed that they were some punk teenagers, they were in reality rapists who took advantage of their female classmates while drunk.]]
* SpinOff: From ''Series/LawAndOrder''.
* SpitefulSpit: Logan receives one after subduing a suspect in "To The Bone".
* StalkerShrine: The killer in "Delicate" has one devoted to the current subject of her obsession hidden in her dorm room.
* StraightGay[=/=]ManlyGay: Both the victim and the killer from "Maltese Cross."
* StrawConservative: The killer from "Family Values" is a religious man whose beliefs drive him to kill a lesbian drama teacher, and later to try to kill his daughter because she had a part in a school play where she had a less than wholesome outfit.
* {{Stripperific}}: {{Lampshaded}} in "Shandeh." Goren and Eames are talking with a suburban mother of two about her involvement with a strip club. She says she helped with the decor and with hiring the staff. Goren asks if she means the strippers, and guesses she has had some experience in that area. She just glares at him, but Eames points out that her (rather revealing) clothing doesn't really fit the "Westchester soccer mom" image she's trying to present.
* SuicideNotMurder: A horrifying case appears in "No Exit". Although four people were in the car parked on the train tracks, only '''three''' knew what was coming.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Logan's multiple partners. One was more or less a female version of Goren.
** There was also a period when Goren got a new partner who acted ''exactly'' like Eames.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Goren feels this way for the killer in "Want" [[spoiler: who not only murdered but also [[IAmAHumanitarian ate his victims' calf muscles.]] The fact that he both was truly horrified by his crimes and tearfully confessed to them, stating that he only wanted someone to love, resulted in him receiving a life sentence, to Eames and Carver's chagrin. Some time later, as the detectives, Carver and Deakins are all working on another case, Carver receives notice that he was killed by another inmate in prison. While the men express looks of disappointment and somewhat shock, Eames just quips that now everyone got what they wanted.]]
* SympatheticMurderer: All over the place. The episode, "See Me" was shaping up to be an aversion of this trope due to the suspect's [[{{Squick}} disgusting]] means of [[spoiler: "curing" his patients and the apparent lack of guilt he had for his actions. After it was discovered by the detectives that there was a reason for his methods: trying to dissipate their symptoms of schizophrenia, namely the delusions, which he was ultimately discovered to be suffering from himself,]] his SmugSnake persona quickly faded away and he sheepishly begged them to let him return to his work and played this trope straight. Both Goren ''and'' Eames, who usually has a more cynical view of suspects, felt sympathy for the man and he ended up [[spoiler: being sent to an institution. Goren is then seen talking on the phone with his mother.]]
* TalkingDownTheSuicidal: Heartbreakingly subverted in "Siren Call". [[spoiler: After Goren convinces a fellow officer not to kill himself out of shame due to killing his [[AssholeVictim manipulative party girl of a daughter]], he is cuffed and taken outside, only for him to shoot himself as he's being led away in front of his dying wife and their younger daughter.]]
* TakeThat: The "Blasters" episode does this towards ''Series/SavedByTheBell'' with the show that the victim starred in as an {{Expy}} called ''Goofin' Around'' and he being based off of Screech/Dustin Diamond and his costar/friend being a composite of Zack/Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Slater/Mario Lopez.
** "Albatross" was based off of Geraldine Ferraro, the politician who ran for Vice President in 1984 with Walter Mondale, and her husband, [[CoattailRidingRelative John Zaccaro.]]
* TeamDad: Captain Deakins.
* TeensAreMonsters: "Sound Bodies" and "Legacy".
* ThanksgivingEpisode: Downplayed in "The War at Home". It was mentioned once or twice that it took place during then, but it wasn't a focal point of the episode.
* ThatThingIsNotMyChild: The one suspect's mother from "Fico di Capo" deduced that her son was bad at birth and decided to give her son up for adoption. Why? ''[[DisproportionateRetribution Because he was born with teeth.]]''
* ThereAreNoTherapists
** And if there ''are'' therapists, watch out. One episode ''had'' two married therapists, but they used their job skills to emotionally abuse and manipulate each other.
** Finally averted in Season 10, with mandatory therapy sessions being a condition of Goren's reinstatement.
** Back in season 6, Eames also had to attend therapy sessions after [[spoiler: being kidnapped by Jo Gage.]]
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: The victim from "D.A.W." ends up being poisoned, hit by two cars, then ran over by a third car.
* TheyFightCrime: He's a quirky detective with an uncanny ability to read human behavior. She's a normal, well-adjusted human being. They fight crime.
* TheyWereHoldingYouBack: In a rather bizarre twist on this, [[spoiler: Declan Gage]] intends to get rid of ''himself'' for this reason, [[spoiler: along with Frank Goren and Nicole Wallace.]]
* ThousandYardStare: The mother [[spoiler:and killer]] from "Magnificat", a NervousWreck constantly browbeaten by her husband. Her sons noticed this too, to the point where they called it "zooming".
* TooDumbToLive: The perp in "Contract." [[spoiler:He assumes that Logan isn't lying about his willingness to drop his investigation for a bribe, brags about the details of his "amazing" plan to Logan, tries to claim his rape of the victim's sister was consensual (even though she was a minor), and makes repeated death threats against Logan when the police show up to arrest him, ruining what little chance he had to get acquitted.]]
* {{Transplant}}: Logan and Dr. Rodgers, from ''Series/LawAndOrder''.
* TrophyWife: As seen in "Cuba Libre" and "Enemy Within".
* TryingNotToCry: Eames barely manages to hold it together in court when a lawyer springs an unpleasant surprise on her, dredging up an old request for another partner. She's even closer to tears when she apologizes to Goren afterward.
* TurnInYourBadge: Goren gets hit with this several times, most notably when he goes undercover in a prison without permission.
* UndyingLoyalty: In the Season 9 opener, not only does Eames fight with Nichols about investigating Goren over the murders, but [[spoiler: she accepts the captain's post only long enough to ensure that she's the one who fires Goren (so she knows he will be treated well in the exit interview). Once he leaves, she resigns rather than stay without her beloved partner.]] The episode is even called "Loyalty," a reference both to the MCS detectives' loyalty to their captain and the partners' loyalty to each other.
* TheUnfavourite: Despite Bobby being the only one of her two sons who takes care of her and is always there for her, Frances Goren makes it clear that his brother Frank is the one she really loves. This causes a lot of issues for Goren. This might stem from [[spoiler: Bobby's true parentage. Mrs. Goren told him that "she just never knew for sure".]]
* UngratefulBastard: Goren's family in "Untethered" was very much this. Come "Frame", it appears that Donny's mother has shades of this as well.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Finally acknowledged in one episode by Goren's brother Frank, who irritably tells his brother to "take Eames to a motel and get it out of your system." Bobby's reaction is... [[BerserkButton not pretty]].
* UnusualEuphemism: The female accomplice in "Blasters" discussed having "showers" with most of the men in her life and even suggested having one with Logan, as well.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: The mother from "Happy Family". Had she not ranted about the divorce around their children and falsely claim that her soon-to-be ex-husband was going to send them back to their foreign orphanage after regaining custody of them and was trying to give them cancer through cell phones, the murder would not have happened.
* VillainousBreakdown: OnceAnEpisode. Inducing these is Goren's shtick.
* VomitingCop: A twist on the trope in this series; in one episode, Wheeler has been pregnant for a while and has been throwing up every day. The crime scene she visits is one of the less disturbing ones she's seen, but in her condition it's enough to bring her breakfast back up.
** Well, to be fair, she didn't get sick until she realized that the victim had been scrubbed inside and out with bleach. That's pretty disturbing.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: An explosive example (albeit shot from a distance away) from a realtor in "To the Bone."
* WaifFu: Eames is five feet two inches of pure badass. And ''she's'' the senior detective in her partnership with Goren.
* WallBangHer: The VictimOfTheWeek in "Delicate" has sex with her ballet teacher this way shortly before her murder.
* WatchingTheReflectionUndress:
** One killer is a voyeuristic doctor who strategically placed a stainless steel cabinet door in his office so he could watch his patients changing in the reflection.
** In "Major Case", a StalkerWithACrush rescues the VictimOfTheWeek from her abusive dealer. She asks to take a shower and he watches her reflection through the slightly ajar bathroom door as she undresses and gets in the shower.
* TheWatson: Eames seems to be an interface between Goren and the rest of the world, much as the TropeNamer is for his partner-in-crimesolving. Her main function is to help him interact with the rest of humanity, and to maneuver the suspect into a position where Goren can let loose with his Goren brilliance.
* WesternTerrorists: In "Revolution", Nichols and Eames have to find a former member of the Bader-Meinhof Gang who has decided to reignite his ideological struggle on the streets of New York.
* WhamEpisode: There were a few:
** "Anti-Thesis:" the first appearance of Nicole Wallace, the series' main villain.
** "Stress Position:" Mike Logan returns after ten years and thus begins the (indirect) cause of [[spoiler: Captain Deakins]] being forced to resign.
** "Untethered:" Goren goes undercover at the prison where his nephew is currently located without authorization, and while many felt he was beginning to show signs of SanitySlippage, this episode put it on full display. [[spoiler: He eventually was sent to mandatory visits to a psychiatrist.]]
** "Loyalty:" [[spoiler: Captain Ross is murdered and Goren and Eames resign from the force.]]
* WhamShot: Interestingly, this often happens in the middle of an episode, a scene that changes everything viewers thought they knew about the story.
** In "Phantom," Gerry Rankin (Michael Emerson) is shown as an economist working for the United Nations who's romancing Charlotte. She talks to him frantic about the detectives asking her about a recent murder. In his car, Gerry tells her that he's coming up to the airport and will talk to her later. He then pulls in to a suburban house where his wife and children greet him warmly from his business trip.
** In "Frame", Goren learns about a man who fell out of a high-story window and using his position to get near the body, he discovers that [[spoiler:it's his older brother, Frank. This is even more powerful because the ending of "Brother's Keeper" has him horrified at the notion of him being dead, only for the dead man seen at the end of that episode not to be him.]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: ADA Ron Carver left without explanation.
** Also, at the end of "Blasters" upon being arrested for his crimes, the mob boss tells Logan that he is now [[ImpliedDeathThreat in the blood]], yet nothing ever happened to him.
* WhatHaveWeEar: The fixer for a 'rockstar' fashion designer does this at the start of "Rispetto"; producing cocaine for his employer.
* WhatTheHellHero: For the entire ''unit''; a black drug dealer suspect points out that the crime they're investigating wouldn't be "high priority" if a white tourist hadn't gotten caught in the crossfire.
* WheresTheFunInThat: In the episode "The Unblinking Eye."
-->'''Detective Alexandra Eames:''' [while observing a suspect in the interrogation room] She could confess, but where's the fun in that?
* WhodunnitToMe: "30" has the victim trying to find out who poisoned him before his inevitable demise.
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: "Maltese Cross".
* WhosYourDaddy: "Tru Love" had a high school teacher become pregnant and it was undetermined if the child's father was either her teenaged student she was sleeping with or his ''father'' with whom she was also carrying on an affair. [[spoiler: She admits at the end of the episode to the boy that his father, who was killed at the beginning of the episode, was the father.]]
* WillTheyOrWontThey: The season 9 opener, where [[spoiler: Goren and Eames both left the show]], was left a bit open-ended in this regard, making this a case of NoRomanticResolution. It was definitely stated that they would see each other outside of the workplace, but the exact direction the relationship would take was not clarified. This was done so that those who [[DieForOurShip ship them]] can believe that they will, and those who don't want them together romantically can believe that they won't.
** Of course, then TheBusCameBack and proved that they did not become a couple.
*** And then season 10 (and the series) ended with an equally open-ended possibility of them eventually getting together. Eames later guest-starred on ''[[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit SVU]]'', where it was [[spoiler:implied that they weren't together, although she did take on some of Goren's personality traits (and the whole head-tilting thing he does)]].
* WomensMysteries: In "Cold Comfort", Eames informs Goren that the female murder victim found in a public bathroom would have hung her purse on the stall door. Goren eventually agrees with Eames, calling it "a girl thing."
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: [[spoiler: The show's very last perp.]]
* WorldOfHam: "The Unblinking Eye". Despite it revolving around a murdered aspiring actress and those in her life being aspiring actors trying to become famous, all of the would-be actors' talents ([[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement In-Universe!]]) range from [[InformedAbility unseen,]] [[{{Narm}} cheesy]], or, in the case of the murderer [[spoiler: and fiancé of the murder victim]], just plain ''[[BadBadActing terrible.]]''
* WrittenInAbsence: Both Eames and Wheeler had absences from the series due to their actresses' respective pregnancies.
* {{Yandere}}: The killer in "Semi-Detached" is obsessed with her former husband, to the point where she still cleans his house and makes his meals while maintaining a “friendship” with him. He even asks after her arrest, “Why couldn’t you just leave me alone?”
* YouCalledMeXItMustBeSerious: Eames occasionally addresses Goren as "Bobby," but he very rarely calls her "Alex." When he does, it gets her attention fast.
** Also worth mentioning that they call each other "Detective" when they're ''really'' miffed.
* YouGotMurder: In "The Saint" a social worker is killed by a lye bomb delivered in the mail.
* YouHaveFailedMe: One of Bernard Fremont's mooks from "Slither" ends up receiving this fate. His drink ends up being poisoned, which renders him completely paralyzed as he then strangled with a chain.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: The killer from "Eosphoros" killed his cohorts in the crime not only to cover his tracks, but so he wouldn't have to split the ransom money three ways.
** Also, after he uses him and his money to get her off from various murders, Nicole Wallace both divorces ''and'' tries to suffocate her husband, Gavin, in "Great Barrier" (by switching his full asthma inhaler with an empty one so that he would suffocate while stuck in an elevator... long story). He isn't the first one though, as many people, especially lovers, ended up dead after she got what she needed from them.
** [[spoiler: Nicole herself was given this treatment from Declan Gage after he set up her, Frank Goren and ''himself'' in an elaborate plan to be out of Goren's life.]]
** In "Revolution", the main villain strangles a henchmen he considers to have become a liability
* YourCheatingHeart: Many times have shown people of all walks of life to do this, but a notable example is from "Rocket Man" where the victim's boyfriend, a renowned astronaut, cheats on his loving wife with her ''and'' another woman. [[spoiler: Although the other girlfriend was the one who killed the girlfriend, it was the wife that machinated the murder of one by the other and for her to take the fall, all to get them out of her husband's life.]]
* YoureInsane: ''[[AvertedTrope Averted]]'' in the episode "Gemini", where the perp [[spoiler:manipulated his schizophrenic brother into murdering people]]. The final interrogation included this memorable exchange:
-->[[spoiler:'''Spencer Anderson''']]: "None of this is true. You said so yourself. He's crazy."
-->'''Detective Goren''': "Yeah, he may be crazy, but you're ''evil''."
* YouRemindMeOfX: When Eames is temporarily partnered with Nichols, she quickly finds herself in familiar territory.
--> '''Nichols''': It could be a native Spanish speaker or a German. Some language where the present perfect is the same as the simple past.
--> '''Eames''': You're starting to remind me of someone.
--> '''Ross''': This one's taller.
* YouWontFeelAThing: In the episode "Death Roe":
-->'''Beatrice Mailer''': This won't hurt a bit. [Holding her father's bleeding hand, she squeezes lemon juice onto an open knife cut as he silently flinches] [[ParentalIncest Remember the first time you said that to me?]]
* ZippingUpTheBodyBag: This happens to [[spoiler: Frank Goren]] in "Frame" soon after being discovered by Goren after he was shoved out of a window.
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