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Detective Robert Goren
Portrayed by: Vincent D'OnofrioRobert Goren is a quirky, extraordinarily intelligent investigator and criminal profiler, known for his instinct and insight.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He seems to have trouble connecting with others, has a hard time accepting changes in routine (most notably displayed any time Eames is absent), gets obsessive about things easily, latches on to small details... a lot of signs for something on the autism spectrum.
- Badass Pacifist: Goren almost always manages to get a criminal arrested simply by getting them emotionally riled up to confess their crime(s) or having their accomplice and/or alibi do that.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Of the family members we see, Goren is the most normal and well-adjusted. That should tell you a lot.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He can come across this way, as illustrated by a lot of the details listed under Ambiguous Disorder.
- Creepy Good: His disturbing mannerisms really offset his legitimately noble intentions.
- Deadpan Snarker: His very dry sense of humour often provides some levity in serious situations.
- Defective Detective: During the series, Goren's history, coupled with his unorthodox style, became a source of trouble within the NYPD, spawning rumors and accusations that he was mentally unstable.
- Disappeared Dad: His father walked out on the family when he was unable to take his wife's mental illness any longer. His biological father, Mark Ford Brady, was briefly in his life when he was a child and was known to him as "Uncle Mark," but disappeared as well once things went sour with his mother.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible (a decorated cop with a good case close record) to his older brother, Frank's Foolsih (a drug addict with a gambling problem).
- Freudian Excuse: Practically every member of his family has a disorder of some kind.
- Genius Bruiser: His primary modus operandi is to break suspects with mental gymnastics but he's shown several times that he is a formidable fighter as well. Only Elliot Stabler is more likely than Goren to rough up a suspect.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The 6'4" Goren is best friends with the 5'2" Eames.
- Manchild: Until Sanity Slippage started to set in, at any rate.
- Papa Wolf: The whole reason the plot of "Untethered" kick-started was because his nephew, Donnie, revealed there being abuse in the mental ward he was staying in.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Eames; in his own words, they are Like Brother and Sister, not that this deters the shippers at all.
- Sanity Slippage: Starting around the end of Season Six, he starts getting every known misery in the universe piled on him. His mother dies. His partner is kidnapped. His nephew goes insane and then goes missing. His brother screws him over repeatedly, and just when they've reconciled, he turns up murdered. His mentor reveals himself to have been the one who murdered his brother, as well as his arch-enemy, as a way to "help" Goren be free. His captain is murdered. He gets fired from Major Case. Finally, in Season Ten, he starts seeing a therapist and there seems to be some hope that he can get a break from the world constantly being unkind to him.
- The Unfavorite: Despite being a highly decorated detective, Goren was always in the shadow of his dysfunctional older brother whom his mother always treated better. This is because Goren is the product of his mother's affair with a man who turned out to be a serial killer.
Detective Alexandra Eames
Portrayed by: Kathryn ErbeAlexandra Eames is the quiet, practical partner who generally seems to mesh well with Goren despite the noticeable personality differences between the two.
- Badass Adorable: Alexandra Eames is five-foot-two, adorable, and blonde. And she is just as terrifying as Goren when she gets going, if not more so.
- Best Friend Manual: To Robert Goren.
- Broken Bird: Her husband was a cop who was killed in the line of duty.
- The Cameo: Has made two guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with more possibly to come.
- Catchphrase: "No, see..." How she starts a sentence when she's about to demolish a suspect's lie with evidence. She not only says it at least once an episode, but says it more times than any other character in the L&O universe.
- Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: Probably the only person in the entire NYPD who can keep Goren from going off the rails.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The 5'2 Tiny Girl to Goren's 6'4 Huge Guy.
- It Runs in the Family: Comes from a family of cops.
- Living Emotional Crutch: If Eames isn't with Goren, he doesn't function properly. Perhaps best illustrated in the episode which ends with her giving birth; while ruminating on the motive of the killer, Goren looks at her empty desk and immediately understands what's in the guy's mind: "He misses his partner."
- Missing Mom: In ten seasons, Eames mentions her mother exactly once, to say that she was a stroke victim. In an episode where she and Goren visit Eames senior, her mother is neither seen nor mentioned.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Goren; in Goren's own words, they are Like Brother and Sister, not that this deters the shippers at all.
- Transplant: She has started making occasional guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
- Waif-Fu: Eames is five feet and two inches of pure badass. And she's the senior detective in her partnership with Goren.
- The Watson: To Goren. Much like the good doctor, she provides an interface between her partner and the rest of the world.
- Widow Woman: As noted above, her cop husband was killed in the line of duty some years prior to the start of the show. She's never remarried; one or two episodes mention that she dates, but in ten seasons there's no mention of a serious boyfriend.
- Written-In Absence: In Season 3, due to Kathryn Erbe's pregnancy; Eames was said to be acting as a surrogate for her sister.
Portrayed by: Olivia d'AboRobert Goren's Archenemy and Worthy Opponent.
- Affably Evil: A villain yes, but she's a polite one.
- Big Bad: The closest thing the show has to this.
- The Chessmaster: A criminal mastermind, she is one of the few people Goren encounters throughout the series who can get the better of him, particularly by confronting him about his unhappy childhood.
- Dark and Troubled Past: According to Goren, her father sexually abused her in her childhood.
- Deadpan Snarker: As part of her being Goren's Evil Counterpart.
- Depraved Bisexual: Downplayed. She's bisexual and a villain, but her villainy is not correlated to her sexuality.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Gwen Chapel, the cancer-ridden daughter of her ex-fiancé, is about the only person for whom she shows any genuine affection, and in "Frame" it's implied that Gwen's cancer worsening is what has driven Nicole to kill again.
- She also claims that Goren is the only man she's ever loved, although the sincerity of this claim is questionable.
- Evil Brit: Technically she's Australian.
- Freudian Excuse: Goren theorizes that she was molested by her father as a child and that the trauma bred in her a pathological drive to use and destroy anyone who gets close to her; this is frequently implied to be true.
- Hot Teacher: In her first appearance.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: If you give credence to her claim that Goren is the only man she's ever loved, it's implied to be this trope; in particular, she apparently is drawn to him because she can't seduce him.
- Offing the Offspring: Killed her three-year-old daughter before the series began.
- Pet the Dog: The one act of kindness she does for anyone in the show's run is to leave Gwen with her aunt in Arizona to ensure her safety, instead of running away with her.
- Two First Names: Either "Nicole" or "Wallace" can be used as a first name.
Detective Mike Logan
Portrayed by: Chris NothLogan is a troubled detective who formerly worked in the detective squad of Manhattan's 27th precinct.For tropes relating to Logan's character in the original series, please see the Law & Order character sheet.
- Character Development: Subtle, but Mike has better control over his temper than he did back in Law and Order. It makes for interesting contrast when he's temporarily paired with Nola Falacci, whose own temper control is...shall we say, not as refined.
- Deadpan Snarker: A trait he retains from the original series.
- Hot-Blooded: Still shows signs of this from time to time, but it's way toned down from the original series. His temporary partner in Season 7, Nola Falacci, comments on this, saying that she'd heard he was a hothead; Logan responds to this by handing her a newspaper article about the incident in the original Law & Order in which he punched a homophobic councilman.
- Transplant: From Law & Order to Criminal Intent.
- Two First Names: Either "Mike" or "Logan" can be used as a first name.
Detective Megan Wheeler
Portrayed by: Julianne NicholsonMegan A. Wheeler is Mike Logan's second partner in the Major Case Squad.
- Broken Bird: Her fiancé's lies about his criminal activities are revealed when he gets arrested by the FBI right in front of her. And then, once he's locked up in federal prison for twelve years, she finds out she's pregnant with his child.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not quite to Eames' level, but she gets plenty of moments.
- Older Than They Look: Is noted by a number of characters to look very young. Logan, upon meeting her, makes a snarky comment about her getting carded at bars.
- Put on a Bus: After her character gives birth at the end of Season Eight.
- Written-In Absence: In the seventh season, she goes on a special assignment in Europe for six months due to Julianne Nicholson's pregnancy. An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit establishes that she later retired.
Detective Nola Falacci
Portrayed by: Alicia WittMegan Wheeler's temporary replacement while she was on a special assignment in Europe.
- Fiery Redhead: Noted in-universe to be more hot-headed than Logan, a detective whose temper got him demoted. It's discussed in one episode when Falacci asks Logan why he's so level-headed when she'd previously heard that he was a hot-head himself; Logan responds by handing her a copy of the newspaper article telling the story of how he got demoted.
- Put on a Bus: Once Wheeler comes back, Falacci is mentioned to have gone to Quantico for FBI training.
- Temporary Substitute: Becomes this for Logan while Wheeler was away.
Captain James Deakins
Portrayed by: Jamey SheridanThe captain of the Major Case Squad in Seasons One through Five.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: His career ended when a former friend of his framed him for corruption charges; he resigned rather than tarnish his reputation further or bring danger to the detectives trying to help him.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: His actor had Bell's Palsy during the filming of Season Four, so the illness was written in for Deakins.
- Team Dad: Is more than willing to go to bat for his detectives, and gets Logan reinstated as a detective.
Portrayed by: Leslie HendrixThe wise-cracking medical examiner.
- Deadpan Snarker: A trait carried over from the original series.
- Ship Tease: With Captain Ross; it's never officially mentioned on screen, but they're seen dressed for a theater date in one episode, and in "Frame" Goren angrily confronts him about asking Rodgers for information on him by saying, "Did your girlfriend tell you that?"
- Transplant: From the original series.