YMMV: Law & Order: Criminal Intent

  • Ass Pull: Although it ended up being well-received, Goren and Eames' more-than-friends relationship was initially looked as being this.
  • Award Snub: Kathryn Erbe and Vincent D'Onofrio received nary an Emmy nomination in their eight years on the show's run, a criminal snub.
  • Crowning Music Of Awesome: The newer theme song that was added somewhere around season 7.
  • Foe Yay: Goren and Nicole Wallace, so very much. The reason for her obsession with him is described, at one point, as being because she couldn't seduce him.
  • Glurge: The dark side of glurge is explored in "Faith" — the murder victim figured out that a girl suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, who has faced hardship after hardship in her life but pulled through to write an inspiring book about her trials, does not actually exist.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the April 2009 episode "Rock Star", a musician falls to his death in an elevator shaft in a building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In November of that same year, Jerry Fuchs, the drummer for various indie rock bands such as !!! and The Juan Maclean, died pretty much the same way in a similar building in the same neighborhood. However, unlike in the episode, where the musician was pushed down the shaft, Fuchs actually fell while trying to jump from a stalled elevator to the next floor. Still pretty damn eerie.
    • In the episode "Pas de Deux," the villain is a bank robber (played by Charles Rocket) who is suffering from a terminal illness and plans to kill himself along with his unwitting accomplice. The episode was Rocket's last film appearance; he committed suicide later that year.
  • He Really Can Act: The season 3 episode "The Saint" guest-starred a nearly unrecognizable (and incredibly gifted) Stephen Colbert as the main villain. Given what he's accomplished in the world of comedy and political satire, nobody's too sad he didn't pursue his original intention of a dramatic acting career, but that episode proved he had the chops for it and then some.
  • He's Just Hiding: A common theory concerning Nicole Wallace's death at the end of season 7. Given that the information came from a less than reliable source and since Nicole has faked her own death before, this isn't entirely unfounded.
    • Another series produced by Rene Balcer, 2013's "Jo", has the actress who played her show up in one episode as a character who most likely is her, but it's never said one way or another.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the episode "Collective", Alex uses this rather interesting pun:
    "Fangs for the memories."
  • Idiot Plot: "Betrayed" in spades. A former girlfriend of Capt. Ross, who is also a former cop-turned-crime writer, has a younger husband who went missing along with his mistress. Naturally, she would be a suspect; however, due to both her interference/manipulation of the situation (and knowledge of police procedure) and Ross' himself telling Goren and Eames to back off due to his friendship and blind devotion for her, they have no choice but to investigate other leads and ultimate dead ends, just because of the torch he carried for her all these years. Not only did it stall the investigation and delay the time to discover their whereabouts, but it made Capt. Ross and the detectives by extension look incompetent.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The episode, "Dead", registers as this. In addition to the Victim of the Week's graphic death, but we learn that his workplace, a funeral parlor, had a dark secret; they would steal the bodies that were brought to them for embalming/cremation and then sell the relatives fake ashes while keeping the bodies themselves hidden away. Later in the episode, detectives unearth the bodies in various stages of decomposition.
    • It gets worse: The crematorium part of the episode, where the owner had resorted to burying the bodies on the premises, because the oven had broken down and he couldn't afford to have it fixed? It was Ripped From The Headlines!
    • The episode, "See Me". The killer, a optometrist who is "treating" homeless men with schizophrenia by blinding them or greatly damaging their eyes through dangerous experiments to get rid of their illness-induced illusions has close-ups of these experiments. However, what stops the killer from being completely seen as unsympathetic is that at the end of the episode, we learn that he's schizophrenic as well and winds up hospitalized instead of imprisoned.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Johnny Santos from "The Unblinking Eye". In addition to pretending he was James Dean, he was virtually unmoved by being interrogated by the detectives and even acted like he was on an audition... until Goren accurately implied he was gay, in which his bravado finally wore down and he became defensive.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Here's a Cold Open. Woman at a restaurant with others. Woman goes to bathroom. Woman is stabbed by a complete stranger in the inner thigh which causes her to bleed out in minutes, too fast to even cry for help. Assailant walks out. Cut to the detectives arriving...
    Nichols: "So how will you meet your end? Shot by a trusted chauffeur? Poison from your favorite wife? Hanged in a basement like Saddam Hussein? You know it's coming; you just don't know when."
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Seasonal Rot: After Rene Balcer left as showrunner, the series fell into this, along with the Genre Shift of it going from the complex perspectives of the criminals and Goren using his skills to outwit them (or, so often, Break Them by Talking) to more of a spotlight on the detectives' personal lives. Storylines such as Eames' dead husband, the relationship between Captain Ross and M.E. Rodgers, more of the criminal suspects getting away with their crimes and Goren's apparent Sanity Slippage weren't generally well-received. Even with the Channel Hop to USA Network where it was given more advertising (but unintentionally expected to compete with its more popular sister show) didn't help matters and the show died a few years later.
  • Shipping: Goren/Eames has a rather large fanbase. There's fans of Logan/Wheeler (or, really, Logan/his latest partner) as well.
    • Logan/Wheeler actually had some resolution, however.
  • They Just Didn't Care: This was a common complaint of the later seasons given the Genre Shift 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", except 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, 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 to being in his late 20s to early 30s in the later episode.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: ADA Ronald Carver, who could have been as memorable and effective of a ADA as Kincaid or Novak and the episodes like "The Good Doctor" showed that we was good at his job. Unfortunately, he became more and more relegated to the background or served as being an Obstructive Bureaucrat until he was written out of the series with no reason whatsoever.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The killer's girlfriend in "In The Dark". It is rather sad that she had a coffin baby that calcified in her stomach over 30 years ago and she would have been sympathetic in that alone... if only she hadn't lied about her daughter being alive and "in trouble" (with drugs, ostensibly) and led her boyfriend to kill homeless men for the money "Jenny" needed for rehab. Even worse, she rationalized what happened to these poor men as just "drowning kittens" to make it easier to live with herself.
  • The Woobie: Nicholas Durning in "Cold Comfort." He's afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer's, which his ruthless but outwardly loving father has been telling him is an aneurysm. Seeing him in the interrogation room, realizing what his medication is actually for and the lengths his father has gone to to conceal it from him (including murder), is just heartbreaking.
    • Ben Watkins in "Mad Hops" is another completely innocent person whose life gets destroyed by another's wrongdoing. He's on his high school basketball team, and is not the best player, but is good enough to get a scholarship to a small school in Iowa. As his mother says, it's all he can talk about. Then it turns out his coach, who has fallen for Ben's mother and has been scheming to get closer to her, has been inflating his stats to help him get to college and even killed two people to keep them from discovering it. Ben loses his scholarship, and probably has no hope of getting another.
  • Yoko Oh No: Discussed in "F.P.S."