YMMV / Law & Order: Criminal Intent

  • Ass Pull: Although it ended up being well-received, Goren and Eames' more-than-friends relationship was initially viewed 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.
  • Broken Base: Many fans did not respond well to Goren and Eames being written out of the show early in season 9. Letter-writing campaigns and boycotts were suggested, as was a clever idea to send cases of marshmallow fluff to the offices of the producers in protest of the casting change and tone change for the show. That season 10 ever even happened suggests this campaign had some effect.
  • Crowning Music Of Awesome: The newer theme song that was added somewhere around season 7.
    • Which would have sounded awfully familiar to fans of Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
    • Of course, the old music was muuuuch better... to some, anyway.
  • 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.
    • At the end of "Brother's Keeper", Goren goes through a brief scare when he thinks his brother was found dead, but it turned out to be another man. The ending gets hard to watch since Goren would really find his brother dead in the future. And he didn't just die, he was murdered. By his mentor.
  • 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 has 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" is this 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's carried for her all these years. Not only does it stall the investigation and delay the time to discover their whereabouts, but it makes 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 keeps the killer from being completely 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's James Dean, he's virtually unmoved by being interrogated by the detectives and even acts like he was on an audition... until Goren accurately implies that he is gay, at which point his bravado finally wears down and he becomes 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 are also fans of Logan/Wheeler (or, really, Logan/his latest partner) as well; however, Logan/Wheeler actually had some resolution in-universe.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: ADA Ronald Carver, who could have been as memorable and effective of a ADA as Kincaid or Novak; episodes like "The Good Doctor" showed that he really was good at his job. Unfortunately, he became more and more relegated to the background or written as being an Obstructive Bureaucrat, until he was written out of the series with no explanation whatsoever.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Dr. Kelmer from ďThe Good DoctorĒ is a depicted as an abusive, Jerkass, Control Freak and while that is true throughout the episode he generally comes across as just a guy whose wife has repeatedly disappeared before and heís just tired of dealing with her and her enabling friends and family. His wife is shown to be cheating on him, repeatedly disappears on binges and has a history of drugs abuse, multiple affairs and suicide attempts. Her enabling family who donít deny any of this while claiming he was abusive yet nothing is ever shown onscreen instantly suspect him when he calls looking for her donít even seem to care about finding her body making him the only one actively looking for her. They had no body, no forensic evidence; they couldnít even prove that she was dead. Goren even flat out stated that he wanted to prosecute the guy because of how smug he is. Even the circumstantial evidence they did have didnít hold up to Audience Awareness Advantage. His flight was shown but he didnít have a body as the attendant was there with him when he took off. Her cousin said her therapist told her that he was going to harm her yet the therapist stood behind doctor patient confidentiality. In the end it is outright said that he was convicted for being a Smug Snake. While he wasnít a nice guy, nothing shown proved that he was a killer, and given the Moral Myopia he had to deal with, his actions come across as far more understandable.
  • 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:
    • Goren — He grew up with a Schizophrenic mother, his father abandoned his family, and his mother would always prefer his older brother who's also a dug addict. Then it's revealed his biological father was serial rapist/murderer. Then, his nephew goes missing and his brother is murdered by his own mentor.
    • Eames — the murder of her cop husband gives her a Broken Bird status. Her woobie status grows even more when her husband's murder is reopened.
    • 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 into college and even killed two people to keep them from discovering it. Ben loses his scholarship, and probably has no hope of getting another.
    • Kyle Jones from "Neighborhood Watch". While he may have had sex with an underage minor, it was consensual. However, the D.A. pressured the girl into saying he raped her, he spent years in jail, was harassed by the police and the neighborhood watch, and was brutally murdered. And the girl who he said he was in love with? She just thinks his death was a tragedy for her.
    • The three young adults from "Senseless" who were violently gunned down for a flippant reason by a sociopathic nutcase. All of them were well-known as good kids with a bright future ahead of them.
  • Yoko Oh No: Discussed in "F.P.S."