LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT Season 10 “Rispetto” Advance Review

LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT is back for its tenth and final season tonight at 9:00 pm ET/8:00 pm CT on USA. Also back is the crack detective team of Goren and Earnes. Just like that, it’s like old times. The writers wanted to pay homage to the fans of the original and longstanding detective team and their efforts pay off. Even better, the first episode does not use too much time explaining the reasoning or inner workings of why and how Goren is back. He’s just back and you almost have to be paying the utmost attention to hear the few casual “welcome back” comments thrown out by the other detectives.

I had the opportunity to review this premiere episode in advance and thought it was superb. From the first minute to the last, I was completely enthralled. Naturally, part of that had to do with the premise of the show. Using the ripped from the headlines technique that is the very essence of Law and Order, the show focused on a Charlie Sheen-like character played by none other than special guest star, Jay Mohr. Even better, rather than being an off the wall, strung out actor, Mohr is an off the wall, strung out fashion designer. A bit flamboyant, a bit dramatic and a whole lot of addicted leads to one great character. Even though the story is based on Charlie Sheen, it felt more loosely based than anything. If it had not been for a few very obvious references, I would have thought that it was just another rich and famous messed up dude. While Jay’s character doesn’t use the word “winning,” he does find a more suitable replacement.

What would a Law and Order Criminal Intent be without a murder to solve? This one has a couple. Honestly, every time I thought I had it all figured out, something changed. I only got one plot aspect right. It was almost like a Scream movie, as I went through about six suspects. Did I hit on the right one? Not even close. To me that means a very well written episode.

Based on what I saw in this first of eight episodes, I think Law and Order Criminal Intent will leave the most die hard fans satisified. The storylines are as solid and creative as ever, and the special guest stars do not overshadow the main players too much. Remember how Detective Goren would use his physical self to get closer to the suspect and just nod at them until they spilled? Still doing it. Also, you have to tune in just to hear his off the cuff imitation of a fashion designer. Winning!

Tune in tonight at 9 ET/8 CT for the first of eight shows of the final season of Law and Order Criminal Intent and then come back here and tell me what you thought in the comments below. I would love to hear your ideas for this season and how the show itself should end.

Follow me on Twitter @danimari