Many years ago, I was on vacation with my then girlfriend, flipping around channels looking for something to watch on tv. We were at the beach and had just come in from a night out, looking to call it a night with our regular best friend, television. It was on this night that I discovered a tv show so amazingly bad that for the next few years, we would watch it regularly to laugh at just how terrible it was.
I’ve long been a fan of bad movies, which is probably why this one television show so captured my attention. The show? Law and Order: Criminal Intent, starring the one and only Vince D’onofrio, who up until this time I had only known from the Thirteenth Floor (not a bad, though predictable movie) and as Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.
Law and Order Criminal Intent, which I will from here on refer to simply as CI, soon became one of my favorite television shows. The first episode I ever watched consisted of Detective Goren (D’onofrio) inspecting a body that had recently been pulled off the beach after it had been festering for days, yet he still had the olfactory capability of recognizing the scent of lavender on the body. I was immediately hooked. If this man could get the scent of lavender from a dead body that had been rotting on the beach for nearly a week, he could do anything.
Over the years, some show staples emerged: horribly acted villains who more often that not also had terrible accents, waitresses who could remember daily minutia with photographic memory like skill, amazing cameos by actors you’d long thought had disappeared, and most importantly, the inevitable trickery used by Detective Goren where he got the suspect to admit their crimes, all while their pathetic lawyer looked on and shook their head in disgrace.
I eventually lost interest in the show, partially because it became boring and obvious but also because after maybe 7 or 8 seasons, Vince D’Onofrio was replaced by Chris Noth and eventually Jeff Goldblum (seriously).
I’ve only seen most of these episodes once (and missed TONS I’m sure), usually when they first aired. Now that I’ve rebooted my blog, I thought that a fun regular post would be recapping the show starting at the beginning. How long will this last? I have no idea. Probably not long, and nobody is reading this anyway. Would this make a lot more sense to do if this show was still current? Of course. Why am I doing this? I am not sure. Will you find this entertaining? I hope so. Am I going to stop asking questions to myself now? Yes.
For the purposes of this experiment, I’m going to skip over any episodes I don’t find exceedingly funny or too complex to explain, and start from where I first discovered the show, Season 1, Episode 5.
Episode title: “Jones”
Plot Summary: We meet Henry, cheating husband, Yale law grad, cokehead, gambling addict, and oh yeah, MURDERER! Henry’s hot Latina girlfriend wants Henry to leave his bitchy wife, mostly because she’s got a penchant for finding Henry’s used condoms.
They get into a scuffle and Henry, naturally, drowns her in the bathtub. That settles that! We meet Henry’s next girlfriend. This guy sure does well with the ladies, considering he appears to have no redeeming qualities, except of course for his giant Yale Law ring. Credits roll as we can assume that girlfriend number 2′s future isn’t much better than number 1.
Detective Goren is on the scene and examines the dead girl in the tub. He immediately notices scented bath oil. They quickly figure out where she worked, a club where she was basically a non-sexual prostitute, which is of course, my favorite kind of prostitute. Nothing like paying for not-sex.
Back at the office, Goren and Eames get news that a dead, strangled girl has washed up on Rockaway beach, we might have a serial killer on our hands! She’s been dead at least a couple of days according to the cops on the scene, on the stinky beach, but Goren’s key sense of smell tells him there’s a scent of lavender coming off her body and she was drowned and strangled not on this beach but in…a BATHTUB! Using his otherworldy smelling sense, Goren links this murder to the dead girl in the tub because sure, why not. Someone out there clearly likes to strangle women, but only after making sure they smell nice.
Back in Henry’s world, his goddamn bitch wife is all up in his ass while he’s trying to get rid of evidence. Can’t a guy just burn some evidence in peace?!
Over at the lab, Goren and Eames learn more about dead girl #2, and try to decide if they’ve got a serial killer on the loose. Unfortunately, they do not use this time to give him a fun name, like the Lavender Lunatic or the Bathtub Bandit. Come on Goren, use a little creativity.
And wouldn’t you know, while they have this conversation word comes in about a THIRD dead girl. The Lavender Lunatic has been busy.
Goren is eventually led to Henry’s office because all three dead women had recently suffered injuries and Henry works at the injury law firm that was representing their lawsuits.
I’d prefer to be called MISTER Lavender Lunatic.
Henry tries to push the blame onto his ex-associate who recently quit and also knew the victims. Goren does what he does best, snooping around and noticing that Henry might have a gambling problem, among other character flaws, that is beyond the bad acting.
Later on that evening, Henry is meeting up with yet ANOTHER girlfriend! Between four girlfriends, a wife, two kids, a cocaine and gambling addiction, and Jazzercise three times a week, I don’t know how he’s able to get anything done! I would not like to be the secretary who has to organize this man’s life. In his latest girlfriend, we get our very first BAD ACCENT of the show. I suppose she’s supposed to be Russian or something as she starts telling him about her ‘LEETLE BEEKEENEE’ she wants to wear for him at the beach.
Goren and Eames meet with the ex-associate, who basically blows the lid off Henry’s coke and gambling addiction, not to mention that he’s also been stealing money from clients – the same ones that are now all smelling lovely but also dead. They travel to Henry’s house to speak with his clueless wife where they inform her they have a warrant for Henry’s arrest for murder as well as a search warrant for the house.
Now that you mention it, our lavender budget HAS gotten out of control.
Goren explains to Mrs. Clueless what her husband has been up to – stealing money from clients and drowning them in bathtubs. After recalling the used condom on her sparkling kitchen floor, Mrs. Clueless demands they stop this harassment and she’s calling her lawyer.
They head on over to Henry’s bookie, basically a walking stereotype, because apparently that’s something that still exists. Hey, Henry, have you HEARD of the internet? Henry’s been in contact, after all he’s a gambling addict, and he’s in Connecticut with some Russian floozy, according to the bookie. Goren and Eames head back to the office and wouldn’t you know, a dead strangled Russian girl has turned up in Connecticut. The Soapy Slaughterer strikes again! But good news – there’s at least one more girlfriend still alive!
Just come on over to my house, I needed to kill you at least three days ago…I mean…NOT kill you…I’ve said too much.
In order to reel him in, Goren has the bookie leave Henry a message demanding his money, except of course when “Henry” shows up to pay, Mrs. Clueless shows up in his place. God I really hate this woman.
They interrogate the Clueless Wonder. Goren had her least favorite spot on the kitchen floor tested and they found traces of sperm and spermacide. Sounds like your perfect husband has been up to no good. By the way, you’d think she’d have cleaned up the floor by now but between her pill addiction and paying off Henry’s gambling debts I suppose she didn’t have the time.
And so they travel over to the hospital where the last girlfriend is still alive and not yet strangled in a bathtub of lavender, except of course she’s on the phone with Henry now and he’s promised her a warm bath at home! I wish I was making this up.
Candles – check. Wine – check. Murdering gloves – check. Where did I leave that goddamn lavender?
The Aromatic Assassin prepares a bath at his girlfriend’s home but is greeted by Goren and Eames and is placed under arrest. Back at the station, the Assistant DA Carver DEMANDS MORE EVIDENCE (this is also a running theme on CI). Right now they’ve only got him for gambling and possession of scented candles – that’s only enough to put him away for a few weeks. Goren suggests he needs to be caught in the act, I smell trickery!
And this trickery involves Eames innocently flirting with Henry while he waits behind bars since his downfall is cute, petite women. Henry turns into a real talker and now it’s so easy to see why he’s got so many girlfriends. “I listen to women. I’ve got a lot to give. I’m going to walk out of here and when it’s appropriate, I’d like to call you.” Um, you do know you’re under arrest for murdering four women right? But sure, I hear Guy Fieri’s new place in Times Square is good, call me!
Unfortunately for the Cleansing Criminal, his wife has been watching him try to pick up on Eames the entire time through the one way glass and now sees just who her husband really is. Now that the veil has been lifted, she tells Goren that she had caught him getting rid of probably a dead girl’s clothes a few weeks ago. Eames leaves the interrogation room, saying “I need to go WASH OFF THE SLIME.” Zing.
Considering this guy is a lawyer, from YALE, you’d think he’d be smart enough at this point to demand an attorney, but instead he requests a catalog to Bath and Body Works.
The interrogation is predictably hilarious. Goren says he believes Henry is into small women because he’s a “small man,” implying of course that Henry’s got a tiny penis, going as far as comparing their shoe sizes because as we all know, small shoes = tiny dick. I wear a size 14 by the way.
I got these on Zappos.
This is really all just Goren trickery into getting Henry to confess, which he does, yelling his wife behind the glass “Why do you think I did this you bitch?! I DID THIS FOR YOU!” Nobody likes being accused of having a baby penis. Henry SMASHES the one way glass into pieces (which if this was actually possible would probably hurt like a bitch and take a LOT of scented soap to clean) and the episode ends.
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE:
On describing the second dead girl, the coroner lets Goren and Eames know that, “She’s got a stomach like a trampoline and a tush you could crack walnuts with.” Yum!
Eames upon learning that Henry’s wife is supporting his gambling and cocaine habit: “Looks like his train’s about to run out of gravy!”
AMAZING WITNESS ACCOUNT:
None really this episode, just good old fashioned detective work.
TERRIBLE ACCENT WINNER:
Clearly the Russian girlfriend. Henry, you vouldn’t drown me in a bathtub, vould you?
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED:
If you’re going to murder your four girlfriends, at least have the sense to not strangle them all in lavender smelling bathtubs – you’ve gotta mix that shit up.
Buy bigger shoes.