by Troy Rogers
After seven season of detective drama, Law & Order: Criminal Intent returns to the USA Network airwaves on Sunday, April 19 at 9pm to see detectives Robert Goren [Vincent D’Onofrio] and Alexandra Eames [Kathryn Erbe] sharing investigative L&O time with fellow Detective, Meagan Wheeler [Julianne Nicholson] while welcoming a new Detective into the Major Case Squad fold, named Zach Nichols [Jeff Goldblum].
As Law & Order: Criminal Intent gets set to kick of a new season of detective work on USA, with Jeff Goldblum raising the Law & Order acting bar to new heights, we put on a shirt and tie, grabbed a blazer, and got our detective thing going on before sitting in on a conference call with other outlets to talk a new season of crimes and intentions with actors Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe.
Here's a look at our questions from the call, with a few extra highlights:
THE DEADBOLT: How much more in-depth is the Goren-Wallace frame-up story going to get into during season seven? Or is that just completely done?
KATHRYN ERBE: Oh, she’s dead. Right?
VINCENT D’ONOFRIO: Yes, that’s over.
ERBE: Yes. Unfortunately, sadly, they killed her.
THE DEADBOLT: There’s no way it’s going to come back to haunt you guys later on?
D’ONOFRIO: I don’t think so, no. That was a certain set of writers that were doing that and we were enjoying that with them. And then we’ve had another set of writers since then, so that’s not going to happen again. I don’t think.
ERBE: Yes. It’s sad.
THE DEADBOLT: When you guys first took on your roles, did you go into it knowing full well that this might become a lifelong, full-time job, since it's in the Law & Order universe?
D’ONOFRIO: Lifelong. Huh.
ERBE: I don’t think either of us thought that we were going to be doing it for eight years.
D’ONOFRIO: No Way.
ERBE: No. They never would have gotten you to agree to that.
D’ONOFRIO: No way. And the first, what did we do? We did 13 at first, Kate?
ERBE: Right, yes.
D’ONOFRIO: The first 13 was such a blur that I don’t think either of us was even thinking about [that]. I don’t know, it wasn’t weighing heavy on me what was going to happen. Was it weighing heavy on you, Kate?
ERBE: No. We had no idea. It was just getting through each day, really, trying to make it to the end.
D’ONOFRIO: The first 13 scripts were really, really good scripts and maybe there was like one clunker out of the 13, but they were really good scripts and very tough to figure out how to pull the show off while we were doing them. The last thing on my mind was like - it was just a blur. I wasn’t thinking about whether the show was going to run, honestly. That’s the honest truth. And I think we knew earlier than most people do with a [TV series] when you shoot 3, right? I think we knew pretty early that it was going to go.
THE DEADBOLT: Your characters have a complex and interesting relationship. After all they’ve been through, what would you like to see happen between them during this season?
ERBE: I, personally, am very happy because this season we’re back on the same page. I, for some reason, really like that, when they’re on the same team and they’re just on the path together. Although it makes for probably a more interesting show when we’re at odds or going in different directions, I personally like that; and this season we were working together.
D’ONOFRIO: Yes, I agree with Kate, what she said. I think there’s nothing left to argue about, really. I think it depends on what the writers come up with. If they can come up with another good conflict between us, then most likely it will be cool to do. But I agree with what Kate said.
Other Conference Call Highlights:
D'Onofrio and Erbe on a stand out episode to date:
[Law & Order USA] ERBE: I would have to say that in the episode that is going to be on Sunday night, Kathy Baker and Scott Cohen, their characters, when they were in the interrogation room at the end when she kind of grabbed him and ...
D’ONOFRIO: Oh, yes.
ERBE: ... pressed him to her chest and tried to comfort him after screaming at him, they were fantastic. It was very twisted and - I mean, we’ve had a lot, but that one really sticks out in my mind.
D’ONOFRIO: Yes. He turned into this big baby right in front of her eyes. It was awesome.
D'Onofrio on the more freeing and unburden aspect of his character in the previous season finale:
"I wanted it to kind of be a freeing thing so that I could treat the next season fresh, so it could be a guy trying to keep his stuff together, do his job; and so what’s interesting about this kind of storytelling is that we always have that - like, the audiences that watch our show, if they’re fans of the show, then they know that that’s part of the learning. So even if we don’t mention it or I just show this kind of earnest cop trying to do his thing throughout the season, the season previous to that or other things in the previous years, they’re still present, because people are fans of the show and they know that that’s the guy they’re watching that went through all that stuff. So, yes, that’s what I did, and that’s what I’m doing now.
Vincent D'Onofrio on the challenges of working with a new writing team:
"It’s always tough when we switch writers ... these last eight years have been just experience after experience, learning experience after learning experience, and it’s quite a business. To be a performer on a television show, you get a lot of curve balls thrown at you and you have to deal with them, and you know that the show has to be shot so you do your best to contribute and make it the best show you can. But you get thrown curve balls, like a new writing crew, who have never written for you and they’re trying their hardest to get it right, and they’re in a position where they have to get it right fairly quickly, because there are shows to shoot and to air, and so it’s tough. It takes a while.
"But the great thing about is that they’re all talented people and everybody’s scripts are getting better and better, and what we’ve been talking about for the last few minutes is these great things about this season already. So there have been some amazing things already this season. But it’s tough. It’s tough to get new writers. And they’re great people and so we’re – this show is – this last show that we did was great, and it’s a good season so far, so we’re happy."