Jeff Goldblum leaving 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'

GoldblumImage Credit: Will Hart/USA NetworkLaw & Order: Criminal Intent has a truly tangled history. When original star Vincent D’Onofrio method-acted himself into exhaustion, CI developed a split personality. One week it was The Amazing D’Onofrio Variety Hour, the next it was Detective Mike Logan: The Reunion Tour. Combine the revolving-door cast, the disinterested demotion from NBC to USA, and CI‘s anti-conceptual approach to crime-solving — unlike the other L&O shows, you usually learned the identity of the murderer right away — and the show could feel a bit colorless. But I always dug it, especially when Jeff Goldblum joined in 2009, playing Detective Jeff Goldblum Zach Nichols. I loved the just-completed ninth season, which pumped the franchise full of much-needed estrogen thanks to new arrivals Saffron Burrows and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Almost a decade into existence, CI finally seemed to have found itself. Alas, all good things must come to an end: According to Variety, Jeff Goldblum will not be returning to the show.

It’s not clear at this point whether Criminal Intent will even be back on the air. Ratings plummeted in this past season, and the show’s gun-metal gray moral quagmire looks, well, a little out of place on the Burn Notice network. But PopWatchers, I think this is a great opportunity to re-re-RE-reboot The Show That Will Not Die with a new lead detective. Obviously, my first instinct is to point to a tic-loving New York-based actor — someone like Ethan Hawke, say. But why not really shake things up, and find an underutilized actress to fill Goldblum’s slot? As one of five people who saw Brooklyn’s Finest, I can affirm that Ellen Barkin stole the show with her two-second role as an adorably rude law enforcement official. How about bringing her in as a hardass partner for Burrows?

What do you think, PopWatchers?Any votes to replace Goldblum? Or should Criminal Intent be put out to pasture?


Jul 27 2010 12:22 PM ET

Lunchtime Poll: ‘MasterChef’ vs. Master Chief

Categories: Lunchtime Poll
Gordon Ramsay is a soccer player-turned-celebrity chef who has made a second career playing an Evil British Boogeyman on Top Chef For Dummies Hell’s Kitchen. Master Chief is a mysterious, monosyllabic space-soldier whose hobbies include saving the human race and polishing his helmet. What do these two men have in common? Simple: I misread a press release, so I’ve been under the mistaken impression that Gordon Ramsay is starring in a new show called Master Chief.

I assumed that Master Chief was a reality show in which Gordon Ramsay sat on his couch and played Halo on XBox live, challenging fifth graders from exotic places like Kentucky and Kiev to all-night FPS deathmatches. I looked forward to seeing Ramsay scream obscenities through his XBox headset (“You f—ing rocket launcher w—mongering DONKEY!”) Alas, the show is actually called MasterChef. It’s basically American Idol with food instead of singing, and it’s actually an okay show (according to EW’s Keith Staskiewicz).

What would you rather watch?
“MasterChef,” starring Gordon Ramsay.
“Master Chief,” starring Gordon Ramsay.
“Hell’s Kitchen,” starring Master Chief.


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Comments (243 total) Add your comment
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  • Judith

    I love that idea about Ellen Barkin. She would be very good in that role. While I am sad that Jeff Goldblum is leaving (he’s one of my favorite actors), I am not as in love with this past season as you are. Hopefully, if the show even comes back, they can really freshen it up and get the writing back on track.

    • MovieMan

      Jeff Goldblum dropped out ’cause he wants more time for the ladies ;)

    • Nancy

      Ellen Barkin? Are you crazy?

    • CT Muhlbauer

      Bring back D’Onofrio & Erbe!

      • Donna Smith

        It was out to pasture for me when we lost D’Onofrio. I never tire of him.

      • DianePlantation

        I agree – bring back Vincent and Katherine! Great acting, great dialogue. Too cerebral for some – well, that’s why many of us liked it. We tried to tell TPTB, but they wouldn’t listen.

      • Joyce Blaskower

        I’m with CT Muhlbauer. Bring back D’Onofrio & Erbe!

      • Diego Ignacio Garcia


      • Diego Ignacio Garcia


      • faLLenANGEL

        I agree. Bring back Vincent and Katherine. And the ghost of Nicole Wallace.

    • Arletta

      No to the female. I watched CI to see Bobby be tall and intelligent, in a geeky, sexy manner. Jeff Goldblum filled that role, to some degree and was also Jeff Goldblum at the same time. They already screwed up the format and made it way too much like a soap opera, so the only reason I’m still watching it is to see Jeff Goldblum or in hopes of Eames and Bobby coming back. I need a tall, geeky, sexy man and a tough, scary little redheaded woman beside him or I’m just not happy.

  • Star Collector

    Bring back D’Onofrio ASAP! Loved Goldblum and he’s my first choice, but if they can’t, then bring back Vince and focus more on that dark side of his, give him a love interest equally compelling and those ripped from the headline storylines L&O won’t be doing and I think CI will maintain it’s momentum.

    • Cynta

      YES !!!! D’Onforio Always D’Onforio

      • Joe

        Bring back Goren and Eames. Goldblum can’t be anyone other than Goldblum( “must go faster, must go faster!”). D’Onofrio rules. the dude is a brilliant actor. It’s not that Goldblum is a terrible actor, it’s just that filling D’Onofrio’s shoes just can’t be done.

      • Lily

        Yes!!! D’Onofrio #1. Goren and Eames are my faves. But Ellen Barkin is a great idea too. But first, bring back D’Onofrio!!

      • Joette

        Bring back Goren! The show hasn’t been the same.

      • Star Collector

        Wouldn’t it be cool for D’Onofrio and Ellen Barkin to become a multi- season “item”? Too bad they killed off Olivia D’Abo, that would’ve been good too as I could see Goren falling for her too.

      • Madd

        I’ve stopped watching now that Goren and Eams are gone.

      • cking

        Couldn’t agree more, Joe. D’onofiro rules!

      • Charlene

        Absolutely love Joe D’onofiro. Best actor on tv. Goren and Earnes, best partnership. They cannot be beat.

      • Jourxi

        Sorry the BEST Law & Orders C.I. by Far are:Det Goren & Eames,,Never has there been such a powerfull force together..

      • Arletta

        Amen to that!

        Though I do like Chris Noth and I do like Jeff Goldblum. I was happy with Eames and Bobby and Chris Noth and whoever that little person was he had, once I got used to it. Really, I think they should have tossed J.G. in to the mix and kept the rest of them. But, D’Onofrio is making movies like a mad bunny, so that’s why he’s goine.

    • rewolfe

      I’m sorry but the show hasn’t been the same since Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe left the show. In fact I stopped watching it because of that. The way they worked off each other made the show work so well. Sorry Jeff Goldblum but the show went down hill when he took over the show.

      • SagaDevotee


      • Charlene

        Absolutely agree. I also stopped watching.

    • bringbackrocky

      Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe – bring ‘em back or kill the show.

    • snazzy

      I say bring back Donfrio. Saffron Burrows is a good actor but lacks oomph in the series. Bring back the original duo.

      • Sissy

        I am so glad Goren & Eames are returning. They are the best

    • Arletta

      You know what would be awesome? He could start dating Bones and being stalked by Booth and Zack for it. Rahahahah!

  • Brett

    I disagree that the show was ever in need of estrogen, and I decry Wolf’s formulaic efforts to include women wherever possible. I found the Goldblum-Burrows team to be the weakest of all of the CI incarnations.

  • Peg

    I really. really love Goldblum, but this will always be a D’Onofrio vehicle in my mind. He was brilliant and dark and an absolute three dimensional character, extremely well written.

    • Betty

      I agree….love Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe. And Robert Goren in my mind is a ten dimensional character. So much for a writer to worth with. And Eames has a mysterious quality about her. You’re really never sure what she is thinking about a case.

  • mkaffeine

    Truly loved Jeff Goldblum in the show–it was the main reason we watched this season–but Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was a revelation. USA needs to renew the show just for her!

    • thorswitch

      I really enjoyed her as well, though I’ve been kind of “iffy” on Burrows.

      I’d love if they could get Alicia Witt back with her Fallaci character, who served as Logan’s partner when Nicholson was off on her maternity leave. I REALLY loved that character and was sad when she had to leave.

      I would also love to see Kathryn Erbe return with Eames, but I’m not sure how that would work given the way she left. It would have been nice if they’d taken her to L&O:LA, with Eames starting over after leaving NY or something like that.

      As for replacing Goldbloom – if they decide they *have* to go with a male lead (instead of having say Alicia Witt and Saffron Burrows as partners,) Rufus Sewell (if he can do a decent American accent,) who was really good and rather quirky in “Eleventh Hour,” Anthony LaPaglia, or his brother Jonathon LaPaglia, maaaaybe Anthony-Michael Hall – who was great in Dead Zone, but might not be quirky enough for CI or possibly, the 4400’s Bill Campbell.

      • Arletta

        “Have to”? Have to? Like having a male in the show is a bad thing? I watch it to see the men, and to a lesser extent see the men be frustrated, amazed, put down, put back together, etc. by the women. It’s a very sexy dynamic that would read a lot like a badly timed lesbian festival if it was just women. Bobby and Zachary are both, each, like a tall, dark, cool drink of sex, straight up.

  • Jennifer

    Put it out to pasture. One less procedural on the air is a good thing. There are too many!

  • retirednotdead

    i guess i’m in the minority again! jeff goldblum is always a joy to watch! saffron burrows, she should use her british accent, she struggles with an american accent and it shows! am i the only one to see this? i’m not even sure how good she is as an actress, sometimes she even mumbles! i stopped watching. even my beloved jeff couldn’t keep me!

    • kse

      No, you are not the only one! I have noticed the same things, too. It is incredibly distracting. It seems like she is thinking so hard to maintain an “american” accent, that she has difficulty with her lines. Maybe it’s time for my beloved Criminal Intent to move on…

  • Daryl

    I thought Jeff was great in the role. Bring back the show but a male needs to have that lead

    • Matt

      Why does it have to be male? Does he have to be white also?

    • Nancy

      Jeff did a great job in the role. This show needed a shot in the arm, Goren & Eames needed to be rotated out. I think there should be a new younger face, that can relate to younger audiences to draw them in. Burrows is a great character, a bit dark and she should remain.

    • Jay

      What about the guys from the original just canceled L&0? Jeremy Sisto and/or Anthony Anderson would be good.

  • jim

    come on,what are you talking about?
    the show is finished,it was obvious from the start of the season 9,and became clear with o’onofrio and erbe departure.ever since,there were TONS of criticizm and displesance about the cast changes,includung the weak and uncovincing play of goldblum as well. this is one of the main reasons why he is leaving – he just realizing there is no future for it, and escaping the sinking ship.nothing unusual. an idea of the author to bring another old one to the show sounds completely ridiculous (?) and to say that the show at last found itself is another nonsense….it ruined was ruined by senseless and stupid changes by the bosses of nbc/usa to be exact.and goldblum’s departure just another evidence that this show is about to be finished.period.

    • Coffeelover

      I agree. C&I was the number one rated show in it’s time slot on Sunday nights until NBC moved it so they could show NFL football. Sunday night was a perfect night for the cerebral show.


    In terms of possible replacements I nominate Goldblum’s Jurassic Park costar Sam Neill. He was the only good thing about ABC’s Happy Town. Or I’d go with someone really random like Brent Spiner.

    • gigi

      Brent Spiner…I could see it. I thought Goldblum was doing a great job. Sorry he’s leaving.

  • UncleWalty

    get rid of it. There’s enough cop shows already.

  • argem

    Just bring back the original Law & Order. Please?

    • PHD


    • lily

      Ditto. I so miss the original. I will miss this one, too.

    • corali garcia

      ¡por favor que regrese el dúo original, ellos si hacían que la gente dejará todo de lado para ver la serie; por su actuación tan magistrar tanto Goren como de Eames, un personaje se debe apoyar en las características y capacidades del actor para poder apoderarse del televidente; y eso lo hace ese dúo.

  • MS

    Bring back Goren and Logan!

    • PHD

      also agreed. I am so tried of cookie cutter cop shows…need something different

  • Sue1

    I realize this isn’t exactly ‘journalism’ here, but I miss the days when news stories were simply reported, not used for comedy/sarcasm exercises by writers. I agree with jim, to suggest the show “found itself” is ridiculous, it was just fine the way it was all those years. Another entertainment site is suggesting the possibility of a shorter final season, which would be a nice send off for a show with many dedicated fans.

  • jim

    to be fair it is BURROWS who should leave,should have been do that even before Goldblum. She’s horrible actress -everything wrong with her,starting from fake american accent and finishing to bad acting. So,this is a logical end. The show sucks.Mastrantonio ruined “Without a Trace” at the time,so she “contributes” now to this one. Its laughable to read someone’s comments that she was a revelation to the show. She and Burrows became a disaster for the show, they are one of the main reasons this show became so boring and unwatchable.

    • gene

      how true!

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