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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There was a shocking scene in here early on that haunted me for a bit:
a man put in heavy iron chains which were then dumped in the water,
soon yanking him off his feet and overboard. The shot of him
disappearing was a haunting one, especially when we soon learn he was
an innocent victim. The men who "executed" him - Mafia thugs - had the
wrong guy! Not that (knocking off the wrong guy) doesn't happen to
often, at least on screen.
Detectives "Mike Logan" (Chris Noth) and "Det. Carolyn Barek" (Anabella Sciorra) investigate. This was their second case together and it was odd to see them in the opening credits, walking with Courtney Vance and Jamey Sheridan, instead of Vincent D'Onofrio ("Det. Robert Goren") and Kathryn Erbe ("Det. Alex Eames") I have watched this show in chronological order so this was the first time in over years that "Goren and Eames" weren't featured at the introduction credits part of the program. From what I heard, the two teams of detectives trade off episodes in this fifth season. I'm not as upset as I thought I'd be because Noth and Sciorra are fine, but after seeing them paired in two shows so far, they don't have the charisma of the other two. Why the writers made "Barek" so bland, I don't know. Sciorra is an accomplished film actress and certainly could handle something with more spark.
This episode winds up with the detectives and the Major Crimes Unit trying to both get a Mafia leader indicted for murder and, at the same time, expose two dirty cops. One of them is especially unlikable because of the way he uses his daughter. That guy, "Det. Mark Virgini" is played by an actor who is familiar to a lot of movie and television viewers: David Keith.
This particular Law & Order Criminal Intent episode is the second
outing of this season which marks the return of Mike Logan-centric
storytelling to the Law & Order franchise.
Chris Noth's memorable police detective was banished to the Staten Island beat, breaking up bar fights, for attacking a politician a decade prior. He is brought back by Capt. Deakins (Jamey Sheridan) after Logan shoves his way onto a Season 4 investigation of the death of a prison guard being investigated by Goren and Eames.
In this episode, Logan is teamed with a new partner Carolyn Barek(Annabella Sciorra) to investigate the shocking execution of a cop's son, involving police corruption.
For fans and devotees of the Law & Order franchise, the constant attraction to the show is rooted in the evident commitment to quality and consistency in the crafting and telling of the stories of crime and punishment. So many series suffer fatal problems in the narrative over time when producers change, and writers change. Law & Order serves as a shining exception to the conventional wisdom.
In this series, this episode sets the tone for the 30-odd Logan stories to follow; Noth and Sciorra ease into the rhythm that would mark their time together with her as the first of Logan's partners. L & O is a consistently great series across all its franchises, but I always detect a special crispness, a special kind of synergy between actors and writers in the telling of the Mike Logan stories.
If you have a chance via Netflix or some other provider to focus in on the Logan stories, try a few. This first full Logan episode serves as both a typically great story, and a portent of great things to come.
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