This week on USA Network’s ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ (Tuesdays at 10/9c), Detectives Zach Nichols and Serena Stevens (played by Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows) investigate the murder of a young girl who had just moved to the Big Apple from the Midwest.
“It’s a fascinating case,” says Goldblum, his curious mind almost audibly churning. “It’s the beginning of a serial case, and there was some shocking and surprising and unusual psychological phenomenon this poor girl fell into.”
The unusual circumstances first become evident when the victim is found not in her usual modest attire, but dressed as a prostitute and deposited in broad daylight.
“It’s as if [the killer wants] to leave some sort of message,” says Goldblum.
For Goldblum, Burrows and new “captain” Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, alas, the “message” longtime ‘CI’ fans have been leaving is one of frustration. After all, it was only just weeks ago that in one two-part swoop, series vets Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, along with Eric Bogosian, all went off duty.
Goldblum hails his esteemed predecessors “as three of my favorite actors and people,” but can’t let himself feel pressured to attempt to match their legacy anytime soon.
“I feel no burden – only opportunity, and gratitude and luck that I get to join this wonderful team,” he shares. “Along with the great directors and writers and actors we get every week, I’m just trying to tell the best story we can, and we’ll see who gets interested.”
So for the time being, viewers only need know that Goldblum is committed to doing his best as Nichols and creating a ‘Criminal Intent’ that is rooted in the same style of “Why they did it” storytelling fans came to know and love over nine seasons.
But there will be those differences. For one, Goldblum sums up the Nichols-Stevens dynamic as one filled with “intrigue over their mysterious pasts. Who knows what could happen there.” Two, he describes Mastrantonio’s Captain Zoe Callas as “particularly soulful.”
And then there is Nichols himself.
“I like his complicated and romantic past, his effectiveness and toughness, and his passion for his work,” says Goldblum, obviously passionate about his new portrayal. “And he has delicious fun problem-solving.”