“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” The Seventh Year isn’t my favorite season of the veteran series if only because I’ve never been a fan of Chris Noth and his character. Even so, the episodes featured have some good stories and fine performances all around. As with other “Law & Order” releases, this one is also bare bones in the features department but the video/audio transfers should be satisfying for any fan of the series.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama, Mystery
Shout! | Not Rated – 960 min. – $49.97 | June 26, 2012
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Dick Wolf (created by), Rene Balcer (developed by)
Cast: Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Chris Noth, Julianne Nicholson, Alicia Witt, Eric Bogosian
Number of Discs: 5
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Since the beginning, back in 2001, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” had been a favorite series of mine thanks mostly to the quirky and fun performance from Vincent D’Onofrio along with Kathryn Erbe who nicely rounded out their partnership. With each new criminal, some masterminds others… not so much, the show got stronger and reached its peak probably around the fourth season, although that same year, D’Onofrio apparently requested to take time off and began splitting time between himself and Chris Noth who had returned Mike Logan, a character he played a decade earlier on Law & Order. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Logan and generally skipped his episodes whenever I saw it on syndicated television, so basically half the episodes in this seventh season I’m not particularly fond of…
However, that’s not the reason I’m not a fan of the split work between D’Onofrio and Noth, the series had grown increasingly more serious and darker in tone. D’Onofrio’s character, and the actor himself, looked out of shape and even disheveled. But more so, the quirkiness that made Goren such a wonderful character was gone. I know the first few seasons weren’t quite comedy but at the same time, they were fun to watch.
This is not to say “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” The Seventh Year is a complete loss as the stories are at least interesting and while I don’t like how dark the show had become, they’re at least enjoyable especially to see D’Onofrio and Erbe together even if it’s only for half the season. Even the Logan episodes aren’t too bad, although I feel his character is too much of a douchebag at times to tolerate. His character flaws are offset by his partner played by Julianne Nicholson (and Alicia Witt for 5 episodes).
Episodes (* = Favorites):
15. Please Note We Are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger*
17. Vanishing Act
18. Ten Count
20. Neighborhood Watch
21. Last Rites*
All in all, this is still a fine season for the veteran series and despite my misgivings about including Noth and splitting time between the detective teams, the episodes are mostly entertaining and well worth checking out if you haven’t already.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Unfortunately no features have been included.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” The Seventh Year is presented in its original 1.78 anamorphic widescreen and mostly looks just as it did when it aired on USA. The picture is well detailed and even with some normal artifacting that comes with standard definition DVDs. Black levels look good and the color array seems well balanced.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is decent and shows depth especially during the opening sequence but also has fine depth during the episode with dialogue, which is about 95% of the season. Whenever there is some action, the track sounds good though hardly outstanding.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” The Seventh Year isn’t my favorite season of the veteran series if only because I’ve never been a fan of Chris Noth and his character. Even so, the episodes featured have some good stories and fine performances all around. As with other “Law & Order” releases, this one is also bare bones in the features department but the video/audio transfers should be satisfying for any fan of the series.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman