Law & Order: Criminal Intent-Year 1 (2001)

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Released 19-Jan-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Law & Order Criminal Intent: The Beginning
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 929:55 (Case: 932)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Adam Bernstein
Juan José Campanella
Alex Chapple
Joyce Chopra
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Vincent D'Onofrio
Kathryn Erbe
Jamey Sheridan
Courtney B. Vance
Case ?
RPI $94.95 Music Rob Dougan
Atli Orvarsson
Mike Post


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Dutch
French Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "In New York City's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the detectives of the major case squad. These are their stories."

    The Law & Order franchise is one of the most successful sets of TV series, both in the US & here in Australia. The flagship series, Law & Order, started in 1990 and is now in its 15th season with no signs of slowing down. There have now been 4 spin-off series from the original, including Special Victims Unit (SVU); Criminal Intent; a less successful reality based one, Crime & Punishment; and new in 2005, Trial by Jury.

    The basic formula of all of these series is quite similar. They present realistic crimes from the perspective of the police officers trying to solve them and the District Attorneys trying to prosecute the perpetrators. They are all set in New York City (with the exception of Crime & Punishment) and each series focuses on a different squad of officers. The main differences between the series are the types of crimes and the level of involvement of the District Attorneys. Criminal Intent is more focused on the detectives and less on the court cases than the original series. This series is based on the major case squad which does actually exist. The approach here is more of a whodunit with the focus on solving the crime rather than the prosecution of the victims. One other thing which differentiates this series is that it basically focuses on one major character rather than being an ensemble piece like the other ones. Having said that it does include four regular characters, although Det Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) is clearly the focus. When compared directly to SVU, this series is less emotional, shows less of the private lives of the detectives (which seems to be something Vincent D'Onofrio was very definite about) and generally speaking the cases are not as dark and violent (although they have their moments).

    Law & Order - Criminal Intent was first aired in 2001 and this set contains the first complete season totalling 22 episodes. It was the second spin-off from the original series. It is currently in its fourth season on US television.

    The main characters are :

    To my mind this is a very good television show, although not quite as strong as SVU. It is a little too reliant on Det Goren and as such can be a little monotonous as you know he will always solve the case. Having said that, there will definitely be people who struggle with the dark and emotional nature of SVU and will prefer this more whodunit approach.

    In detail, the episodes included are (episode descriptions are kept brief to avoid giving away the endings):

Disc 1

1. One - A hi-tech gang is planning a big heist. During the job three people are murdered. Guest includes Dianne Wiest and Jake Weber. Not bad but probably the weakest episode in the entire series.

2. Art - An art deal gone wrong results in the death of two of the principals. The detectives need to work out if it was murder or suicide and need to unravel the deal to do so. This is a much better episode than the first and includes some good plot twists.

3. Smothered - This case would have fitted better in SVU but it is still a very good episode. A young woman with a drug addict boyfriend agrees to an escort job to make some money. The job does not go according to plan and the boyfriend's wealthy family become involved.

4. The Faithful - A church sexton in a poor area has been murdered for the collection box contents, however much more is going on. Good but not as good as the previous two episodes.

Disc 2

5. Jones - A strung out lawyer starts killing his mistresses but the detectives need to prove it. His wife is in complete denial until Robert forces her to realise the truth. Very Good.

6. The Extra Man- Socialite having an extra-marital affair with financial adviser finds dead body in the hotel room she is supposed to be meeting her man in. It quickly becomes obvious that many high profile people are involved.

7. Poison - Three people die in a hospital ward after minor surgery and the hospital administration pass it off as death by natural causes, however, one of the doctors is not convinced. This is an excellent episode with some good plot twists. Briscoe & Green (Jerry Orbach & Jesse Martin) from Law & Order guest star.

8. The Pardoner's Tale - Based partially on a true incident. A newspaper reporter gets killed on the orders of an underworld figure, but the trail leads to political corruption. A very good episode. Carver clashes with Goren and Eames.

Disc 3

9. The Good Doctor - Based partially on a true incident. A successful plastic surgeon with serious control freak tendencies reports his adulterous wife's disappearance to the major case squad. Goren & Eames clash over how to approach the case.

10. Enemy Within - Based partially on a true incident. A rich, paranoid old man, thinking his apartment is being robbed shuts himself in his safe room only to die of smoke inhalation. Terrible accident or something more sinister?

11. The Third Horseman - Based partially on a true incident. An abortion doctor is shot in front of his family by a religious zealot. The detectives follow the trail from a website which includes a hit list of abortion doctors.

12. Crazy - A court psychologist is obsessed with a much younger woman who does not completely reciprocate his feelings. She brings him along to a bar mitzvah for a friend of her son's, so that he can assess her daughter who may have been abused by the father. The father ends up getting shot at the bah mitzvah and the major case squad is called in to investigate.

Disc 4

13. The Insider - The father of a spoiled young society girl is found in his boat shed dead with his daughter standing over him screaming. He has been trying to protect her but she insists on going clubbing and hanging round with the wrong crowd. The FBI get involved in the case.

14. Homo Homini Lupis - The son of a rich man gets himself into money troubles and his father will not bail him out. The people he owes money to take his family hostage including his wife and young daughters. A dark but high quality episode.

15. Semi-Professional - A tough judge's female clerk is found dead in his house at night while his wife is away. Goren believes that the evidence points to a semi-professional hitman but there is much more going on. Good episode.

16. Phantom - A guy just released from prison after a 6 year sentence for a heist from which the money was not recovered searches for a woman working in a jewellery store. The Major Case Squad get involved when he winds up dead.

Disc 5

17. Seizure - A seemingly inexperienced woman starts picking up other women in lesbian bars and one of them winds up dead with a very similar MO to an old case for which the perpetrator is in jail. A good episode with interesting twists.

18. Yesterday - A screwed-up loser with money troubles starts to harass a successful lawyer he grew up with. Something from their past has resurfaced.

19. Maledictus - The daughter of a Russian mafia chief writes a book about her family and plans to release another. Her head is delivered to her publisher with her recently purchased jewellery stuffed in her mouth.

20. Badge - A woman who thinks her husband is cheating on her is beaten to death with a baseball bat. The husband and their children are also dead. The husband works in the City's finance department auditing the books of different departments. It looks like a murder/suicide but is it really?

Disc 6

21. Faith - Based partially on a true incident. A young reclusive girl called Erica with a serious illness has written a book to help people cope with illness and life in general. A man who helps her has had an argument with her but her handlers won't let him see her. He ends up burnt to death in his car.

22. Tuxedo Hill - A small investor uncovers dodgy accounting in a major corporation called Matewan and the way they deal with a subsidiary called Tuxedo Hill. The daughter of a finance person who raises the issue with her bosses shows up outside a diner covered in blood but otherwise unhurt.

    This is a very good TV series although not quite as good as SVU. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. It does not have the clarity of film but this is to be expected. There was some light grain. The shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    From an artefacts perspective there was some minor edge enhancement and some minor but regular aliasing on Venetians and other usual suspects. I also noticed some moire on a TV screen. Nothing much to complain about.

    There are subtitles in 3 languages including English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but slightly summarised.

    The layer changes occur between episodes.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in French.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this series by Mike Post features the theme tune which is a modernised version of the theme tune from Law & Order. There is also incidental music which adds tension as appropriate.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extra is located on Disc 6.

Menu

    The menu includes stills, music and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles. A Play All option is available on each disc. The menus are very similar to those on SVU.

Law & Order Criminal Intent : The Beginning (21:01)

    A making-of featurette which was made recently but focuses on the first series. It includes interviews with all major cast members plus the creator Dick Wolf, the main writer Rene Balcer, and others. Topics covered include casting, character development, difficulties in shooting, similarities and differences to Law & Order and how they were able to convince a well-known movie actor to commit to a TV series. Worth watching and definitely of interest to fans.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The sets released in each region are identical except for PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    A good quality series of a very good TV show.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good, doing everything this show requires.

    The set has only one extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Vincent D'Onofrio is one hoopy frood -
Vincent D'Onofrio, an actor apart - John