A year or so back, Liev Schrieber had a four-episode guest role on "CSI," playing a character who was quite alien to the franchise, in that he had a personality. His character seemed to have a life that existed outside of the procedural he found himself in. It was really refreshing and interesting. So of course he had to die, so William Peterson could come back on and get things back to normal.
"Back to normal" is something most procedurals don't have to deal with, because they rarely ever leave "normal." Which is why I tend to hate the big procedural families, "CSI" and "Law and Order."
Pop on NBC, CBS, TNT, USA, or Spike at any time of the day, and you've got a better-than-average chance of catching an episode of some permutation of these two franchises. But - and here's why I hate them - I defy you to tell me what season it's in. Because every season is pretty much like the one that came before it. There might be some minor changes - Warick might be gambling again, or Sam Waterston's looking older - but those changes rarely affect the plot.
Hell, Jerry Orbach DIES, and "Law and Order" just replaces him with Dennis Farina, and thus, the grizzled-detective balance is restored.
(Shows like "House" and "Bones," by virtue of their being "mystery of the week" stories, could also be dubbed "procedurals," but here's the difference: if you removed the A-plot - Who is sick/who's been murdered - you'd still have character-based stories going on.)
So my ears perked up when I heard Jeff Goldblum would be joining the cast of USA's "Law and Order: Criminal Intent."
"L&O: CI" is the red-headed stepchild of the franchise, relegated to the USA sister cable channel where it could get better ratings with a cheaper production cost. It's also the only "Law and Order" where the lead character has some liveliness.
This is because it's primarily Vincent D'Onofrio as the lead, chewing scenery left and right because, well...he's Vincent D'Onofrio, so he gets to. But because he is The Vincent D'Onofrio, apparently doing a whole season of scenery-chewing takes a lot out of him, and so he needs a little help now and again.
Last year, Jeff Goldblum starred as an L.A. detective in a short-lived series called "Raines," where he talked to imaginary crime scene victims to solve their cases. Those were six great episodes (and will likely be a future "Nobody Watched It But Me" entry). Because the show was essentially "Jeff Golblum: Detective." Probably more people would have watched if it was called that.
Oh, how groovy it would be if Detective Raines transferred to New York. I can't imagine I'd be that lucky, but then again, it's rare that Golblum plays anything other than his own quirky, rambling self. So if I can watch a Dick Wolf-sanctioned "Jeff Goldblum Solves Crimes" show, I might actually be willing to check this out.
I don't give a shit about the crimes. TV's been recycling the same "ripped from the headlines" tales of horror for decades now. I care about who's insane enough to want to solve them.
I believe Jeff Golblum is just crazy enough for the job.