Repeat after me: Jeff Goldblum is creepy. OK now that we’ve established that we can discuss his first regular appearance on my beloved Law and Order: Criminal Intent, last night as Detective Zach Nichols, replacing the already much missed Chris Noth. Goldblum’s Detective Nichols was, well Goldblum. The writers threw in a back story about Goldblum being some kind of misunderstood savant who took seven years off the force on some mysterious vision quest (cue creepy Sci-Fi music), but like most character actors, he gets paid to play himself. Only time will tell if there will be any chemistry between himself, his (super-cute, I am so crushing on, even though she can’t act her way out of wet paper bag with a hack-saw) partner, and Eric Bogosian’s Capt. Danny Ross.
Now for those who missed it, the real star of last night’s episode was most definitely NOT Goldblum. For years now television crime dramas have had that classic oft-lampooned “counter-culture” episode. Two classic examples are the Drag Net pot speech episode and the ’80s “punk” Quincy episode. Last night, the star of the show was that science experiment gone wrong in North Brooklyn called the Williamsburg scene. Yup, that’s right, Law and Order went hipster.
Let me list for you the Williamsburg clichés, that I assume the writers had their interns retro-fit into the script after the fact to make it feel “edgy.”
1. The culture clash between Hasidic Jews, African Americans and over-privileged art school types. 2. Bed bugs 3. A facsimile of the McKibben artists lofts 4. Bed bugs 5. Angry minorities for having been displaced by trustafarians. 6. Bed bugs. 7. Horrid murders being blamed on evil real estate developers by a clueless semi-goth chick.
Now here’s the Hollywood nonsense they threw in that was absolutely laughable:
1. A sleazy ex-rock star/band manager with a greased back ponytail that could have been the same character since 1967. 2. A sleazy younger band manager (actually a predictably planted ruse by Goldblum) with a greased back ponytail that could have been the same character since 1977. What’s with the ponytails already? Not even LA kept this awful trend up past 1989! 3. An upcoming Williamsburg rock band that sounded something like if Loverboy and .38 Special had a child, with no sense of irony intended, nor even unintentionally achieved. 4. Every hipster was too old, too clean, too ambitious and believe or not TOO PRETENTIOUS to be a realistic version of the average Williamsburg resident. 5. Goldblum’s character riffs off some Rogers and Hammerstein sounding crapola (on stage at Public Assembly no less) on a cheap keyboard to prove to a young guitar player that even a cop can have some talent. 6. Bed bugs. Actually bed bugs carrying the killer’s DNA – OH COME ON ALREADY! 7. A plot by Goldblum’s character to capture a murderer that could have gone so wrong, so easily. He could have gotten one of the protagonists killed for no good reason, with no real proof or anything to show for it after the fact. Yes, of course I would take life or death risks on my first case back on the force after my mysterious 7 year leave on absence (cue creepy Sci-Fi music).
I’m a self-admitted Law and Order junkie, but last night I was cringing on my couch, while my gut churned at the disaster that rolled out before me disguised as an episode of my favorite show. My advice to the writers is please, please, please stay out of Brooklyn. Also, stick to the formula! There are enough headlines you can rip off these days that you don’t need to try and get all “creative.” We like that the plot lines are derivative and are stolen directly from the New York Post’s daily crime blotter. Listen up, it ain’t broke so don’t fix it!
Also did I mention Jeff Golblum was creepy?