The Ninth Season of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" opens with a catastrophic two-part story which results in the departure of detectives Goren and Eames, and their boss, from the major case squad. Their replacements are Detectives Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and Stevens (Saffron Burrows) and a new boss (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio). The tried and true format of the series remains the same, as the detectives investigate unusual murders, smoke out the intent of the suspects, and try to wring a confession out of them.
Season Nine offers sixteen new episodes and a procession of interesting guest stars. The cases range from mob bosses to serial killers to revenge for old murders, and more. Perhaps most interesting, at least for some viewers, will be the evolving dynamics between the two new detectives. Nichols is the black sheep of a family of doctors, who sometimes seem over-educated for a detective. Stevens is a hardworking single mom, transferring in from the Detroit police department. The two detectives will take awhile to get used to each other's operating styles, but it's fun to watch two talented actors work it out on screen. Nichols and Stevens are risk-takers, but the new boss usually gives them lots of room to solve their cases. One of the better episodes involves a serial killer, put in jail by Stevens, who claims to be innocent on the eve of his execution, just as a copy-cat killer seems to strike. Nichols will be driven beyond the call of duty to obtain the confession that could save his partner's peace of mind.
"Criminal Intent: Year Nine" is recommended to fans of the series who are prepared to take on the shift change.