Exclusive: Criminal Intent Gets New Captain

There’s a new big cheese on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Veteran character actor Jay O. Sanders has been tapped to play the new captain of the Major Case Squad and boss to Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe). Sanders will appear in all eight episodes of the show’s upcoming tenth and final season.

This is the fourth captain on L&O:CI following Jamey Sheridan’s James Deakins, Eric Bogosian’s Danny Ross and, most recently, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s Zoe Callas.

Sanders is something of a L&O franchise vet, having guest-starred on both L&O:CI and the mothership. His film credits include The Day After TomorrowRevolutionary Road and the upcoming Green Lantern.

Thoughts on this casting? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Thumbs sideways?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Ryan says:

    This is great news, even greater news would be about how they are bringing back Goren and Eames since Goren was fired and Eames quit.

    • THOMAS BYRNES says:

      This guy will be fine ; he’s a good actor . But I share everyone’s concern in re getting Goren & Eames back on the force. I had a great scenario but they don’t accept unsolicited script ideas . Hope they come up with something that doesn’t piss everyone off and embarrass our two favorite actors ! ps L&O:LA is a stinkpot ; their projected changes won’t help . Dump it and give us more CI !

      • Debbie says:

        L&O does not belong in LA. I refused to watch it and all my friends that did said it stunk. I love bringing Goren and Eames back and I would like it to be for more than 10 episodes. I hope they extend it. NBC can bring back the mothership too. Or USA can pick it up. Or TNT.

        • CHERI KUSHNER says:

          thank goodness they are bringing back goren and eames. i think he is the best actor on tv and i too hope they renew the series for the next 10 years. i don’t care how they bring them back….i am just glad they are back. sanders, too, is fine with me.

          • Joann says:

            I love Goren and Eames. I did not appreciate how they ended Goren in the last show. He deserved more. He is the best detective on TV. I also wish they would continue this series beyond this year. Out of all the Law & Orders, this one is the best in my eyes. I cannot stand Law & Order Los Angeles. Law & Order belongs in NY not in LA. Please allow Law & Order CI to continue.

          • Jeanette Wallace says:

            I enjoy the team of Goren and Eames.I hope their return is worthy of them.The show has just not been the same.Glad to know they are returning.

    • BigFanVa says:

      Sanders is a great actor – I think he will bring a good chemistry with Goren and Eames. Think about it = when he was on L&O as the creepy guy we really thought he was creepy = That’s called good acting, people ! He will be a strong captain.

    • Becky says:

      I have been a fan of Law & Order C.I. from the very start. I must say that I oppose Jay O. Sanders as the captain. If you watch 2002 “Dead” you will see him playing the murderer. Now how can he be the captain?? I have nothing against him, but I just do not think it works. We need a new captain. It is a great show and I am glad it is back.

      • L&O_Fan says:

        I agree!! Sanders just doesn’t fit, and in the first episode he seemed to be trying too hard to be quick or slick or whatever it is that makes the show so successful. He’s also way too similar to Goren.

        As for the repeated actors…it’s the only thing that unnerves me about L&O, especially when watching repeats. More than once I’ve seen a killer sent up for life, only to return in an hour as an attorney or a victimized family member.

        When L&O writers/actors/directors do such a stellar job of creating a character, it’s tough for the viewer to shake that character, and isn’t that the hallmark of great writing and acting???? Why do they then destroy it by re-casting that actor? Most recent was a real hunk of an actor as an NYFD kinky sicko killer who I saw ~the next day as an NYFD burglar/killer. I’ve seen some actors play up to 3 different characters in an afternoon! :\

  2. Kathy says:

    Ewww, not him, that guy gives me the creeps.

    • Kate says:

      Same here!

    • carol barnes says:

      I am really psyched about the return of Goren and Eames!!! However, this guy they picked for Captain has a history of playing creeps! He was the hitman who was harvesting DNA from his cousin’s “body farm” behind his non-working crematorium. Kind of leaves a bad taste… this episode was FROM criminal intent!

      • Veronica says:

        Right. This is what I was thinking are they now going to make him a reformed cop? Why I love the original cast!!! They definitly need to bring it back on I love this show with Goren and Eames they had the best cemistry. I even have my mom hooked on it PLEASE PLEASE GIVE MORE THAN 10 episodes!!!!!!!!!

        • stefrock says:

          I agree that VDO and KE had great chemistry. I just wish the character of Eames was a little nicer to Bobby. There were some episodes where she was just a bitch to him, like when he went undercover with “Cassidy”. I really would like to see their friendship deepen in these last episodes.

      • Stefrock says:

        I agree. There are a million actors out there. They could have been a little more creative in casting the new captain. Especially since devoted LOCI watchers will recognize him immediately, and remember that horrifying episode he was in…Could they not find a single actor who never appeared in the franchise? Despite that, I am SO PSYCHED about Goren and Eames. It’s going to be so awesome! I love Jeff Goldblum but that last cast had no screen chemistry whatsoever – totally bland. This was VDO’s show from the start. Big shoes to fill – nearly impossible.

  3. Ryan says:

    Where did my comment go? lol

  4. AJ says:

    LOVE this. No one is a bigger L&O buff than I. One of his episodes of L&O called “Tabula Rasa” is haunting… This is great casting.

  5. Keebler614 says:

    I’m so behind. Glad about casting. I like him. Also glad Goren and Eames are coming. I honestly stopped watching when they left
    I like Jeff but just not the same.

  6. Doug says:

    Not very excited about this. Great that Goren & Eames are back but this guy has played a deranged criminal in the series. Kind of hard to believe.

  7. Lizzie says:

    There’s no one who hasn’t played a perp on the show they could offer the job to? They’re asking me to have a ‘Dallas Shower’ moment and forget he played a hit-man, apparently reincarnated as a buddy of Bobby’s and a Major Case Captain. Sorry, but I’m not impressed.

    • Klown says:

      Jerry Orbach played a different character on the original Law and Order before playing his iconic one too. Big deal. Fortunately most people won’t be so prissy about it lol.

      • S. Epatha Merkerson also played a different character than Lieutenant Van Buren. She was a cleaning woman in an episode before being cast as the squad commander.

        Milena Govich played a bartender in an episode of L & O before being cast as Detective Cassaday.

        Diane Neal also guest starred in Law & Order SVU before being cast as Assistant DA Casey Novak.

        • L&O_Fan says:

          Again, are we running out of actors?

          Maybe someone from L&O can explain the recycling?! They don’t even try to change the actor’s appearance…add a beard…dye hair…

          C’mon casting, help a longtime fan out!

  8. Tulip says:

    He’s a good character actor. I do recognize him as a killer in one episode but it shouldn’t really matter as long as the chemistry is right. I’m so excited to see Goren and Eames again.

  9. Doug-H says:

    I don’t know how some of you people would have survived TV in the 50’s and 60’s when character actors played different roles often on the same show… Back then, nobody really cared much.. The fact that an actor played a heavy in some other version of L&O is no big deal..

    I will be curious how they explain what happened to last year’s cast… sounds like all gone….

    • L&O_Fan says:

      Have you watched those shows recently? The writing…directing…character development is far superior today than back then.

  10. WALT MILOS says:

    Somebody should talk NBC into bringing the show back to the Network full time! Such a great show that was so badly mistreated!

  11. Lorie says:

    I like this guy!

  12. Patti says:

    Can’t wait to see new episodes. Anyone we can talk to about more than 8 episodes? I have all the rest memorized! Will be interesting to see this actor as the captain.

  13. Lary Crews says:

    Kewl! Jay was in one of my favorite Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode ever. He played a hit man who posed as a nice family man. Goren has him searching his garage for a tooth. He’s a terrific actor.

  14. Niki C says:

    I am SO excited Goran and Eames are back…this guy as the new captain is a great character actor…should be interesting with him in the mix, I wonder if the series will make the captain’s role better and let’s see Goran and he got head-to-head…that would be exciting!

  15. Maryann says:

    I guess many of you have forgotten that the fabulous and greatly missed Jerry Orbach played a defense attorney on the mothership before he became Lennie Briscoe.

    • Mark says:

      I was thinking… remember NYPD and Hill Street Blues. The detective played a bad guy in Hill Street Blues then years later came back as a detective.

  16. Taylor says:

    What is with all of the casting changes? I’m excited to hear about the new captian, but since Eric Bogosian, Kathryn Erbe, and Vincent D’Onofrio were cut at the beginning of season nine, L&O: CI was like one big lazy Susan with all of the changes! I’d like to see what reason they come up with for Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio leaving…

  17. Udengui says:

    Exelente elección, este grandote actor ya trabajo varias veces en la serie. Esta muy bueno, pero mas bueno seria que hayas mas temporadas de LOCI

  18. Lily says:

    Eh. They could have done better.

  19. sell says:

    Desde que VDO e Erbe estejam de volta…
    Será interessante ver esse novo capitão. Só gostaria que trouxessem também um novo ADA.

  20. Ryan says:

    I’m with you Lily. Far better actors out there who could have been more memorable as the captain. Hell, couldn’t they have lured Goldblum to stick around as the boss for crying out loud? Or brought back Sheridan perhaps? Those ones are far fetched but there are some remarkable character actors out there. Why not Victor Garber? Ok he’s ten years older than VDO. Here’s some people born in 1959 like Vincent (after all the new captain is said to be former classmate)-
    Tom Amandes (This would have been AWESOME)
    Clancy Brown
    Catherine Keener
    Marcia Gay Harden
    William R. Moses
    Val Kilmer (better than anything else he’s got going on)

  21. Blythe S says:

    I love the Law and Order Criminal Intent crew. There is no show without Vincent D’Onofrio! kathryn Erbe rounds out the cast. I trust the wisdom of Dick Wolf- he knows his audience and selects terrific cast to suit his shows. I am getting my snacks and drinks ready now!!!

  22. Quinci says:

    ok i remember him being a psycho in an episode of c&o ci had bodies in the freezer and digging looking for a cap in the drain.. how does he c=go from phycho to captain?????

  23. LMR says:

    Suits me just fine as long as Goren and Eames are around! Can’t wait for May 1!!

  24. Naomi F says:

    I have always like Mr. Sanders…not sure how he will be as a good guy though..will wait to see…Mr. Sanders was a evil gun for hire. I have always loved how L&O have recycled they actors over the years. I have ALWAYS been a big fan of all the L&O’s and they are always on in my house. I will miss all the shows. Please don’t take them all.

  25. Mary Kay Cutrera says:

    From psychopath to head of the squad..quite a leap. Two sides of the same coin as they say. This should be a great final season.

  26. Jenn says:

    When is it going to be on now and what channel, A&E?? And when does new season start?

  27. Ramona Cunningham says:

    Wasn’t he the guy who put the bodies of his victims in the freezer with the ice cream? I’m pretty sure this will add a new creepy vibe to the captain’s role.

    • karrie pittsburgh says:

      Yes, he was. Hard to believe that was nine years ago. He looks different (don’t we all after nine years) and I didn’t recognize him at first, but his voice started giving him away. I couldn’t remember his name though, and had to read through all the CI episode synopses to find him. It will take me a few episodes to ‘un-hitman’ him in my head, LOL! Am I right thinking I can still see him scrambling on the floor for a tooth or something?

  28. jazzy says:

    He is creepy. I remember him as the guy who put bodies in the freezer and the guy who was controlling his wife and kids, it will be hard to see him as the new captain.

  29. mk says:

    will Nicole Wallace return for a final showdown with Bobby?

    • Debbie says:

      Isn’t she dead?

      • bee says:

        She’s supposed to be dead. Remember the psychiatrist/mentor/friend of Goren’s removed her heart Goren got it in a box. And now Goren is supposed to be free from all obstacles after his mother, brother and Nicole die.

  30. Dave says:

    This is tough because I’ll still see him as the hitman for the Misucci’s storing corpses in his freezer in the garage and having his cousin bury bodies in the forest behind the crematorium.

    Why didn’t they just bring Jamey Sheridan back?

    I mean Sanders has acting chops but he already played a strong psychotic role in the series.

  31. DeniseMadly says:

    WHY FIX SOMETHING THAT WASN’T BROKEN!! O Sanders is not exactly a huge star and I love Mary’s toughness.

  32. Dave says:

    P.S. Nicole Wallace is dead. Her heart was carved out and mailed to Goren by his mentor. The medical examiner “confirmed that it’s identical match to the blood taken when in NYPD custody few years earlier.”

    They can bring her back with some excuse, but it will clearly be a lame one.

    • R. Prince says:

      Nicole Wallace has to come back! I never believed they would kill off Goran’s greatest adversary, especially without a grand finale. Would The Joker ever be allowed to die off camera? Heck no! All that had to happen to explain the heart/DNA match is — a transplant. And it would completely be within Nicole’s brilliant mind to concoct such a scenario. She convinces Goren’s mentor to go along with the ruse and he does. Wallace has to come back for one finale two part episode. Are you listening Dick Wolf? I’ll write it for you.

    • bee says:

      oops didn’t see this post.

  33. Twitrauma says:

    Didn’t remember his name, but I loved this guy. I think he’ll be great.

  34. Sally says:

    They could’ve picked someone who hasn’t been re-cycled for the captain. I hate when they recast actors we’ve seen in other roles- we die-hard fans KNOW!

    But I can’t wait to see Goren and Eames again!!! Is this really true? I just looooooooove Vincent!!!!

  35. Danny says:

    I’m just so happy that Goren and Eames are back and that creep Ross is dead. They should bring back Nicole Wallace. True, she was killed off in Season 7 (which i haven’t even seen), but the audience never sees her die (and neither does Goren, for that matter). So, it stands to reason that they SHOULD bring her back. But the writing HAD BETTER BE GOOD. (The writing for the first three episodes Wallace appeared in was very strong; I haven’t seen Season 5 yet).

  36. tom says:

    glad to see that Vincent and Kathryn are coming back. It will be interesting to see how they wrote Jeff and the rest of the cast off from last year. I’m not sure that I will like Mr. O’sanders playing the Captain; I wish they could’ve brought Jamey Sheridan back being it is the final season. What a shame NBC would not add it back to the Major Network. I’m really sad to see it go.

  37. Daphne says:

    I say they should bring back S.Epatha Merkerson as the captain . So glad we get the see Goren and Eames in action again. I love all of the LO franchises even UK they are always so good.

  38. Sterling Silverstein says:

    I’m sure he will be just fine as the captain. But, since the show will end with the upcoming last episode, they should have him be a psychotic killer and take out both Goren and Eames to end the series with a very big bang. I would love to see a dramatic D’Onofrio death scene. Its an Emmy waiting to happen.

  39. Bob Paglione says:

    I’m sorry but he is the 5th Captain if you include the Temporary captain who took over after Captain Ross was killed. I agree with bringing back Nicole Wallace if not to either have her killed off trying to save Goran’s life, while confessing her guilt and love for Goran. Also they should have all the Detectives come back for a two part finale.

  40. kayla kenzie says:

    I love goran and eames and i think ci and svu should be the only 1s running i stopped watchin after jeff was on there and ill never understand why they got rid of the best characters to begin with. They should just bring it back full time and cut las angelos because it sucks. And if ci was gettin good ratings why were they let go they had to no eames a goran were making the ratings for the show

  41. Teresa says:

    GUYS GUYS Come on now; its not like CI is the first to have one actor play multiple characters; look at Murder She Wrote!! David Ogden Steirs played at least three different characters on that show alone and look how long they lasted. If you noticed the same thing happened with Charmed; they had TWO people who played at least two roles and they lasted a while too. For example; Brian Thompson played the Apocolyps horseman “WAR” on the Pru episode “Apocolyps Not” also played the Titan “CHRONOS” in the two part episode with the character Page called “Oh My Goddess”….Granted he played a jerk in both episodes, but he was still good at it; and they were still two different characters he played…Give him a chance; you might like him…

  42. Vivienne says:

    Yeh! Yeh! Yeh! Goren and Eames are coming back!!! I just wish it wasn’t for the last season! I could watch Vincent D’Onofrio forever! He has been the BEST actor in all of the Law and Order franchises! Through the years, Goren has been provocative, mystifying, kind of screwy and the most delightfully “in your face” detective (“closer”) I’ve ever seen!!!! He should have won many Emmys! He and Eames are PERFECT as partners!!! I’d also like to say that the actor portraying the new captain is also perfect! I saw him in “Day After Tomorrow” and he will be great! Thank you USA for bringing Goren and Eames back and please consider renewing them for more seasons!!!

    • BettyL says:

      Yay, Vivienne! I have to agree with your assessment… they are the BEST… I too think that TPTB should reconsider and have more episodes and more seasons of this excellent show, which was just ‘not the same’ without Goren/D’Onofrio and Eams/Erbe. While I’m a big fan of Jeff Goldblum (think: Into the Night!), he just didn’t hold a candle to D’Onofrio in the CI setting; although I did like his partner (can’t think of her name, with the short, boyish haircut… she is so cool as her character). Thanks USA, and as you say: Characters are Welcome… that means you Eams & Goren!!!!

  43. dennis o'keefe says:

    He is an excellent choice, he has been an impressive actor since his early role on Crime Story and he has only gotten better with age.

  44. Stan A says:

    Good casting

  45. andel says:

    GOREN AND EAMES ARE BACK, I am beyond happy. Who cares who the Captain is, just bring back my beloved Goren and Eames. I have truly missed these two wonderful actors and lose interest in Criminal Intent when they left. And I say bring back Nicole in some off beat/crazy sceniro. It would be heaven on TV to see the old faces again.

  46. rafjack says:

    Goren and Eames coming back . . .bittersweet. I just hope USA will spend the money on better scripts. If you look at those NBC years, the writing was supberb. When the show was relegated to basic cable, they must have decided to downgrade the script, too. It would be nice to see the kind of episodes that entertained, educated and often shocked the viewer when the last frame had rolled. Goren, the flawed genius. Those early episodes demanded viewers to pay attention and never sacrificed character development for the obvious cliche.

    I think he’s a good choice for captain, because he is creepy. Bring another dimension to the ensemble.

  47. been there done that says:

    I think he’s a wonderful pick. If you would reference some of his other works you would see he is perfect for the job. The chemistry between the three would be dead on and in my opinion could give the show an extra five years of longevity on regular network television.
    On another note. L&O LA really smells and the character shake up makes it even worse. They should just get rid of it and cut their losses. I too have a great new idea but since they don’t take nonsolicited ideas they’ll never know. Too bad their and our loss cause its a really extraordinary idea. Course they can contact me through my email on this site.
    Finally, there should be some overlap and cameos of the original L&O cast still in their original roles leaving open the door for a possible melded super L&O.

  48. Sandra Griffith says:

    I’m just very glad to have the two main characters back in play. The only thing that can be better then this,is for the CI franchise to not be in it’s final season. Well maybe there is still some hope…

  49. shrimperdan says:

    Goran and Ames are back and that is great! As for captain..well,I think I would have prefered someone else. But, I intend to watch with an open mind. This can’t be the last season.. CI is the best of Law and Order.

  50. kat says:

    Not psyched about new commander…. I’M TOO BUSY being psyched by the return of Goren and Eames. While I thought Goldbloom did an ok job, but I didn’t watch much after Goren left. To me, he IS CI. When I saw the ad on USA, I couldn’t believe it! WOO HOO!