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Jeff Goldblum   ('Law & Order: Criminal Intent') Jeff Goldblum ('Law & Order: Criminal Intent')

'LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT' returns with 16 all new episodes on its new night, Tuesday, March 30 at 10/9c.

SAG nominee Saffron Burrows and Academy Award nominee Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio join Academy Award nominee Jeff Goldblum for the Season Nine two-part season opener featuring the departure of long time cast members Emmy Award nominee Vincent DíOnofrio, Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Goldblum ('Law & Order: Criminal Intent') about this new season, and first wondered what continued to challenge him about his role? "Well, let me see. Itís very challenging because the writing is wonderful and the people around me are the best in the world. So Iím just trying to live up to that and to make the most out of what are wonderful scripts and wonderful acting opportunity it is. Plus, my character is always kind of evolving, and itís challenging to try to do my best with it."

You have a new partner, Saffron Burrow who is going to be challenging. Sheís clearly as intelligent as Nichols and she has a fairly wide ranging network of contacts. And so itís totally different skill set. How do you see them working together? "Well, I now know. Weíve done several cases together. And we work beautifully together, very dynamically. I think sheís great. Youíre right. She is brilliant and has her own skill set and we just work very creatively together. And itís, as much as anything, even given the dark and horrific and nightmarish circumstances that weíre always faced with, dead bodies and gruesome places and gruesome events, we seem to both get a thrill out of the fun and the adventure of the hunt, hunting down the bad guy."

"And then, of course, we get enrolled together and she gets enrolled in my by and by, in my other peck agenda, which is not so beside the point, which is, of course, finding out what the whole story was and why, criminal intent of course, thatís why itís named that. Why, psychologically speaking, the person has done it? Not only who did it, but why they did it? And like I said, and I say itís not beside the point because when we finally take it to court, thatís very much the point. Part of it you got to tell a jury hey, weíre not going to get a conviction unless they can buy and believe the whole story and the motive and why this person might have done it."

"But itís beside that, a personal thrill for me. And a personal kind of side and overall contextualizing investigation to deepen my understanding of the deeply criminal types and thereby all of us and me. Iím on a kind of psycho spiritual investigation that fascinates me and thatís infinitely mysterious. And she and I become partners in that. And itís absolutely thrilling."

I read that Ralph Macchio is going to be on this season. Can you tell us who else we can expect to see? "Well, let me see. I should have been prepared with a whole line-up. Just combing my memory. Now, he was great. He was lovely and what a great actor. Kevin Conway is in an episode that I think will play sort of shortly end of the season who was absolutely wonderful. Gee, many ó Karen Olivo, who was on Broadway In the Heights and West Side Story. She was in this last episode that we did and just a ton of other people."

"Thatís one of the lucky things about doing this show. It feels to me youíre like in this anthology series - the casting people are fantastic. And you get the cream of the whole acting community showing up. Itís just great."

Now, with the 'Law & Order' franchise, thereís always a turnover of cast members. I wanted to know what do you think the loss of Vincent, Kathryn, and Eric how will that affect the show or how will that affect the way you see the show? "Well, let me see. How will it affect the show? I mean, I think theyíre the best actors around. I love the show with them and I love their characters and Iíll miss them. It wonít ever be the same. All three of them were spectacular and irreplaceable."

"So itís a different kind of show. Thereíll be a different kind of show, although the flavor is something of the Law and Order flavor. It will be ó follow something of the same flavors. But Iíll miss them. I think theyíre just great."

"I can talk about Saffron and her character and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and her character. And how excited I am about them."

"But it will very different. But I love these two new actors and characters. I feel lucky to be working with them and Iím thrilled about the characters that they wrote for them. And what theyíre doing in the show and how we all play together."

Finally, does the atmosphere on the set feel like a new show or does it just feel like a continuation of the show that youíd previously guest starred on? "Well, letís see. I mean, I know I did eight of them last year and youíre right, it was different. It was all different cast members that year. But the stories and the quality of the writing and the high quality of the production and the crew is still the same. So it feels familiar - but I miss the cast members who are gone. I adored them."

"But it does feel like a new show in a lot of ways. And Iím crazy about Saffron Burrows and the character. They wrote it for her and the way sheís doing it. And Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is spectacular and I love her and her character, too. So yes, it feels kind of new to me."

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