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More ''CI'' on DVD At Last

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 4, 2006

In 2003, the first season of ''Law & Order: Criminal Intent'' was released on DVD.  In 2004, the THIRD season was released on DVD, as part of a gimmicky release of what were then the most recently concluded seasons of all three ''Law & Order'' series. Now, finally, the second season will be released on DVD. Here's the announcement, with some comments following:

A brilliant and unconventional police detective burrows deep into the minds of criminals to solve brutal murders in Law & Order: Criminal Intent- Season Two, coming to DVD on December 12, 2006 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The critically acclaimed series from Emmy Award*-winning writer-producer Dick Wolf features Vincent D'Onofrio (Men in Black) as Detective Robert Goren, a brainy investigator with an uncanny knack for asking just the right questions. Kathryn Erbe ("Oz ") plays Watson to Goren's Holmes as his partner Alex Eames, with Jamey Sheridan (Syriana) as head of the NYPD's Major Case Squad, Captain James Deakins, and Courtney B. Vance as Manhattan District Attorney Ron Carver. The highly collectible five-disc set contains all 23 episodes of the show, as well as nearly a half-hour of deleted scenes that give viewers an even more up-close and personal look at the criminal justice system.

This probably does, and should, make fans crazy. But the release patterns for many shows make about as much sense as show business generally. Some shows have released only highlight sets, some have released first seasons but not the later ones (especially when the first-season DVD did not sell well).

Some shows still have not made it to DVD (I hear a lot from fans anxious for ''Becker,'' ''China Beach'' and ''WKRP in Cincinnati''), either because the distributors don't believe there's a big enough market or because of delays in putting the sets together. (Both ''China Beach'' and ''WKRP'' are apparently stalled by the cost and difficulties in music-licensing rights.) And some shows that lasted just one season still get a complete-series DVD -- especially when they're fantasy or horror, targeting fans determined to be DVD completists.

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