It just occurred to me I must have some kind of fetish for loving characters named Nicole. I really do love Nicole Walker on Days. But I loved Nicole Wallace on Criminal Intent way before that.
She was an awesome nemesis for Robert Goren. She first came on the scene as Elizabeth Hitchens….a literature professor shipped in from Australia who was having an affair with Professor Sanders who stood in line to be Dean of American Studies after the death of the current Dean and his secretary. Goren guessed the two women were having a secret affair early on, and tried to warn the professor that Wallace had stolen the real Hitchen’s identity and was sleeping with a graduate student, Mark Bayley, who she used as a murdering tool. Sanders didn’t listen and helped “spring” Nicole from jail. “Elizabeth” wasted no time in fleeing.
The next time we see Nicole was towards the end of that season, where she arranges for Bobby to make huge mistakes in his investigation and drive a man towards suicide thinks to his relentless pursuit. Nicole was someone who didn’t take kindly to Bobby “reading” her, and the last time he met he nearly broke her psychologically. Now she was out for revenge which she absolutely got. If her pride hadn’t pushed her to show her victim who was behind his near professional ruin, she’d have gotten away with it. But she showed her hand. Goren and Eanes went after her, and her new rich husband, Gavin Haynes, who it seemed she did love after all. She was tricked to admitting she was Nicole Wallace but later on in an offscreen moment his money got her off the hook for the identity fraud and murder charges.
It takes another couple of seasons before we really SEE Nicole again, this time she’s seduced a young Asian American girl to use for various acts, the main one being going after her now ex-husband to kill. As what happens with Nicole, her love turns sour towards Gavin and she was hell-bent to kill him but Goren and Eanesat the last minute prevented the assassination attempt. Ella, the young girl Nicole has partnered with, is captured and Goren tries to use her to double cross Nicole. It doesn’t work, Nicole figures it out and kills Ella but manages to fake her own death at the same time, though neither Goren or Eanes are fooled into believing that for a minute.
In the fifth season opener we see Nicole return, this time taking on a more nurturing role. She’s become involved with a disturbing father who is trying to slowly kill his daughter by using the likelihood she’s very susceptible to developing cancer. Nicole, who we’ve learned in the past killed her own daughter years ago, has developed a motherly instinct and is gas-lighting the father so he would wind up arrested and she could then raise the girl. She even tries to come clean (about her protection of the young girl, not the past murders) to Goren who is too blind to suspect what Nicole’s real motives are at that time. When he realizes the truth, he manages to talk Nicole into giving the girl up, that she’s not capable of sustaining long term love and she would only wind up killing her later on. Nicole complies but not without threatening Bobby.
After that, Nicole is only mentioned or her presence is implied. I’ve been waiting for years to see her again. Olivia d’Abo was awesome in all of her performances on Criminal Intent and I couldn’t wait to see her lock horns with Vincent again. I saw her name in the opening credits tonight and squealed with delight. She was returning! EXCELLENT.
Except they go and kill her off. Is she really dead? We didn’t see the actual death (which is lame BTW) and her DNA matched so it seems very likely she is gone. The killer was Declan Gage, Goren’s mentor, who pretended to be an attempted murder victim of Nicole’s. As soon as they verified the heart in the box belonged to the blond’s (eeeww), I knew the killer had to be Declan. No one else knew enough about serial killer’s or Bobby’s history to be able to pull this off. I have to say it was rather depressing after that, it’s tough to believe the omniscient Nicole was lulled into a false sense of security by the diminishing Declan who had difficulty with keeping a constant train of thought, among his other mental problems. Also, Declan told us that her final words was that she did love Bobby after all, and that ticked me off as it was something I wanted to hear her say (yes, I’m a sick, twisted person, sue me.) How dare we have to hear it as hearsay.
So ends the saga of Nicole Wallace, who terrorized Robert Goren and killed at least 20 victims either by her own hand or using someone else’s. She was a fascinating character and I hoped the character would sustain through the length of the series, possibly finding meeting her end whenever the series did. I guess the show did not agree with me.