Series overview: There are approximately 33 different gay characters. 22 or so of them are portrayed as criminals or as having ethical shortcomings. 12 gay men are criminals or ethically challenged, 7 gay women are portrayed as criminals or ethically challenged. 3 episodes are completely unreviewed. ('Homo Homini Lupis' ,' Traffic' and 'The Glory That Was').
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) in Criminal Intent
As history, the television series 'Brothers' starred, as one of the regular characters a gay brother 1984 to 1989 and was supposedly the first series on TV to regularly feature a gay cast member. Apparently they couldn't get it on the regular networks, and it aired on Showtime. On the television series 'Golden Girls' Blanche's brother Clayton (played by Monte Markham) was gay for a first episode, and gets married in a gay civil union in a later episode, and there was also Dorothy's lesbian friend Jean (played by Lois Nettleton); these episodes were in 1985 to 1991 or so. And then of course there was 'Xena: Warrior Princess' (Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor) with its gay subtext, and although the PowersThatBe denied any gay subtext on 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', (Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst) at lot of us saw it there anyway. Those shows ran 1992-2001.
For what it is worth, Law and Order: The Original Series which started in 1990 I think, had Serena Sutherland portrayed by Elizabeth Rohm, (apparently Dick Wolf personally approved her gay character) and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit had Dr. Huang, portrayed by B.D. Wong; otherwise I am not aware of any Law and Order that had a regular character portrayed as gay, and certainly Criminal Intent did not. But, and although I haven't sat with pen and paper and kept track, (a la Deadwood profanity counts, anybody remember those days?) I believe there are more gay characters portrayed as guest stars on Criminal Intent (that is, gay characters compared percentage wise to overall characters entirely) than the other Law and Order series. UPDATE 2/28/2015: Belated congratulations to Saffron Burrows (who played Serena Stevens) who in August 2013, married her long-term girlfriend Alison Balian.
While I was happy and grateful to have so many gay characters on Criminal Intent at all, I wish so many had not been criminals or ethically challenged, almost as though it was okay to have gay characters on the show as long as they were negatively portrayed.
I mean, Honest To God, in Criminal Intent a good gay person is hard to find....
One: The series opens in 2001 with gay and bi characters that are criminals. Bank robbers Karl Atwood (played by Jake Weber who also worked in Vincent D'Onofrio's later 2012 film 'Chained') and Michael Carson (played by Jayce Bartok who has also done some writing).
Seizure: A straight doctor kills a lesbian who is portrayed as less than an ideal mother. Jenny Bacon (she guest appeared on SVU and the original law and Order as well) portrays Dr. Cathleen Dwyer, a straight woman (at least I think so) who has an encounter with a lesbian or bisexual (hard to tell which) woman, but for the sole purpose of luring her to her death. Adriana Sevan (she also appeared in Vincent D'Onofrio's earlier 1998 film 'Claire Dolan' which by the way also starred Colm Meaney of CI 'In the Wee Small Hours') plays victim Rosa Dern, who, it is intimated, was killed because she was unforgivably gay and a 'bad' gay at that.
Enemy Within: Edward Sternman (played by David Aaron Baker, a Law and Order veteran) is the son of the high-rise mogul victim, and gay. Although the death was an accident, he was still doing something he should not have.
Maledictus: Kenny Strick (played by David Thornton, a law and Order veteran and real-life father of son 'Declyn') kills the daughter of a mob boss because she was getting ready to write a book about her mispent youth, and which would have revealed Kenny's role in his mother's death. It doesn't appear to me that Kenny Strick was gay. It looks like it is hinted that Kenny is transvestite AND masochistic as a result of his childhood trauma. The implication being I guess that transvestitism and masochism is 'abnormal'. Or maybe I was reading something not there. Moving on...
Anti-Thesis: Nicole Wallace (played by Olivia D'Abo who also appeared in 'The Velocity of Gary' with VDO in 1999) is bisexual and has an affair with her lesbian coworker, Dr. Christine Fellowes (Linda Emond born in 1959 same as VDO) --hooray the first gay character NOT a criminal or ethically challenged. Some people have found parallels between this episode and the Charles Sobhraj case, and with Harvard University's Professor Cornel West (2002).
A Person of Interest: Nicole Wallace (played by Olivia D'Abo) is gay and has an affair with lesbian thief Connie Matson (played by Susan Porro who comes from Massachusetts same as Kathryn Erbe). Some people have found parallels between this episode and the experiences of Dr. Steven Hatfill.
Mis-labeled: Eric Dunlow (played by Daniel Sauli), I don't think was actually gay, but may have been merely playing the part of the gay man he was impersonating. He worked for gay Gordon Buchanan (played by Terry O'Quinn). Some have found a parallel between this episode and the Bayer's Cutter Biological blood-dumping scandal in the 1980's.
This episode especially irked me. 1) Although Buchanan was portrayed as a moral man, he was also portrayed as kind of a buffoon, with this big scandal taking place right in his face, and he not awares as he should have been. 2) And then when Buchanan steps up, takes respnosibility, takes action, and displays proper emotion, Goren then says that he thought all this was because Buchanan was gay, as opposed to being moral. Buchanan even says so (paraphrased) 'I would hope that would be true of anyone".
Great Barrier: Nicole Wallace (Olivia D'Abo) as her usual bisexual murdering self, has a relationship with her co-murderer female lover (played by Grace Hsu).
Silver Lining: The victim's co-worker is gay. I don't know the character or actor's name.
Stress Position: Chocolate Jimmy, a gay petty criminal and serial confesser (played by New York native, and Law and Order veteran, Jeremy Webb).
Slither: The second murder victim, screenwriter Marcel Costas (played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who studied mime with Marcel Marceau) was gay. Although he wasn't actually a criminal, he did 'pull a fast one' on Michael York's character, telling him he was going to write a flattering biography to get the killer to open up to him, but was actually planning a juicey scathing tell-all instead.
Vacancy: The female victim, Megan Cole (played by Kristin Vogelsong) was gay though not officially 'out'. The character was portrayed as a really obnoxious person.
Tru Love: The garage technician Nikki Ushima (played by Angel Desai, who in real life comes from a medical family same as Kathryn Erbe) is gay. She flirts with Wheeler but yet she has a girlfriend.
Maltese Cross: Married firefighter Ian Duffy (played by Jason Pendergraft) lived a double life and had an affair with gay murderer Brendan Keele (played by Geoffrey Nauffts, a law and Order veteran and a real-life gay-rights advocate), and a transvestite Chantuse Johnson (played by Robert Scott Daye) is attacked. Actor Michael Ferreira (billed as Drag Queen #1) is in real life actually gay, and has won acclaim for some of his non-mainstream roles--and he's smart and good-looking too!
Lonelyville: The murderer was a lesbian or bisexual lawyer Leanne Baker (played by Lola Glaudini, a New York native and cop-show veteran), having an affair with coconspirator bi-sexual Tammi Mills (played by Amanda Detmer).
.....Recommendations From Henry Kissinger: Married but gay victim Skip Lowe (played by Jason Pendergraft) has a relationship or encounter with married but gay lover Kevin (played by Neil Bledsoe).
Ten Count: The victim Gabriel Gardella (played by Shaun Kevlin I think) was a gay fighter, and taking bribes to throw matches. This episode aired in 2007 or 2008 I forget which, and in 2009 in Brazil a boxer was strangled to death allegedly by his wife, or maybe a suicide. In 2012, Puerto Rican professional boxer Orlando Cruz came out as the first openly gay boxer and in 2013 married his partner Jose Manual Colon--in New York Central Park, of course! Pro boxer Emile Griffith from the 1960's came out as bi-sexual in 2005, but he had retired in 1977. So many boxers have been murdered in history that there is a long list of them on wikipedia, and someone has written a book about them all.
Folie a Deux: Gay secretary George (played by Steve Witting) and his boyfriend Stewart (played by Mark Setlock, a June baby like VDO and now teaches/coaches acting) conspire to rip off the secretary's boss. Some have found parallels between this episode and the Madeleine McCann and Caylee Anthony cases.
Lost Children of the Blood: The killer Virgil/Jonathan Parish (played by Matt Burns) is bisexual. The victim's boyfriend Kyle Wilder (played by Christopher Abbott) had a sexual encounter with Jeremy Parks (played by Clayne Crawford).
Rispetto: The wife of the victim, Debra Brite (played by Noelle Beck) was bisexual and had an affair with her husband's gay or bisexual therapist, known only as 'Dr. Harper' in the episode (On IMDB she is credited as Dr. Samantha Harper played by New York native Regina Schneider.)
Icarus: The victim Evan Korman (played by native New Yorker Christopher McDonald) was bisexual, I think secretly so, and he was disliked by his immediate co-workers. The writer-lyricist Adam Winter (played by Eion Bailey) had a sexual encounter or two with him, but I don't think that character was gay or bisexual it's hard to tell. Some have found a parallel between this episode and the injuries occuring during the Broadway musical 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark'. Personal note: I thought the music in this episode was great, but I can't find any credits specifically for that. Go figure.