Law and Order

Robert Goren (born August 20 1961) -- nicknamed 'Bobby' by many, was a detective in the Major Case Squad in the NYPD, partnered with Alexandra Eames. He is an intense, intelligent, and imposing man who uses his intuition and insight into human nature to size up suspects and pick apart the details of crimes.


Early life

Goren is the son of Frances Goren and Mark Ford Brady, and the younger maternal half-brother of Frank. Though Goren loved his family, they both caused trouble for him as his brother was a gambling and drug addict and his mother was a schizophrenic living at Carmel Ridge.

While his mother was there, Robert would call her most days and visit her once a week. Often, her calls and difficulties with her illness would interfere with his work. He also became estranged from his brother because of his addictions, but they would reconciled, before Frank was murdered by Nicole Wallace.

Army life

He had served in the United States Army and was in the Criminal Investigation Division. He had been deployed to South Korea and Germany.

While serving, he met Dr. Declan Gage, who was one of the first criminal profilers. He would go on to be both a mentor and a father figure to Goren.

Police force

Goren in 2001

After several years in the Army, Goren learned that his mother was getting worse and that Frank had not been taking care of her as she had long insisted. He thus returned to New York and (inspired by Dr. Gage) became a police officer with the aim of becoming a detective.

He put Frances up at Carmel Ridge, where she started receiving real help in dealing with her schizophrenia.

Goren was assigned to the Narcotics Division at Brooklyn North, where he racked up 27 arrests, all of which led to convictions. He soon reached the rank of detective, but his fellow narcs didn't appreciate his methods and thus he was transferred to the Major Case Squad in the 36th Precinct, then under the command of Captain James Deakins.

In 2000, he became partnered with Alexandra Eames, a dynasty cop who'd become tougher than most detectives were willing to deal with after her husband was killed in the line of duty.

Eames was initially irritated by Goren's quirks, but came to respect him after seeing that his unorthodox manner got results. Goren came to regard Eames as a sister. (CI: "Cadaver")

Nicole Wallace

During his investigation into the murder of the President at Hudson University, Robert Goren first encountered Nicole Wallace, a beautiful criminal mastermind from Australia.

Under the guise of English professor Elizabeth Hitchens, Wallace had seduced a colleague, Dr. Christine Fellowes, and a desperate graduate student named Mark Bayley.

She convinced the weak-willed Bayley to commit the murder, while using Fellowes as an alibi. Wallace created just enough confusion to escape arrest. (CI: "Anti-Thesis")

She became infatuated with "Bobby" in her own twisted way, and followed his career for several months afterwards; when Goren and Eames arrested Doctors Roger Stern and Scott Borman, who had been waging biological warfare on their ex-girlfriends, Wallace managed to steal vials of anthrax from the duo's arsenal.

Sometime later, after marrying a wealthy man named Gavin Haynes in order to secure citizenship, she used the anthrax to draw Goren's attention to Daniel Croydon, a paranoid little man who was accused of using anthrax to commit murder.

Goren tried hard to incriminate Croydon, but he couldn't make the charges stick. Croydon's paranoia became so agitated that he committed suicide, and Goren was hit with unwanted attention from the media.

Eventually, Goren found evidence that Wallace had framed Croydon, but by then Wallace had convinced Haynes that she was innocent, and he paid for sufficient legal representation that she was found not guilty. (CI: "A Person of Interest")

Nicole later returned to bedevil Goren anew, after divorcing Haynes and taking a young lover named Ella Miyazaki, with whom she committed a string of jewelry heists. When the connection between the two women was discovered, Wallace naturally protested her innocence, but when Miyazaki botched an attempt to kill Haynes, Nicole murdered her and then faked her own death.

During the course of the investigation, Goren managed to find documentation from Wallace's earlier crimes, and from these he formulated a theory that Nicole had been sexually abused from the age of three until sometime in her teens. (CI: "Great Barrier")

She resurfaced in 2005, now engaged to a widowed doctor named Evan Chapel and calling herself Leslie Eastman.

There was evidence suggesting that she'd killed Chapel's brother Larry Chapel, but as Goren and Eames investigated, they discovered that Dr. Chapel was aware of "Leslie's" history and had romanced her because his first wife had put a considerable amount of money into a trust fund for their daughter, Gwen and Evan would never get that money unless Gwen died. He was thus planning to kill the poor girl, knowing that Nicole would be blamed for it.

Nicole genuinely loved her stepdaughter-to-be and sought "Bobby's" help. Goren and Eames arrested Dr. Chapel, but Goren told Wallace that Gwen would never be safe with her. Nicole kidnapped Gwen, but left her in the care of an aunt.

She cursed him for forcing her to part with the only person who truly loved her, but as Goren would later find out, she grew to love him in her own strange way, and thus never engaged Bobby again, though she did re-emerge four months later to kill sociopath Bernard Fremont, for reasons unrelated to her relationship with "Bobby."

Sins of the Father

In 2007, a death-row inmate named Mark Ford Brady, who was facing an imminent execution for raping and murdering seven women, contacted Goren through a common acquaintance, Wally Stevens and revealed to the detective that there had been many more victims that the police had never found, as a way to stall his execution (as the police would have to investigate his claims.)

At the time, Goren was struggling in his personal life with his mother's decision to discontinue chemotherapy, a decision that both she and Bobby knew would cut her life expectancy to just a few weeks.

Perhaps seeking some distraction from that unpleasant knowledge, he decided to accept Brady's challenge. But he would soon regret this decision.

Following hints and confessions from Brady, Goren found two large photo albums with pictures of Brady's previous victims, some of whom had been killed as far back as forty years ago. One of the photo albums contained a damaged picture of what Bobby eventually suspected was his own mother.

Desperate for answers, he asked Frank, who replied that he had known Brady in his childhood as "Uncle Mark", and was surprised to learn Robert did not remember him like he did.

Frank also alluded to a car crash involving "Uncle Mark" that had left Frances badly injured.

Brady's unusual behavior towards him combined with the evidence of a relationship between his mother and Brady led him to believe his mother had been brutally raped which precipitated the onset of her schizophrenia.

He finally confronted his mother about the affair, and she confessed that she had been with Brady around the time of Bobby's conception, and had continued to see Brady for several years afterwards.

Goren asked about the year before his own birth and his mother grew upset. She admitted to not knowing whether Goren's father was her husband or Brady.

Later that evening, Frances Goren lost her battle with cancer, and Bobby felt horrible guilt for interrogating her in her last moments. Brady was executed the same night. (CI: "Endgame")

Alienating Alexandra

William Brady

The death of Frances Goren precipitated what might be called the William Brady period, the darkest days of Robert Goren's career.

Goren returned from compassionate leave early due to the murder of Officer Kevin Quinn. Quinn had been the partner of Eames' late husband Off. Joe Dutton and had testified against the man and was eventually convicted of Dutton's death.

When another witness at that trial was also murdered, Goren began re-investigating Dutton's case.

This greatly upset Eames, and though Goren honestly thought that the man who'd been arrested for Dutton's murder was the wrong culprit (and turned out he was right), she suspected he had been so badly devastated by his mother's death that he was looking for a puzzle to distract himself, and didn't care that the puzzle happened to be her life. (CI: "Amends")

Around this time, Goren also submitted a sample of his DNA to a kinship test in order to determine whether or not Brady was his father.

Heaven and Purgatory

Some months later, Frank crept back into Bobby's life. He revealed that he had a son, Donny Carlson, whom he'd never mentioned to Bobby and who was now in the psychiatric unit at Tates, serving time for a drug bust.

It seemed Donny had recently witnessed the guards disposing of an inmate who'd died from severe dehydration, and he feared that the guards would kill him.

Goren looked into Donny's case and learned that the boy had been railroaded by an incompetant judge, but the crime for which Donny had been arrested occurred outside the jurisdiction of the 3-6, and thus he could not investigate.

Around that time, Capt. Ross grew concerned about Goren's state of mind, and ordered him to take a few days off.

Goren used this time to create a false identity, William Brady and get himself arrested and thrown into the psych unit at Tates.

The only person he informed of this plan was Eames. He tried to locate Donny, but in the process got thrown into "Heaven", an isolation unit where he was strapped down and left to dehydrate.

He nearly died as a result of repeated sessions of this treatment, but it had the unintended benefit of enabling Donny to escape.

On the evening of November 1, Eames became concerned after not hearing from Bobby for several days. She informed Ross about what Goren had done and together, they hurried to spring him. (CI: "Untethered")

In the ensuing ruckus, Robert Goren was suspended for five months and ordered to receive counseling.

In need of work, he was approached by another suspended cop, Mike Stoat, who offered him a job working "security" for a local crime boss John Testarossa, who happened to be under investigation by Eames and her interim partner.

Stoat was also under investigation after murdering two English tourists in the course of a hit on drug dealer Wilson Crawford, and so Capt. Ross brokered a deal with Chief of Detectives Kenny Moran whereby Goren helped gather evidence on Stoat and his former partner, Officer Lois Melago, and in exchange, Moran would reinstate Goren.

Of course, no one informed Eames or Daniels about this deal, and this nearly resulted in Eames shooting Goren when the police raided Testarossa's office.

Still, Testarossa, Stoat, and Melago all went to jail, and so Moran reinstated Goren, though Eames was less than pleased about being kept in the dark. (CI: "Purgatory")


For a while Goren seemed to be back in his element, solving baffling murders, but all too soon, things took a turn for the worse.

He found out that Mark Ford Brady was indeed his biological father, and though he tried to keep it under wraps, word of the DNA test results eventually reached Ross.

Not long after, Frank Goren was fatally poisoned and Goren soon recognized it as the handiwork of his old nemesis, Nicole Wallace.

He suspected that Wallace was seeking revenge for his convincing her to abandon Gwen Chapel, who was now showing signs of cancer. This seemed to be confirmed when, not long after, Dr. Declan Gage was put in the hospital by an attempted poisoning while Jo Gage became comatose after biting off her own tongue.

Panicked, Goren tried to locate Donny Carlson, who was still missing, hoping to avert the boy's death at Wallace's hands. Instead, however, he found Wallace's heart.

Goren began to believe someone was trying to make it look like he was settling old scores. It didn't help that he freaked out when he learned that Ross knew about his parentage.

Growing increasingly paranoid, Goren reached out to Dr. Gage for help, but Gage only seemed to stoke further paranoia, suggesting that the killer was Eames (as Goren had wronged her by working against her during his suspension while the doctor had essentially turned his daughter into a serial killer and thus was responsible for her kidnapping.) However, looking over all the facts, Goren discovered that the killer was Gage himself.

It transpired that the once-brilliant profiler was slowly succumbing to dementia and as his own daughter had failed to meet his expectations, Robert Goren seemed to be his natural successor.

Gage believed that Goren's multiply-addicted brother Frank and his arch-nemesis Nicole would continue to hold the detective back as long as they both lived, and thus he had arranged for Nicole to kill Frank, after which he killed her.

Goren was horrified, especially after learning how much the doctor had relished murdering Nicole. He ended up so distraught that he was sent on compassionate leave. (CI: "Frame")


When Goren crosses the line and threatens Van Dekker, he is suspended and later kidnapped by the FBI. When the FBI orders him to sign off the case, he stands loyal to his former captain, and refuses. After a long run, he is fired by his partner, Alexandra Eames. Firing her partner proved too much for her to take, which compelled her to resign. (CI: "Loyalty (2)")

Reinstatement and Therapy

Goren was reinstated to the Major Case Squad after his friend Joseph Hannah was promoted to Captain of the MCS and persuaded the NYPD to allow Goren to return, making Eames want to return as well. They did, but Goren had to agree to see Psychologist Paula Gyson as a condition of his return because he caused the threat of Van Dekker. (CI: "Rispetto")

After seven psychiatric sessions, Gyson found Goren fit for duty, on the condition that he continue therapy to deal with his anger issues. She offered to refer him to another therapist, but she agreed to keep seeing him at his request. (CI: "To the Boy in the Blue Knit Cap")

Moving on

Eames is on loan to the joint City/Federal Homeland Security Task Force. Benson asks Eames why she stared at the suspect with a tilted head, and Eames responds that it was something her partner taught her while at MCS. She briefly mentions to Benson that her partner at MCS moved on after 11 years of working together and for her it was also time for a change. (SVU: "Acceptable Loss")


Goren was shown to be meticulous and well-prepared as he used his knowledge and intellect to achieve each step of his plans. However, it is in the interrogation room that Goren truly displays his genius. By virtually entering the mind of the criminal, Goren scrutinizes every possible angle of the motive. Operating on just the thinnest shred of evidence, Goren can break down even the boldest criminal into an impassioned confession. Additionally, when questioning people, Goren will attempt to agitate uncooperative suspects by exploiting a weakness of theirs which he has noticed.

For example if he believes a perpetrator is a neat freak he will deliberately move the suspect's possessions around to create clutter, appearing to do so out of clumsiness or lack of respect, in order to rattle them. Goren often displays the traits of a high functioning autistic or autistic savant. Goren displays an uncanny ability to identify smells. His nose, his sense of smell, becomes a powerful investigative tool throughout the series. Despite his eccentric methods to incriminate suspects he will occasionally manipulate investigations so they get more lenient prison sentences than what prosecutors want to impose.While Goren initially never crossed the line into open insubordination, he does occasionally push professional boundaries, when he feels it will solve the case more effectively.


G. Lynn Bishop

Goren was temporarily partnered with Detective G. Lynn Bishop in 2003-2004 while Eames was on maternity leave. They did not cooperate well as a team. Goren often compared Bishop to Eames, to Bishop's detriment. In general, he seemed uncomfortable with her. Although she respected his ability to close investigations, Bishop did not appreciate Goren's somewhat aggressive style of questioning uncooperative witnesses. Goren's personal attachment to Eames was highlighted throughout this period; more than once he was shown to be actively missing her.

Alexandra Eames

Contrasting with the instability of his family, Eames is a steadying, and perhaps calming, influence. Eames' kidnapping elucidates Goren's attitude towards and feelings for Eames. They display mutual respect and friendship. Goren noted they have complementary skills. Goren is portrayed as having extensive book knowledge while Eames is portrayed as more computer savvy. She is, in many ways, the one person on whom Goren can truly rely; he is at his best when she's with him, and is most vulnerable when she is absent. Goren and Eames both tend to discuss the other, and call each other, by their last names alone. However, Eames does address him by the more intimate Bobby (the name by which he is known to his family) when it is clear he is under unusual stress. Although Goren appears to be the team leader, he is actually the junior partner in their working relationship. It is not uncommon for Goren and Eames to pretend to be a couple, married or not, when trying to obtain information from non-traditional sources.


Goren in 2008

  • His Social Security number is 845-67-3906. Nicole Wallace somehow obtained it, much to Goren's dismay.
  • One of Goren's favorite magazines is the Smithsonian Magazine. He subscribes to it because fits well on his treadmill.
  • Goren hates beaches, although he will go to one as part of his job. (CI: "Depths")
  • He is pro-choice, and opposes the death penalty.
  • Both of his biological parents, his mother Frances and father Mark Ford Brady, died on the same night, though his mother died of cancer and his father was executed.
  • He and his biological father were both stationed in Germany (though at different times) and speak a little German. Goren was also conceived while his father was on leave from Germany.
  • Goren won the Law & Order's the greatest detective on the Hallmark Channel poll in 2010; he had beaten Olivia Benson (who came in second) and Lennie Briscoe (who came in third).
  • Vincent D'Onofrio made guest appearances on the show Work in Progress in the episodes "Oh Say Can You See" and "FTP" as Robert Goren (though he is credited as himself) in fantasy sequences of the character Abby, who has a crush on the Goren character.[1][2]



Icon CI.jpg Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Main Characters

Senior Detectives: Alexandra EamesMike LoganZack Nichols

Junior Detectives: Robert GorenCarolyn BarekMegan WheelerNola FalacciSerena Stevens

Commanding Officers: James DeakinsDanny RossZoe CallasJoseph Hannah

Others: A.D.A. Ron Carver • Dr. Paula Gyson