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The Law & Order: Criminal Intent Episode That Will Never Be On DVD

Every fan gets excited when their favorite TV shows go to home video; at last, they will be able to watch that one episode they like most over and over, into perpetuity. But sometimes, for a variety of reasons, an individual episode doesn't make it onto the home release. This is usually because of some unique and obscure rights issue — the use of a song, for example, that may have been licensed for broadcast, but not for home distribution. That's the usual circumstance, but other times, it gets a little more complicated and awkward. 

Such is the case for the Law & Order: Criminal Intent eighth-season episode "The Glory That Was..." The episode featured Detectives Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) investigating the case of a Belgian diplomat found dead along with her bodyguard in Central Park. While the scenario around the murder — blackmail and corruption within the Olympic Selection Committee — isn't exactly among the most scintillating of the series' storylines, this was a well-regarded episode for its performances (Pedro Pascal guest starred), and a unique twist in which an epiphany involving the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany's prompts Nichols' to solve the crime.

A-ha, you say, it must be because the episode makes direct mention of that movie that it was kept from home video distribution! Good guess, dear reader. But we're afraid the answer is no, and the truth is more complicated and oddly karmic. Here's why "The Glory That Was..." will never appear on any home distribution platform, including streaming.

Criminal Intent steps on some tender international toes

This particular episode of Criminal Intent began to air internationally in the summer of 2009, which included being shown in Brazil, mere months before its capital, Rio de Janeiro, would make its final case before the IOC — the Olympic city selection committee — to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The victim in the episode was being blackmailed into casting her vote for Rio so the murderer would win a hefty security contract from the city; you can probably see why the fictional intimation that Rio's government would even indirectly accept bribery in order to become the Olympic host city might ruffle a few feathers in Brazil.

Rio's mayor at that time, Eduardo Paes, had some choice words for O Globo, a Brazilian news agency. "It is disrespectful to IOC members. The committee's work is absolutely transparent regarding the election," he said (translated from Portugese). "I imagine it may even hinder the American candidacy by insinuating that there could be corruption in the electoral process. It is ridiculous and pathetic, and will even help to strengthen our candidacy." 

As you might recall, Rio did indeed win that bid, and hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics to much fanfare. The public and international dust-up has kept NBC from consenting to the Criminal Intent episode's syndication or home video release since; season 8 didn't even have a home video release until three years later, after the show had been canceled. Time did not heal that injury, and it apparently never will.

That might have been the end of the story, but... it was not.

Accidental truth in fiction on Criminal Intent

You may also remember that there was a major doping scandal revealed just before Rio's 2016 Summer Games, leading to the suspension of the entire Russian track and field team. As part of the later ethics committee investigation into the IOC as part of the institutional cheating debacle, allegation has arisen that, well, there may have actually been some bribery going on back in 2009 to get the Olympics to come to Rio. 

The former governor of the greater state in which Rio sits, Sergio Cabral — who was quoted in Brazilian media in 2009 calling the Criminal Intent screenwriters "desperate" for intimating that bribery could be at hand — gave testimony to the IOC in 2019 about negotiations for exchange of money for multiple votes during the city selection rounds. Toe to tip, that's some impressive and painful irony.

Nobody ended up dead because of it, and these real-life allegations have nothing to do with fictional-world blackmail over lesbian relationships within the Belgian consulate as in the Criminal Intent episode, but it's still quite an amusing-slash-shameful bit of coincidence. There's no way a bunch of screenwriters in New York City clustered in a conference room circa 2008 could have known a whit about what Brazilian authorities may or may not have been up to. Bizarrely accurate coincidence aside, nobody really wins here; people might go to prison, and an entire piece of media will never see the light of day again.