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Tony Goldwyn's First Law & Order Appearance Was Actually in Criminal Intent

The actor playing the new Manhattan district attorney on the flagship show was once a key character elsewhere.

By Jessica White

With Tony Goldwyn joining the Season 23 cast of Law & Order, many viewers might experience déjà vu because, like many Law & Order guest stars, this isn't Goldwyn's first tango with series creator Dick Wolf. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

Many careers have been jump-started thanks to the NBC procedural, but Goldwyn joined the franchise as a seasoned star of stage, film, and television. His character will be taking over as Manhattan District Attorney for Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), who left the franchise after 19 seasons.

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And while some may be meeting him for the first time, other Law & Order fans will recognize him as a guest star in Season 6 and Season 7 of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Tony Goldwyn as District Attorney Nicholas Baxter on Law And Order Season 23

When did Tony Goldwyn first appear on Law & Order: Criminal Intent?

Goldwyn guest starred multiple times in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Frank Goren, the older half-brother of Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio).

His first appearance was in Season 6, Episode 15 ("Brother's Keeper), when fans learned Frank was an active drug addict with a gambling problem from whom the younger Goren was estranged.

Goren spotted Frank outside of a church asking for money from people on the street, homeless and strung out. The detective pleaded with his brother to come with him, but Frank refused.

RELATED: Where to Watch Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Failing in his efforts to get his brother into a safer environment, Goren gave his brother his coat and some money and asked to meet with him the following week. Frank, however, bailed on their rendezvous after selling the coat for drug money. 

Frank returned in Season 6, Episode 21 ("Endgame"), visiting their mother after she was placed in hospice care. He seemed to be doing well, apparently sober but still making trips to Atlantic City to gamble.

Sadly, Goren realized his brother was still motivated by selfishness after he discovered that Frank had an interest in their mother's finances, likely to fuel his addictions.

Robert Goren and Michael Goren on Law and Order Criminal Intent on Episode 621

Who was Frank Goren's son, Donny Goren?

Viewers learned in Season 7, Episode 9 ("Untethered") that Frank had a son Donny Carlson (Trevor Morgan) from whom he was estranged. Sadly, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

After Donny called his dad from a correctional facility in need of help, Frank found himself asking his own brother for some assistance. Donny, it seemed, had witnessed a correctional officer murder an inmate at the facility, prompting Goren to go undercover to unveil the abuse.

RELATED: The Most Nail-Biting Moments Ever from Law & Order: Criminal Intent

But after getting his nephew transferred to a different prison for his own safety, Donny escaped by faking an illness. Goren begged Frank for help finding the escapee, but his brother refused to sell out his own kid. Goren was furious over this decision, prompting him to cut ties with his brother yet again.

Robert Goren and Michael Goren on Law and Order Criminal Intent on Episode 621

How did Frank Goren die in Law & Order: Criminal Intent?

Frank Goren's Criminal Intent tenure ended in Season 7, Episode 22 ("Frame") after he was tragically murdered by Goren's longtime enemy Nicole Wallace (Olivia d'Abo).

The episode began with Goren visiting his mother's gravesite, where he spotted a photo strangely placed at the grave: A picture of Goren and Frank as young children together. 

The following day, Frank was found dead, with authorities assuming it was an overdose. Goren, however, wasn't convinced, and eventually discovered that Frank had been poisoned by Nicole, a serial killer and sociopath who was back and wreaking havoc in his life.

RELATED: Who Is in the New Law & Order Cast for Season 23?

One of Nicole's hyper fixations was Goren's childhood and, after tracking her down, Goren was dismayed to discover that Nicole had been manipulated into murdering Frank by Declan Gage (John Glover).

Knowing Goren's troubled childhood and Frank's role in it, Declan had Nicole kill Frank in a psychotic attempt to free Goren of his trauma. 

Robert Goren and Michael Goren on Law and Order Criminal Intent on Episode 621

What episode of Law & Order did Tony Goldwyn direct?

Aside from his dynamite appearances in Criminal Intent, Goldwyn's time on Law & Order includes a stint behind the camera. An accomplished director and producer, Goldwyn was tapped to direct an episode of the original Law & Order, Season 12, Episode 18 ("Thinking Makes It So").

It's an action-packed episode, boasting a bank robbery, blackmail, and a captivating spotlight on the complexities of police brutality. 

Watch Law & Order to see Goldwyn as the series' new District Attorney, Nicholas Baxter, on Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock