By Mandi Bierly
Updated April 27, 2009 at 08:03 PM EDT

Jeff Goldblum made his debut on Law & Order: Criminal Intent last night as Det. Zack Nichols, new partner of Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson). He rolled up to the crime scene in an eclectic Brooklyn neighborhood carrying goods from the three pit-stops he made on the one-block walk from his car: grits with ham from a soul food restaurant, a bagel from a kosher deli, and a tantric charm from a new age store. I guess when you’ve been on an unspecified leave for seven years, you’re used to being on your own schedule.

We found out that Nichols had been partnered with the Captain in anti-crime before he checked out. He’s “a brilliant cop, very perceptive” and “not crazy exactly,” according to Ross. Both of his parents were shrinks, which could explain his ability to screw with suspects. (Not sure what explains his ability to dance.) He dresses more casually than you’d expect. I’m already a fan of his hoodie (pictured). I hope it returns. He can play the piano. He has a good sense of humor. (After a girl suggested that real estate developers killed her bandmate to make their artist commune think the neighborhood was unsafe he asked Wheeler if they canvased the scene for Trump’s hair.) And, he’s so laidback that he often doesn’t even appear to be moving when he’s walking. In short, he’s exactly what you thought you were getting from the casting of Jeff Goldblum. We look forward to catching his episodes in a holiday marathon in the years to come. I just hope that Wheeler gets to do more than she did last night. I’m assuming she’s not always that irrelevant? She was just feeling her new partner out, which is why she did nothing?

addCredit(“Will Hart/USA”)