Nellie Andreeva

The 10th and final season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent got off to a great start last night with 5.1 million viewers tuning in, up a whopping 43% from the premiere of Season 9. With Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe back in full, the crime drama drew 1.9 million viewers in adults 18-49, up 35%. Despite the big start and Law & Order chief Dick Wolf recently expressed hope that the series could continue, USA co-president Jeff Wachtel said that the plan is to keep this the show’s final foray. “The idea truly was to reward the audience,” he said. “We wanted the audience to embrace the show’s final season whose theme is the healing of Bobby Goren (D’Onofrio) and bringing salvation.”

Also premiering last night was Season 4 of USA’s In Plain Sight, which averaged 3.9 million viewers, up 1% from the Season 3 debut, and 1.4 million 18-49 viewers, up 15%. The ratings for the show starring Mary McCormack were tracking great until the last 15-20 minutes, when there was a big drop-off just as news broke of Osama bin Laden’s killing. “We expected stiff competition, but we didn’t expect to be against bin Laden,” USA co-president Chris McCumber quipped. The network brass are already mulling adding extra airings of the season premiere.

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