‘Law & Order: CI’ returns to USA

10th and final season set to air in 2011

USA Network has picked up eight episodes for the 10th and final season of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.”

Season 10 will air in 2011 and the show has contracted again with Vincent D’Onofrio as the lead, but, as previously announced, Jeff Goldblum has departed. No word on whether Kathryn Erbe will come back as D’Onofrio’s onscreen partner.

Also, Universal Cable Prods. has made a pilot commitment for a project with Dick Wolf and his Wolf Films shingle.

“Only time will tell if this is a fond farewell or a renaissance for Det. Robert Goren, but everyone both here and in New York is ecstatic about going back to work on a show that’s a passion for all of us,” Wolf said.

Added Jeff Wachtel, head of original programming for USA: “The plan is for this to be the series finale, but with a Dick Wolf franchise, one really never knows until it’s over.”

“Criminal Intent” arrived at USA in 2007 after having been on NBC for six seasons. Season nine ended in July, where the show nabbed 3.5 million total viewers (including live + 7). The skein’s top Nielsen marks were in season two on the Peacock, when 14.3 million viewers tuned in.

Like other “Law and Order” skeins, “Criminal Intent” has been adapted and localized in several countries around the world. Show, produced by Wolf Films and UCP, is shot in New York and exec produced by Wolf.

USA is coming off a summer where it was tops in total viewers and the 18-49 demo. Newcomer “Covert Affairs” performed well and cabler is readying launch of newest drama “Facing Kate” in January.