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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nicole Wallace

Nicole Wallace is a fictional character in NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent, portrayed by Olivia d'Abo. She is the archnemesis of one of the show's main characters, Det. Robert Goren.
A sociopathic con artist, thief, and serial killer, Wallace has 19 known murders to her name by the season 5 episode, "Slither".
Wallace's psychological insight is born of her own dysfunctional childhood. Goren speculates that she was molested and raped by her father.[1] Wallace was imprisoned in the Lard Yao women's prison in Chatuchack, Thailand.[1] She was jailed with her then-boyfriend, a Charles Sobhraj-like criminal Svengali named Bernard Fremont, for helping him rob and murder eight men. She would seduce them, they would rob them, and he would kill them.[1] Wallace and Fremont were caught when Hilary Marsden, another of his lovers who was insanely jealous of Wallace, planted two of their victims' passports on the pair. When captured, Wallace testified against Fremont. She received a 10 year prison sentence and deportation to Australia while Fremont received a life sentence.[1] While in prison, she learned to speak "low class" Thai.[1] Upon returning to her native Australia, she supported herself as a prostitute.[1] She gave birth to a daughter, whom, at age three, Wallace reported as having been swept out to sea -- but the body was never found. When Goren receives evidence from Australia that a three-year-old's body was discovered near the beach and that Wallace's baby was the only child that age to go missing from the area, he believes that she murdered the child by breaking its neck. He speculates that Wallace feared that her daughter was becoming a sexual rival, having internalized her father's "excuse" that a pretty young girl like herself was just too attractive to resist. Therefore, her future boyfriends or lovers would do the same to her daughter, simultaneously sexually abusing her while at the same time denying Wallace the true affection that she so desperately seeks. In 1996, Wallace was in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia — the heart of sheep country. While there, Wallace was vaccinated for anthrax.

During Criminal Intent
In 2002, she came to the United States and got a job as a literature professor at Hudson University under the alias Elizabeth Hitchens. Hitchens was a graduate of the University of Sydney and had worked with the New Covenant Foundation, an educational foundation in Melbourne, Australia.[1]
Wallace is an expert manipulator with a gift for rooting out every painful detail from a person's life and using it to control and/or destroy them. According to Goren's suspicion of the trauma of her molestation, Wallace came to resent her mother as a rival for her father's affection. Moreover, Goren suspected she came to hate women because her mother could not, or would not, stop the abuse. The childhood abuse also bred in her an indifference to sex. She uses her lovers, both male and female, as pawns in her crimes, and either lets them take the fall or kills them herself once they outlive their usefulness.

"Anti-Thesis" (2:3)
Wallace first crosses paths with Goren during the investigation of the murders of the president of Hudson University, Franklin Winthrop, and his secretary. Winthrop was about to select the next Chair of the Department of American Studies. Prior to the action in this episode, Wallace had met Elizabeth Hitchens in Australia, killed her, and assumed her identity. As the episode opens, Wallace has a temporary position as a literature professor at Hudson University where she is understood as visiting from the University of Oxford . Wallace manipulates a graduate student, Mark Bayley, whom she takes as a lover, into committing the murders. After 10 years and five extensions, Mark's time is running out to complete his Ph.D. thesis, and he wants to further the candidate for chairman who is most likely to grant him another extension. Suspicion falls on Professor Sanders, whom Winthrop was intending to pass over for the job of chairman. By allowing the cloud of murder to hang over Sanders, Wallace taints his appointment and takes Sanders out of the running for the chairmanship. This puts Christine Fellowes, a rival candidate — and Wallace's lover — at the head of the list; Wallace believes Fellowes will give her permanent employment, and thus permanent U.S. citizenship. Wallace exploits Bayley's severe allergy to peanuts in order to kill him. (She had learned of the allergy when she ordered a Thai dish containing peanuts in the Thai language, which he doesn't speak.) By the time he is about to confess his role in Winthrop's murder, he goes into anaphylactic shock and dies. By determining how Wallace knew that Bayley was allergic to peanuts, Goren learns of her true history: that she had been incarcerated for helping her then-boyfriend rob and murder eight men. Goren then arranges to have Fellowes fire her, thus allowing the police to arrest Wallace for having an invalid work visa. During the interrogation, Wallace throws Goren off by confronting him with personal information about him and his relationship with his own parents. (She had obtained his birth date and social security number, and discovered that his mother was a patient in a mental institution.) During the battle of wits, Goren deduces that Wallace had been sexually abused by her father, which she emphatically denies. She is released when her lawyer secures a writ of habeas corpus. Following a clue given by her, Goren learns that the real Elizabeth Hitchens had embezzled $400,000 in Melbourne which Wallace had learned only after she had assumed Hitchens' identity. Thus, having assumed Hitchens' identity, Wallace can now be charged with the crime — or have her identity theft, and corollary murder, discovered. Extradition treaties allow that Wallace would not be deported back to Australia for a "nonviolent, financial crime", however. Goren secures an arrest warrant for that crime, but when he and partner Alexandra Eames arrive to arrest Wallace, she has emptied her apartment and vanished.

"A Person of Interest" (2:23)
"A Person of Interest" is a continuation of the prior episode, "Zoonotic." As "Zoonotic" ends, two grams of anthrax bacterium go missing. Goren and Eames are called to solve an Air Force nurse's murder because of her connection to a missing strain of anthrax. Their initial suspect, Dr. Daniel Croydon, is found dead, an apparent suicide. Later, Goren discovers evidence that clears Croydon and proves that the evidence they thought they had was manufactured. Wallace then confronts Goren at a restaurant, and reveals that she knows that his father abandoned the family; she tells him that Croydon, who ran out on his family, was the perfect ploy to manipulate Goren. When he follows Wallace outside the restaurant, he finds she is now going by the name Elizabeth Haynes (nee Hitchens), having gained citizenship by marrying Gavin Haynes, a wealthy businessman. Goren comes to the conclusion that she is the one who framed Croydon in an effort to trick Goren into hounding the wrong murder suspect. She then murdered Croydon and fixed it to look like suicide to destroy Goren's professional reputation. When Goren and Eames confront Haynes, they discover Wallace told him about Hitchens' embezzlement as well as the events at Hudson University. Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver concocts a strategy to prove she is in fact a foreign national, and compels a blood test to look for either the anthrax vaccine boosters sold by the nurse or the missing anthrax bacterium. While interrogating her, Goren says there was a leak in the evidence bag containing the anthrax. When she refuses to believe him, he runs an anthrax test in front of her. During their tit-for-tat information exchange, Wallace says she used his parents' divorce decree to learn about his father. Goren then confronts her again with her abuse history. When the anthrax test displays positive, Wallace remains calm, saying she had been immunized. Thus, the detectives are able to prove her true identity and arrest her; immunization records indicated that Nicole Wallace, and not Elizabeth Hitchens, had received the immunization.

"Pas de Deux" (3:13)
Wallace does not actually appear in this episode. In passing, Capt. James Deakins says that Wallace is found "not guilty on all counts. She's got her husband's money to thank" — apparently one of the few times that a case led by Goren failed to secure a conviction.

"Great Barrier" (4:4)
Wallace returns to plague Goren as the brains behind a diamond theft ring. Wallace uses her new lover, a young Asian woman named Ella, to take the fall. Ella also makes a failed attempt to kill Haynes, Wallace's now ex-husband. Wallace asks Goren for a truce and belittles Eames for having been a surrogate mother for her sister's baby. Eames retaliates by mentioning that Wallace can no longer give birth. Goren is deeply shaken by her reappearance, but does his own research and discovers that she had murdered her own daughter in Australia. Goren confronts Wallace with her dead child during an interrogation session, and her cool, detached demeanor is finally shaken when Goren theorizes that she had seen her own child as a sexual rival for her husband. Infuriated, she denies the charges and becomes bent on ridding herself of Goren once and for all. Goren and Eames cannot find evidence to connect Wallace directly to the diamond thefts, so Goren attempts to get to her through Ella. Goren warns Ella of Wallace's compulsion to use and destroy anyone close to her, and Ella arranges to meet Wallace while wearing a wire. Nevertheless, before police can intervene, Wallace finds the wire, crushes Ella's trachea, and apparently jumps out of a window into the river below. Because a quart of Wallace's blood is left behind, the medical examiner says Wallace couldn't have survived in the water. Goren, however, has his doubts. (In an alternate ending, Wallace is shot dead — on screen — by Goren. East Coast viewers got the scene where Wallace lived, and West Coast viewers saw the one where she died. Both endings were made available on NBC's website. Viewers were given the chance to vote on which ending they preferred. The one where Wallace lives was chosen; thus, it is the only "official" ending.)

"Grow" (5:1)
Wallace appears on Goren's radar yet again when the brother of a man she was dating is murdered. Goren discovers that Gwen, the young daughter of Wallace's fiancé, stood to inherit millions from a trust created by a lawsuit regarding an improper drug testing which left the daughter highly susceptible to cancer. Goren theorizes that Wallace is planning to kill the girl by exposing her to doses of estrogen which would induce incurable cancer. As a medical examiner, her fiancé would have the ability to hide the murder. Goren confronts Wallace, but she angrily insists that she is merely trying to get her life back together, with the family she always wanted. Upon further investigation, Goren realizes that Wallace's fiancé is the one trying to kill Gwen to gain access to the trust fund; Wallace is actually attempting to protect her. Realizing his mistake, Goren approaches Wallace and admits that he now knows the truth: that she is trying to atone for murdering her daughter. Goren tries one last time to reach his old foe, reasoning with her that she can never completely control her homicidal compulsions, making her a serious danger to anyone who trusts her. Further, Goren reveals to Wallace that the boyfriend is aware of her past, something she has kept hidden from him and Gwen. Wallace then knows the fiancé is trying to set her up for the murder of his daughter. Wallace incriminates her fiancé in the murder of his wife and the attempted murder of his daughter, and tacitly admits to murdering the man's brother. Further, she admits responsibility for her daughter's accidental death. She refuses the idea that she cannot be a good mother, however. After her boyfriend is arrested, she picks up Gwen and flees the state; however, Wallace leaves the girl with an aunt in Arizona. She then leaves an eerie message on Goren's voice mail, saying that he was right. She curses him for "taking away" her last chance at a normal life. She then disappears.

"Slither" (5:11)
Although she does not appear in this episode, Wallace is implicated in the murder of Bernard Fremont, a Charles Sobhraj-like criminal svengali who enlists young women to rob and murder wealthy couples. Goren realizes that Fremont is the boyfriend with whom Wallace was arrested in Thailand. Fremont and his lover Mala are ambushed as they emerge from a courtroom after being released on bail, and Fremont is killed with a poisoned syringe. The murder occurs offscreen, so it is not clear that Wallace is the murderer; however, Goren believes she is responsible.

"Renewal" (6:22)
Wallace is mentioned in the episode "Renewal" as a case study in a criminology class focused on female serial killers. A young woman decides to become a serial killer, citing Nicole Wallace as her inspiration.

"Frame" (7:22)
In the season finale Bobby vistis his mother's grave and finds proof that Nicole is back in his life.[2]

Murder victims
  • Eight men — Actually killed by her partner Bernard Fremont — Convicted in Thailand[1]
  • Her own three-year-old daughter — Not convicted/proven/accidental death
  • Elizabeth Hitchens — Not convicted/proven[1]
  • Mr. Winthrop — Actually killed by Mark Bayley — Not convicted/proven[1]
  • Kate Robbins — Actually killed by Mark Bayley — Not convicted/proven[1]
  • Mark Bayley — Not convicted/proven[1]
  • Connie Matson — Not convicted/proven[2]
  • Daniel Croydon — Not convicted/proven[2]
  • Ella Miyazaki — not convicted/proven[3]
  • Zach Thaler — not convicted/proven[3]
  • Larry Chapel — not convicted/proven[4]
  • Bernard Fremont — not convicted/proven[5]


The citation style for specific episodes is Season # : Episode #, " Episode Name ".

  • ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l 2:3, "Anti-Thesis"
  • ^ a b 2:22 "A Person of Interest"
  • ^ a b 4:4, "Great Barrier"
  • ^ 5:1, "Grow"
  • ^ 5:11, "Slither"
  • ^ "Frame," TV.com.

Categories: Fictional Australians Fictional con artists Fictional bisexuals Fictional serial killers Fictional thieves Law & Order: Criminal Intent characters


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