Sunday night saw the introduction of a new character into Dick Wolf's corner of Toobworld. Jeff Goldblum joined the cast of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' as Detective Megan Wheeler's new partner, Zach Nichols.
So far, we don't know much about Nichols. He used to be Captain Danny Ross' partner, but he's been on "sabbatical" for the last seven years. (Captain Ross would say only of those intervening years that he got a postcard from Nichols, sent from Cleveland.)
I'm sure as time goes on, we'll learn more about why Nichols left the force, and where he went, what he did during those seven years.
But it is tempting to speculate.....
First off, Cleveland. I know this would NEVER be suggested on the show, but maybe he got involved with Buffy Summers and her Scooby gang while there. (It was suggested by Giles in the final episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' that they might go to Cleveland, where there was another Hellmouth.)
I'd like to think he also went out to Los Angeles, where he learned from Lt. Columbo; gained skills in figuring out who the suspect was right away. (In the early years of the show, we'd see the process 'Columbo' went through in determining the guilty party, but by the end - most notably in "Murder With Too Many Notes" - the Lieutenant seemed to just zero in on the killer for no other reason than he was the biggest guest star.)
Like I said, we'll probably learn more as Jeff Goldblum settles into the role, so these two ideas are probably moot.
But then again, seven years is a long time to account for.....