For the former White House Communications Director, see Nicolle Wallace.
Law & Order character
Nicole Wallace
Time on show 2002-2008

Nicole Wallace is a fictional character in the NBC-USA Network[1] crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent, portrayed by Olivia d'Abo. She is the archnemesis of main character Det. Robert Goren.

Character overview[]

A con artist, thief and serial killer, the Australian-born Wallace has 20 known murders to her name by the Season 7 episode, "Frame". In this latter episode, she is murdered, and her heart used as part of an elaborate puzzle and frame to implicate Goren. She is portrayed as 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.

Goren speculates that Wallace was molested by her father, thus accounting for her sociopathy.[2] Subsequent episodes have implied this to be true.


"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. As the episode opens, Wallace is living under the alias "Elizabeth Hitchens", and has a temporary position as a literature professor at Hudson University, where she is understood as visiting from the University of Oxford. It is implied that she had murdered the real Hitchens and assumed her identity.

Wallace manipulates an underachieving graduate student, Mark Bailey, whom she takes as a lover, into committing the murders. After 10 years, time is running out on Bailey's graduate thesis, and she convinces him that killing Winthrop will pave the way for Bernard Sanders, a professor sympathetic to his situation, to become chairman. Suspicion falls on Sanders, whom Winthrop was intending to pass over. By allowing the cloud of murder to hang over Sanders, Wallace taints his appointment and takes him 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 Bailey'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 Bailey 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 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 one of her clues, 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, Wallace can now be charged with the crime — or have her identity theft, and corollary murder, discovered. Goren secures an arrest warrant for that crime, but when he and partner Alexandra Eames arrive to arrest her, 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 him and his mother; she tells him that Croydon, who ran out on his own family, was the perfect ploy to manipulate Goren. When he follows her 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. Her citizenship apparently invalidates the previous arrest warrant issued for her.

Goren comes to the conclusion that she had framed Croydon in an effort to trick Goren into hounding the wrong 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.

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 indicate 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 she is found "not guilty on all counts. She's got her husband's money to thank."

"Great Barrier" (4:4)[]

Wallace returns to plague Goren as the brains behind a diamond theft ring. She uses her new lover, a young Japanese-American woman named Ella Miyazaki, 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 research and discovers that, while living in Australia, Wallace had reported her three-year-old daughter missing, believed drowned. He then learns that the body of a child fitting her daughter's description had been found, her neck broken. Goren confronts Wallace with photos of her dead child's remains during an interrogation session, and accuses her of having murdered the girl; he theorizes that Wallace had seen her own daughter as a sexual rival, having internalized her father's excuse that young girls are too attractive to resist. An enraged Wallace denies the charges.

Goren and Eames cannot find evidence to connect her 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 her blood is left behind, medical examiner Elizabeth Rodgers says Wallace couldn't have survived in the water. Goren, however, has his doubts, and suspects that she had milked some of her own blood to fake her death.

(In an alternate ending, Wallace is shot dead — on screen — by Goren. East Coast viewers got the scene where she survived, 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. Viewers chose the former; 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 is dating is murdered. Goren discovers that Gwen, the young daughter of Wallace's boyfriend Evan Chapel, stood to inherit millions from a trust created by a lawsuit regarding Diethylstilbestrol, 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, Evan Chapel 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, however, Goren realizes that Evan Chapel is the one trying to kill Gwen to gain access to the trust fund; Wallace is actually trying to protect the girl. 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 Chapel is aware of her past, something she has kept hidden from him and Gwen. Wallace then knows Chapel is trying to set her up for the murder of his daughter.

She incriminates Chapel in the murder of his late wife and the attempted murder of his daughter, and tacitly admits to murdering his brother. Further, she admits responsibility for her daughter's accidental death. She refuses the idea that she cannot be a good mother, however.

After Evan Chapel is arrested, Wallace picks up Gwen and flees the state. However, in a brief flash of conscience, she leaves the girl with an aunt in Arizona. She then leaves an eerie message on Goren's voice mail, accusing him of "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 (Michael York), 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 7 finale, Goren visits his mother's grave on her birthday and finds a picture of him and his brother Frank. This prompts him to contact Frank, although they have been estranged for many months due to Frank's substance abuse and money problems. When Frank is found dead, it emerges that Wallace had left the grave-side picture for Goren before she murdered Frank with poison. Soon after, Goren's mentor Declan Gage is also found to be poisoned (but alive), and the detectives are led on a scavenger hunt, which leads them to Gwen in Arizona (now dying of cancer, which is believed to be the factor that incited Wallace's actions). It ends at a hotel, where they find a box with Goren's nephew Donny's name on it, containing a human heart. Although Goren believes that Wallace murdered Donny to torment him, medical examiner Elizabeth Rodgers confirms that it is Wallace's heart in the box. Goren is shocked and refuses to believe this, claiming that Wallace has "nine lives". Gage suggests to Goren that she had a partner who acted on her wishes, and that they were trying to frame him for her murder and Frank’s. Later evidence turns up that Frank Goren had a life insurance policy naming William Brady, Goren's undercover alias, as his beneficiary, supporting Gage's theory. At this time, Goren reveals that he has confirmed that Mark Ford Brady — a serial killer executed in the episode "Endgame" — is his biological father.

In the end, it is revealed that Declan Gage planned the entire chain of events as part of an elaborate plan to "free" Goren from his troubled past. Goren realizes this after he notices someone has "tried to glue the pieces of his life together" throughout the case. Gage wrote a book on female serial killers to attract Wallace's attention. Knowing she would try to seduce him, he spurned her advances to engage her. He suggested to her that he also hated Goren, thus manipulating her into killing Frank. Knowing that she would try to kill him, as she eliminates all her accomplices, he beat her to it, cut out her heart, mailed flowers in her name, and faked his own poisoning to set the scavenger hunt in motion. Gage assures Goren that Donny is unharmed and still missing, as killing Donny would never have helped Goren.

Gage told Goren that when Wallace "realized her time had come, she looked up at [him] with those big doe eyes and said 'Tell Bobby he was the only man I ever loved.'"

Wallace herself only appears in two brief scenes in the episode: before the opening credits in brief flashes with her face concealed, and in the flower shop mailing flowers to Goren.[3]

Murder victims[]

  • Eight men — Actually killed by her partner Bernard Fremont — Convicted in Thailand[2]
  • Her own three-year-old daughter — Not convicted or proven, might have been an accidental death
  • Elizabeth Hitchens — Not convicted or proven[2]
  • Franklin Winthrop — Actually killed by Mark Bailey — Not convicted or proven[2]
  • Kate Robbins — Actually killed by Mark Bailey — Not convicted or proven[2]
  • Mark Bayley — Not convicted or proven[2]
  • Connie Matson — Not convicted or proven[4]
  • Daniel Croydon — Not convicted or proven[4]
  • Ella Miyazaki — not convicted or proven[5]
  • Zach Thaler — not convicted or proven[5]
  • Larry Chapel — not convicted or proven[6]
  • Bernard Fremont — not convicted or proven[7]
  • Frank Goren — not convicted or proven[8]


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

  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2:3, "Anti-Thesis"
  3. "Frame,"
  4. 4.0 4.1 2:22 "A Person of Interest"
  5. 5.0 5.1 4:4, "Great Barrier"
  6. 5:1, "Grow"
  7. 5:11, "Slither"
  8. 7:22, "Frame"

Template:Law & Order: Criminal Intent