Jun 21, 2011 12:00AM

Patti Smith's Television Debut

Law and Order's new Professor of Mythology.

On Sunday night, Patti Smith made her television debut on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Though the queen of punk has dabbled in acting before - lending her vocal talents to 1998's The Rugrats Movie as the newborn baby - her stint on Law and Order: CI marks the first time Smith has stepped before a camera for the silver screen. In the episode, which aired in America on Sunday night, Smith plays Cleo Alexander, a Columbia University Professor of Mythology. Anyone who has read Smith's autobiographical novel, Just Kids, will notice the parallel between her early years as an emerging punk artist and this, her first television role. It seems that Smith has always held a fascination for the occult.

In Sunday's episode of Law and Order: CI, Smith's character helps with the investigation of a murder which takes place during a Broadway musical. The musical is based on the story of Icarus, hence why the Professor's expertise is required. Explaining the meaning of the Minotaur and the maze, much to the enlightenment of Vincent D'Onofrio's Detective Goren, Smith holds her own in the show. Anyone who has seen the television series will know that, at six foot three, D'Onofrio usually towers over all the other characters. At five foot eight, though, Smith's presence is as intensely felt as ever. Loosely based on the real life circus that is Broadway's Spider Man: Turn off the Dark, the episode is an intriguing one, mostly due to Smith's part in it. A highlight is when Cleo Alexander explains to Detective Goren that the myth of Icarus is her "favourite metaphor for failed ambition." We wonder if Patti would agree.

Rosie Dalton

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