An apparent car accident involving an employee of the Department of Homeland Security has Brenda and the Priority Homicide Division climbing down a cliff in the Hollywood Hills to reach the scene as the episode opens. After further investigation, I learn that the driver, Maggie Scott, was an auditor for DHS and that the "accident" was in fact a murder. Following the path of information, Brenda learns that Maggie was auditing individuals associated with LAPD, including a former cop, Joe White, who was now running a company selling communications equipment to the department.
As the case developed, it became clear that Joe was embezzling money from the transactions and it was likely Maggie was on to the criminal activity. But instead of Joe being the murderer, it turns out it was Mrs. White who took out the auditor in a desperate attempt to retain the money-spending lifestyle she had grown accustom to.
Of course, getting there wasn't very straightforward for Brenda and the squad. She had to deal with the pain from her recent surgery, catching poison oak, involvement of the FBI and the fact that Chief Pope had recently been having an affair with the victim. While it's always fun to have some challenges to deal with in the course of an investigation, I'm starting to tire of the many outside inconveniences that having been plaguing Brenda's hunt for the killers.
This season alone I've seen Brenda's investigations suffer through WMD training, no overtime, bridezilla threats, mysterious illnesses and visiting parents. And while all this can be fun (except for the terribly annoying bridezilla incident) it takes away from the pleasure of following the criminal investigation. I hope that next season sees a return to season one-caliber episodes where the only challenges Brenda faced was with the suspects themselves.
Another annoying pattern that has slowly been developing this season is an increased amount of whining from Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. From the start of the series, she's always had her quirky tendencies, but lately the writers have been overdoing it with budget-induced stresses, early-onset menopause, relationship insecurities and so on. This episode they even gave her poison oak to whine about. What happened to the confident, against-all-odds Brenda I first fell for?
As for Pope's relationship with the victim, it didn't actually hinder the investigation as much as I first believed it would. It became just a peripheral fact rather than a turning point in the case. It did, however, present a fantastic scene between Brenda and Pope regarding the chief's behavior. Brenda was alarmed by the similarities between this affair and her own with Pope, while Pope hinted that it was Brenda's desertion of their relationship that led him down the familiar path. Their entire exchange was both smartly written and expertly performed.
"Lover's Leap" was still an entertaining episode. Giving the FBI the runaround through much of the episode was a highlight, as was the way Brenda smartly turned Mrs. White's explanation of her encounter with Maggie Scott into a tearful confession of murder. That's the Brenda we like best and we hope to see more suspect interaction like this in the episodes to come.