Let me start off by saying I was suprised how much I enjoyed this episode. I won\'t get in to why I was surprised quite yet, but this is a satisfying case nonetheless with strong performances from all our regular cast.
Most notably, this is the first time in the series run we are without Jinny. She is mentioned several times, but she is on maternity leave. However, we do start the episode with a quick toast between Kate, Magda, Raina, Nate and Stacey to the newest member of Central Division--John Exstead Jr. II. I guess the baby isn\'t getting Hank\'s name.
Anyway, with one inspector gone the writers/producers felt the need to bring in a guest star in the form of a new floating inspector Regan Gilancy (Roma Downey). In all honesty, this is why I personally was expecting to not care for this episode.
On the one hand I can see why the writers/producers would bring in a special guest during Nancy\'s absence. With Jinny out, we are only left with three full fledged inspectors at the Division (down from five in Season 3). Not to mention, arguably Jinny is one of--if not the most popular and central characters on the show (solely going based on internet reaction). I completely understand the producers wanting to bring in a relatively known television personality (Touched By An Angel\'s Roma Downey) onto the show to spark ratings and keep viewers interested.
However, viewers are having a hard enough time accepting characters like Stacey who were introduced at the beginning of Season 4. So did the writers really think viewers would be able to care much about a temporary inspector introduced over halfway into the last season and who will be gone just as quickly?
Not to mention Regan has a hidden agenda, which is obvious from the get go, even if we don\'t see too much of it until the end of this episode. Again, why spend time on the personal problems of someone just introduced instead of on one of the characters we already know and love?
So yeah, Regan aside, this is still a great episode. For one thing, this episode (and the following one as well) focus heavily on the case at hand. This show has always tried to balance the personal storylines with the police work, but in Season 3 and 4 it sometimes seems the focus has become increasingly personal. This is not something I personally mind, but it is a police show and it is nice to have episodes that take us back to the basics--and away from all the personal soap operas.
What we have here is Sara Allen. A dead woman, a former junkie, who is found after an overdose. Is it a suicide? Murder? Well, that\'s up to the inspectors to decide.
Digging into her personal life, the inspectors find that Sara had gotten her life cleaned up and was working as a janitor at a Child Services Agency.
What the inspectors found instead was that Sara had a daughter she had given up for adoption and was working at the Agency to track her daughter down until a few days ago when she was fired.
Magda goes undercover at the agency and meets the overworked employees who have been burned out by the system. Through research she comes to find out all records of Sara\'s daughter\'s existence in the foster care system have been obliterated--as well as the existence of a few other children. Where are the children?
Again, to make a long story short what it comes down to is that Bob, the guy at the child care agency has erased Sara\'s daughters records, as well as that of a few of her friends, and had been acting as their pimps. One can only assume that Sara found out and he promptly killed her--either that or he was trying to prevent her from continuing the search for her daughter.
Like I said, the personal here is kept to a minimum with the exception of the introduction of Regan. By the end of the episode, Kate is onto Regan and we find out that Regan\'s real reason for being in San Francisco is to find her schizo son who is the main suspect in the murder of his ex girlfriend. However, it\'s hard to figure out exactly how Kate feels about Regan\'s agenda quite yet, though it seems likely she isn\'t thrilled.
One more note on Regan, it\'s not Roma Downey that\'s the problem. However her character seems to have no discernable personality outside of \"mother\" and she is even introduced as a bit of a know it all. Again, did we really need a fill in for Jinny?
But overall an enjoyable episode and an enjoyable case. Now if we can just make Regan disappear...