DROP DEAD DIVA “A Mother’s Secret” Review

Jane defends the sister Deb never knew she had while Kim helps a man retain custody of a chimpanzee on the “A Mother’s Secret” episode of DROP DEAD DIVA.

Sharon Lawrence returns as Deb’s mother Bobbie who begs Jane to represent Samantha Colby (Leelee Sobieski), a lab tech accused of stealing a nail polish formula. Sam is the daughter Bobbie gave up for adoption and Bobbie, in her grief over Deb, is desperate to make a connection. It turns out Sam invented the Rainbow Polish her boss (Robin Givens) passed off as her own and Jane has to prove it-but to the head of the cosmetics company buying the formula, not to the jury. Kim and Grayson are busy with a chimpanzee custody case, which is much more moving than it sounds, while Grayson also tries to find common ground with his former co-counsel and current date, Vanessa (Jaime Ray Newman).

This episode is all about family. Jane, who most recently has been finding her place in real Jane’s family, now has to watch Bobbie bond with another daughter while she stays mostly outside, at least in her own mind. New Jane often feels like she has no family, but she just needs to look around because everyone is there for her tonight. Fred and Stacy, obviously, but then Teri tells her that it’s best not to have everything figured out too early while Grayson reminds her that Deb always wanted a sister.

It’s easy to take Brooke Elliott for granted because she carries the show with seemingly effortless ease, but she deserves serious kudos. “A Mother’s Secret” has Jane running the emotional gamut and she nails it. From Jane’s endearing and giggly goofiness when she must stall court to her aching loneliness when Fred finds her on the roof-every feeling infuses Elliott’s face and demeanor and she can change in the blink of an eye. Her joy at Grayson’s attention flashes to self-reproach when she realizes she furthered Grayson’s romance with Vanessa then flickers to sadness before settling on a weary resignation-all in less than thirty seconds. Amazing. Equally wonderful is Sharon Lawrence. I actually love the casting of all Jane/Deb’s parents-I can see some of new Jane in all of them.

This was a heavier, less funny episode of Drop Dead Diva than we’ve had lately, but it’s also a particularly sweet one. Jane takes more baby steps toward figuring out where the pieces of her life-both Jane pieces and Deb pieces-fit and the shot of her leaving with Deb’s mother and sister is awww-worthy, as is almost everything Sonny the chimp does. As for funny stuff, jealous Parker definitely qualifies and Fred has the line of the night with “Stacy says never to joke about soft hands, panty lines, or Brangelina. Which I think is a high fiber cereal.” All in all a solid, heart-warming episode.

What do you think? Is new Jane more Deb or old Jane?

Follow me on Twitter @michstjame