In L.A., even the cops are starstruck. Det. Charlotte Justice (Inner City Blues, 1999), who grew up idolizing the achievements of black actor-turned-director Maynard Duncan, catches the case when one of the ailing Maynard’s bedside guests adds something lethal to his IV drip. His wife Ivy refuses to release his medical records, his pastor is a major beneficiary in his will, the underwriter of his unfinished documentary on blacks in Hollywood may have forged his name on a property deal, and his nurse has ties to serial killer Angelo Clemenza, and is near to being railroaded by Justice’s superiors—one of whom, Lt. Firestone, has been sexually harassing Justice and Latina detective Gena Cortez. Almost killed when a Firestone-engineered setup results in a major shootout, the women must unite against racial, ethnic, and sexual misconduct in LAPD Robbery-Homicide while not exactly trusting each other. Justice’s mother wants her to quit; her boyfriend, Dr. Aubrey Scott, wants her to commit to marriage; and every Duncan hanger-on, from the housekeeper with the wandering accent to the illegitimate son who may have been Duncan’s lover, has a secret to keep from her. There’ll be another murder, a hospital demise, and the suicide of a suspect in Justice and Cortez’s custody before Duncan’s death and life are laid bare and Firestone is dangling from Internal Affairs tenterhooks.
Black Hollywood, from its early days to the present, with glitter and tarnish, prejudice and networking, and a heroine with guarded heart and smash-mouth nerve. Not quite equal to Justice’s debut, but still a comer.