Firtsly: I've watched the eps up to the 3x19, "The Haze of Wine and Roaches". I also made a mistake of looking around for spoilers and that's what I've learned (if you don't know what's going to happen next, and don't want to know, stop reading now).
This is what I've read:
*In one of the future eps Stella will be investigating a murder of her foster father (a cold case, from the look of it), and at the end, she'll let her foster sister walk
*Mac will be chasing a murderer, and said murderer will jump off a roof, and Mac would be blamed/investigated for the death
*Mac will give up his gun and badge at some point.
Now, I don't like where it's going. In my mind it's Miami lab that gets prosecuted about pretty much everything, not the NY.
Season one and two showed us that Mac really cares about the integrity of the lab. His behaviour with Danny and Aiden, especially, when they do something to endanger the lab and an investigation. It doesn't mean he doesn't care about his people, but for Mac, the lab, the evidence, the investigation and having the case air-tight is what really stands out.
Mac also, even though he's said to not like it, knows how to play the politics. He also doesn't have Horatio's tendency to piss of everyone, or Gibbs' habit of disregarding orders whenever he likes. It's quite prominent in 'Run Silent, Run Deep', and the scene with NJ cops - he gets what is needed for the investigation not by throwing his weight around, but by being polite and cooperative.
Now, Mac this season has changed. I'm not aruging OOC here, far from it, we are getting a valid gradual development of the issue - it's just that I hate where it is going.
One thing I really love about this particular CSI show is that they don't have much problems with the bosses. There was no Ecklie, team division, prosecution, moles... It's refreshing. It's nice. It lets me enjoy their emotional dysfunction and fucked-up private lives and that's what I love about New York.
And I also don't like the changes it brings into Mac's portrayal. Mac plays by the rules. He bends them, sometimes, for the sake of the investigation, but he doesn't, ever, break them. When Danny is in trouble in RSRD, he looks for *evidence* to support his innocence.
And then, in s3, it all changes. He lets a suspect go (provoking an almost open conflict with Flack) - he's right, in the end, but why did he actually do it? He pisses off the Captain a lot more than necessary - the stunt he pulls at the preccinct? Seriously. He pushes a bit too much in 'the Haze of Wine and Roaches' on the UN case - again, within the rules, but barely.
I could overlook it, if it was only about his people. After a few last s2 episodes, all endangering his people - Danny, Stella, Flack - who is, I think, to some degree also 'one of Mac's'. Everyone could get a little bit jumpy after that. But.
And then there are real fuck-ups - not necessarily his, but... Stella doesn't report the injury on the crime scene, and even when Mac learns about it, he doesn't either. And isn't that a contamination of a crime scene? It should be in a report, shouldn't it? Letting Stella carry a case that she's emotionally involved in, as spoilers say, a murder of her foster father?
They're taking it in a direction I really don't like, and I fear that the personal relationships - Mac/Peyton and Danny/Lindsay, also will facture in the entire Lab's problems.
Welcome to Shit Creek. We're out of paddles.
I think I preferred it when we had the personal drama, as cheesy as it is at time.