You might think you have enough crime shows in your life but if you’re not watching Rizzoli & Isles, you don’t. I resisted watching throughout the entire duration of its first season because I figured it was something that had been done a million times before, and that between Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Covert Affairs I had enough crime-fighting in my weekly line-up. One night when looking for something to watch, I saw a commercial for the new Rizzoli & Isles episode that just so happened to be airing in an hour. All I remember about the commercial is that they said something about cutting a lady’s face off, and that intrigued me. I tuned in and I was hooked.
Now, it turned out Isles didn’t even have to cut the lady’s face off. She was about to but was stopped before she could. Despite this massive disappointment, I enjoyed the show immensely. Are there a lot of cop shows on television right now? Yes, there are, and 90% of them have the acronym “CSI” or “L&O” at the beginning, but there is one major difference when it comes to R&I: the writing. Anyone who has been subjected to my in-person, Twitter, or texted explanations of the various SVU marathons I’ve watched can attest to the fact that I enjoy that show, but that is not a show you watch for the writing. You watch it for the ridiculous plots and Benson’s angry faces. R&I has a script that is consistently funny, heartwarming and clever – all pulled off by a very capable cast of actors.
Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander are silver screen veterans. Both have been in the aforementioned acronym shows, with Angie having played ADA Abbie Carmichael in Law and Order and the first season of Law and Order: SVU and Sasha having played Agent Caitlin Todd in NCIS. I loved Abbie Carmichael, she is a favorite ADA of mine, and while I haven’t seen Sasha in NCIS her role gets brought up by everyone I tell to watch Rizzoli & Isles, so I’m assuming she was pretty good in it! They are also masters of comedy, which separates this show from other crime procedurals.
I love both of these women. Their chemistry is undeniable, and their friendship seems so genuine that whenever I see them tweet at each other I become giddy. Jane Rizzoli is a tough-as-nails cop, ready to do what it takes to protect the innocent while Maura Isles is a brilliant doctor who takes care of the dead better than some take care of the living. Rizzoli and Isles complement and compliment each other nicely. They are quick with a snappy line but also quick with a comforting word. Rizzoli has a dog named Jo Friday while Isles has a tortoise named Bass, which has saved her from possible death. Rizzoli and Isles are quite the pair, each one bringing necessary components to the crime-solving because they look at things from different angles. That’s a formula that has been done before in about a million different combinations, but never so well as in this show.
In SVU, I only care about Benson and Stabler, but in R&I, I love every single cast member. Vince Korsak, aging detective and massive animal lover, brings experience and comic relief. He is ably played by Bruce McGill of Animal House, and he seems like an absolute sweetheart. Barry Frost is an adorable and grounded partner who can deal with Rizzoli’s occasional gruffness and whose back-story I would love to learn more of. The actor who plays Frost, Lee Thompson Young, also happens to have portrayed The Famous Jett Jackson. Rizzoli’s mother, Angela, is incredibly warm and lovely to watch despite her obsession with Bill O’Reilly. Lorraine Bracco of The Sopranos toes the line between overbearing and loving very well as Angela. I am having some real struggles determining which Rizzoli brother is cuter, Frankie the fellow cop or Tommy the former inmate. Frankie, played by Jordan Bridges, wants to get out from under his sister’s shadow but at the same time has a lot of respect for her. Tommy is trying to do right now that he’s out of jail plus he has a bit of a crush on Dr. Isles. You can currently catch Colin Eggsfield, who plays Tommy, as Jennifer Love Hewitt’s brother-in-law on The Client List where he is just as adorable and good-natured.
Turner knows what it’s doing when it comes to promotion. The promos are adorable and keep getting me more and more excited for the new season. There is a Rizzoli & Isles twitter account which engages with fans and there was a fantastic Klout perk last year that I will never recover from not getting. Both Angie and Sasha are great about replying to people on Twitter, Angie’s background is even images of her fans!
It would be crazy to talk about this show without acknowledging the succesful book series it was based on. If you like the show, you’ll probably like the books because you like good writing. However, the books are very different in both tone and character portrayal. The series is written by Tess Gerittsen. Whenever you start one of the books, it is very very difficult to put it down. I stayed up reading one last night because I couldn’t determine a stopping point. The characters are harsher versions of the television show, but are likable in their own way. Much like the series of books that Dexter was based on, several plot points diverge quite a bit but you can see where inspiration was drawn from.
This is a show that needs to be watched to be appreciated. I can tell you the writing’s good and the characters are intriguing, but it really is something that will suck you in if you try it yourself. Season 3 begins on June 5th, Tuesday at 9 pm on TNT.
I really hope you’ll tune in and if you do, I’d love to chat with you about the episode! Message me here or on Twitter @emhig