TNT debuts Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles
Television Review: Rizzoli & Isles, "Pilot: See One. Do One. Teach One."
by R.J. Carter
Published: July 12, 2010
Okay, perhaps some of you out there got excited when you heard that TNT was introducing a new crime drama series, Rizzoli & Isles. To me, it looked like it was going to be another police procedural with female leads -- a prettier Cagney & Lacey, given the involvement of Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as the title characters.
Of course, if you were excited, you were probably fans of Tes Gerritsen's crime writing, whereas I had yet to encounter it. So encountering the concept with a completely fresh perspective, unsullied by expectations, I can tell you with all honesty that... I really liked this pilot episode.
Harmon plays Jane Rizzoli, a south Boston homicide detective (and their only female one). Her overprotective mother (The Sopranos' Lorraine Bracco) constantly intrudes with overtures toward Jane quitting the force, and her younger brother Frankie (Jordan Bridges) is on track to be just like his big sister.
Rizzoli's tomboyish demeanor is offset by her friend, Medical Examiner Maura Isles (Alexander), who always looks like she's ready for a photo shoot -- even when just awakened. She's also something of a brainiac, always ready with an observation based on obscure factoids or offering unrequested diagnoses when someone walks into the room with an injury or ailment. In that regard, she's something like Bones' character Temperance Brennan (in a good way).
The pilot episode for the series is a one-hour adaptation of Gerritsen's novel, The Apprentice, which finds Rizzoli encountering a murder that mimics the M.O. of a serial killer she recently put away -- a murdering surgeon who captured Rizzoli and nearly ended her life if not for the timely intervention of her former partner (Bruce McGill). Now Rizzoli not only has a copycat to find, but she's saddled with a green partner (FlashForward's Lee Thompson Young) as the imprisoned surgeon seeks to finish what he started with Jane. It's a bit of a condensed "Silence of the Lambs" and it takes the Odd Couple friendship of Jane and Maura as given without much exploration -- they're billed as the team, but the overall impression is that the "team" is much larger than just the two women. However, I expect that dynamic to come more into focus as the series progresses, and if future episodes can maintain the excitement and tension levels set by the pilot, Rizzoli & Isles will easily become the next "must watch" drama for TNT.
Rizzoli & Isles, "See One. Do One. Teach One." debuts Monday, July 12 at 10pm | 9pm CT on TNT.