“Rizzoli & Isles” – Suspense & Stilettos

Rizzoli and Isles

A Review of TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” by Tiffany A. White

What do we get when a Boston detective and her best friend/medical examiner solve crime together? Two strong, female characters and plenty of laughs. To be clear, these women aren’t perfect—they both have issues and insecurities—plus they are nothing alike. But regardless, they make for one fun hour of television viewing.

First we have Detective Jane Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon.

Rizzoli hails from a working class family: her dad’s a plumber; her younger brother (Colin Egglesfield) has just been released from prison; and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges), who idolizes Rizzoli, is following in his sister’s footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco). She has been stalked, tortured, and scarred by serial killers; she doesn’t have much luck in the love department; and she’s trying to fit into a man’s world. I know, I know; it’s 2013 and there are plenty of female officers on police forces across the country; but in Rizzoli’s case, her squadron is full of men.

Then we have Medical Examiner Maura Isles, played by Sasha Alexander.

Isles was raised by her adopted parents (her mother is played by Jacqueline Bissett), where she learned to focus on her studies and adapted a fabulous sense of style. How many medical examiners do you know who examine dead bodies and perform autopsies in stilettos? Her biological father (John Doman) is a Boston mafia boss, a fact she learns after discovering that a corpse on her morgue table shares her DNA and was later identified as her brother. Her biological mother (Sharon Lawrence) is a world-renowned doctor, who has invented scientific techniques to help identify victims. But here’s the kicker—Isles’ biological father told her biological mother that baby Maura died at birth. Of course, he did it for their protection, but still…

Regardless of their differences, the girls have each other.

The series, based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen, also stars Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s new partner, Detective Frost, and Bruce McGill as Rizzoli’s former partner/senior detective, Vince Korsak. Frost and Korsak are like salt and pepper—they complement each other beautifully, but like Rizzoli and Isles, they are nothing alike. Here lately, Frost spends most of his time in front of the computer and leads Rizzoli’s little brother, Frankie, around (he’s dying to get out of the uniform and become a detective), while Korsak works most of the cases by Rizzoli’s side. Throw in Dr. Isles and Rizzoli’s mom, Angela, and this group really meshes together well.

If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll probably also like Rizzoli & Isles. If you liked Angie Harmon on Baywatch Nights, Law & Order, and/or the short-lived Women’s Mystery Club, you will love her as Jane Rizzoli. If she wasn’t an actress, I might actually think Angie was in law enforcement.

Oh, and the episodes are particularly fun when Rizzoli & Isles go undercover together…


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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