Like many television shows, the debut season of this TNT summertime hit ended on a terrible cliff-hanger, one of the worst kind – one in which its leads was in danger of losing their life. For those of us who watch the shows on DVD, it was a year before we’d see how that jaw-dropping story resolved itself.
A bullet may have been pulled out of her but detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is going stir-crazy in her apartment – an apartment that is packed full of merchandise from the home shopping network. What she is not ready to face is attending a banquet honoring her and a young veteran for their acts of bravery. She may have been one of the youngest women to ever make detective but Jane doesn’t see taking a bullet – even if it was self inflicted, to stop the bad guy as heroic, instead she along with her fellow policemen see it as doing their job. Nevertheless, Boston’s chief ME and her best friend Maura (Sasha Alexander) drags her to the dinner whether Jane likes it or not. There Jane makes an awkward speech, finds her mother (Larraine Bracco) in the audience only to learn her parents are divorcing, re-connects with an old high school flame (Chris Vance) and bonds with the young soldier who took a bullet to save the men in her convoy. Then just when everyone is getting ready to leave with the press on-location shooting the event, the young woman’s car blows up and leaves Jane in a determined state to get back to work. Only thing is, she has to convince her boss she is ready and medically able to return.
Maura’s autopsy reveals that the bullet was left in her shoulder, begging more questions. Meanwhile Jane’s current partner Detective Frost (Lee Thompson Young) and ex partner Vince (Bruce McGill) begin their investigation with the help of Jane’s little brother, Frankie (Jordan Bridges) who has aspirations of becoming a detective instead of a beat cop. After getting permission to participate in some of the case load, Jane begins piecing together clues that don’t add up to the Private’s heroic story as the press reported it. Could there more to the story that led up to her taking a bullet?
Although a relative new-comer, it didn’t take long for this show to cement itself as one of my most favorites. Joining TNT which is also home to the Emmy-winning The Closer, many fans compared this lead-in to The Closer as not being nearly as intelligent and while it may not be, I don’t think it is fair to compare the two. It is something we all do with our television but this show takes a much lighter view as a cutting-edge crime drama and instead works harder – and better as a dramedy in which friendship is the more prominent component. Ironically the big to-do from its freshman season that suggested (critics questions) Maura and Jane were homosexual becomes a running joke in its second year. While it is wrong, I couldn’t help but laugh each time the two played up being a “couple” because as the viewer, we know they are not homosexual and are in fact “normal” girl friends. That is what makes it so darn comedic – and Harmon and Alexander play it up perfectly; just the right mix of awkwardness and amusement at themselves.
A great deal of the cases appeal to our humanity instead of just being a fun crime mystery to solve in forty-some minutes like a case in which an undercover detective whom Jane once worked with learns his daughter was kid-napped or one in which a mother is murdered but her unborn child saved. Each of them remind us that there are cruel people in the world and give us a renewed sense of pride in those who swear to selflessly protect us. Then there are the characters. We meet up again with characters from the past who have passed through Jane or Maura’s lives and are also introduced to Maura’s mother and Tommy (Colin Egglesfield), Jane’s baby brother who was in jail for three years. Ironically, writer’s confused Jane’s opinion of her messed up brother because prior to this season she was not planning on even seeing him. First time he is mentioned here, Jane remarks that she is writing him. Plus there are other characters that pop in now and again while certain nemesis’ are finally put to rest – and may I just say: It was about time! Not having to see the faces of the people who tortured these “good guys” is a welcome change.
Producer’s also put together a great cast who can pull off these characters. Angie and Sasha are fabulous together in a natural sort of way that allows the audience to glimpse moments that seem more ad-libbed than scripted and those are the scenes that endear these crime fighters to us. Supporting actors like Bridges and Bracco also add a great deal to the betterment of the show and I loved meeting Tommy – especially when we realize he and Maura like each other (much to Jane’s dismay). Based on a series of novels, this show has a lot of ground to cover before it has reached its peak. I love the personalities of this group (like Maura’s passion for shoes or inability to draw conclusions because of her scientific mind and Jane’s annoyance at ever having to dress up) and the rotating characters that writer’s don’t forget about but I wish they’d either find a more permanent place on the show or be given a reason to not be brought off and on our television screen. It can only work for so long. Faults and all Rozzoli and Isles is a great deal of fun, in the tradition of Bones you won’t want to miss out on these adventures.
(Rated TV14: Multiple cases give implications of the murder but usually avoid being graphic. Victims are stabbed, shot [likewise the cops have to shoot suspects] or their throats are slit; blood is usually found at the scene. Others still are raped [one victim was held in captivity for years and was sexually abused]. One case involves a trio of witches who are said to be possessed; one is burned alive, another drowned. Maura bluntly discusses Jane’s need to have sex because of medical reasons and we see Jane twice with a man in her room; once fully clothed [they are interrupted] and the second time in a “morning-after” shot. Maura is likewise involved with two men in the season and is willing to engage in a fling once; Jane and Maura pretend to be lesbians twice. There are some crude comments about body parts and profanities like GD, h*ll, da*n or sh*t.)