Adding to our theme of Heroines this month, Rizzoli and Isles can be seen streaming on Hulu and Amazon. There will be spoilers in this review.
Meet homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and her best friend/co-worker Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles. Together they, and the rest of their team solve murders in the city of Boston.
Jane Rizzoli is the oldest of three, she has a great knack for interrogation, and loves baseball. Maura is the adopted daughter of Harvard professors, she cannot lie, and has a pet tortoise. Sergeant Korsak is Jane’s former partner. He has a soft spot for animals, is a gifted musician, and has been married three times. Detective Barry Frost is Jane’s current partner. He get nauseous at the sight of gore, is the team’s tech guru, and will break your heart. Frankie Rizzoli Jr. is Jane’s baby brother and a beat cop trying to make detective. Susie Chang is Dr. Isles assistant. She is serious, honest, and makes dioramas to help her think. Angela Rizzoli is Jane and Frankie’s mother. She is a great cook, human lie detector, and recently divorced from Frankie Rizzoli Sr. Tommy Rizzoli is the baby Rizzoli. He’s an ex-con, chess genius, and single dad. Nina Holiday is a former Chicago cop, tech guru, and owns a wedding hat(this is explained in the show, but it’s also exactly what it sounds like). She is the eventual replacement of Det. Frost. Kent Drake is Scottish, a former army doctor, and a Kiss fan. He is the eventual replacement of Susie.
Clearly there are more characters I could list, but these are the main group. They work together, play together, and sometimes (not often) consider dating. Jane and Maura are both single, so there are boyfriends and hook-ups that make appearances. You get to meet all of Maura’s parents, both of Frost’s parents, 2 out of 3 of Korsak’s exes, and Jane’s informant, Rondo. Plus all the murder victims, suspects, witnesses, etc.
This show started out as a cut and paste police procedural. They threw in a serial killer who was obsessed with Jane, and a bio dad who turned out to be a mob boss with a signature kill. It wasn’t until midway through the first season that it became something special. Money for Nothing is the name of the episode. It cemented in my mind that these two women were actually friends. Often a show will say that characters are friends, and then they never show the character interact in any way other than colleagues/barely interact.
Money for Nothing showed that even though these two women come from different backgrounds, they will work on their issues together, support each other, and laugh. I think the thing I like the most about this show is the laughter. It feels genuine and welcoming. When I watch, I feel included in the jokes, I get a ball of emotions clogged in my throat during the sad scenes, and a jaw ache during the tense situations. This show engages you on multiple levels.
There are two major deaths in this show. The first one is Det. Frost, who died in a car crash. We never see his body. That’s because the actor Lee Thompson Young, died in 2014. It left a major hole in the team, and you can tell that the actors who worked with him were grieving through the remainder of the show. The second death was that of Susie Chang. She is murdered off screen, but you get to see a body. She’s never really mentioned after her funeral, which makes me as a viewer a little sad. I’m not sure what happened, but I missed her when she was gone. I hope I’m not the only one.
The show isn’t perfect though. It shows a technologically advanced police force, that I don’t think exists anywhere. There’s apparently a program through all of Boston that records and reports any gunshot throughout the city, or the fact that every corner has video surveillance… Also, anytime there’s a shooting, the officers involved disarmed the criminal by grabbing the gun and tossing it away. I thought the police were supposed to kick the guns away, to avoid getting their fingerprints on the weapon. I could be wrong. Everything I know about police procedure I learned from TV…
4.5 out of 5 stars