It's pretty easy to compare the new TNT show Rizzoli & Isles to Cagney & Lacey -- after all, both are about a pair of female law-enforcement officers who are friends outside of work. But this pair aren't both tough street detectives -- okay, one is, but the other is a cultured medical examiner, which makes it more like Bones than anything, with Angie Harmon in the David Boreanaz role, and Sasha Alexander in the Emily Deschanel one. Only Alexander's Isles is more boring and normal than Deschanel's awkward Bones, and Harmon's Rizzoli might actually be more macho than Boreanaz's Seeley Booth. Too bad it's not a romance.
In the first episode, we learn Rizzoli's dark past -- coming from a family of Boston cops, the detective was captured and stabbed in the hands by a serial killer who is currently in jail. But when a copycat springs up, she needs to re-open old wounds (figuratively speaking) to enlist his help, and then when he escapes, that makes two serial killers she has to catch. Rizzoli is mostly pretty stoic throughout, but there are times when she turns to Isles, who is fairly humorless and has a tendency to spout encyclopedic facts when certain subjects arise. It verges on Bones-like behavior, but less condescending. And less funny. Rizzoli constantly comments on how well Isles is dressed, and I worry this is going to turn into The Tomboy and the Girly-Girl Show, which is what executives wanted Cagney & Lacey to be, before they were ignored.
Rizzoli and Isles are supposedly friends, but the relationship seems mostly professional, since they don't always trust each other's judgment and they don't seem to know much about each other outside of work. For instance:
- When Rizzoli goes to stay with Isles, she doesn't know that Isles has a massive African turtle, even though she has apparently had it for at least a few years.
- When Isles lies down on a bed next to Rizzoli, Rizzoli gets all awkward about it and asks if it's a sleepover or if Isles is attracted to her.
- Isles doesn't know what her personalized ringtone is on Rizzoli's phone (Chopin's "Funeral March").
- Rizzoli doesn't know if Isles always wanted to be a medical examiner.
Granted, a lot of this may just be bad writing, meant to elicit comedy and tease secrets that will later be revealed, but it's hard to get a bead on their friendship because of it. A burgeoning, Bones-esque love story between the two of them might actually have been more interesting, but good luck seeing that on non-Showtime television. Instead, we'll have to content ourselves with watching them passive-aggressively fight over the attentions of dreamy detectives and federal agents, if this episode's guest star (played by Billy Burke) is any indication. He doesn't appear to be a regular, sadly (unbreakable Twilight contract?), but we do get Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli's crime scene-averse partner and Lorraine Bracco as her overbearing mother. Add in Bruce McGill and Jordan Bridges, plus next week's guest star Donnie Wahlberg, and you've got a great cast, but a fairly mediocre show. The TNT specialty?
Did you see Rizzoli & Isles? Tell us what you thought below, then see what vlogger Sean Crespo thinks of the show below!
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