This week, Amber West and I review two female-driven dramas on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday—the short-lived Whedon series, Dollhouse, and TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles.
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 2012 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. Or at least they did—season two ended with Rizzoli shooting Isles’ dad. Even though Isles has a difficult time admitting her true feelings for her biological father, he’s still her father. Will their friendship survive? Of course it will… it already has. Sorry for the spoiler…
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 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.
So how does Rizzoli & Isles officially rank? If I were rating the show in comparison to Dr. Maura Isles’ lifestyle, I’d say GTV. But Rizzoli isn’t fine wine and gourmet meals… she’s more of a beer and sandwich kinda girl. So, I’m going with the MacTV rating—pop open a beer, make a pastrami sandwich with au jus on the side, and boil some Shells-N-Cheese. It’s probably not great for our cholesterol, but it sure tastes good goin’ down.. am I right?
What do you think? Do you watch Rizzoli & Isles? How would you rate it? Who’s your favorite character? Have you read any of Tess Gerritsen’s books? I’d love to hear from you!
Now click over to Amber’s blog and see what she thinks about Joss Whedon’s short-lived series, Dollhouse.
Come back next week when Amber and I review something... it’s summer time and the heat is taking a toll on our planning ahead.
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
And, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… now available on Kindle!
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
8 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Suspense & Stilettos”
Love Rizzoli and Isles!!!
Liked Angie Harmon on Lawnorder and Sasha Alexander on NCIS. Love them as Rizzoli & Isles. What I like most is TNT leads in with reruns and the prior weeks episode.
I love this show. I had to get past the characters being so different from the books, especially Isles. She’s not nearly as weird and quirky in the books. Maura Isles is definitely my favorite character.
With The Closer ending its run, Rizzoli & Isles will become my favorite show still in production. In addition to everything good you said about the show and the characters, Neither Angie Harmon nor Sasha Alexander is difficult for a man to look at.
Thanks for the summary! I’ve been flirting with the idea of this show for a while and it looks like I’ll have to check it out, because it sounds fantastic!
Love this show–definitely one of my favorites! I have read all of the books as well, but they really don’t parallel on another very well. Even the character descriptions are very different (Rizzoli is described as short ugly in the books–definitely not a description befitting of Angie Harmon). Still, I love both the show and the books. 🙂
For even more amusement, both title characters have Twitter accounts (@JaneRizzoli and @MauraIsles), and they tweet in character throughout the week, for a fun between-episode fix. 🙂