Sticking: Rizzoli & Isles

Posted on June 20, 2012

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Other than Agent Cody Banks, I can’t remember watching anything with Angie Harmon in it before this. Although she’s not related to Mark Harmon, he and she both starred in series with Sasha Alexander. We knew Sasha as Agent Caitlin Todd on NCIS.

More than that, though, we saw that their co-stars were Lee Thompson Young (who impressed us on the short-lived FlashForward) and Bruce McGill (who we’ve watched ever since Animal House).

So when we saw ads for a show with that cast back in 2010, we were inclined to give it a look.

We Watched It

Detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is an Italian Catholic cop in Boston. Doctor Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) is a highly-educated coroner from a wealthy background. They have nothing in common, except their dedication to law and order.

Sticking

The more I thought about the “WTF” elements of this show, the more I wanted to categorize this as “On the Bubble.”

Then I came to my senses.

This show is just too easy to watch and enjoy. The chemistry between characters is fun. The actors are all good enough to take us along on their emotional journeys. The writing is consistent – and I mean that as a compliment. The two female stars are gorgeous. Their lives are human enough to be relatable, but different enough from ours to interest us.

The cast also includes Lorraine Bracco as Angela Rizzoli, Jane’s mother; Jordan Bridges as Frankie Rizzoli, Jr., Jane’s younger brother and a beat cop who wants to make detective; and guest stars like Chazz Palmintieri (as Frank Rizzoli, Jane’s father), Billy Burke, Darryl Alan Reed, Jacqueline Bisset (as Constance Isles, Maura’s adoptive mother), Donnie Wahlberg, Lolita Davidovich, and Ed Begley, Jr.

So, yeah, we’re sticking with this one.

WTF

Where should I start…

Jane Rizzolli is haunted by the serial killer who tortured her. It’s melodramatic and over the top. Why can’t anyone do their job because they’re dedicated to it? Why does there have to be some larger-than-life tragedy that motivates a character? Not everyone can be Batman.

Oh, and her older brother is a convicted felon, and her father is trying to annul his marriage to her mom.

Speaking of which, Maura Isles became a coroner because, when the series began, she didn’t know who her mother was, and her estranged father was Patrick “Paddy” Doyle, an Irish crime kingpin. Again, melodramatic and clichéd.

Detective Barry Frost (Lee Thompson Young) also has daddy issues. His father is an Admiral (seen once, played by Ernie Hudson) who disapproves of his son’s calling. Detective Frost, by the way, can’t stand the sight of dead bodies but compensates by being a technical whiz kid.

Detective Vince Korsak (Bruce McGill) is rising above his original clichés of being the sexist, technophobic, doughnut-eating, old-school cop. We’ve learned that he’s loyal, smart, and a USMC Vietnam veteran who’s struggling with the changes that come with age.

So my “WTF” issues came up the most in the first season, less in the second, and the third started out dealing with Maura and Jane’s friendship struggling after Jane shot Paddy Doyle. I miss the cop shows of the ‘70s, when people joined the police force without all these heavy, personal, motivations.

Thoughts?

Do you watch any shows that rose above their initial, clichéd, material?

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Posted in: television