Rizzoli & Isles official poster

Adventures in Binging: ‘Rizzoli & Isles’

So earlier this past summer, I binge-watched Rizzoli & Isles. It’s a show based on a book series about Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner, Dr. Maura Isles (hence the show’s name). Together, they work at BPD to solve crimes. Simple enough. And the seven seasons the show goes on to have are what you’d typically expect in a procedural police show. A lot of police cases, some family drama, and a friendship I think all of us can relate to having.

Jane Rizzoli

Jane Rizzoli (played by Angie Harmon)

Even though the show is about both women, I personally found that most of it revolved around Jane. She’s a tomboy that many can relate to. Plus, there isn’t too much police jargon to understand. Especially if you’ve watched your fair share of police shows in the past. So she’s both laid back and relatable. Her family includes her parents and two younger brothers, Frankie and Tommy. And her family’s constantly around and it’s established early on in the series. At least her mom and her brothers.

But Jane’s (and subsequently her family’s) relationship with her father is fairly rocky after he leaves Angela. And appropriately so. But I feel like it took a while for the writers to address it. Frank just kind of leaves to Florida for a couple seasons. Then, he tells Frankie he’s getting married all of a sudden. It’s understandable but this plot point comes out of the blue. And it’s a bit jarring considering that they don’t even mention him for almost two years.

Maura Isles

Maura Isles (played by Sasha Alexander)

Maura on the other hand is the ME. She’s incredibly brilliant, intelligent, and caring, which makes her another very likable character. But her dialogue, especially when it’s pertaining to the police cases, is full of medical jargon. But after a while, it’s easy to pick up on. However, even Jane needs to ask for clarification sometimes.

It isn’t until early on in their third season that we meet Maura’s biological mother. Before then, we learn that she was adopted into a very rich family. So she went to private boarding schools and then to Oxford. And it’s exactly what you’d expect from someone as smart as Maura. Plus, she practically had an unlimited cash flow for her entire life. But then, we finally learn her true patronage. It turns out her father’s a major mobster. But her mother’s a brilliant doctor, which isn’t surprising given how smart Maura is. But for obvious reasons, problems arise.

The Best Plotlines

Jane Rizzoli (played by Angie Harmon) with someone holding a gun to her head behind her.

Although the majority of the show’s episodes are very much standalone, there are a few story arcs that make up a handful of episodes. And sometimes, they span multiple seasons. They’ll start one in one season but come back to it a season later. The bigger, more interesting ones, usually pertain to Jane. Specifically, criminals that get to Jane. The biggest ones are Charles Hoyt and Alice Sands. We’re introduced to Hoyt, a serial killer, in the first episode and we’re reminded of him throughout the series. That is until he dies from cancer. Then there’s Alice Sands. She ends up being an old classmate from the academy that stalks Jane. But thankfully, Jane wins in the end after she shoots her.

Maura (played by Sasha Alexander) visiting her foster mom, Constance (played by Jacqueline Bisset), in the hospital while her biological dad, Paddy Doyle (played by ‎John Doman), covers her mouth

Maura’s big stories have more to do with her family. It starts in the show’s ninth episode when Maura finds out that the newest body on her autopsy table is actually her brother. Then starts the cycle of learning about her biological father, a gang mobster named Paddy Doyle. Seasons later, she finds her biological mom, Dr. Hope Martin. Then, we find out Paddy lied to everyone involved. First, Paddy told Maura’s foster mother, Constance, that Maura’s mother died giving birth to her. Then, he told everyone (Hope included) that Maura died after her birth. And lastly, he told Maura that her mother gave her up for a better life.

The Best Episode

Barry Frost (played by Lee Thompson Young)

But my favorite episode would have to be “…Goodbye” where they think about Barry Frost, one of Jane’s partners, who died in a tragic car accident. But in reality, the actor that played Barry, Lee Thompson Young, suffered from bipolar disease and committed suicide. The way the writers handled his death was, at least in my opinion, graceful and respectful. They didn’t make him a case of the week, as I call it. Instead, they really took their time in grieving his death. And they didn’t pay much attention to how he died because if they did, it would’ve been disrespectful.

Overall, it was a great show. There are episodes that are connected but plenty of standalone ones. It’s exactly what’d you expect from a buddy cop show. It’s funny, has heart, and there are more than enough crimes to solve. Have any of you watched Rizzoli & Isles? What do you guys think of it and what’s your favorite episode?

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