June 26, 2013



RIZZOLI & ISLES:  Tuesday 9PM on TNT

TNT set the last cornerstone of its extensive but unambitious summer schedule in place with tonight’s return of RIZZOLI & ISLES, one of the network’s mainstays, now back for its 4th season.  Like BonesR&I is a relationship show that finds the time to solve a weekly murder, although it’s less of an ensemble and more of a vehicle for stars Angie Harmon (homicide detective Jane Rizzoli) and Sasha Alexander (medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles), as close a set of buddies as has ever carried a buddy-cop show.

The Season 4 premiere, written by series creator Janet Tamaro and directed by Michael Katleman, picked up a few months after last year’s finale, and leaped right into the aftereffects of its developments.  Maura was nettled that she hadn’t gotten any appreciation for having donated her kidney to half-sister Cailin, even though she’d specifically asked that Cailin not know who the donor was, but not to worry–by episode’s end it turned out that Cailin had figured it out and thanked her.  Meanwhile, Jane’s soldier beau Casey (Chris Vance) returned from what turned out to be less dire spinal surgery than last season had forecast (he’d been misdiagnosed), on his way to a full recovery–but by the morning after their happy reunion, he’d told her that he was going back to Afghanistan, supposedly for one last mission, and we all know how soldiers (and cops and criminals) heading out for one last go-round tend to fare.

Amidst all this, there was a perfunctory murder, of a state senator who turned out to be an Erin Brockovich-type activist.  Without time to develop a lot of suspects, the only question was which of the victim’s seemingly heartbroken relatives would be identified as the culprit.  (It was the mousy sister).

Rizzoli & Isles isn’t a show that puts much effort into its plotting.  It’s mainly a structure for the easy rapport between Harmon and Alexander, as they lovingly snipe at each other and throw quips at everyone else who crosses their path.  (It’s no wonder the pair has become a fan-fiction shipper magnet.)  They’re strong performers, easily able to carry the show, which would barely exist without them–even veterans like Lorraine Bracco as Rizzoli’s mother and Bruce McGill as a fellow detective have little to do.

The ratings have been strong for Rizzoli & Isles, with 5.5M viewers showing up for last summer’s shows and an 18-49 rating in the 1.0-1.2 range (the winter mini-season, airing against full network competition, was a bit lower).  The show seems to have a fair amount of life left in it, and fans should be pleased to have it back to do its reliable thing during TV’s slow season.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."