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July 14, 2010

Rizzoli & Isles 1.1: "See One, Do One, Teach One"

TV: Rizzoli & Isles

The short version: Rizzoli & Isles was far from perfect, but it held my attention, so I'll keep watching for a while. The long version: after the jump.

I'll admit I was a bit creeped out at the beginning of the pilot. The opening bit in which we actually see the crime being committed showed a little too much actual violence than I usually like in my procedurals, but if I like the show otherwise, I can deal. Really, this was a lot creepier overall than I had anticipated, but that's not necessarily bad. Hoyt (the Surgeon) was a really disturbing foe, and I'm curious to see how they will keep future cases at the same level since presumably future villains won't all have history with Rizzoli. When Hoyt popped out of that body bag, I was honestly shocked and a little scared. Good job, show!

A few notes on production: I enjoyed the Irish theme music, although it seemed an odd choice given that Rizzoli is supposed to be Italian. I suppose the Irish music was supposed to help situate us in Boston, but really, I wouldn't have known it was supposed to be Boston if they hadn't said so. This is better than an annoyingly bad Boston imitation, I suppose, but still a bit of a letdown. We'll see how much they do with location in future episodes. (I am, for the record, glad that the various actors aren't really attempting Boston accents, because those usually end up being distractingly bad.) The color seems very saturated in the flashbacks, and the rest of the show is a little washed out, which is an odd choice. Will there be lots of flashbacks in the future? Hard to tell.

Now, the characters: I liked Angie Harmon as Lindsay Boxer in Women's Murder Club, and so far I like her similar portrayal of Jane Rizzoli here. Yes, the tomboy thing was made a bit much of, but I'll allow that they were establishing her character in the first episode and give them a chance to stop hitting us over the head with that in the future. And I really liked that the guys didn't have to rescue her. So far, she's a consistent and reasonably believable character. I really like her family so far, although some of the sibling rivalry stuff is a little heavy-handed. Her mom is great - of course she would express her fear for her daughter's safety by commenting on her makeup choices - and I hope we see her dad soon.

Sasha Alexander's Maura Isles is a less well-drawn character, at least so far. It's like they just copied Tempe Brennan from Bones, but then decided they needed a girly-girl to balance the tomboy thing. So they smashed the two together, and it doesn't really work. I mean, how many socially awkward scientists do you know who are also fashion plates? I'll give them another few episodes to try to figure this out. Similarly, the show couldn't seem to decide what the relationship between Rizzoli and Isles was supposed to be. There were some references made to them being close friends, but at times it seemed like they barely knew each other. And - sure, there are some people I see at work every day, virtually never see outside of work, and yet would not hesitate to call in an emergency, so that's not my issue, exactly. It's fine if the characters themselves aren't entirely sure of their relationship, but the show needs to stop telling us one thing about it and showing us something else.

For me, the best part of this episode was Billy Burke's guest turn as an FBI agent involved with the case. "Bella's dad from Twilight" was something of a revelation as a romantic interest, and I really wish he were sticking around. Hopefully they'll bring him back at some point.

Thankfully, it seems that the other highlight of the episode, Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli's partner Barry Frost, will be sticking around. The Famous Jett Jackson is all grown up, folks, and he's hot! And he can act! (He had a great guest spot on The Good Guys this week too.) I immediately bought his rapport with Rizzoli, and loved the way they worked together and were quick to defend each other in various ways when necessary. And yet it does not seem like the show wants us to see any romantic or sexual tension between the characters, which is kind of refreshing. If the show were Rizzoli & Frost, I'd be all in. I'm not quite sold on Rizzoli & Isles, but I'll give it a chance.

Posted by Kat at July 14, 2010 02:00 PM

This show is okay, but the Irish music when she is Italian is a detail that seems careless. And I see bits of many other better shows combined in to this one..like, hot FBI man (Closer)girl cop with science geek friend (Saving Grace)etc., etc....for that matter, they could have kept Grace going instead of this one, for my money.

Posted by: Karen at July 27, 2010 01:23 AM
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