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Rizzoli and Isles - 7 Season's - Time to Say Goodbye?

Rizzoli and Isles, Looking back at the series

The Rizzoli and Isles series follows cases investigated by Boston Homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and Chief Medical examiner Maura Isles.Janet Tamaro and Bill Haber developed the series based on the besting selling books by Tess Gerritsen.

Angie Harmon plays Jane Rizzoli and no stranger to playing a cop. Previous TV credits were Law and Order and Women’s Murder Club.

Dr. Maura Isles played by Sasha Alexander who was best known for N.C.I.S

7 season's and 105 episodes later it's sadly coming to an end.

Janet Tamaro was the showrunner, executive producer for season 1-4 and Jan Nash took over the helm in Season 5 to present.
Despite a slight drop off in ratings, the show is still as popular as when it first aired 6 years ago. Each year more episodes were being added to the series until seasons 5 and 6 were 18 episodes long. For a show that was just supposed to be a summer filler, it was the networks highest rated.
However, the powers that be seems to decide it wasn’t a fit for TNT’s upcoming program schedule and it was cancelled much to the anger of fans.

For US viewers TNT is currently showing a marathon airing every episode up until tonight’s finale.

So let’s go back and take a look at Rizzoli and Isles starting with Season 1 in the summer of 2010 and the characters.

Jane Rizzoli a tough Boston Homicide Detective who is called to a crime scene whose MO resembles a killer she recently put away at personal cost.
Maura Isles, who looks like a fashion model but seems slightly socially award. The brilliant Chief Medical Examiner. Who prefers working on the dead over the living.
Barry Frost (Lee Thompson Young) Jane’s new partner in Homicide who is very green not only in the lack of experience but he gets sick at crime scenes.
Vince Korsak(Bruce McGill) an old school cop, Jane’s former partner who is mad as he doesn’t know why Jane asked for a new one. We also learn he has a soft spot for animals.
Frankie Rizzoli (Jordan Bridges) Jane’s younger brother a beat cop who looks up to Jane despite the brother and sister teasing.
Angela Rizzoli (Lorraine Bracco) Jane’s mother and Frank Rizzoli Sr (Chazz Palminteri) Jane’s father. A typical blue collar Boston family.

Season 1 wasn’t split into two parts, just one run of 10 episodes’ The first episode ‘See One, do one, teach one’ was chilling making you realize this was not your run of a mill procedural drama. You also get to see Maura and Jane’s friendship is fairly new in the fact she hasn’t been to her house yet (a place in the future she spends a great deal of time). We meet Maura’s pet, Bass the tortoise and Jane gets her dog, both vanished in later seasons and we were left with a little explanation until recently.
Most significant is we meet Jane’s Nemesis, Charles Hoyt a serial killer who has an obsession with Jane. Two episodes feature him in the first season. With some shocks for Jane.
Maura, who we learn was adopted by a wealthy Boston family gets a shock of her own in this first season when a half-brother turns up on her autopsy table. She soon learns she is the child of a former Irish mob enforcer Paddy Doyle and was put up for adoption to keep her safe from his enemies.
In this season we get to know the characters, their backgrounds and each week they work together to solve a crime. The crimes were complex enough to hold your interest but what really shone through was the friendship between the two lead characters. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander had a chemistry that shows through on screen and the ‘Womance’ had begun. There is also romance on the cards with Jane and Agent Dean who is tasked by the FBI in the Hoyt case, though their timing never seems right. By the last episode, Maura is pushed to the limit trying to save Jane’s brother’s life when they are held hostage at the BPD. Jane is held at gunpoint but shoots through herself in a gripping finale scene.

Rizzoli and Isles was a hit. I believe it was the number one cable show at the time.

Instead of sticking to the same formal things shifted slightly in Season 2.One thing that seemed noticeable during the season was it tended to bring in a lighter tone and more comedy. While we still had a few gritty crimes but the dark edge seemed to be gone. The cast, however, seemed more comfortable in their roles and with each other showing through on screen.
In ‘We don’t need another hero ‘(this started the trend of naming episodes after song titles) Janes gets another love interest in the form of old flame Casey, who helps her and Maura investigate the case with military connections.
Another big change was Frank Sr, Jane’s father had left Angela, also leaving a lot of debt. Maura comes to the rescue and Angela moves into the guest house in the new house Maura brought.
We get to meet Jane’s other brother, who was in prison, Tommy Rizzoli and Maura’s adoptive mother Constance Isles. In the episode ‘Sailor man’ Maura and Janes came up with the term LLBFF, Lifelong best friends forever. As Jane and Maura convince an old flame of Janes who has a keen interest in Maura they are in fact a couple, a fact some fans had been shipping (Rizzles) since the first season. It was also the first season they split in two and the mid-season finale ‘Remember Me’ had Jane and Maura locked in a prison with Charles Hoyt. As Hoyt is about to kill Maura, Jane mange’s to break free killing Hoyt. However, he will be the stuff of nightmares in the future and spurns another protege for Jane to deal with. My criticism of this story was Jane's birthday party, the poor woman had been through enough without that. It also came across a little silly after the drama.
Season 2 returned with two storylines that had their friendship at breaking point. Firstly, in ‘He Aint heavy, He’s my brother’ where Maura is ordered to keep information back concerning Jane’s brother Tommy. We see their first big fight, however, they soon make up. Giving us a scene that even had the author of the books commenting on the chemistry. (The term she used is eye sex. Yes, it’s a thing) between the lead characters and once again the internet was on fire about the nature of the relationship. Especially when Maura tells Janes she loves her over her brother Tommy. The finale ‘Burning down the house’ saw Maura’s adoptive mother back in town and she is injured saving Maura. Jane has a visitor of her own as Agent Dean is back. We meet Senior criminalist Susie Chang and Maura sets herself up as bait for the killer. Things turn sour though when Maura’s biological father, Paddy Doyle, comes back and Jane is forced to shot him. Maura is upset and you wonder if their friendship will ever be the same.

In Season 3 the girls are not speaking, Maura discovers more about her past in ‘What doesn’t kill you’ and Paddy is fighting for his life. Jane sends Agent Dean on his way after he used the information she gave him to get to Paddy. Maura and Jane aren’t speaking but when a case puts Maura’s life in danger it’s up to Janes to save her in turn their friendship is restored.
I know a lot of people said recently it moved away from the crime and more about the family’s drama but this started back towards the end of season 2 and season 3. It wasn’t about the crime of the week but the focus had shifted more on the characters and their lives which we have come to expect.
The focus was still mainly on the two leads and featured storylines that put them both in danger.
Maura tracks down her biological mother a Doctor Hope Martin and learns she has a half-sister Cailin but things don’t go as planned as Hope was lead to believe Maura was dead. Janes picks up a stalker and when she disappears they all must race to save her before he snaps. Maura learns Casey is back but after being injured he does not want to continue his relationship with Jane.
Jane becomes an Aunt but it seems Tommy might not have been the father as both he and her dad slept with the same woman.
Maura has a hint of romance after a guy is found alive on her autopsy table (a part of his anatomy rising gave it away) however it turns deadly in the mid-season finale ‘Melt my heart to stone’ when it's discovered he wants Maura as a trophy, not a girlfriend and Jane rushes to save her.
Season finale ‘No more drama in my life’ has the crew trying to save Frost and Tommy after a building collapses on them. And Maura must decide if she will donate her kidney to her half – sister Cailin.
Even though Maura and Hope’s relationship is still very strained.

Season 4 kicks off with ‘We are family ‘Maura is still recovering from surgery and Frankie gets his promotion at last to detective (though all he seemed to do was whine this season and got on my nerves). Casey returned much to Jane's surprise. Casey tells her his injuries weren’t as severe as first diagnosed and is still in the army and once again leaves, however, another old flame returns a former partner from the drug unit.
A fan favorite of the series was ‘A killer in High Heels’ were Maura becomes the suspect in a murder ending up in prison. Jane soon discovers the truth that she was set up and drugged.
More secrets are revealed as Paddy is put on trial and his past includes the murder of the lieutenant’s family. Maura also discovers her biological mother Dr. Hope Martin still had contact with him through the years. The mid- Season finale has Jane deciding on her future as Casey proposes and Maura has to deal with her paternal grandfather who is released from prison.
Season 4 Jane seems to act more out of character than the previous season allowing Casey to treat her with little or no respect angering fan’s making him the most disliked character.
Frank Rizzoli is also back and he delivers some bad news to the family. We also learn he wasn’t the loving father we first believed him to be back in season 1.
The finale was a little weak, Tommy seems to slip back into old habits and Jane reveals to Maura that she and Casey are breaking up along with the news she is pregnant.

Season 5 kicked off on a very solemn note, the death of Barry Frost, sadly the actor who played him Lee Thompson Young killed himself at the end of season 4.
Janes struggles to cope and throughout the season this is addressed. Maura meets a new man and this one does not seem to want to kill her.
Jane puts her life on the line twice first in ‘lost and found’ to save a young witness unfortunately losing the baby. Secondly in the mid – season finale leaving us on a cliffhanger as she jumps off a bridge to save someone much to the anger of her family and Maura. We also get to meet a new character in Nina Holiday (Idara Victor) a cop and tech wizard who works with Frankie in the Bric.
Maura’s romance doesn’t last either as she tells her boyfriend to choose his family over her. The mid-season finale was, in fact, more exciting than the season end and I felt the shift in the series as a new showrunner took over the helm bringing in new writers.

Season 6 and I started reviewing the season for Spoiler tv and I must admit the beginning was exciting and fresh and back to what I expected from Rizzoli and Isles, gone were the resident boyfriends. It introduced a new member to the medical examiner's office in the form of Kent Drake (Adam Sinclair). I still agree with Jane it sounds like a superhero name. However sadly for whatever reason, they saw fit to get rid of senior criminalist Chang who had become a much-loved character in the show. Her murder in the episode ‘misconduct ‘was the best episode of the season but it angered a lot of fans. With a predominantly female cast, many wondered if that was the reason. No surprise now we are left with three male and three female characters.
Another thing that was also noted was another shift, we already had one focusing on the personal rather than the crimes now it seemed we learned more about the other character’s lives. In fact, it had been slipping in more and more back in season 3, 4 and 5. Though the main focus should still be the leads. It was also noticed they seemed to have less screen time together and rumors ran rife over the internet of a falling out between the leads.
For me, I still saw the chemistry onscreen the friendship and the story focus was them solving cases while all the family trauma and life went on around them. Though some storylines did not follow what we had previously learned and again this angered fans.
What season 6 did give us was one for the most gripping storylines in awhile with Jane being targeted by someone once again. This starts with the burning down of her apartment and continues into the next season.
The mid-season finale ‘5:26’ has Jane fearing for those she loves and ends with Maura getting kidnapped.

When it returns the hunt for Maura is on. Jane and Korsak come to her rescue but the man who kidnapped her might not be the one in charge. The end of season 6 ‘A shot I the dark’ has the real perpetrator, Alice Sands (Annabeth Gish) uncovered and Jane on the hunt. However, Jane is unable to catch her and Alice fires shots at Korsak’s wedding and we are left wondering who was hit.

This brings us to a final season and it started with the hunt for Alice Sands, Jane seems so tired as we start you wonder if she has had enough. When she goes undercover in the prison it seems Angela is tired of her daughter always being in danger and tries to make Jane rethink her career. Maura is also at a crossroads when after banging her head after the disturbance at the wedding she has to have surgery. Soon she is back to her old self but time spent at Hope’s clinics helps her realize the living aren’t as scary to work on. Also, she tests her skills as a writer.
It also marked the 100th episode which was directed by Angie Harmon and we discover Maura was married in the episode directed by Sasha Alexander.

With only 13 episodes we have no mid-season finale and as tonight’s episode draws this series to a close I wonder where it will lead.

Rizzoli and Isles, a show with its mix of crime and family drama is the type of show you watch with your girlfriends on a Friday night. It was different at the time giving us two strong female leads both over 30 and a friendship that stood all the tests thrown at it held our attention every week.
Both Characters have evolved over the series and credit goes to the actresses who play them, showing the multiple layers of each character.

Because of the series I have had the chance to review and work for Spoiler TV, met Tess Gerritsen several times and interview Tina Huang.
I have also made friends in the Rizzoli and Isles fandom and am thankful for their support of my reviews.

Tomorrow I will review the finale no doubt with a tear in my eye but tonight I will tweet with my fellow Rizzoli and Isles fans and raise a glass to a series I am going to miss

What are your thoughts on the series?

Do you have a favorite episode?

What do you think was the best season? Or best storylines?

Please post in the comments below

About the Author - Zandarl
Zandarl a Writer and avid TV and film buff ,once described as a wilful hedonist, has travelled all over and lived in the states for a short time. Now based in the UK she attends cons when able and meets stars from her favourite shows .Her first start in fandom was Xena and since then has admired tv shows that portray strong women. Her current favorites being Rizzoli and Isles and Once Upon a Time as well as anything comic book related. A regular movie goer she watches most genres but never ask her to watch a horror movie.
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