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Throwback Thursday - Rizzoli and Isles - See One, Do One, Teach one

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Season 1 Episode 1

For my throwback Thursday I looked to a series that a still miss and one that got me not only into reviewing here on Spoiler Tv but gained me friends across the globe in the fans of the show. I am of course talking about the Cagney and Lacey of the 2000's Rizzoli and Isles.

I remember first seeing this series and loving the dynamic the fact it starred two women who were over the age of 35 and with successful careers, not married with children it played to a forgotten demographic. My prediction was it would be hit. It certainly was, quickly becoming one of the highest rated cable shows. It lasted seven seasons but the network made the decision to bring Rizzoli and Isles to an end despite still having strong ratings.

For my Throwback Thursday I decided to look back to how it all began with a very strong season opener back in 2010.

Rizzoli and Isles Tv series were based on a very successful series of books by New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen. It told the story of tough Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli and aided by the Chief Medical Examiner Doctor Maura Isles they solve homicides.

The series they cast Angie Harmon to play Jane Rizzoli, known for her roles on Law and Order and Women’s Murder Club. Sasha Alexander best known for NCIS was to play Maura Isles.
I had the privilege of talking with Tess Gerritsen shortly after the series aired while she noted Angie was nothing like the plain Jane of her books the character certainly came across on screen. While her vision of Maura was more like Catherine Zeta-Jones. Sasha Alexander portrays the characterization of Maura as perceived. The second time we spoke a few years later she could not praise the two actresses enough and even let elements of the series come into her books.

In the first season, I feel it has the more macabre nature of the books while later they tended to dampen it down. Though not without its own gruesome moments and edge of the seat drama. More comedy was added to the show making it less dramatic.

In the first episode we start with a sinister scene that draws you straight in, a couple, one tied and gagged on the sofa a teacup in his lap the other, his wife at the mercy of the intruder with a scalpel. Its all shot in glimpses and we hear a scream and see the teacup go flying.
As we first see Jane Rizzoli as she is playing a very physical game of Basketball with her brother Frankie (Jordan Bridges) after he accidentally elbows her in the nose we get to meet their mother, Angela Rizzoli a no-nonsense Italian mother played by Lorraine Bracco of Good fellas and Sopranos fame.

We first see Maura Isles as she arrives at the crime scene. She seems confident climbing out of the car dressed more for a night out than a crime scene and talks to the reporter. Her car is a slick black Mercedes and we learn later in the series Maura was adopted into a wealthy family. We also hear her nickname Queen of the Dead and learn she is the Chief Medical Examiner.

Jane Rizzoli's entrance has her instantly trading barbs with the Detective on the scene who she shows a clear dislike for. Her new partner Detective Frost is losing his lunch in the Bushes. Detective Frost played by the late Lee Thompson Young would always be squeamish around dead bodies but was a tech wiz.
As they enter the crime scene we meet Detective Korsak played by veteran actor Bruce McGill, Korsak is Janes old partner who she claims she left due to his love of animals and her allergies. Later the truth unfolds and its linked to her experience at the hands of Hoyt.

At the Crime scene, Jane shines but this scene is familiar and strikes a nerve with Jane, even the factor of the missing wife. Her nemesis Charles Hoyt who was known as the Surgeon carried out murders, in the same way.
Some details were never released but the same MO is present at the scene. Hoyt is still locked up in prison. Jane concludes he has trained an apprentice (Tess Gerritsen’s first two Rizzoli and Isles novels where called The Surgeon and The Apprentice). Another nice scene here is Doctor Isles resetting Janes nose after the basketball accident her jab about Jane taking up something safe like yoga comes to pass in later episodes.
The FBI is also showing an interest in this case which annoys Jane as they seem to have more information than she does. Here we meet Agent Dean Played by Billy Burke who would recur in the series.

We learn Jane was captured by Charles Hoyt which we see through flashback throughout the episode and he held her by putting scalpels through her hands. She still bears the scars both physical and emotional from this encounter.I have to mention Charles Hoyt's Played by the late Micheal Masse was a truly chilling character.
We are shown how tough Jane is despite her dealings with Hoyt she visits him in prison to ask about the missing wife and the Apprentice. We learn Hoyt was kicked out of medical school for inappropriate behavior with a corpse and seems to have a fascination with Jane.
No surprise Jane has nightmares and goes to stay with Doctor Isles. We find out Maura always dresses with style even at night and has a pet tortoise. Jane has never been to her house but you gather they are starting to build a friendship something we see grow throughout the series., In fact, the relationship inspired a lot of speculation. It was a huge ‘Ship’ among fans. Something I feel was played upon a lot in the series with shared beds and sleepovers.

As the story unfolds in this episode, the wife is found murdered and another couple is killed. Hoyt manages to escape from prison, but the hunt is on, will Hoyt find Jane before she finds him. The FBI release information with some strong-arming from Jane that Hoyt was in the medical core and one of his fellow recruits may be the killer. As they say, See One, Do One, Teach One.

Janes apartment is ransacked but, on her way, back she is abducted right under the police noses in a coroner’s van. The killer is closer than they thought. Hoyt is hiding in the back of the van to subdue Jane.
As her friends and colleagues try to find Jane she is on her own but we see her strength and determination when she manages to survive. Jane kills Hoyts Apprentice and shoots Hoyt through the hands rather than kill him in rather a symbolic gesture. Perhaps she should have killed him too as Hoyt would later be back to terrorize Jane and Maura

It all ends with Jane sat in her wrecked apartment and Maura comes over the help but instead, they both leave for a drink. Maura as always looking impeccable even in her so-called old clothes and Jane’s is battered bruised still in the same outfit.
The contrast between these two characters is evident but you can see the starts of there blossoming friendship.

This pilot had everything to set the series up with an in-depth storyline and enough information about the characters to gain your attention but leave you wanting to know more. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander have a wonderful onscreen chemistry which is rare these days and help contribute to the series success. A womance was born.

Please hit up the comments below with your thoughts about the series?

Did you think it would be a hit based on this episode?

How do you feel it changed over the years?


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