Rizzoli & Isles

Rizzoli & Isles
Based on Rizzoli & Isles novel series
by Tess Gerritsen
Developed by Janet Tamaro
Composer(s) James S. Levine
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 105 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Bill Haber
  • Janet Tamaro
  • Michael M. Robin
  • Joel Fields
  • Michael Zinberg
  • Jan Nash
  • Ken Hanes
  • Antoinette Stella
  • Michael Sardo
  • Charles Grant Craig
  • Julie Hebert
  • Jeff Hayes
Location(s) Los Angeles
Running time 45–55 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network TNT
Original release July 12, 2010 (2010-07-12) – September 5, 2016 (2016-09-05)
External links

Rizzoli & Isles is a TNT television series starring Angie Harmon as police detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The one-hour drama is based on the Rizzoli & Isles series of novels by Tess Gerritsen. It premiered on July 12, 2010,[1] and aired 105 episodes in seven seasons, concluding on September 5, 2016.[2]


The series' backstory is inspired by the Maura Isles/Jane Rizzoli series of novels by Tess Gerritsen. Rizzoli appears in the series' first novel, The Surgeon, and Isles is introduced in the second, The Apprentice, which serves as the basis for the television series. Boston detective Jane Rizzoli has been investigating a serial killer named Charles Hoyt. Hoyt, who was banned from medical school for fondling a corpse, used his vast medical knowledge to systematically torture and kill people, usually choosing couples so that he could induce the most fear in his victims. Jane ascertains Hoyt's location, but as she is searching for him, she is hit in the back of the head and knocked unconscious. She is pinned to the floor by scalpels and awakes as Hoyt prepares to cut her throat, but Vince Korsak, Jane's partner, locates her and shoots Hoyt, saving her life. Jane, reasoning that Korsak would never trust her as his partner after seeing her so vulnerable, applies for a new partner.

The series pilot, "See One. Do One. Teach One", is largely based on the novel The Apprentice. Jane and medical examiner Maura Isles investigate a killer with Hoyt's modus operandi plus an interest in necrophilia. Jane and Maura discover that the copycat was John Stark (Brendan McCarthy), a soldier who met Hoyt in medical school, had his identity erased for CIA black operations, and mimicked Hoyt's MO in a killing spree during said operations. Meanwhile, Hoyt escapes from prison and rejoins his apprentice to continue in his killing. Later, Jane's home is broken into, and she is told by someone posing as part of BPD that her neighbor had been killed; she rushes into the van to see the body but finds Hoyt instead. Hoyt and his apprentice knock her out and kidnap her. When she wakes up they attempt to kill her, but she manages to disarm them by Tasing them and burning Hoyt's eye with a flare. In self-defense, she shoots the apprentice to death, and, when Hoyt reaches for her gun, she shoots him through the hands, giving him injuries similar to the ones he gave her.

New twists are introduced when Jane and Maura discover that a recent murder victim is actually Maura's previously unknown half-brother, resulting in her discovery that her father is notorious criminal Patrick Doyle.

Hoyt returns 18 months later through another apprentice, Lola, in "I'm Your Boogie Man". Having murdered Lola's abusive husband two years earlier, Hoyt uses her Stockholm syndrome to his advantage and uses her to stalk Jane. Lola seduces and captures Frankie Rizzoli before tying Jane up. She plans to kidnap Jane until Hoyt can escape from prison, but Jane manages to distract Lola long enough for Frankie to kill Lola with her own revolver.

Hoyt returns again when he arranges for another inmate to be stabbed while he is dying of cancer, luring Jane into the prison so that he can taunt her about another unsolved murder he committed. While speaking to Jane in the prison infirmary, Hoyt tells her to look at what he is readingTess Gerritsen's novel The Silent Girl. Although she manages to find the bodies of his victimsthe family of an old college professor of Hoyt's who was unaware of his expulsionHoyt, aided by a third apprentice, manages to capture Jane and Maura, only to have Jane beat Hoyt and then stab him when he and his apprentice try to kill Maura.


The untitled project was on TNT's development slate as early as March 2008.[3] In October 2009, TNT placed a cast-contingent pilot order under the original title, Rizzoli.[4][5] The pilot script was written by Janet Tamaro. Angie Harmon was the first actress cast, taking the title role of police detective Jane Rizzoli.[6] Sasha Alexander won the role of medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles after auditioning with Harmon.[7] Bruce McGill signed as Rizzoli's former partner, Sgt. Vince Korsak.[8] Lee Thompson Young was cast as her new partner, Barry Frost.[8] The role of Rizzoli's younger brother Frankie was filled by Jordan Bridges.[8] Lorraine Bracco signed on as Rizzoli's mother, Angela.[9] In early 2010, Billy Burke was announced as FBI agent Gabriel Dean.[10]

In late January 2010, TNT green-lighted the pilot to series with the new title Rizzoli & Isles.[10][11] Ten episodes were ordered and the show premiered on July 12, 2010.[10][12] The series is produced on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, California.[13] Owing to a sponsorship deal between MillerCoors and Turner Broadcasting for the summer 2010 season, the series included product placement for MGD 64, including billboards in the backgrounds of some scenes.[14][15] The first season was additionally sponsored by Vonage. After having aired three episodes in 2010, the series was renewed for a second season,[16] which aired from July 11 to December 26, 2011. In August 2011, TNT ordered a third season, which aired from June 5 through December 25, 2012.[17] On June 29, 2012, TNT ordered a fourth season, which aired from June 25, 2013, through March 18, 2014.[18][19][20] On December 9, 2014, TNT renewed Rizzoli & Isles for an 18-episode sixth season.[21][22]

In August 2013, production on the fourth season was suspended when cast member Lee Thompson Young was found dead at his Los Angeles apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.[23] In the second half of the fifth season, a new character, crime scene analyst Nina Holiday, played by Idara Victor, was introduced. Series executive producer Jan Nash stated that Nina would not replace Young's character, Frost, but is her own character. Instead, the existing characters were given "new dynamics", according to Nash. For example, Jane and Korsak work more cases together, and Frankie is more involved and has more access.[24]

Cast and characters

Main characters

Recurring cast and characters


Rizzoli & Isles started to air on GEM in Australia on November 29, 2010.[30] The series started to air on Super Channel in Canada on October 5, 2010.[31] As of 2016, Superchannel is no longer carrying the show.

The series moved to Showcase in Canada on January 3, 2012, on TVNorge in Norway on November 11, 2010, Serie in South Africa on September 14, 2011, and on Warner TV in Singapore on February 1, 2011.[32]

Rizzoli & Isles started to air on Alibi in the United Kingdom on September 13, 2011. A subscription is required.[32][33] The series second season premiered on January 26, 2012.[32]

Season Time slot (EST) Number of episodes Premiere Finale TV season Overall rank Overall viewership
Date Viewers
18–49 Rating Date Viewers
18–49 Rating
Monday 10:00 pm
July 12, 2010
7.55[34] 2.1[34]
September 13, 2010
6.56[35] 1.5[35] 2010 N/A N/A
2 15
July 11, 2011
6.38[36] 1.2[36]
December 26, 2011
5.79[37] 1.1[37] 2011 N/A N/A
9:00 pm
June 5, 2012
5.62[38] 1.2[38]
December 25, 2012
4.42[39] 0.8[39] 2012 #3[40] 7.40[40]
4 16
June 25, 2013
6.64[41] 1.4[41]
March 18, 2014
3.58[42] 0.7[42] 2013–14 N/A N/A
5 18
June 17, 2014
5.81[43] 1.0[43]
March 17, 2015
3.62[44] 0.6[44] 2014–15 N/A N/A
6 18
June 16, 2015
4.39[45] 0.7[45]
March 15, 2016
2.92[46] 0.5[46] 2015–16 N/A N/A
Monday 9:00 pm
June 6, 2016
3.91[47] 0.6[47]
September 5, 2016
5.26[48] 0.7[48] 2016 TBA TBA


The series started strong in the ratings, as 7.55 million viewers tuned in for the premiere episode. Rizzoli & Isles was the second most-watched cable program on the evening of July 12, 2010, behind its lead-in, The Closer, which had 110,000 more viewers.[49] The show finished the week in third behind The Closer and the final episode of Deadliest Catch.[50]

The premiere set a record as the highest-rated debut for a commercial-supported cable series, and it was the second-highest debut ever for a basic cable TV series.[51][52] Rizzoli & Isles is second only to the 2008 premiere of Raising the Bar, which attracted 7.7 million viewers during its commercial-free debut.[52][53][54] Live + 7 day ratings for the premiere updated the show's status as the all-time most-watched cable series launch, with DVR viewers increasing the show's rating to just over 9 million viewers.[55]

The show has ranked in the top five scripted cable dramas all five seasons and was the number one scripted cable drama in its fifth season.[56]

The show has been described as having lesbian undertones,[57][58][59] and the purported sexual attraction between Rizzoli and Isles has been the subject of critical and fan attention,[60][61][62][59][63] with sites such as The Advocate connecting the show's lesbian subtext to its popularity.[64] Harmon said that she was not surprirsed by the attention[65] and that, while it was "'super fun' to play a role that has some same-sex romantic vibes", the characters are "straight" and "just best friends".[60] Alexander said that she was not initially aware of the subtext but believed it reflected the characters' chemistry.[66] She also expressed skepticism that Rizzoli and Isles' friendship was out of the ordinary.[67]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Recipient(s) Result
2012 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series – Guest Starring Young Actor 18–21 Cameron Monaghan Nominated
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Actress Angie Harmon Nominated
2015 Favorite Cable TV Actress Angie Harmon Won
Favorite Cable TV Drama Rizzoli & Isles Nominated
2016 Favorite Cable TV Actress Sasha Alexander Won


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  29. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother As of season 3, he has a son named TJ, but his relationship with TJ's mother is complicated by his own reluctance to take full responsibility.". Rizzoli & Isles. Season 2. Episode 12. 5 December 2011. 1:05 minutes in. TNT. Your baby is thirty two—Frankie Rizzoli, Jr.
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  58. Siede, Caroline (December 9, 2014). "TNT Renews Rizzoli & Isles". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2016. The detective procedural with subtle lesbian undertones (but no actual lesbian romance) will return to TNT next summer after its fifth season wraps up in March.
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  62. Halterman 2011, p. 1.
  63. "Angie Harmon Has One Problem With All That 'Rizzoli & Isles' Lesbian Fan-Fiction". The Huffington Post. July 9, 2013. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  64. Halterman 2011, p. 2; Anderson-Minshall 2012, p. 1.
  65. Halterman 2011, p. 1: "I'm not saying we didn't help ... We knew it was there in the first [episode] and it was absolutely no surprise to me."
  66. Halterman 2011, p. 2.
  67. Anderson-Minshall 2012, pp. 2–3.

Works cited

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