(I wanted to make a Bahston pun, but couldn’t think of one…)

Now that I’ve seen a couple more episodes, I have to say that I am really liking Rizzoli & Isles.

It is just another procedural – the format is pretty standard and, other than the female stars and Boston setting*, there really isn’t any sort of original schtick. So yeah. It’s just another procedural. A good one.

The thing that has surprised me most since the pilot is how dark this show actually is. The pilot with the scalpel-wielding serial killer? Not misleading. That’s been followed up by an intense cold case morphed into a cop turned bad (and by the end of the episode, it was still a cold case – which is good, because it’s nice they aren’t doing that Oh Look How Unreasonably Amazing This Crimesolving Duo Is! thing) and now death by exorcism except wait it was actually the jealous second wife. This is grim stuff.

Thankfully, it’s balanced out by some quality comedy. And I don’t mean the borderline intensely dorking Rizzoli family hijinks. Nor do I mean the Miss Congeniality storyline that is apparently Jane Rizzoli’s reality. No, no. Mostly, I mean Maura Isles. I mean seriously, the woman is hilarious. Back in her NCIS days, Sasha Alexander was absolutely the least funny cast member. By a lot. So when she was fairly unextraordinary in the pilot, I didn’t get my hopes up. But the last couple episodes have allowed the character to develop further, and now she has overtaken Rizzoli’s snark in the race for my affections – I can’t wait until we get to the dark past she supposedly has hiding somewhere.

Also funny: completely unexpected moments. Like, say, for instance, THE OLD PERSON BITCH FIGHT IN EPISODE TWO. That was fucking hysterical.

Which brings me to my next point, which is that this show has an excellent guest cast. It seems like Donnie Wahlberg, who’s been playing Rizzoli’s lovehatecrushthing Lieutenant Grant, is sadly off on his way, but it was fun while it lasted. But we’ll have the memories! Just like we’ll having memories of seasoned creepers David Ury and Michael Massee**, Patrick Fabian who is in everything ever always playing the same character but somehow always hilarious, Scariest and Funniest Old Lady Ever Eve Brenner, and the aging but still SO epic Brian Dennehy. Also that guy who played the con man/priest in last night’s episode (he is so far not credited on my usual source websites, and I don’t know his name/can’t remember what else he’s been in right now – see second footnote).

The bottom line is, my approval of Rizzoli & Isles has gone from hesitant to definite. This is a good show. If you don’t like procedurals, then you probably won’t like it – it doesn’t have anything outside of that so marvelous you should watch it anyway. But if you are a procedural person, this is one to watch. The cast is excellent. The production is clean. The writing is good. And it has marvelous tonal flexibility, able to carry off weird (death-by-exorcism), hilarious (Maura Isles), dead serious (the criminals), and sweet (Rizzoli and Grant parting scene) all in the same episode – and able to transition between these different elements without any of it seeming forced.

Way to go, TNT. I think you’ve made yourself another hit.

(OH, LAST THOUGHT: I love the opening credits. But I don’t really understand why they’re set to an Irish reel or whatever you call that.)

*Okay, seriously, is there some major TNT exec from Boston? First last season of Leverage, now R&I

**I would just like to point out, when I wrote my post about the pilot of R&I, neither Wikipedia nor imdb has Michael Massee listed as part of the cast. I JUST KNEW THAT. (Which means, I remembered his face from a few places and knew he was in Supernatural a few times and so I looked him up there.) And people came to MY BLOG for that info because THAT WAS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE THE INFORMATION WAS. Okay, maybe not the only place, and not for very long, but IT WAS KIND OF AWESOME. And by that I mean I was kind of awesome. BAM!

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  • Boycool  On July 28, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    I also like the opening credits. It reminds me of the old “Southland” opening credits, but I didn’t want to blow my brains out.

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