It’s hard for me to review something I neither love nor hate, which is how I feel about the pilot for this new TNT series (Mondays, 10 p.m.) starring Angie Harmon as tough-talking homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as fashion-conscious medical examiner Maura Isles. I always welcome the chance to watch Harmon but the show, after a tense opening, turned out to be average, offering no fresh take on the cop drama. It might not be fair to ask for something original since cop dramas saturate the tube and have done so since TV went color, but all you have to do is look at its lead-in, The Closer, to see how that features a unique character in Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Leigh Johnson.
The premiere introduces us to Rizzoli’s family and colleagues and we learn that a murderer who once almost killed her is back, hell bent on finishing what he started with Rizzoli. Rizzoli says she’s not scared, won’t be intimidated into staying at Mom’s house, “I’m a homicide detective!” etc., until of course she gets into a bad situation with her nemesis. Do I have to tell you who prevails during the confrontation?
I haven’t read Tess Gerritsen’s novels on which the show is based but think Harmon is a great choice for the Boston detective, doing her tomboy spitfire thing, similar to what she did on ABC’s short-lived, underrated Women’s Murder Club (another series based on popular novels). I’ve always liked how she never plays dumb, pretty girls despite being gorgeous. Alexander doesn’t have much to do yet; she mostly spouts some medical info and looks fabulous in expensive designer clothes and perfectly highlighted hair. I do not understand why both women drool over Billy Burke (Bella’s dad in the Twilight movies) as an FBI agent because he just ain’t hot. Burke is an impressive actor but his character is dull, gloomy and generates zero sparks with either Rizzoli or Isles. Lorraine Bracco is annoying as Rizzoli’s mother but I guess if my daughter were a cop being hunted by a serial killer, I’d worry and fuss over her safety, too.
I might tune in again next week strictly because of Harmon. Or I may just pick up the books and see her in my head.
Have you read the novels and seen the show? What did you think?
Nerd verdict: Rizzoli & Isles not a total bust, elevated by attractive leads