Busting Boston’s toughest criminals with brains, heart, and humor.
I’m happy to report this season only improves on the first. Rizzoli & Isles is extremely re-watchable, and the dynamic between Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander continues to be the glue that holds the show together.
Season Two picks up three months after the previous summer’s finale. These 15 episodes delve a bit deeper into the personal lives of each character, and not just our heroes Detective Jane Rizzoli (Harmon, Law and Order) and Dr. Maura Isles (Alexander, NCIS).
* “We Don’t Need Another Hero” — While Jane is still on the mend, there’s a bombing during a banquet in her honor.
* “Living Proof” — Maura treats Jane to an outdoor spa, but the arrival of a hysterical man carrying an injured woman soon leads to a case.
* “Sailor Man” — A murder during Fleet Week isn’t as clear-cut as it appears.
* “Brown Eyed Girl” — Jane’s former partner reappears when his daughter is kidnapped.
* “Don’t Hate the Player” — Jane’s brother gets an early release from prison.
* “Rebel Without a Pause” — A Civil War reenactment turns deadly.
* “Bloodlines” — Rizzoli & Isles’ latest case involves a woman burned at the stake.
* “My Own Worst Enemy” — Maura’s old flame causes tension between her and Jane.
* “Gone Daddy Gone” — A dock worker is murdered.
* “Remember Me” — A prison inmate dies on the day of his release.
* “Can I Get a Witness?” — When the witness to a murder is killed, Detective Vince Korsak (Bruce McGill, Animal House) ends up on the line.
* “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” — A bank robbery brings someone from Detective Barry Frost’s (Lee Thompson Young, FlashForward) past back into the picture.
* “Seventeen Ain’t So Sweet” — Murder further tarnishes Jane’s enjoyment of her high school reunion.
* “Don’t Stop Dancing, Girl” — The backstage drama of competitive dance almost upstages the murder.
* “Burning Down the House” — A season finale that offers just about everything you could ask for.
Rizzoli & Isles goes down the road of fully fleshing out their characters, as opposed to adding new faces to an already established ensemble…and it’s a wise move. In fact, my Season Two complaints rest squarely with my own expectations and not the execution of the episodes.
One of the biggest issues I have is the number of stand-alone episodes. It’s a surprising move, not using this season to further the series’ mythology and reward fans who’ve been with it from day one. I’m alright with the decision to remove Chazz Pamienteri’s character from the show. I only wish the opportunity had been used to transform Mrs. Rizzoli (Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos) into a character whose life revolves around something other than her kids (and not always in the healthiest way). Mrs. Rizzoli still feels more like a caricature than a character.
On the other hand, there are some things Season Two does quite well. First and foremost is the tightness of the writing. Rizzoli and Isles’ relationship really comes into its own, and if it wasn’t so well written their diametrical personalities would never work. Also notable is the show’s direction. This season has almost as many directors as it has episodes, each showcasing their own unique style while still managing to make the season feel cohesive; a testament to everyone involved with the production.
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is on par with TNT’s broadcast quality, with reds and blacks especially well saturated. The Dolby 5.1 Surround track is more than a match for the rigors of a crime procedural. The audio mix is particularly well-suited to this season, where aside from a few key episodes there is less of an emphasis on action. Bonus features include standard fare such as deleted scenes and a gag reel. However, the typical behind-the-scenes featurette is changed up, in favor of breaking down the season’s penultimate episode into all of its production elements from conception to screen. We’re also given liner notes which contains a code allowing for the digital download of every episode.
If you’re a fan of Rizzoli & Isles, chances are you caught this season when it aired on TNT or through streaming media. There’s a small window in which you can still view these episodes online, as Season Three debuts in June. Since the show is still a long ways from syndicated, your best bet is to purchase the complete season releases. And for fans of crime procedurals, it’s definitely worth your time.