Rizzoli & Isles

Last updated
Rizzoli & Isles
Rizzoliisles 1.svg
Based onRizzoli & Isles
by Tess Gerritsen
Developed by Janet Tamaro
Composer James S. Levine
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes105 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • 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
Production locationLos Angeles
Running time45–55 minutes
Production companies
Original network TNT
Original releaseJuly 12, 2010 (2010-07-12) 
September 5, 2016 (2016-09-05)

Rizzoli & Isles is an American crime drama television series starring Angie Harmon as Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as Maura Isles. Based on the series of Rizzoli & Isles novels by Tess Gerritsen, the plot follows Boston Homicide police detective Jane Rizzoli and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles combining their experiences and strikingly different personalities to solve cases. It premiered on TNT 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, a former medical student banned from medical school for fondling a corpse. He uses his medical knowledge to systematically torture and kill people, usually choosing couples to force one partner (usually the female) to watch the torture and murder of the other. 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, unfortunately not killing him, 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 killing. Later, Jane's home is broken into, and she is told by Stark, 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 Stark 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 those 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 biological father is notorious gangland criminal Patrick "Paddy" Doyle.

Hoyt returns 18 months later through another apprentice, Lola (real name Emily Stern) in "I'm Your Boogie Man". Having murdered Lola's abusive husband two years earlier, Hoyt uses her Stockholm syndrome, developed over six months in which she was kept in bondage, 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 to lure Jane into the prison so that he can taunt her about another unsolved murder he committed, intending to finally make Jane and Maura his (last) victims before he dies of cancer. 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 yet another armed apprentice, ostensibly a prison guard, who was responsible for the stabbing that brought Jane back into his sphere. Locked into Hoyt's cell, Jane kills Hoyt by stabbing him and saving Maura. The apprentice is shot dead by arriving police.

Cast and characters




The untitled project was on TNT's development slate as early as March 2008. [8] In October 2009, TNT placed a cast-contingent pilot order under the original title, Rizzoli. [9] [10] The pilot script was written by Janet Tamaro. Angie Harmon was the first actress cast, taking the title role of police detective Jane Rizzoli. [11] Sasha Alexander won the role of medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles after auditioning with Harmon. [12] Bruce McGill signed as Rizzoli's former partner, Sgt. Vince Korsak. [13] Lee Thompson Young was cast as her new partner, Barry Frost. [13] The role of Rizzoli's younger brother Frankie was filled by Jordan Bridges. [13] Lorraine Bracco signed on as Rizzoli's mother, Angela. [14] In early 2010, Billy Burke was announced as FBI agent Gabriel Dean. [15]

In late January 2010, TNT green-lighted the pilot to series with the new title Rizzoli & Isles. [15] [16] Ten episodes were ordered and the show premiered on July 12, 2010. [15] [17] The series is produced on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, California. [18] 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. [19] [20] The first season was additionally sponsored by Vonage. After having aired three episodes in 2010, the series was renewed for a second season, [21] 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. [22] On June 29, 2012, TNT ordered a fourth season, which aired from June 25, 2013, through March 18, 2014. [23] [24] [25] On December 9, 2014, TNT renewed Rizzoli & Isles for an 18-episode sixth season. [26] [27]

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. [28] 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. 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 in solving cases. [29]


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

In the international, Rizzoli & Isles has aired on many NBCUniversal networks in the international area such as Poland, Spain, South Africa, Portugal, France, Turkey, and Russia.

- The show has started to air on Calle 13 in Spain.

- The series was broadcast on Universal Channel in Portugal and South Africa.

- Rizzoli & Isles began airing on Diva Universal in Turkey and Poland.

- The show has begun airing in Russia on Studio Universal.

The series moved to Showcase in Canada on January 3, 2012, on TVNorge in Norway on November 11, 2010, M-Net Series in South Africa on September 14, 2011, and on Warner TV in Singapore on February 1, 2011. [31]

Rizzoli & Isles started to air on Alibi in the United Kingdom on September 13, 2011. A subscription is required. [31] [32] The series second season premiered on January 26, 2012. [31]

The series, shown in original broadcast order, began airing on Lifetime in September 2020 as well as Start TV in January 2021.

SeasonTime slot (EST)Number of episodesPremiereFinaleTV seasonOverall rankOverall viewership
18–49 RatingDateViewers
18–49 Rating
1 Monday 10:00 pm10
July 12, 2010
7.55 [33] 2.1 [33]
September 13, 2010
6.56 [34] 1.5 [34] 2010 N/AN/A
2 15
July 11, 2011
6.38 [35] 1.2 [35]
December 26, 2011
5.79 [36] 1.1 [36] 2011 N/AN/A
3 Tuesday 9:00 pm15
June 5, 2012
5.62 [37] 1.2 [37]
December 25, 2012
4.42 [38] 0.8 [38] 2012 #3 [39] 7.40 [39]
4 16
June 25, 2013
6.64 [40] 1.4 [40]
March 18, 2014
3.58 [41] 0.7 [41] 2013–14 N/AN/A
5 18
June 17, 2014
5.81 [42] 1.0 [42]
March 17, 2015
3.62 [43] 0.6 [43] 2014–15 N/AN/A
6 18
June 16, 2015
4.39 [44] 0.7 [44]
March 15, 2016
2.92 [45] 0.5 [45] 2015–16 N/AN/A
Monday 9:00 pm
June 6, 2016
3.91 [46] 0.6 [46]
September 5, 2016
5.26 [47] 0.7 [47] 2016 TBATBA


Rizzoli & Isles is available to stream on HBO Max. It streams on Amazon Prime in the UK and in Canada.



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. [48] The show finished the week in third behind The Closer and the final episode of Deadliest Catch . [49]

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. [50] [51] Rizzoli & Isles is second only to the 2008 premiere of Raising the Bar , which attracted 7.7 million viewers during its commercial-free debut. [51] [52] [53] 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. [54]

The show has ranked in the top five cable programs all five seasons and was the number one basic cable program in its fifth season. [55]

Critical response

The show has been described as having lesbian undertones, [56] [57] [58] and the purported sexual attraction between Rizzoli and Isles has been the subject of critical and fan attention, [59] [60] [61] [58] [62] with sites such as The Advocate connecting the show's lesbian subtext to its popularity. [63] Harmon said that she was not surprised by the attention [64] 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". [59] Alexander said that she was not initially aware of the subtext but believed it reflected the characters' chemistry. [65] She also expressed skepticism that Rizzoli and Isles' friendship was out of the ordinary. [66]

Awards and nominations

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 HarmonNominated
2015People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Actress Angie HarmonWon
Favorite Cable TV DramaRizzoli & IslesNominated
2016People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Actress Sasha AlexanderWon

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  64. 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."
  65. Halterman 2011, p. 2.
  66. Anderson-Minshall 2012, pp. 2–3.

Works cited