TNT Rizzoli and Isles

Created by media mogul Ted Turner, TNT or the Turner Television Network, an American cable television channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System, is a division of Time Warner. TNT is well-known for its dramatic programming since the 1980s, launching with a showing of Gone With The Wind, the 1939 classic movie directed by Victor Fleming and starring iconic actors such as Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard.

TNT had since then become a channel to catch older movies (mostly MGM films) and television shows. However, since its re-launch in 2001 with a new logo and format, TNT has focused on programming newer serious dramas, mostly procedural police or cop drama series like NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Without A Trace, Cold Case and Las Vegas. There were other popular television dramas such as Alias and Judging Amy that boosted the networks viewership during the early 2000s. The added NASCAR coverage, which was originally shown in TBS (another of Turner’s television channels), TNT has successfully merged their older repertoire to a newer and fresher programming.

In early 2012, TNT has rebranded once again, adopting their new “Drama, Period” slogan and  offering viewers high definition simulcast of some of the most notable recent television dramas on cable today such as Dark Blue, Saving Grace, Leverage, The Closer, Raising the Bar, Hawthorne, Memphis Beat and Rizzoli and Isles.

Adapted from the phenomenal book series by Tess Gerritsen, the award-winning and bestselling author of “Harvest” and “The Surgeon”, Rizzoli and Isles television procedural drama series, now in its third season premiered in July 2010 to a record breaking audience viewership for the television network.

The first season spans ten episodes and its pilot largely based on the second book in the Rizzoli and Isles book series titled “The Apprentice” to introduce both lead characters Jane Rizzoli, the Boston Police Detective and Dr. Maura Isles, the medical examiner, at the same time. Janet Tamaro, the screenwriter for the pilot episode, used Tess Gerritsen’s first novel in the Rizzoli and Isles book series, “The Surgeon”, as a back story to the serial killer Jane Rizzoli has been investigating.

The Rizzoli and Isles series premiere introduced viewers to the brash and streetwise Jane Rizzoli, a homicide detective for the Boston Police Department and Dr. Maura Isles, the nerdy medical examiner in designer clothes and shoes. The unlikely partnership worked well in solving murder crimes, balancing each other’s personalities. Where Jane Rizzoli is impatient, Maura Isles is calm and takes time giving information for Jane and her team to solve homicide cases.

A mix of suspense, action, drama and comedy and a successful combination of medical thriller and police drama, Rizzoli and Isles has evidently captured the hearts of viewers, enough to urge TNT producers to order a fourth season to be broadcasted in 2013. Because of its success and the addition of previously recurring roles that has made into the main cast roster, Rizzoli and Isles will continue to entertain viewers worldwide.

With her partner Vince Korsak (an elderly police sergeant with a soft heart for stray dogs), Barold “Barry” Frost (the computer whiz with weak stomach for violently gruesome cadavers) and Jane’s younger brother Frankie (a uniformed cop who is almost always conveniently the first respondent to a crime scene and tags along with Frost when looking for further clues, usually involving dead bodies), Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles always saves the day. There are also some supporting characters in Rizzoli and Isles that contributes to the overall impact of the show. There is Jane’s mother Angela Rizzoli and the youngest Rizzoli sibling Tommy.

Viewers are treated to what a typical Italian-American blue-collar family living in Boston really is. The comedic situations Jane Rizzoli’s overprotective mother Angela gets into, the sibling bantering between Jane and her brothers Frankie and Tommy or the witty conversations between best friends Jane and Maura when they’re discussing men, dating and family makes for a light-hearted part of the show. Maura Isles’ back story as an adopted child with an Irish crime boss for a biological father and Jane Rizzoli’s complicated relationships takes up the drama aspect of the show. All in all, Rizzoli and Isles might not be as heavy as CSI or NYPD Blue, but it delivers fast-paced entertainment with the right amount of almost everything.

With almost ten full-length novels (the latest novel, “Time To Die” is slated to be released in August 2012), one short story and a spin-off novel in the Rizzoli and Isles book series, fans of Tess Gerritsen will never be left wanting for more Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles bantering and crime-solving adventures as producers of the show will have a lot of material to use for the episodes.

Rizzoli and Isles stars Angie Harmon (famous for her roles in Baywatch Nights, Women’s Murder Club and Law & Order) as the lead character Jane Rizzoli. Sasha Alexander (famous for her roles in Presidio Med, Wasteland, NCIS and as Pacey Witter’s older sister Gretchen in Dawson’s Creek) originally auditioned for the part of Jane Rizzoli, but the producers thought she’ll be amazing playing Maura Isles instead. They’re joined by Lorraine Bracco playing Jane Rizzoli’s mother Angela, Jordan Bridges as Jane’s younger brother Frankie, Bruce McGill as Jane’s partner Vince Korsak, Lee Thompson Young as Jane’s second partner Barry Frost, and Brian Goodman as Lieutenant Sean Cavanaugh, Jane Rizzoli’s boss and head of the Boston Police Department’s Homicide Squad.

Other recurring roles in Rizzoli and Isles are: Chris Vance as Casey Jones (Jane Rizzoli’s former boyfriend), Billy Burke as FBI Agent Gabriel Dean (Jane Rizzoli’s love interest), Chazz Palminteri as Frank Rizzoli Sr. (Jane Rizzoli’s father), Colin Egglesfield as Tommy Rizzoli (Jane Rizzoli’s bonehead youngest brother), Jacqueline Bisset as Constance Isles (Maura Isles’ adoptive mother), John Doman as Patrick “Paddy” Doyle (Maura Isles’ biological father and an Irish crime boss) and Michael Massee as Charles Hoyt (the serial killer who goes by the moniker “The Surgeon” and was originally named Warren Hoyt in the Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles book series).

The enigmatic partnership of Rizzoli and Isles has captured the attention of audiences with a surprising viewership record for a series premiere in TNT. When the Rizzoli and Isles premiered in July 2010 with record-breaking viewer ratings for TNT, the executives immediately ordered fifteen episodes for a second season to be broadcast a year after. It was the second-most watched cable TV program next to The Closer.

The steady viewer ratings for the second season of Rizzoli and Isles prompted executives to order another fifteen episodes for the third season, which currently airing every Tuesdays at 9PM in TNT. Rizzoli and Isles season finale for season 3 is scheduled to be in December 2012.

Like other cable television networks, TNT has syndicated some of the most famous shows from other networks like Angel, Charmed, Bones, The Mentalist, Supernatural, Smallville, Castle and many more. As of summer 2012, apart from the third season of Rizzoli and Isles, TNT’s newest offerings include the continuation of the 1978 soap drama Dallas, a 10-episode drama series starring Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), Josh Henderson (Beverly Hills 90210) and Jordana Brewster (Fast and Furious). Patrick Duffy and Larry Hangman will reprise their roles as Booby Ewing and J.R. Ewing respectively. Another TNT offering in summer of 2012 is a spin-off of The Closer. Major Crimes was picked up for ten episodes starring Mary McDonnell as the LAPD Captain in charge of the Force Investigation Division, a recurring character in The Closer.

Details about other TNT dramas are available at their official website.