Since September 2000, when CSI first arrived on US screens, forensics has become sexy. You could fill a Tube carriage with the glamorous pathologists, anthropologists and trace analysts that now parade across TV land. From Nikki Alexander to Danny Messer to Temperance Brennan to Nick Stokes, people who die in crime shows can be assured that someone pretty good-looking (and sometimes inappropriately dressed for the job) will help bring them justice.
Rizzoli & Isles is not really an exception to this. Dr Maura Isles, played by Sasha Alexander (Kate Todd in NCIS back in the day) is a tall bottle blonde who in the words of another character, always looks like she’s about to do a photo shoot and wears high heels to crime scenes.
Enough about her for the time being though. R&I, based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen, is another one of those buddy cop shows where two chalk and cheese characters trade witty remarks while solving relatively fiendish crimes. There’s Isles, a slightly odd coroner and Detective Kate Rizzoli, a short-tempered world-weary cop, who solve murders in Boston, hence the Irish jig theme tune.
This opener doesn’t waste time having everyone meet everyone – we’re straight in with a rather grisly plot involving a serial killer’s apprentice and the serial killer himself, played by a guy who I think was Ira Gaines in the first season of 24. The latter, you see, once almost killed Rizzoli and she still bears the scars from where he nailed her to the floor. The only reason this guy hasn’t got a needle yet is that MA doesn’t execute people and so he’s in jail. You just know he isn’t staying there for long…
I’m going to call this show Grizzly & Smiles. A dark plot involving horrific murders is counter-balanced by Rizzoli getting saddled with a mangy dog (she’s got an allergy) and the two leads eating cat food. There’s the second best tactical use of a flare I’ve ever seen and a rather chilling/thrilling climax as the serial killer decides to finish what he started. Much of it is telegraphed, but so was ‘Allo! 'Allo! (RIP David Croft).
Only real gripes with this were firstly the slow pace and the lack of any explanation of what happened to the old detective who get a cut on his throat.
A show with real promise – it’s already got a third season in the States. I’ll be along for the ride.