There's something to be said for knowing what your customers want and delivering, and while watching "Rizzoli & Isles" (10 tonight), I was struck by how thoroughly TNT the show is.
Besides having two strong, accomplished women at the center of it, the show has that same mix of grit and humor as "The Closer" and "Leverage" and "Saving Grace." And although the network stakes its claim with drama, characters are welcome on TNT too.
That's the other thing that struck me after viewing this very likable, fairly creepy first episode of "Rizzoli & Isles" -- it's a first episode that firmly lets us know who these characters are through the plot rather than through exposition like a lot of first episodes do. There's no starting out slow here; it comes out the gate with a crime that hits close to the characters.
Those characters, based on characters created by author Tess Gerritsen, are Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), a Boston detective, apparently from a blue collar family; she's a tomboy and keeps her guard up. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) is a medical examiner, a brainy girly girl whose idea of dressing down involves heels. When we meet them, they're already best friends and the two play off each other well enough that their relationship feels lived in. They communicate, at times, with raised eyebrows or looks, like most girlfriends do.
Also in the cast is Lorraine Bracco as Rizzoli's mom; Lee Thompson Young, as her new young partner; Bruce McGill, as her former partner (and he's not happy about the former part); and Jordan Bridges, as Rizzoli's brother, a beat cop.
You'll see by those connections, that though the show is called "Rizzoli and Isles," Harmon comes off front and center. That's not a bad thing; although she wasn't my favorite "Law & Order" D.A., a recent marathon reminded me how good she was and how deftly she dealt with the intricate cases the show provided. She's definitely more interesting as an actress than Alexander.
But that was just one episode. We'll see how their relationship develops and I'm on board to see what happens next.