TV review: Rizzoli & Isles - Dirty Little Secret

There is no shortage of grit and glamour in the world of television crime dramas, and small screen executives are busy creating a string of hit series fronted by the ladies, writes Deborah Hardiman.

Angie Harman and Sasha Alexander play the crime-solving pair
Angie Harman and Sasha Alexander play the crime-solving pair

Among the favourites are US crime-solving pair Rizzoli & Isles (Alibi), who have just returned to our screens for a long-awaited third series. But fans cannot fail to notice that the unlikely best friends have fallen out, big time.

Inner-city Boston raised and tough talking detective Jane Rizzoli, played by former model Angie Harmon, and posh designer clothes clad medical examiner Dr Maura Isles, played by Sasha Alexander, are among a new breed of female leading characters to appear in the last few years.

The 1980s TV cops Cagney and Lacey quickly springs to mind, yet the new girls on the block have been given that extra bit of wax and shine as far as presentation goes.

Harmon previously appeared in Law & Order.

In the more than 20 years which followed the end of the line for New York-based Cagney and Lacey, leading female crime-fighters have been a rare sight on the box.

So the new arrivals have been like a breath of fresh air.

Glossy Rizzoli & Isles is the brainchild of Alibi, which is behind another lady-led crime show hit Body of Proof starring Dana Delany, who played Katherine Mayfair in Desperate Housewives.

Castle, starring Stana Katic, is another US import with a woman detective firmly at the helm.

And you can spot the similarities in the stylish outfits, good-looking actors and heavy reliance on forensics and technology so prevalent in murder dramas nowadays.

The scripts will touch on difficult topics and situations, but nowhere as downtown in feel as Hill Street Blues or Cagney & Lacey, played by Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly.

Jane and Maura are very entertaining and the actors clearly have a brilliant screen chemistry helped by a script full of humour, but there is a feeling that the whole production is bit too slick.

The characters were created by author Tess Grerritsen who has written a string of Rizzoli & Isles novels.

In the new series, her heroines pick up where they left off at the end of the previous bombshell series.

Jane and her best friend fell out after the officer shot Maura’s mobster father Paddy Doyle. Oops.

In the aftermath they struggle to put their personal differences aside in last night’s episode they investigate the murder of a geology student whose body has been recovered from a steam tunnel. But as both are stubborn, and determined not to speak to each other, the impasse turns develops into constant sniping which is affecting everyone round them from family members to colleagues.

The girl, Rachel Lawson, had discovered illegal fracking activity by the the owner of the yoga company she attends.

The practice which involves using pressurised liquid to fracture rock to harvest fuel sources, such as gas, is very much a public interest matter and is under international scrutiny as governments decide on safety and regulation.

When Jane and Maura are forced by their colleagues to travel to the yoga park together to collect water samples, they are spotted by the baddies and are run off the road in a deliberate crash by the sensei.

Maura suffers a bad leg injury, but remains lucid enough to instruct the detective to perform an incision there and then in the woods to allow her to walk.

Just when you think the end has come for the feuding pair they are rescued by Detective Vince Korsak, played by Bruce McGill, who suspects something is terribly wrong when they fail to return to police headquarters.

Along with new British offerings including Scott & Bailey, starring the super talented Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp it seems the women are firmly back in charge.

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