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Posts Tagged ‘cop shows’

Last Monday I caught the second episode of the new “Rizzoli & Isles,” from TNT. According to the hype, this show:

…follows Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, complete opposites and good friends who solve crimes and bust some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. Growing up at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, the two remain strikingly different from one another in many ways.

Get it? This is a groundbreaking cop show about a hardnosed Italian-American female cop in Boston and her uber-smart female forensic scientist buddy, who has trouble relating to people. And, of course, they’re both hawt. (In case you missed it, that should be read with a note of cynicism and sarcasm.) The cop, Jane Rizzoli, is played by Angie Harmon (who really is hot and thankfully a good actress) and Isles, the scientist, by Sasha Alexander.

The show was developed from a series of popular novels, and the premier last week earned great ratings. I’m sorry I missed it, because the episode I saw was utterly cliche and formulaic, from the plot through the characters and their relationships. Isles, the scientist, is clearly an attempt to copy the popularity of Bones. (Hmm… If that means Angie Harmon’s character will parallel Bones’ “Seeley Booth” and fall for her, that could be promising… Never mind.) Character interaction involved standard sharp and witty banter among cops with the woman showing she can dish it out as well as take it. Woot! How original!

The plot was a let-down, too. At first it looks as if the Boston Strangler has returned and that the police in the 60s nailed the wrong guy. Naturally, BPD doesn’t want to hear it and Rizzoli has to go against her bosses to get to the truth. (Oooh! That’s never been done before!) Finally, they arrest a guy who did time with Albert DeSalvo (the real Strangler) and the case looks solved. Only…

You guessed it: a retired cop who was on the original investigation and was sure DeSalvo didn’t do it framed the ex-con whom the BPD arrested, because the retired cop was sure the ex-con did it and wanted to “close the case before dying.” So, he went around strangling the modern victims, planting the evidence.

Yes, another “rogue retired cop” story. Something that’s been done dozens of times in the last decade, and with no variation on the theme. What a missed opportunity; it would have been so much more interesting had they turned the killer into, for example, a sociopathic copycat who then becomes Rizzoli’s nemesis for a season or two. Instead, it looks like the writers mailed it in.

In spite of this disappointing first encounter with Rizzoli and Isles, I’ll follow their adventures for another couple of episodes to see if they improve. This is a good cast that deserves better, but I didn’t see much of promise here.

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I’ve never been a big TV watcher (being a hopeless biblioholic takes up a lot of time), but, since deciding it would be nice to be a TV writer when I finally grow up, I’ve been watching quite a bit in order to see what works, what doesn’t, and what would be good shows to do spec scripts for. Two I particularly recommend:

USA Network’s In Plain Sight follows the adventures of Marshall Mary Shannon (played by Mary McCormack), who works in the Witness Security Program (“WitSec”) in Albuquerque with her partner, Marshall Mann. In addition dealing with people she’s protecting from those who want them dead, she has to contend with her dysfunctional mother and sister, and a very patient boyfriend, none of whom know what she really does in the Marshall’s service. The show is a dramedy, with emphasis on the drama.

The show was “on the bubble” for renewal after its first season, but it’s now in its third and seems to have found a steady audience. This is good, because the writing, stories, and acting are all top notch. Highly recommended. The next is…

…Southland. This is a very gritty drama about the detectives and officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Each episodes has multiple stories, usually 2-3, which sometimes, but not always, intersect. The writing and acting are both superb, and episodes sugarcoat little of what cops go through each day. Originally on NBC, it was canceled for weak ratings, which I can understand; I don’t think this is a show for a general network audience.  TNT picked it up for its second season. I hope it is renewed, for it’s a truly good, even compelling show. So far, however, word is that it’s on the bubble at TNT, too. Fingers crossed that it survives. Great TV like this should.

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