The winter episodes of Rizzoli & Isles started with the dramatic kidnapping of Maura (Sasha Alexander), and the traumatic aftermath of that event for both Maura and Jane (Angie Harmon) will play out even into Season 7, which will be the series’ finale.
“All things come to an end,” Alexander told Parade.com. “I know we don’t like them to when they’re doing well and we like watching them, but I do feel like we’ve been very fortunate with this show. We had a really tremendous fan base from the moment it aired, and that hasn’t faltered. We’re going out on an up, I like to say, as the Police went out when they had a No. 1 hit.”
But before we say goodbye, the Boston cop and her BFF medical examiner, have a lot more adventures in front of them, starting tonight when a woman is found murdered in a grisly scene reminiscent of a horror movie. The case leads the team to uncover a frightening “game” in which people pay to experience terror.
In this interview, Alexander talks about tonight’s episode, the long-term effects of the kidnapping on both Jane and Maura, saying goodbye to the series, her role on Shameless, and more.
What’s coming up for the backend of Season 6 of Rizzoli & Isles?
We are now chasing a woman from Jane’s past who is after her. We’re trying to find any clue that we can. Maura is working with Jane to find this woman. Meanwhile, there are other cases that come along that were dealing with while we’re still continuing to hunt for that woman, which will continue into Season 7.
Maura always comes in with a lot of humor and fun stuff. We had a scene where Maura accidentally smoked some marijuana out of a ventilator, which I thought was really fun. I wanted to see Maura in a situation like that for many years. I think it was a nice way to break the intensity from the episode before, where she was kidnapped. I think Maura gets to step in and do that quite frequently, which I love.
We have a lot of really interesting cases coming up. There’s something to do with a bomb detonator that goes off, so they’re stuck in a space for awhile and that has to do with Korsak (Bruce McGill). There’s an episode dealing with people who get off on being scared and experiencing terror, and in one of those situations, somebody gets killed for real.
And at the end of this winter run, they find a state trooper who’s killed, and when they look into the getaway car, they realize that it’s somebody that might be connected to the person that is after Jane. There’s a bit of a cliffhanger because, let’s just say, the team is all together, shots go off, and we don’t know who has been hurt or killed.
So Maura is doing all the right things since she was kidnapped. She’s going to therapy, she’s keeping a journal of her feelings, and Jane is being overprotective. Is there a point where Maura maybe breaks down?
I think that Jane begins to breakdown more because – definitely in these winter episodes — for Jane, everything around her is falling apart. It’s the reality of the job that these women do. You can go along thinking that you have everything under control and then something happens that threatens everything you care about. That’s the situation she’s in. This person is scary because they’re hiding very well.
They are very smart and they clearly might even have been somebody who was a cop, because they do know a lot. They have targeted Jane, so, I think, that Jane will definitely be doing more of the breaking down at this point, but I do definitely think that Maura is dealing with a lot of her own stuff.
There’s an episode where she just gets sick. She’s not feeling well, but I think it’s because of all the stress that she’s under and not sleeping, not taking care of herself, and she starts to have these hallucinations and things. It’s fun. Those things, I think, add a little bit of lightness, but Jane is the one that’s really going to like going to be more tortured for a while.
Angela (Lorraine Bracco) called Hope (Sharon Lawrence) during the kidnapping to let her know what was going on. So I was curious if that was foreshadowing that Hope would be coming back, or maybe even Constance (Jacqueline Bisset)?
It would probably be Hope. I would love very much for Hope and Sharon Lawrence to return before our series ends. So I hope that she will be back. I don’t think it will be in these next few episodes but, hopefully, looking to the new season.
I was thinking that Maura actually has three moms because Angela is like a mother to her, or do you see her as a friend?
That’s a good question. There are moments when I thought Angela would turn more motherly. But the reality is, I think, she’s been more of a friend to Maura. I think that that’s because Maura is very mature and, even though she has mommy issues, with Angela, they’ve always been a bit on the same level. I think it’s because they share things they can’t say to Jane, or don’t want to say to her right away, and so the fact Angela’s lived in Maura’s house … there is a maternal quality, for sure, but I feel in their relationship, it’s been more like friends.
There is just one more season after this. How do you feel about the series ending?
I feel a lot of gratitude that we have had the run we have. I think in this day and age going seven years is hugely successful and we’ve made good television. So I feel proud of that. I definitely would not want to be in a series, badgering it to death after so many years, and feeling like we don’t know what to do with them anymore. I don’t feel that.
I feel grateful for the relationships I’ve made. I feel grateful for the work we’ve done. But I am also sad. I am definitely sad because this has been a really special job and I do think that these women and these characters have a lot of stories to tell. So I will be curious and wondering what they’ve done and where they’ve ended up, and who knows? It’s strange because some shows come to a place where you feel like it’s over, the story is done, but I do feel like these people have more to tell.
I hope that in Season 7, we will explore these women in terms of where they’ve come, what they’ve gone through, and where they are at in this moment in their lives, and what I mean is their personal life, the choices that they’ve made, what their jobs have kept them from doing, or what it has given them.
So, I think, that that part of it will be interesting because I do feel that they were just so much more in that mind frame of my work, my work, my work, and now they’ve grown into, wait a minute, they’re not married and they don’t have children. Do they want them? Do they not? What does their future hold?
Is there anything you’d like to take from the set like maybe some of Maura’s clothes? She’s so stylish. Last time we talked, I think you said that your designer found a certain high heel that was comfortable for you to wear, so maybe taking those?
We have over the years definitely gone lower on the heels. What I discovered in television is that they like to always cut to a close up so you rarely see the feet. So what I like to say is unless you’re doing a specialty shot of that shoe, let me be comfortable and save my feet. We have gone down from the 5-inch shoe that I was wearing in the very beginning to, let’s say two, or three inches.
What would I take with me? Good question. Besides anything in Maura’s closet, I would say I would maybe take something from her office and something from her home. I know Angie wants these really cute plates that are behind Maura’s sink. She’s asked for them for years. I think I might take her tea set. There’s a beautiful white tea set that we have had for years and I love, so maybe that.
I don’t watch Shameless but I hear that you’re very naked on that and that it was a very bold decision to do it. Was it an easy choice or did you have to mull it over?
Both. It was easy because I wanted to do something that was really out of the box and take a risk. When they came to me, I was a fan of the show. I had worked with the producers before. I knew that they’re the classiest bunch of people, so I knew the quality of the work was going to be great but, of course, I had to think about the reality of doing nudity on television.
And so yes, I did think about it and I did come to a place of feeling comfortable with the decision because of the character I was playing and because of the people involved in that show. I trusted them.
It’s a tricky thing but ultimately the character is a very interesting character for a woman. We rarely see an older woman and a younger man, and I felt that that was important.
I like complex characters. I just do. I think that even Maura … we’ve done so many different things with her and layered things with her that I know that I personally have always pushed for on the show, so that it’s never one dimensional. I think that doing something like Shameless gave me the opportunity as an actor to do that.
I was reading in an interview in which you said that the next thing you would really like to do is producing. Is that still true and are you working towards that?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve been optioning material and reading stuff for movies and television. I came out of film school at USC wanting to direct and produce. It’s hard as an actor to do it when you’re working and filming all the time. That’s just the truth, but I do feel like that’s something that I’m going to do more of when we finish with this show.
Rizzoli & Isles airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.