Rest assured, having seen the first couple installments, I can say that new showrunner Jan Nash handles this tragedy beautifully with a tribute for both actor and the character he played.
But there’s more.
Angie Harmon’s Jane Rizzoli also found out at the end of Rizzoli & Isles Season 4 that she was pregnant. Sasha Alexander’s Maura had a romantic moment with Jane’s brother. And, of course, there are always bad guys to catch.
On a recent visit to the Rizzoli & Isles set in Hollywood, I grabbed some time with both Harmon and Nash to get the lowdown on the new season and why Harmon says this season is by far her favorite.
TV Fanatic: How did you approach the new season because you’ve got something big you have to deal with in the beginning and a lot of other threads from the end of last season.
Jan Nash: Obviously, because I’m new, looking at it where they ended season four in terms of the dramatic things that they’d set up and then also looking at the sort of reality of the end of season four with Lee’s death. There were a few things that were on the table that we felt compelled to deal with in a real, in a meaningful way.
From the dramatic perspective, I’m not a fan of ‘oooh somebody’s pregnant, just kidding’ and so that was the storyline we were given and we wanted to honor that and so we sort of started thinking about putting all of those pieces together. It became clear that we couldn’t do what needed to be done coming out of season four and really deal with it in a good and meaningful way with Lee’s death so that’s the reason we structured the first two episodes the way we did.
So that we could sort of lay a foundation for those stories and then have the death of Barry Frost enter the series and actually be able to deal with it in a way that we all felt like it deserved.
It was very important to Sasha and Angie that, you know, we deal, especially with Lee’s death in a good way, in a respectful way and this is sort of what made sense to all of us.
TVF: Having seen the second episode that deals with Frost’s death, I thought you really honored not just the character but Lee, too, in such a nice, respectful way.
JN: Thank you. It’s a real thing that happened to a group of people. I mean, it was finding that way of sort of having the story come in a way that would tell the story. We’re making a television show but in fact there are real feelings that are underneath it all and try to give that opportunity for all of the actors to have a moment where they can intercept with that loss and to sort of get to the end and hopefully feel not like you’ve been manipulated but that in fact that you’ve had an exploration of grief in a way that is consistent with our experiences in life and how we all felt about the character and for some people, how they felt about the actor.
TVF: What will we see beyond the first two episodes? Will we still hear mentions? Is there going to be somebody kind of coming in to take his place?
JN: I do think that this show is a show that has, historically, had a little bit of a serialized element to it. Jane’s father, Maura’s father, her adoption. Those things are things that have lived in multiple episodes through seasons and so we didn’t feel like it was real either to just drop it and so it will continue to live in moments on a going forward basis. Almost, again, through the season, but again, not in every episode.
TVF: Sasha and Jordan’s characters had that little flirtation last season and we see it pop again in the new season. What can you say to that?
JN: I think for now, we feel like that probably is going to stay the way it is. I think they’re going to have some really nice moments as we go through season five, but we, in fact, do have a story for Sasha as we get into about a third of the way through the season where she meets somebody who is a super nice guy and we go through that process of her meeting somebody and how she responds to that. You know, they are great actors and they actually did a great job both in last season and in with what we gave them this year in terms of sort of saying ah, we’re too close. You know, but we’ll see.
Source: TV Fanatic