Prepare yourself for another exciting drama presented by TNT. Rizzoli & Isles stars Angie Harmon as detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Maura Isles. Despite being complete opposites except in gender, the duo are good friends and work together to bust some of Boston’s seedier criminals by not only finding out “who done it” but “how done it” as well. Rizzoli & Isles launches tonight at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT. To help promote the show, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander took time to participate in a phone conference with Working Author.
Question: Sasha, were you approached to be on this program and what made you want to be on it?
Sasha Alexander: Well, what made me want to be on it was reading a really good script and being compelled and attracted to the characters. I really loved Maura Isles who was very fascinating to me. I was very compelled by a woman who would choose this profession and that we will find out came from a very highly educated wealthy background and could have chosen to do a lot of other things but has this kind of uber-feminine modern woman mentality but works this job. There was something just intriguing about it. And I also really loved the friendship between these two women and watching these two very different women working in this environment, on this kind of gritty male environment. That was really the reason that I wanted to be a part of it.
Question: Angie, you’ve obviously played a lot of detective and law people before what made this one stand out and what past experience might be drawn for her?
Angie Harmon: I think the thing that made this stand out the most was just the fact that…there’s a lot more character to these characters. We see their back stories, we see their present situations and I think that to me was a lot more interesting than just the regular procedure. It’s a lot more of a roller coaster ride. It’s definitely got a lot more grit to it. But also, with the caliber of actors that we ended up getting, I mean we’ve got Lorraine Bracco [who] plays my mom, Chazz Palminteri plays my father, Brian Dennehy, Donnie Wahlberg in the first [episode]. We got all kinds of fantastic actors. I think that kind of shows that it’s not just a typical procedural show, that we have these actors because they can come here and actually act and show the different colors of actual you know people. No person is just one color, no person is just who they are at their job 24/7. And that was really you know what I was excited about. (Plus being) on TNT I knew we’d have a lot more creative freedom you know to tell the stories that we wanted to tell.
Question: We see that you have great chemistry together. Was it instant when you guys began working together? Did it take a bit of time for you all to gel?
Sasha Alexander: You know what it was instant. It really was. We never met before and we went in to do this read together and the moment that we read it – we have very different energies in real life and I think that that translates. But the thing that we do have in common is I think it would be respect for each other and we both have the same sense of humor. So we definitely can make each other laugh a lot. You know it’s not easy to find a right person to go with her. So I think that we both have really good qualities that kind of complement each other. We actually, truly, when we do scenes together, I do feel like a certain click and a certain magic that you can’t say always happens.
Angie Harmon: We had such a great time. You know when we were trying to find the woman to play Maura it was kind of like a no-brainer when Sasha came in. We actually played a little joke on her, and she’s a great lady, and we’ve had a really, really fantastic time. You don’t often get what you ask for and I got exactly that. I got a show, it was on cable that I could shoot 5 months a year and go be mommy the rest of the time, and to have a cast and crew that I really, really love and adore and respected, and I got all of that. And it’s just – we just had the most amazing time.
Question: Sasha, have you read any of the Tess Gerritsen books?
Sasha Alexander: Yes, I haven’t read all of them but I have read a couple of them. I did not read them before doing the pilot. And I was going to and then Tess and our executive producer, Janet Tamaro said, “You know what? We’d prefer that you just do your own take and interpretation – like not interpretation but really take this script and make that your own instead of trying to emulate something that’s in the book.”
Question: Angie, what is your interpretation of the character of Rizzoli? What are some of the things that you found out about that character?
Angie Harmon: She’s witty, she’s funny, and a lot of people don’t see me as a funny character because I don’t usually get to play them. I’m usually cast in the more dramatic roles, and it’s been a really, really fun time playing her humor and playing her attitude. And she’s a complete tomboy so I did sort of a really intense study on men and how they relate to each other in the way they walk and the way they hold themselves and the way they sort of position themselves in the hierarchy just in something as simple as a conversation. I think the things that I like the most about you know playing her is she is such a tomboy and that’s very different from me and from how I am and her humor. Those are the two things I love about her the most.
Be sure to tune in to TNT tonight at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) for the series premiere of Rizzoli & Isles following the sixth season premiere of The Closer.