If not done right, police procedurals can be pretty cookie-cutter affairs. Murder takes place, detectives start the case, clues come together, a little light banter and the killer gets caught, all in the space of forty-five minutes (assuming you fast forward commercials). But when a detective drama is done right – the results can be fun and at times quite thrilling.

Such is the case with Rizzoli & Isles, the runaway TNT hit about a Boston detective and her medical examiner best friend, now returning for its second season and already renewed for a third. Angie Harmon (Law & Order) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS) are the eponymous crime stoppers, Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, two women in the male-dominated world of law enforcement. The rest of the cast features Bruce McGill and Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s partners, Jordan Brdges as Rizzoli’s cop brother, and Lorraine Bracco as their overbearing mother.

The tone of the show is light, with very little of the heavy stuff permitted to bring things down. The cast, especially Harmon and Alexander, share a tremendous chemistry. And that is really what’s important when it comes to a police procedural. The actual crimes are usually pretty standard (gruesome but not exaggerated) so the character-interaction is what is important here. this is a show that would be a good comparison is CBS’s Emmy-winning The Mentalist.

A newly recurring subplot this season features Isles dating one of Rizzoli’s childhood friends, the handsome mechanic Giovanni (Matthew Del Negro) but the new relationship is doomed due his rather lacking personality. So far, the romantic subplot was balanced nicely with the murders – just enough to punctuate some rather sickening crime with some charming humor.

Rizzoli & Isles is definitely fun and exciting enough to compel a viewer itching to pick up a familiar template show for the summer season. Even is you missed season one, no matter, you can jump right into this one without a hitch.

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