Could Rizzoli & Isles be the Next Bones?

Why do Bones fans tune in every week? Why was The X-Files one of the most successful shows of the ‘90s? Can we credit the compelling mysteries, the dynamic arcs, the strong performances? Nope. It’s all about the UnResolved Sexual Tension.

I’m exaggerating, but there’s no denying the effect URST has on a series. The will-they-or-won’t-they status of Brennan and Booth keeps viewers invested in Bones. It was fun watching The X Files because, aside from the alien babies and men in black, the relationship between Mulder and Scully was fascinating. They grew, it evolved—then things got awkward and they started calling each other “Fox” and “Dana.” But I digress. URST can make a good series into a great series, and a mediocre series into, well, something watchable.

It’s too early to say which category TNT’s Rizzolli & Isles will fall into. I was entertained by the pilot, in which Detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Medical Examiner Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) went after a murderer who they suspected was copying a serial killer from their past. It was standard fare, so I chose to focus on the elements that interested me—Law & Order’s Harmon returning to my TV screen, Billy Burke in something that isn’t Twilight, and the subtle-but-persistent URST between the title pair.

Don’t look so shocked. Yes, Rizzoli and Isles are both women, but this is 2010. Plus, it’s been done before. The title is a pretty overt reference to classic police procedural Cagney & Lacey, which starred Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless. There was no overt relationship between the women—one was married to a man—but the subtext was there. To this day, Cagney & Lacey has a notable queer following, and both of its stars have become gay icons. (It helps that Gless continues to take queer roles, and Daly has done a lot of Broadway.)

But I’m getting ahead of myself, because a) Rizzoli & Isles isn’t Cagney & Lacey (yet), and b) the subtext remains pretty subtextual. But there was enough going on in the pilot to pique my interest. The pilot gave us playful banter, mild flirtation, and the two leads in bed with one another. As friends, sure, but Rizzoli took it to that wonderful, URST-filled place when one of piped up with, “Are we having a sleepover, or is this your way of telling me you’re attracted to me?” That last scene was pretty telling, too—more about the relationship between the crime-solvers than about the crimes themselves. After returning to her ransacked apartment, Rizzoli suggested that she and Isles go out for a drink: “We always said that we needed to do something outside of a crime scene.” Ahem.

Of course, I could be reading into this too much. Besides, URST or no URST, I doubt Rizzoli and Isles will ever consummate their relationship. It’s always going to be a sly wink to the audience, just below the surface for as long as TNT can sustain the series. And that’s OK. I’m more interested in how the detective and medical examiner play off one other than in any unlikely makeout sessions. So we’ll see if Rizzoli & Isles ever progresses past standard procedural territory. Meanwhile, I’ll be watching for the signs.

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I think whether there is URST or not, the relationship between Rizzoli and Isles is fantastic. Both characters play so well off each other, their banter is extremely alluring.



Of course there is that slight undertone of sexual tension, but nowhere near the point where you think anything could happen. They just seem to have a very open and honest relationship, where both play equal parts in their own unique way.



Saying that, we have already had a lesbian episode (ep 6) where both character's openly discuss their preference of women (should they be that way inclined) which is a clear play on this URST they want us to believe exists.



But again, regardless of this, Harmon and Alexander do a fantastic job of just being best of friends. It is such an endearing quality that I hope remains on our screens for many years to come.
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i actually just watched the pilot BECAUSE i saw a slight chance of URST between the two ... or expected to see it. i was a bit disappointed though. might continue watching the show in the future, if i read of more URST ... after all that is what can make a show interesting. and without anything interesting like that, this is just another crime investigation show, and i will continue watching the ones that already have set themselves apart, like bones and lie to me.
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I really didn't see that. I think they were leaning towards best friends rather than... something more. Whatever, I don't think the show's going to last anyway.
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I've seen two episodes, and I'm definitely seeing UST, but I don't think it's really the point. The point of it seems to be women in strong roles and few people regarding it as unusual. It's entertaining and I like Sasha Alexander, so I'll keep watching for the entertainment value rather than reading into it.
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I can't believe there are people who still see more than a very good friendship between Cagney & Lacey!! This series sounds entertaining and I like Angie Harmon, she's a good actress.
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I agree about Bones and The X-files (to a certain point) so I'll have to watch the pilot episode of Rizzoli & Isles just out of curiosity.
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I love Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, and I just hope that they make good show!! there should be no URST between these two!!
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URST is SO annoying, they had it on Chuck but they put those two characters together, it made such a big difference, and for good!
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I totally hate URST. It's pretty much the worst trope that is still acceptable despite having developed into a fully grown cliche. I have actually stopped watching both Castle and Bones after realizing they are both frozen in that painful place where nothing is stopping either pair from having sex (as they have all stated their affection at this point and are all single) but it still won't happen. So I choose to imagine everybody is going at it like a group of horny rabbits behind the scenes. Seriously, watch an episode of those crappy series and imagine everybody is having an actual relationship behind the scenes. Everything suddenly blooms into something that is actually entertaining.
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I don't watch Bones for the unresolved sexual tension. I'm getting tired of the Booth and Brennan unresolved sexual tension. Maybe I'm a minority, but I genuinely enjoy the shows for the cases, the whodunit, the pieces of the (non-relationship) puzzle.



Unresolved sexual tension is fine if you don't drag it out for a decade. Bones is half a decade old and I already want to smack them. I am interested in possible unresolved sexual tension between Rizzoli and Isles, though, despite the fact that the actual conversations suggested both of them to be straight; I think you're right, Louis, that the subtext seems to be very suggestive about this.



Bones is a pretty awesome show, but I doubt that Rizzoli and Isles will be "the next Bones." All crime TV is loosely similar in various ways, but Bones is pretty unique. If what is meant by that statement, though, is that Rizzoli and Isles may reach a similar popularity, then yes, that's possible, but it's way too early to tell.
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Well, it could... oh wait, I don't care
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I don't think many people watch Bones just for the URST, mostly because all the characters in the series are brilliantly written and they lift it to unbelievable heights. Then the cases and the humor in Bones are very good. Got to check R&I and see if it's something to watch though.
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(It helps that Gless continues to take queer roles.....)



Michael Westen's mother is gay?



I'm a huge fan of the book series, I really liked the first episode and I'm not watching any series for URST.
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bmill2 put it best of all. Good job!
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I really like Rizzoli & Isles, and think you need to focus on the action and humor of the show and quit trying to read something into their personal lives. Besides, they obviously are both attracted to the opposite sex, so get over it and enjoy the program ~

'Nuf said.
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If the ptb are going to make the two leads a couple then I might as well stick around for a bit longer
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as a screen writer myself (though not american) i know one thing - you never, and i mean NEVER include in scripts intimate moments between characters if there isn't possibility of romance between then. you just don't. most people understand love as a simple matter of attraction. the truth is that there are many factors involved. of course, there are chemistry and mental compatibility, but one of the most underrated is proximity. people tend to like people they close to. in the world of rizzoli and isles there just aren't many valid male candidates for any kind of relationship outside of friendship zone. you may mention fbi agent deen at this point - but lets be truthful to ourselves, other then his face we don't know much about him. we don't know his temperament, his likes or dislikes, nothing. in soap opera that'll be cool, but in realistic drama series that is too little to construct even virtual compatibility paradigm with detective rizzoli. on a scale from one to ten of viewer interest he flames out on a mere tree. on the other hand, detective rizzoli herself is a f$ckn' supernova. and now back to titular characters. isles is very feminine and elegant even during autopsy. rizzoli tomboyish and knows her way around a gun. if that's not textbook definitions of femme/butch qualities i don't know what is. in "the real l word" pilot it's described as "pumps" and "pants" diversity and as if creators of one particular crime procedural acknowledges lgbt slang they made rizzoli always wear pants. even in bed.

and last but not least - the scenes itself. for me romantic subplot began with the "nose fixing" scene. the way isles touched rizzoli's face was just too gentle. i, myself, directed a few short movies and worked in many feature film productions, and my expert opinion is that you don't have to be stanislavski to sense subtext in their acting. and, of course, there is that famous "bed" scene. talk about the elephant in the room.

overall, it comes to this: if creators didn't intend rizzoli and isles to be anything other then friends, the script is unprofessionally ambivalent. if they did - not clear enough for average viewer.
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Rizzoli & Isles... it has to be one of the worst names ever for a TV show.
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Sasha Alexander!! I loved her in Dawson's Creek, I'm glad she's still on TV. :)



Anyways, this show looks pretty interesting. I'm going to have to catch the pilot out. Where can I watch it?
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The economy and Worker's Rights go down the tube, while the corporate media continue to push sideshows like this
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i have yet to watch it. but i think its going to last awhile
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I like Bass the tortoise.
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wait....isent angie harmon the voice for commishner barbera gorden on batman beyond? sooooo... commisnher gorden and kate and ncis are having some type of affair? o-0
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this URST thing would work great for clark and oilver on smallville. am i right? :D
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Glad to see I'm not the only who is bothered with that whole capturing thing.
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btw having just identified the baddie as using Ted Bundy's name, why would she then fall for his victim capturing method. :shrugsindisbelief:
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If "like Bones" you mean another series I'm avoiding, then I think it can :)
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Uh yuck? I loved the pilot, can't wait for the next episodes. This is a really funny show, so far. Better that bones, perhaps :)
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Police officer getting into an umarked van, parked outside of the police "do not cross" line, following an unfamiliar face who just told her something her colleagues didn't... And it's not the only part where characters don't do what a (somewhat) real person would do... constantly they keep doing idiot things which have no consistency even. I mean there are so many loveable 1-dimensional characters (Nathan Fillion's characters, anyone?). But those characters aren't even 1-dimensional. Plus I'm really not buying with this actors either.
Angie Harmon is way too young to be pulling all that overacting thing. Al Pacino can get away with it. Because he is Al Pacino. She can't.

And putting this show in the same sentence as Bones? Seriously?
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why do all the tv.com writers immediately want everything to be gay just wondering.
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I seriously hope this series will not ruin the excellent book series by Tess Gerritsen. It already sounds as though the title characters are not the same. Also, Harmon on another book to tv series concept (womens murder club) is very eerie.
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I didn't see the sexual subtext between the 2 female characters more with Billy Burke and Angie harmons character but i think it's too early to make any assumptions about the series.
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yeah i sensed it for a second there as well. itd be something different thats for sure. but the pilot felt like something that would air on lifetime or a budget horror movie. its nice we learned about the female lead but thats about it. all we learned about isles is that she's a bit eccentric and has a giant turtle roaming around her kitchen that eats strawberries its like the glades pilot they just threw you in without much of a backstory and your just suposed to pretend you knew all this before hand.
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The problem with this show is that it attempted to cram two novels' worth of character development into an hour of programming. It failed, failed badly and I've never read the books but it probably deserved better. Jane and Maura could've pursued The Surgeon all the way through the freshman season, let alone his Apprentice, and what we got was this confusing mishmash of scenes and visuals and no sense of really who either of these people are or the vaguest window on their relationship. As another poster pointed out on the board, she's a good enough friend to sleep over but doesn't know about the tortoise? Roiiiiight. ... Clear as mud. >_>
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Points for the Cagney & Lacey nod, you can't talk about girl-girl URST without mentioning Xena.
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interesting
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boring
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I'm not sure if you realize that this series is based on an established series of novels by author Tess Gerritsen. Rather than exploring the tension between the two females, the written series explores the relationship between Rizzoli and Agent Dean as well as various "love interests" for Isles. Perhaps you are right and the television series will take a different direction, however, based on how closely the pilot followed the plot of "The Apprentice" novel, I would be surprised at such a deviation.
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Well, I thought this would be nifty and had high hopes. However, I don't do scarey and as they built terror into the story, I left. And I deleted my TiVo Seasons Pass. In a Pilot I want story and character development. They went with fear before we knew or cared about any of the characters. That is the wrong tack to take with me. Maybe it will develop satisfying characters who I care about, but I won't be around to notice.
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I liked it GREAT 5 stars
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I wouldn't care either way. If they got together, it would be kind of different because of the same-sex thing but even if they don't, it would still be nice to have show about two friends with no romantic feelings. There doesn't have to be URST in every show.
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I'm agreeing with bmill2 completely. I just want an awesome female detective show. Personally, I don't want or need any lesbian undertones. After reading several reviews though, it looks like this show ain't gonna be it. That's too bad.
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Wow this is pathetic. Theres no way a show can actually just explore the friendship of two professional women without any sexual underpinnings right? I find it offensive that that you assume there is "something else" going on. You may end up being right but that would certainly turn me off from this show. URST has been done and done poorly way too often
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I started to watch, and I got bored real fast, TNT has come up short on thier original series in my opinion, with The Closer and Saving Grace the only two worth watching
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I sensed the URST myself, and if you recall in the opening sequence when her mother asked about her and finding a guy she got offensive. Also when she walked in to that crime scene and saw Isles there was that moment of pause. Loving the over the top potential of the show...want more of it!
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