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Quick Takes: Rizzoli & Isles EP Talks “Goodbye” [INTERVIEW] 

Photo Credit: Trae Patton/TNT
Photo Credit: Trae Patton/TNT

Last week’s episode of TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles focused on the loss of Detective Barry Frost as well as the actor who portrayed him, Lee Thompson Young. It was a touching tribute that was emotional, heartfelt and well done. Frost was killed in a car accident on the way home from vacation. When there’s a sudden loss like this, people react in different ways. The show did a great job conveying that.

When we recently visited the set of the series, new Rizzoli & Isles showrunner Jan Nash talked about giving a proper send off to a character and actor that meant so much to the series, to the cast and to the audience. “It was very important to Angie [Harmon] and to Sasha [Alexander] to honor and pay respect to Lee.” However, there was a lot to deal with at the end of season four. So in order to give this story the weight it deserved, some decisions had to be made. “You need to honor what happened at the end of season four dealing with the pregnancy story and the Maura and Frankie story. And not introduce the idea of dealing with Frost’s death until the next episode,” said Nash.

That’s exactly how it played out. The characters didn’t find out about the fate of Frost until the end of the season seven premiere. “Because otherwise if you started with the death of the Frost character than in fact the other two stories…there’s no emotional space left for dealing with that. And so when we looked at it and saw that’s where we’re gonna be, then it sort of put us in that place of the big turn at the end of episode one that took us into the funeral in episode two.”

Nash also had the challenge of remaining true to the show which is not just a character-driven drama. It’s a procedural as well. “We didn’t want to just do a very special episode of Rizzoli & Isles,” she stated. “We wanted people to come to episode two and on some level know that something profound has happened. But there would also be a crime so that group of people who never had been a fan of the show that they could come and appreciate the story that was being told and hopefully also experience the emotional journey that these characters were on.”

In the end, Nash feels they made an episode that the entire Rizzoli & Isles cast and crew can be proud of. “I hope that they will look at it and they will see that what they were trying to do, they accomplished. They were trying to do their very best work. Every single person involved in the company was trying to do their very best job to pay their respects. And I’m incredibly proud of the way the episodes turned out, the first two episodes.”

For all you fans who are wondering, there’s no need to worry. Frost is a character that won’t be forgotten any time soon. His absence will be felt. “I think it would have been kind of strange if we hadn’t sort of dropped down and touched on that – not constantly — but an episode here or there,” Nash said. “So as we go into season five there will be moments where we will deal with that sense of loss to greater and lesser extent as we go through the whole of the season. And, yeah, it won’t be something that just happens in episode two and then is over. It will continue to be felt through the whole of the season.”

Rizzoli & Isles airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on TNT.

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