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Rizzoli & Isles' Sasha AlexanderThe Rizzoli & Isles star has a big idea for her hit series next season, but why does it put Rach at the center of an investigation?
It's not easy to be the other woman in a cop show with Angie Harmon.
But Sasha Alexander has parlayed that spot into something impressive,
playing medical examiner Maura Isles opposite Harmon’s Detective Jane
Rizzoli on TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles.”
The third season launches Tuesday night at 9, and it’s a critical juncture for the gals.
They’ve been friends for years and now they also work together. Or at
least they did until the last episode of season two, when Jane shot
Still, he’s her recently revealed dad, so she would have preferred Jane didn’t shoot him.
“It’s a huge ride for Maura this season,” says Alexander. “The whole
mystery of her father and his past is changing her. She’s always lived
in this world where she’s in control of everything, and now it’s another
world she’s uncomfortable in.”
Maura’s also mad at Jane.
“She’s in total shock as the season starts,” says Alexander. “She’s
very angry at Jane. It’s going to take a while for them to find their
Yet the fact there could be a way back reflects the strength of
“Rizzoli & Isles,” which has clicked into place as a show that’s
part cop stuff, part smart comedy and part character drama.
Taking nothing away from Harmon, whose TV legal credibility goes back
to “Law & Order” and “Women’s Murder Club,” Alexander has slowly
developed an intriguing presence of her own.
“In the beginning, the show was far more centered on Jane,” says Alexander. “She clearly had the advantage.
“But then as we learned more about Maura, we found it wasn’t what we expected. She has a lot of family and personal issues.”
She’s also a brainiac.
“She’s smart,” says Alexander. “She’s collected a lot of facts. But at
the same time she has almost no sense of the effect she has on other
people. She will say something funny and not know it’s funny. She’ll
hear people laughing and not realize the joke is on her.
“It’s a challenge to play a character with no sense of irony. But at the same time, people like her.”
That part isn’t hard to understand. In one scene this season, Alexander
says, Maura and Jane have to hide in a closet when they’re almost
caught during an undercover operation.
“Out of nowhere, while they’re waiting,” says Alexander, “Maura starts
talking about the history of leather, and its historical significance in
“We had to stop the scene every few lines because Angie kept laughing.”
Let’s assume in this case that Harmon speaks for all viewers.
“The thing about Maura,” says Alexander, “is you never really quite know where she’s going.”