Post Mortems
Rozzoli Isles Recap Series Finale

Rizzoli & Isles Boss on Series Finale's 'Laughter and Tears' Mission, Cut Scenes, Meaning of Final Paris Twist

TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles — as in Jane and Maura, played by Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander — closed their final case together on Monday, before leaving the Boston PD behind to embark on new, separate adventures.

As the detective and M.E. went about divining who was behind the internal decapitation of an abusive husband, Kent surreptitiously recorded goodbyes from Korsak, Angela and Frankie (whose accidentally spilled the beans about his and Nina’s engagement when the camera was running). At episode’s end, the montage — Jane’s own farewell message included — was played for all at The Dirty Robber, before a final twist revealed that Quantico-bound Rizzoli would be joining Isles for the first several weeks of her new life in Paris.

TVLine invited Jan Nash, RizzIsles‘ showrunner for the last three of its seven seasons, to share her thoughts on putting the procedural to bed.

TVLINE | At the timeRIZZOLI & ISLES (TNT) that you found out that Season 7 would be just 13 episodes, did you know it was also the final season and were able to arc it out accordingly?
We didn’t know, but we certainly suspected. And when we started thinking about the stories, we did sort of think about them in the context of “If we tell these stories, will they lead us to something that could be an actual end to the series? And if it’s not the end, could we pull back from it and have an additional season?” We felt like we had arcs that would allow us to do that — though obviously we would have made some adjustments to accommodate another year.

TVLINE | Was this all your design or did series creator Janet Tamaro leave behind a dusty envelope that said “Open in case of emergency”?
[Laughs] She did not leave behind a dusty envelope. To Janet’s credit, when she decided to leave the show and put it in other people’s hands, she in a very decent and I think probably difficult way allowed us to do what we needed to do.

TVLINE | Sasha and I had an interesting conversation about the decision to either leave the characters where they’ve always been, doing what we’ve known them to always do, or you can do what you did and send them off in new directions, demonstrating growth. What were the pros and cons as you decided how to approach it?
You could do exactly what you said and just let it sort of be the same, but from the perspective of both the actors and the writers, it makes for potentially a lot of stories that feel very much like the ones that came before. And that doesn’t give the actors the opportunity to stretch new muscles and do things that make a show that has run for a very long time continue to feel alive and vibrant and new to them. So we fell on the side of allowing the characters to have challenges that change then, and hopefully those experiences help inform the relationships that they have.

Also, this is a very rare thing, a rare bird, in the world of television. This is a show that has been on the air for seven seasons, we made 105 episodes, and things have happened on this show that don’t happen on other shows. This is a group of people that lost somebody [original cast member Lee Thompson Young, who died in August 2013] who was very, very dear to them. We the writers and, I think, ultimately the actors felt like they had things that they wanted to say about this experience, so we really wanted to give them a chance for the characters to talk about what this time has meant to them.

TVLINE | So that video isn’t just Korsak saying goodbye to Jane and Maura, it’s Bruce McGill saying goodbye to me, the viewer.
That is exactly how we saw it. This is not just characters saying goodbye to characters. These are actors saying goodbye to the experience of making this show, to the audience, but also to each other. Some of what Korsak says is specific to that character, but some of those words are about how Bruce McGill feels. The words Sasha said are about how Sasha feels. We tried to craft each of them to reflect where they were on the show.

TVLINE | That little “button” at the end, with the surprise plane ticket — was that your way of appeasing any fans who might be upset that Maura and Jane were going separate ways? To say that no matter where they may be geographically, these two friends who always find their way to each other?
You used the word “appeasing,” which wouldn’t have been my word. We went toward the finale with the idea of showing that these two women are best friends, and no matter what happens in their lives, that will never change. You have these two strong women, these incredibly compelling characters, that have been engaged in this relationship for a very long time, and yet the characters are people who should be allowed to grow, to move forward in their lives. And despite that, when the show goes to black, you can rest assured that these two people will be in each other’s lives forever.

TVLINE | Did you consider any alternate destinations for any of the main characters?
Obviously when we started talking about the final season, we talked about a lot of things. Ultimately, over the last three years, and even in the time before that, we laid in various things that set up these arcs— Korsak retiring, Frankie and Nina getting engaged, Angela moving forward as an independent woman, determined Jane making the ultimate choice about how to protect the people she loves, and Maura realizing that “hiding” in the medical examiner’s office wasn’t a choice she bound to. All of those things had been set up in the show over these seven years, and they felt like the right choices to us. We were always thinking about the finale and ensuring that it would have laughter and tears, and these stories allowed for that.

TVLINE | Did yourizzoli-isles-jane-barry always intend to find some small way to acknowledge Lee Thompson Young (who played Detective Barry Frost) in the finale?
We wanted, to the best of our abilities, to allow for things that had been important in the show to live in the final season. There had been characters that for reasons of clarity and story direction that had not been as prominent as they had been in earlier seasons, but we wanted to make sure that we honored Tommy and T.J., we wanted to make sure that we honored Hope, and we wanted to make sure that we honored Lee. I wasn’t here [when he died], but it feels to me that Lee’s death is one of the most powerful parts of this experience for this group of people, that the experience of loving him and losing him and grieving together really made this group of people the family that it ultimately was. It would have been wrong not to reflect on that.

TVLINE | Who got most emotional on set as this was winding down? Because Angie’s tears near the end looked very real.
Because of the videos, I think that everybody really had a sense of something coming to an end. But because we knew it was happening, which was a real blessing, we in fact had the opportunity to really celebrate the show. The fact that the 100th episode was so close to our finale gave us the opportunity to celebrate that achievement, and then spend the next five episodes getting ready to say goodbye. So, I would say that everybody got emotional. I think I cried three or four times on the final day of shooting.

TVLINE | Lastly, was there anything you just couldn’t fit into these final episodes, anything that got cut for time?
The finale did end up being very long, and we cut three scenes — and to be honest, they are three scenes that if you’d been short and couldn’t have cut them you would have wished you could, because they seemed to get in the way of the emotional flow. They were mostly case-related, informational, so we ended up cutting that. But in terms of the emotional structure of the episode, I hope — and like I said, I haven’t been here from the beginning — that the actors felt like their characters had had an opportunity in Season 7 to explore some new things, to grow, and ultimately to say goodbye. Every single person involved, from the writers to the producers to the actors to the crew to the people in post-production, gave it their all. To use a sports metaphor, they “left it on the field.”

TVLINE | And you left the door open for a TV-movie down the road, where you can show us those four weeks in Paris. Because you just know Jane and Maura will stumble across a dead body….
We’re ready! Let’s go to Paris.

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  1. I totally lost it over Frost’s stupid robot. Now I need to go buy more kleenex

  2. Jimmy says:

    I was always surprised by how much I liked this show. I think most of that “like” is due to the great chemistry between Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

    • Carla says:

      IKR/that is exactly how I always felt. It will never be the “best show on TV” but it was so easy to watch. The chemistry though was IMO with the whole cast.

  3. LADY_in_MD says:

    The tears are not going to stop for a while! 😢😢

  4. Penny says:

    I hate that this show has ended. It has been one of my favorites.

  5. DS says:

    I would totally watch any TV movie of Rizzoli & Isles. For those of you who voted that Season 7 and the series finale were either subpar or fail, you’re crazy. Everything was great.

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      Finally got around to watching the finale. I guess I’m one of those crazy people! While I did like the finale, the show hasn’t been the same for me since Janet Tamaro left and Lee Thompson Young died. I remember how the show began with Jane tracking the serial killer who left scars on her hands. Serious stuff. I felt like the past few years have just been goofy with very not suspenseful crimes to solve.

  6. dorothy kramer says:

    sorry to see this show go;. watched it all the time. it was my favorite. loved all the actors in it.

  7. Brenda DeGood says:

    So bummed that this show has ended!!! It is one of the FEW shows keft that doesn’t rely on violence AND/OR sex to create a story line!!! I feel like I have lost members of MY family!!! Thanks to ALL of the cast members past and present for bringing us something to look forward to!!!

    • Thank you Brenda. I. Was going to write a comment but decided to read previous comments first. Yours was right on. Everything I wanted to say has already been said. We will really miss this show and hope there is multiple spin offs from it.

    • Vicki Rammel says:

      I am so sad that this show has ended. There aren’t many good shows left!! The cast was great and really clicked. I too cried throughout the show. Partly because of the show itself and partly because I felt I was saying goodbye to a ‘friend”. Thanks for a great show!!! I also agree with Brenda DeGood’s comments.

    • adrienne says:

      I agree! I couldn’t wait until the next showtime!!!!!

  8. Debi says:

    So….when’s the movie? I hated to see it end!!!

  9. My favorite actress-Jane- and all others were like a family to me. I really hope they do some kind of spin off using a lot of the cast.

    • Laura says:

      I agree! A spin-off would be fantastic. I think they should call it 1854 BPD (1854 is the address on the BPD building in the show). They still have a Rizzoli (soon to be two), and Korsak and Angela are still there (at the Dirty Robber), so they can visit sometimes. I think a spin-off would definitely be enjoyed by all R&I fans.

  10. Sasha says:

    I cried so much during this finale, especially the robot scene. I will miss this show a lot! They did a great job.

  11. i loved the show and the charectors ..i wished it was going to be on one more episode just to show jane meeting up with maura in paris…

  12. Johnna Hamel says:

    I want to give a major thank you to the writers. I am glad you kept the “family” intact and did not hit us fans with an unexpected demise. You chose a great way to end a wonderful show!

  13. Kym Brookshire says:

    I’ve watched Rizzolli & Isles from episode one. I’ve come to love this family of characters, & I will miss the show. That said, this was the most emotionally satisfying series finale EVER! Thank you for giving these characters a believable, organic, positive path than can make us smile.

  14. Carol Cowley says:

    I would enjoy seeing a series with Jane as an FBI agent

  15. Ruth says:

    Yes! Love the idea of a movie (or two) down the road. I will miss the show a lot.

  16. I’m going to miss my friends. The cast felt like part of my family.

  17. Christine says:

    Don’t want the show to go off but I guess everything has to an end sometime.

  18. Virginia says:

    watched both these gals on previous shows and feel they bring it all to the screen.They were great together and hope to see them together again

  19. skrable2 says:

    Well, let’s see … Maura’s going to Paris, and we know DiNozzo’s going to Paris …

  20. The FINALE made this 73 yr old ex-cop CRY! The CASTING was perfect! BRING IT BACK!!!!
    Let Jane and Maura spend a month in Paris – then BACK TO WORK AT BPD!

  21. I liked the show. I wondered if they would become lovers. I also thought that Lorraine Bracco seemed too young to be Angie Harmon’s mother. But there is a real-life age difference of 28 years.

    • Nn says:

      Angie Harmon is 44. Lorraine Bracco is 61, they are 17 years apart. It has been addressed over the years Angela had a shotgun wedding. That is why she didn’t graduate from high school.

  22. Wanda Nobles says:

    I do not know why the show was taken off. Good shows are taken off and trash replaces them, This show is so much better than Major Crimes. The language is awful and what they’ve brought into the show is horrific!!!!

  23. Sandy Major says:

    One of my most favorite shows, I have a few and they seem to be being canceled one by one :-( The chemistry with the whole group made this an exceptional show, I would have liked to see Casey and Jane together and Maura and Kent (don’t yell at me lol) I just thought they would make a cute couple is all ;-) ….. i am sad they are gone now… good luck to all <3

  24. One of my favorite all-time programs…will miss it! Enjoyed the characters, the drama, and the suspense. Loved the comedy as well. Sad to see it go.

  25. Bette Klemko says:

    I have watched this show since the very beginning and enjoyed everyone of them. I will miss seeing Jane and Maura as they grow into their new lives. There are some shows you wish never ended and this is one of them. Would have loved to see Frankie’s wedding. I cried when Frost died in the traffic accident, but cried harder tonight watching the last show. Wish all the crew and cast luck in finding a new series.

  26. Carolee says:

    One of my favorite shows, having drama, comedy, and a family atmosphere that I felt part of. The cast was excellent, a combination of talent that complemented each other. I will miss it!

  27. Jan Snyder says:

    It was one of our FAVORITE shows. We didn’t want it to come to an end—yet!!! Loved everyone on the show. Please come back — with something. Thanks for the great “entertainment”

  28. Bob Cookie and Elaine Vanduren says:

    Monday, 05Sept2016 ~ I’m all choked up…I’m a guy and it’s hard for guys like me to cry outwardly, but, when I suddenly dawned on me that the video montage of goodbyes by the actors was not *just* them saying farewell to each other, but Harmon and Alexander were in fact saying goodbye to their favorite fans…to me…that’s when I started to lose it and tears rolled down my face. Goodbye my friends Angie/”Jane”, goodbye Sasha/”Maura”, goodbye Lorraine/”Mom” (I think I’m going to miss you the most…next to Jane, goodbye “Frankie”, goodbye “Korsack” (loved you in Animal House), goodbye Frost, and…”Goodnight Mrs Calabash, wherever you are.” I really Hope to see you’all either in other starring roles and/or directing. But, to the producers, I really wish you had kept the Rizzoli & Isles of forever, or at least a few more years. Oh my, oh my…I think I’m going to go thru Rizzoli & Isles withdrawal. Ahhhhhhh!

  29. Brenda says:

    I will miss this series terribly!

  30. Jj says:

    Going to miss my favorite show. Hope to see them all on something, soon. 😢

  31. elaine mohney says:

    I loved these characters, Sasha before this, and Rizzoli on Law, I CRIED> I NEVER EVER CRY

  32. Sheri says:

    Bring this show BACK!!!!

  33. Jen says:

    I was happy with the speed of the story line. We knew it was the last episode, but it did not feel rushed. Well done, sorry it’s over…..

    • MMD says:

      That’s what I loved as well. I kept looking at the clock checking the time because I figured it would rush by but it didn’t. It was just perfect.

  34. Chilton says:

    I’m sad that the show is coming to an end. I don’t like the new show you have animal kingdom. It is just dumb.

  35. sladewilson says:

    Class personified. I’ll miss this show….

  36. Rick Katze says:

    A good end to a good show

  37. Michele LawsLaws says:

    I am really gonna miss this show, it was my favorite and I am so sad to see it go. I don’t understand why they cancel the good ones. I wish all the cast my best wishes in the future. Hopeful thinking we’ll see more in some form in the future. Thought the finale was truly beautiful, perfect, & had me in tears as well!

  38. Mary Bortolotti says:

    I do hope a movie is made at least. I loved this series.

  39. Dolores Ratcliff says:

    Loved the series and the books…watched and read them from the beginning.

  40. Charlie says:

    I’m sorry still don’t understand cancelling show. Gosh you find something you like and you cancel it

    • Lyn says:

      No kidding. Add one more to the gone too soon list.
      Human Target
      Downton Abbey
      Gilmore Girls [glad about the mini reprise]
      Midsomer Murders [with John Nettles]

  41. Valarie Hogg says:

    I already miss this show, as I feel as though I just lost friends.

  42. Marlene says:

    Will really miss the show. Each episode was fresh and had great story lines. Not really interested in the replacement show. Think it was a shame that this show did not go on another season- it still had a lot to offer. The personal growth of the characters left us ready for the next chapter.

  43. Jay says:

    Sorry to see the show end – don’t watch much but sports, but I’ve warched this show since inception, and it rarely disappointed. Reboot would bring me back. Network made a huge mistake cancelling this.

  44. Vera Nelson says:

    I started out ok, but then as they were getting into the videos, and Frost’s robot, I really started to get weepy. When Jane did her video, I really broke down… They left it with a great ending. But I will definitely miss this show so much.

  45. Jerri says:

    I’m going to miss this show. The gals made a great team. And the rest of the cast was stellar.

  46. Cyn says:

    I wish the show had not ended.

  47. Instead they should have had Maura taking a job with NCIS in Washington to still be near Jane and to to come back around 360.

  48. Anna Fleming says:

    I still do not understand why this show ended. I could have watched it for a few more years. They had been developing new story lines and introducing new characters that were interesting. It was a great ensemble cast with a little humor, and information, and clean cut. TNT made a mistake cancelling this one.

    • John NYC says:

      My sense is at some point a production no longer makes sense from a financial perspective and then it’s closed. Older shows have rising costs as actors salaries (and others?) rise and as a show ages often its audience, and so its advertising revenue, decline. When those two trends cross off it goes.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        +125 TVLine Power User points (no cash value)

        • John NYC says:


          While maybe not proportionally do staff and crew receive financial rewards similar to the actors as a show is successful and has an extended run?

      • Boiler says:

        TNT new “focus” is a total flop. To cancel their most popular show is idiotic and will cause viewers to leave the network by the millions. I don’t care what the cost, they should have worked it out. I doubt Animal Kingdom cheaper than R&I. This is just another blunder by the boss

    • Susan says:

      I think TNT made a mistake cancelling the show too!!

  49. lorraine says:

    Loved the last show! Sad the show is ending. One of the best shows on tv!

  50. charlotte white says:

    tnt’s mistake is a big loss for the public…great show gonna miss this on Monday nights