A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this adult-oriented crime drama packs some pretty grisly scenes involving torture, rape (and other sexual crimes), and murder, with plenty of dead bodies and blood to go around. There's some sexual innuendo, too, and characters use words like "damn," "hell," "t-ts," "ass," and "son of a bitch" and occasionally drink alcohol. On the plus side, the main characters are both accomplished, hardworking female role models.
What's the story?
Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is a street-smart detective who's the only female working in Boston's homicide division. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) is a book-smart medical examiner who often feels more at ease with the dead than she does with the living. Together, they're RIZZOLI & ISLES -- strong women, close friends, and professional colleagues who work side by side to solve some of Boston's grisliest murders.
Is it any good?
Rizzoli & Isles might be based on author Tess Gerritsen's string of bestselling crime novels, but it doesn't take long for it to seem eerily similar to a far better -- though admittedly scarier -- story: The Silence of the Lambs. And frankly, Anthony Hopkins' creepy antics aside, we'd much rather be watching that. Although the idea of a two-woman "buddy" series a-la Cagney & Lacey sounds great on paper, this half-baked disappointment only succeeds at being trite and silly.
It is, however, refreshing to see a series about two type-A women who can work together and (gasp!) be friends at the same time. Not that the shallow script makes viewers actually care about the characters much, mind you; but at least it's sending out a positive message in place of the popular strong-women-can't-work-together formula.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role that violence plays in the plot. Is it necessary to make the crimes seem real? How does this show compare with other crime series?
Does gender affect the women's on-the-job experiences? How do the characters cope with being the minority in a male-dominated environment? When it comes to stereotypes, do these characters undermine or reinforce traditional ideas about women in this line of work?