Rizzoli & Isles

Common Sense Media says

Female-driven crime show gets pretty grisly.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show reinforces that the world is a dangerous place that's full of unscrupulous criminals. But it also promotes the idea that strong women can successfully work together without resorting to catfighting or petty politicking.

Positive role models

Both Rizzoli and Isles are bright, hardworking, and accomplished, although Isles tends to play up her sexuality a bit more on the job. They're also fearless in the face of danger.


Plots include murder, rape, and torture, with vivid flashes of violence that's life-altering for the victims. Dead bodies and blood are visible.


Some sexual tension between characters, along with innuendo-driven dialogue.


Language includes words like "damn," "hell," "t-ts," and "ass." Characters also use exclamatory phrases like "son of a bitch" and "for Christ's sake."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional social drinking.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Angie Harmon, Lorraine Bracco, Sasha Alexander
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Rizzoli & Isles was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byroycevenuter March 24, 2012

Decent, hard-working Duo - Positive Role Models for Young Women

For older children and those who have maintained very close communication with parents all of their lives, this is a television show which is forensically-accurate, tough about life's realities and demonstrates a realistic cause-and-effect dramatization about people who suffer when they make bad character-oriented choices in life. Rizzoli and Isles work relentlessly and demonstrate the positive values of teamwork, determination, and human sensitivity. The show is not, however, a Pollyannaesque sticom. Good people do suffer and die in some of its plots. Both female leads are strong, resourceful, altruistic role-models for young women.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byJared Galczynski May 12, 2014

Rizzoli, Isles & MAYRA.

Rizzoli, Isles & MAYRA.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written byebjay555 August 16, 2013

Great show!

(I would first like to say that I strongly disagree with the review for this show. It is a very interesting show.) This is a great show with very strong female characters. It does have some very limited sexual content and a bit of foul language. Watch out for gory or violent bits! If you can''t stand the sight of blood or get upset easily, this is not a good show for you. If you don't mind it though, I would definitely recommend it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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