Rizzoli & Isles

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Rizzoli & Isles TV Poster Image
Female-driven crime show gets pretty grisly.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional social drinking.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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-accur... Continue reading
Adult Written byjamesf3 January 3, 2016

Male that loves this female driven drama

With the two main actors actually being actresses, this show is obviously pointed to get there main audience from females. But as a 41 year old male, I must say... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDogcat July 30, 2020
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... Continue reading

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?

TV details

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