REASON TO WATCH: The return of Angie Harmon
WHEN/WHERE: Monday night at 10 on TNT
THE SHOW "Rizzoli & Isles"
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Jane Rizzoli (Harmon) is a tough, smart Boston detective with working-class cred, a kid brother, Frankie (Jordan Bridges), who adores her, and a mom, Angela (Lorraine Bracco), who dotes on her. There are no men in her life, save her partner Vince Korsak (Bruce McGill), who's a lot more in touch with his feminine side than she is with hers.
Rizzoli - even though she looks like Angie Harmon - doesn't have much luck with the guys, but she has bonded with a pal at work, medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander). Isles is cold as a codfish, with the innate charm of a Gregory House. She's a walking, talking Wikipedia (which she dismisses as inaccurate). It's an opposites-attract sort of dynamic.
Tonight's episode concerns a serial killer on the loose who wants revenge on Rizzoli, who put him away.
Call me crazy and deluded - and many have - but "Rizzoli & Isles" could become a big hit for TNT. This is not to say this is a good show; it pretty much is not. There are some howlers, holes and hooey in tonight's plot, plus there's one line (about breasts) that'll make some viewers do a double take and probably not for the right reasons.
"Rizzoli & Isles" - based squarely on Tess Gerritsen's mysteries - seems like a copy of a copy of "Cagney & Lacey." (Rizz? Yup, she's Christine Cagney.) But . . . Harmon is good, even Jack Baueresque, and the Isles/Rizzoli friendship feels plausible. Plus, the writing is sharp.
BOTTOM LINE Mostly this show belongs to Harmon, once a key member of the "Law & Order" ensemble. She's likable and intriguing. That salvages an otherwise average cop show.