America's favourite subtextual lesbian couple since Xena
and Gabrielle are back on UK screens. Season two of Rizzoli &
Isles began airing on Alibi in January and the sapphic undertone of
the show continues to spark debate among fans.
The record breaking pilot episode saw 7
million people tuning in to American cable channel TNT to witness
the on screen chemistry between lead actresses Angie Harmon (Law
& Order) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS). The unresolved sexual
tension between the pair has now reached such heights that the
question on most fans lips is not 'will they, won't they',
but WHY aren't they?
The first season of the procedural cop drama
saw 'tomboy' detective Jane Rizzoli (Harmon) and medical examiner
Maura Isles (Alexander) solving murders, engaging in flirtatious
bickering and enjoying regular bouts of 'eye sex'. Storylines
included the women visiting a lesbian bar, playing softball and
sharing a bed together. All of which lead to fervent online
speculation that the fictional characters were more than just best
Set in Boston, the series is based on the
best-selling gruesome crime novels by Tess Gerritsen. The televised
series lightens the tone by adding insights into the characters
personal lives and the 'quirky' interaction between the BFF's.
While the novels don't portray the women as a couple, Gerritsen has
blogged about the 'Rizzles' community. Discussing the popular
fanfiction created around the characters, she revealed she found it
"amusing" that there was "a whole community of fans who really,
really want Jane and Maura to be lesbian lovers."
Both Jane and Maura are single and subplots
often revolve around their relationships with men that never quite
work out. When men do appear on the scene, few last more than an
episode. Often they are dropped like a hot potato should a new
murder investigation start or when either woman decides she would
rather have an, entirely innocent, all female sleepover
While the subtext in the second season often
moves into maintext, anyone hoping to see the pair lock lips may be
waiting a long time. Addressing the issue, executive producer Janet
Tamaro (Lost, Bones) told TV Guide: "The lesbian theory endlessly
amuses me, and it amuses the cast. Rizzoli and Isles have been
heterosexual from the first episode, though there is no way I would
want to interfere with my viewers' fantasy lives."
A fantasy life which has inevitably spilled
out onto Twitter. Jane and Maura have fictional character accounts
(run by TNT) that often include flirtatious exchanges. The fan
hashtag #gayzzoli has also trended above the official tag shown on
screen during episodes.
The strong subtextual element has lead to
comparisons with Xena: Warrior Princess and in keeping with the
Xena theme, fans on both sides of the pond have joined together to
create RizzlesCon. The shows first convention, taking place this
July in Annaheim, California has an impressive line up of guest
speakers and cast members, including Sasha Alexander.
Season two will see the women continue to
solve complex murders alongside further developments in their
personal lives. Dr Isles' biological father, crime boss Paddy Doyle
(John Doman) returns with inevitably dramatic consequences, while
Jane deals with her brother Tommy (Colin Egglesfield) being
released from prison.
Already renewed for a third season due to air
in America this summer, Rizzoli & Isles look set to sizzle on
screen for some time yet, but will subtext alone be enough to keep
us tuning in?
Rizzoli & Isles airs Thursdays at 10pm on
Alibi (Sky Channel 132 & Virgin 130).
Season Two Promo Video - Season Two