RIZZOLI & ISLES “Sympathy for the Devil” Review

After the first two episodes, I was apprehensive about watching this week’s RIZZOLI & ISLES again. I had looked forward to the pilot episode, but high expectations brought big disappointments, specifically in the writing. Still I kept an open mind while watching episode three “Sympathy for the Devil”. Rizzoli & Isles can’t be approached like your traditional procedural, despite its same old crime drama facade. It is part procedural, part drama, and a sprinkling of comedy.

So it was a relief to find out that this week’s episode finally gave my senses a bit more stimulation. The episode centered on a family from Cape Verde. The victim Matt appears to have died during an exorcism or purification ritual. But Maura is unable to find a cause of death (obvious or otherwise), until after she and Jane meet with Matt’s mother; search the church; question the priest; witness an exorcism ceremony; and visit Matt’s father Malcolm and his second wife. Jane and Frost also follow the trail of evidence, leading to Matt’s fellow gang member. He is strong-armed by Frost, and then later throws a fire bomb into the church window, in revenge of Matt’s death. This conveniently eliminates gang ties as cause of death. After being set up on a surprise date by her mother, Jane solves the case with the help of a premonition dream, where Matt is showing her a bunch of purple flowers—the same kind that Jane saw at Malcolm’s house. Maura immediately thinks of a plant, commonly named Monkshood, which is one of the most toxic plants known to man. They trick Malcolm’s wife into confessing and get their killer, who just wanted her own child. The episode ends with Lieutenant Grant, who was the surprise date, and Jane almost kissing but not kissing, because he is leaving for a new job in Washington DC. Do I smell a recurring character?

The transition between the crime plot and the relationship drama is much less jarring in this episode of Rizzoli & Isles. Jane and Grant’s mating behavior as Maura calls it is fun to watch. As are Jane’s scenes with her mother. Jane and Maura’s banter even show more ease and camaraderie. The biggest improvement is the story background, which has depth and history. It might be interesting to note here that Southern New England (specifically Boston for our purposes) is closely linked to the Cape Verdean diaspora. Their histories are often overshadowed by headlines about gang violence and poverty there. So it was a location-appropriate choice of storytelling. For now though, I hold my breath in hopes that this episode and its improvements were not anomalies.