Rizzoli & Isles Season 5 Review “Burden of Proof”

Jane - Rizzoli & Isles

On the mid-season finale of “Rizzoli & Isles,” it was cliffhanger time, almost literally, as Rizzoli found herself taking a long leap off a not-so-short bridge in pursuit of an alleged murderer in “Burden of Proof.” It all started with the murder of Danielle (Stephanie Pearson), who was killed in a similar fashion as a previous murder in Plymouth- only that murderer was supposedly already in jail for his crime. Was the jailed culprit innocent? Or was there a copycat murderer afoot? And what was the connection between the victim and the Plymouth murder, if any?

A hard look at Danni’s personal life revealed…not so much, as she kept her privacy very private and her dating life even more so. However, friends and co-workers insisted that she was dating someone on the down-low that she called the complete package- or “The Package” for short. After newbie Nina found some encrypted files and managed to get into them using the password Jane suggested- “The Package,” but of course- they discovered that Danni was quite the courtroom junkie, at least in terms of following the Plymouth murder trial. A closer look at the security footage outside the courtroom revealed she had even attended the trial in person, in addition to collecting newspaper/online articles about it.

An even closer look at her phone revealed that she was constantly texting one individual in particular: Paul Wescourt (Jamie Bamber, “Battlestar Galactica”), who just so happened to be the prosecutor in said case. Was he the mysterious “Package”? Korsak insisted they play it close to the vest, as he had proven a valid resource to the department in the past, but as the evidence started piling up, it became clear that he might have been guilty after all.

For one thing, he lied to Rizzoli and Korsak when questioned, saying he’d never set foot in Danni’s apartment, when evidence later suggested otherwise. For another, he was married and clearly didn’t relish his wife finding out about the affair, and Danni was clearly smitten with him. Also, his alibi was pretty shaky, and he certainly had the inside info necessary to frame the murder to look like a copycat of the Plymouth murder, which featured telltale signs that only an insider would know, i.e. that the murderer placed a cork inside the mouth of the victim after suffocating them, then cleaned the house after and neatly placed the victim on her bed.

However, after initially feeling he was guilty as well, Rizzoli had second thoughts about the crime, feeling in her gut that something didn’t add up, so she dug a little deeper and discovered that there were clear signs it was a set-up, like, for one, that Paul’s fingerprint was planted on a toilet handle that wasn’t the original, and that the hair found in Danni’s shower drain were pretty small in number if he’d been a regular visitor to her place. Unfortunately, by the time she realized all of this, Paul had become despondent, what with his job, marriage and everything else in jeopardy.

Which brings us back to the bridge, and Paul’s attempted suicide. Although Jane managed to successfully persuade him to come up from the ledge he was planning on jumping off of, on the way up he slipped and fell, and Jane herself followed suit, albeit on purpose. I don’t think there’s any question that Jane will survive the fall, but it remains to be seen if Paul did. If I had to guess, though, I’d say he probably did, as the story would probably work better that way, though that’s hardly a guarantee, obviously. Regardless, it was an exciting finale to a relatively solid episode overall.

There was also some amusing comic relief here and there, as per usual, this time involving the complete lack of pop culture savvy on Isles’ end, and her concerns about making a good first impression on boyfriend Jack’s tween daughter, Allie (Maitlyn Pezzo). This naturally led to some hilarious lines, such as Isles’ clueless assessment of “Pretty Little Liars” as such: “I don’t think it’s good to lie, whether you’re pretty or little.” Or Angela’s advice that she do some heavy research on teen interests and “don’t stop until you know the difference between J-Lo, Cee-Lo, and LMFAO.” Not to mention, LOL, which is what I was doing throughout these scenes, especially the epic fail between Isles and those two girls at the food cart in the park.

In the end, she needn’t have worried, as Allie was just as clueless about pop culture as she was, or at the very least, just as socially awkward as she was. She had to know she was in when she said the following and Allie not only didn’t flinch but actually admired her for it: “It’s really hard to fit in. It’s part of the reason that I spend my day with dead people.” Score for Isles, and big score with her for the boyfriend, who was especially impressed by Isles getting to the bottom of what had been bothering Allie as of late: being banned from wearing make-up by her mother, which made her stand out at school from her peers.

I also got a kick out of Jane’s take on Danni’s bedazzled phone: “It looks like ‘Hello Kitty’ threw up on ‘My Little Pony’,” she said, bemused, right before Nina revealed she had a phone just like it. I halfway expected a comeback a la last week’s “Caddyshack”-biting quip: “It looks good on yours, though,” followed by a face-pulling mugging off to the side, a la Rodney Dangerfield. Gotta love Angie Harmon.

All in all, a decent enough mid-season finale, filled with the by-now familiar mix of laughs and pathos that have become the show’s trademark. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said, I suppose the best episodes to me will always be the ones where the main case is as good as the laughs that we come to expect from the characters and the cast’ superlative chemistry. So, going by those standards, it wasn’t as good as some of the best episodes, but nowhere near the worst, either, so that’s not too shabby when you think about it, especially for a show that’s been on this long. In fact, even a so-so episode of this show is eminently watchable, so there’s that. This was better than so-so, but not quite classic “R&I,” so do with that what you will.

What did you think of the “Rizzoli & Isles” mid-season finale? Did you find the main case compelling, or did you enjoy the stuff with Isles and her pop culture cluelessness better? Do you think Paul survived the fall or not? Is he really not guilty? If not, who do you think did it for real? Sound off below, and see you in February for the rest of the season!