Rizzoli & Isles will say goodbye to their fallen colleague Lee Thompson Young and his character Detective Barry Frost when the TNT drama returns for its fifth season. The 29-year-old actor committed suicide on August 19, 2013 near the end of filming for Season 4.
The premiere finds Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) trying to keep her pregnancy a secret from her mother Angela. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) faces the aftermath of kissing Rizzoli’s brother Frankie Jr (Jordan Bridges). And the team learns of Frost’s death at the end of the first episode and struggle to deal with his abrupt loss through the second episode.
Here’s what you need to know when Rizzoli and Isles step back under the crime scene tape. Read the recap for the fifth season premiere here.
1. The Show Pays Tribute To Lee Thompson Young in First Two Episodes
Star Angie Harmon confirmed the first two episodes of season five will handle the death of Young’s character Frost. The leading ladies won’t learn the circumstances of Rizzoli’s partner’s death until the end of the premiere episode, according to TV Guide.
Jane and Maura won’t get word of Frost’s death — via a car accident — until the very end of the Season 5 premiere. The following episode features the squad dealing with the loss while also planning Frost’s memorial service, during which Jane will deliver a heartfelt tribute to her former partner.
— Angie Harmon (@Angie_Harmon) March 19, 2014
The TNT series temporarily shut down production on season four after Young committed suicide on August 19. He shot himself in the right temple while alone in his North Hollywood apartment. The former Disney actor suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.
Executive producer Janet Tamaro, TNT and Warner Bros. released this joint statement at the time of his death.
Everyone at ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ is devastated by the news of the passing of Lee Thompson Young. We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man. He was truly a member of our family. Lee will be cherished and remembered by all who knew and loved him, both on- and off-screen, for his positive energy, infectious smile and soulful grace. We send our deepest condolences and thoughts to his family, to his friends and, most especially, to his beloved mother.
2. Angie Harmon Considers Season 5 Her Favorite So Far
In the aftermath of Young/Frost’s death, Harmon still considers the upcoming season her favorite so far on the series. At the end of last season, Harmon’s Det. Rizzoli decided not to accept her boyfriend’s engagement proposal and then learned she was pregnant. So far, she’s told her best friend Isles, but telling her mother is a different story.
New executive producer Jan Nash told TV Guide how Rizzoli will deal her unexpected pregnancy (and watch the video above to see her motherly hormones kick in at an inopportune time).
Jane is still figuring out how to handle this, but she’s definitely pregnant. We didn’t want to throw that out there and not go through with it. Will she keep [the baby]? That’s a different question.
3. Season 5 Digs Deeper Into the Characters’ Stories
— Rizzoli and Isles (@RizzoliIslesTNT) April 1, 2014
The show will dig deeper into Rizzoli and Isles’ characters as well as shining the spotlight on the rest of the cast. Leading the charge for more “stronger” and “personal” stories is executive producer Nash, who slowly divulges her secret story plans to the cast, star Sasha Alexander told The Examiner.
I think we are just going a lot deeper with the characters. I think, all around, her intention from what I am getting is stronger stories in terms of the crimes, but personal stories. Stories that are really driving these characters together. That is really the unique part of our show is you do have these characters go through these personal and life things in conjunction with the crime. There is a lot more exploring of that.
4. Angela Rizzoli Finds a New Zest for Life
Jane:“Don’t tell me – you’re here to make sure the boogie man doesn't get me?” Angela:“That’s what mothers are for.” pic.twitter.com/p3qwMSY6iS
— Rizzoli and Isles (@RizzoliIslesTNT) November 1, 2013
Angela Rizzoli fell into some trouble with the IRS last season, but with that all squared away she’s ready to move forward with her life, according to Lorraine Bracco, who plays the Rizzoli matriarch. “I think she’s believes in herself and it’s her third chapter and she wants to make the most of it,” Bracco said in TNT’s season 5 preview video.
Her TV daughter Harmon said Angela has new “lust for life and zest for life.”
5. Maura and Frankie Face the Aftermath of Their Kiss
Frankie acted on his growing affections toward Isles, by planting a kiss on her lips at the end of last season. It appears the little Rizzoli brother will need to work hard to win over the sexy coroner.
“We need to talk about our kiss,” Isles tells Frankie in the premiere. “It can never happen again.” Ouch, not what Frankie wanted to hear.