Rizzoli & Isles is a TNT television series starring Angie Harmon as police detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The one-hour drama is based on the Rizzoli & Isles series of novels by Tess Gerritsen. It premiered on July 12, 2010. On June 29, 2012 it was renewed for a 15 episode 4th season.
The series' backstory is inspired by The Surgeon. Boston detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) was investigating a serial killer named Charles Hoyt (Michael Massee) some time before the series began. Hoyt, who was banned from medical school for fondling a corpse, used his vast medical knowledge to systematically torture and kill people, usually couples so he could induce the most fear into his victims. Rizzoli is able to find where Hoyt is. As she is searching for him, she is hit in the back of the head and knocked unconscious. She is pinned to the floor by scalpels. As Rizzoli is waking up, we see Hoyt preparing to cut Rizzoli's throat. Vince Korsak (Bruce McGill), Rizzoli's partner, finds where Rizzoli is and shoots Hoyt before he can slit her throat, saving Rizzoli's life. Rizzoli reasons that, after seeing her so vulnerable, Korsak would never trust her as his partner and decides to apply for a new partner.
The untitled project was on TNT's development slate as early as March 2008. In October 2009, TNT placed a cast-contingent pilot order under the original title, Rizzoli. The pilot script was written by Janet Tamaro. Angie Harmon was the first actress cast, taking the title role of police detective Jane Rizzoli. Sasha Alexander won the role of medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles after auditioning with Angie Harmon. Bruce McGill signed as Rizzoli's former partner, Vince Korsak. Her current partner, Barry Frost, is portrayed by Lee Thompson Young. The role of Rizzoli's younger brother Frankie was filled by Jordan Bridges. Lorraine Bracco signed on as Rizzoli's mother, Angela. In early 2010 Billy Burke was announced as FBI agent Gabriel Dean.
In late January 2010, TNT green-lighted the pilot to series with the new title Rizzoli & Isles. Ten episodes were ordered and the show premiered on July 12, 2010. The series is produced on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, California. Due to a sponsorship deal between MillerCoors and Turner Broadcasting for the summer 2010 season, the series included product placement for MGD 64, including billboards in the backgrounds of some scenes. The first season was additionally sponsored by Vonage. The series was renewed for a 15-episode second season on July 30, 2010, after having aired three episodes, which premiered on July 11, 2011. On August 5, 2011, TNT ordered a 15-episode third season of the series, set to premiere in the summer of 2012. On June 29, 2012, TNT ordered a 15-episode fourth season of the series, set to premiere in the summer of 2013. Production on the fourth season began on February 1, 2013.