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‘Rizzoli & Isles’ writing team to Tweet with viewers live during tonight's show

Angie Harmon and the late Lee Thompson Young on "Rizzoli & Isles" on TNT tonight, 8 p.m. CST. Tweet the writing team then.
Angie Harmon and the late Lee Thompson Young on "Rizzoli & Isles" on TNT tonight, 8 p.m. CST. Tweet the writing team then.
TNT Rizzoli & Isles Twitter page.

Diving into the social media whirl, Jan Nash, Executive Producer for Season 5 of TNT’s No. 1 drama, and her writing team, will give fans who follow TNT’s number one drama a chance to get better acquainted with the show’s creatives. On March 11, 2014, Nash announced, via Twitter of course, that while fans are viewing tonight’s Season 4, Episode 15, “Food for Thought,” the writing team will multitask and tweet with viewers, while eating dinner, with those who follow the show.

Anyone who loves the chemistry of Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as career professionals, know that the writers are the ones who make it cool to love fashion, law enforcement, forensics and snappy dialogue that only best friends can share. Probably because of the show’s popularity, many more high school girls are looking at future careers and degree studies in criminal science and medicine. Some will also look to study script writing and television production, based on how important “Rizzoli & Isles” has become in making it “hip to be smart.”

Author Tess Gerritsen created the characters for her string of best selling “Rizzoli & Isles” books but it’s the team at TNT who’s responsible for casting and producing the team who brings these books to life. Face it, without engaging dialogue and great acting, showcasing the personalities of these smart and sassy gals, and their family and friends, it would be “just another hour-long cop procedural.” But it’s not. Far from it.

The show is written so intelligently that viewers have turned into fans, who look forward to knowing every single detail and nuance about the program that make them feel even more connected with the program. After four seasons of producing a successful show, Janet Tamaro stepped down and in walked Jan Nash as “show runner,” who has to make the show come in on time, on budget, stay true to the style, flare and panache of the way the episodes unfold.

Nash doesn’t do much, really. She just makes sure the characters’ roles are balanced, that the scripts are bright, witty, and the dialogue ever so acerbic so viewers don’t grow weary; that the show’s sets are realistic; that the medical terms flowing forth from Sasha Alexander ring so true that you’d ask Maura Isles to take out your appendix if you couldn’t make it to the hospital in time; and that expect Jane Rizzoli can find the perp and work with her team and wrap up the crime, all in 47 minutes’ time. That’s all Nash does. Oh yes, and she does tweet, and eat dinner.

This isn’t Jan’s first rodeo as Executive Producer; she was in a similar role for “Without a Trace” from 2006-2009, and she was a consulting producer for varying periods for “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” “Made in Jersey” “Unforgettable,” and “Fairly Legal,” but she certainly has infused great vibrance into the show that would otherwise be suffering without it. Sadly, on Aug. 19, 2013, Young took his life. It was surreal to be seeing shows featuring Lee that had been taped months ahead, knowing he wasn't there any more. That's TV for you; today, Jan tweeted today that she was working with editors on Episode 5 of Season 5 already. Viewers will be able to see what Nash does with the show when the first episode under her production begins in two weeks, schedules pending.

Already before the live session begins questions are flowing in as to how and when the writers will deal with the death of actor Lee Thompson Young, who played Detective Barry Frost on the show, since its beginning. Don’t expect answers tonight as they’re not going to say anything about that in a Twitter chat. There will likely be a press release about the episode, and plenty of time for the audience to prepare for the farewell. Or, they might just have him move from Boston, to India, to follow his girlfriend, end of story. It’s not an easy thing for any ensemble cast to lose a team member, and it’s even harder when it’s a young man who had so much to live for, and took his own life. Whatever the producers and writers decide will be what they think is the best way to handle the young man who, as a child, portrayed “The Amazing Jett Jackson,” his own series the Disney Channel.

Viewers being able to reach out to the talented writers and producers responsible for the show they enjoy so much is a fairly recent phenomenon in pop culture, but the team at CBS’ “Intelligence” has been doing that for weeks in their inaugural season. But still, it’s a cool thing. Yet, there was already a major conversation going on with community message boards and blogs, such as the blog Rizzles Unlimited have been covering “all things Rizzoli & Isles” since the show started.

What’s fun about the chance of hearing from the writers is to gain insight into their personalities, and maybe even sample how they write. Remember, all the words Jane and Maura are delivering rapid fire come from the people behind the scenes you never see. You may not see them up close and personal, but you’ll definitely hear from them.

Bottom line, though; television viewers today as a fan base are far more vocal than they were 10, 20, and even 30 years ago, and therefore represent a seemingly more powerful indicator of a show’s success, week by week, season by season. Remember the old days when you just had to get up off the couch, walk over to the television, and change the channel? Right. That was then. This is now.

To join in the conversation, follow the show on Twitter (@RizzoliIslesTNT). The first broadcast will be at 8 p.m. CST so catch the writing team on Twitter during that broadcast. If you wait until the second broadcast, you’ll be two hours too late. Tweet on!