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TNT airs ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ marathon before season five premiere

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All day on Tues., Feb. 25, 2014, TNT is running a “Rizzoli & Isles” marathon in advance of tonight’s Season Five premiere, “Tears of a Clown.” And in true TNT smart programming style, thanks to three weeks of promo reminders, fans of the show have known that Feb. 25 was to be the date of the premiere. But on Mon., Feb. 24, 2014, TNT’s Twitter page announcement show revealed today’s surprise:

(@RizzoliIslesTNT) tweeted “Need a refresher before tomorrow’s new episode? Watch the #RizzoliandIsles marathon starting tomorrow morning at 9/8 c”

If you have not seen the show yet (have you been living under a rock and why? Answer in no more than 140 characters), there’s every good reason to catch up quickly today. You should watch (whether you can stream it online at work without the boss seeing it) for at least three reasons:

1. It’s a great way to spend time getting ready to watch the season premiere and the dynamic duo of Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander delivering some of the best lines written for really intelligent “bff’s” to exchange.

2. The actor ensemble currently comprising the “Rizzoli & Isles” family includes dynamic professionals whom audiences have grown to love, individually and collectively for the past four seasons. You don’t want to be any later to the party than you already are.

3. The talented late actor, Lee Thompson Young, died last summer at age 29 on August 19, 2013. Young appears in all of the marathon episodes, which offer an opportunity to remember that despite the brilliance, pathos, crime-fighting and problem solving that resolves life crises in just 60 short minutes a week, it's not real, folks. These actors you’re watching face the same life challenges as everyone else. To entertain millions of viewers and fans, though, actors must mask insecurities, pain, and daily life pressures to remain in a profession filled with rejection more often than success. Not everyone can do that. Gone too soon, RIP Lee Thompson Young, aka Disney child star who portrayed “The Famous Jett Jackson.”

“Rizzoli & Isles” has been one of the mainstays and powerhouses that give TNT a real prime-time foothold today. Great audiences have amassed during the past four seasons, even when TNT introduced this show as a relative newcomer in the world of “police procedurals.” It has to be brilliant acting, delivering rapid-fire entertaining dialogue, thanks to equally sharp writing, particularly when you’re up against CBS’ “NCIS-LA,” and you’re still successfully in that time slot for now a fifth consecutive season.

Five seasons is an important milestone, a tribute to excellent casting and top quality writing. The entire “Rizzoli & Isles” series is based on international bestselling author, Tess Gerritsen’s, mystery series, which has found a home on TNT as well as in the United Kingdom on the Alibi network. Female detectives and law enforcement officials are characters that attract viewers, but great scripts and better acting keep viewers staying around for four seasons.

Make no mistake, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander “make” these characters believable, and likeable. Their acting resonates with the viewers, who want to connect with intelligent, strong women who are likeable and lovable.

To be sure, Harmon and Alexander bring strong credentials to their task at hand. Angie was in 72 episodes of “Law & Order,” and six episodes of “Law & Order: SVU” portraying A.D.A. Abbie Carmichael, among all of her character roles, which makes her a convincing detective here. Angie, a natural beauty, makes it easy for intelligent women simply gravitate and support any role she portrays. Her charm is convincing, even if delivered with a slightly acerbic tone.

Sasha Alexander became beloved to millions of viewers in her role as “Special Agent Caitlyn Todd” on 50 episodes of “NCIS,” as the “first agent to fill that desk,” with a character name is still frequently spoken on the show even today. Alexander also played Dr. Jackie Collette on “Presidio Med,” and gained early notice on “Dawson’s Creek” and “Wasteland.” With the right touch of humor, Sasha interjects the “class” into your memories of how your high school “class brains” looked. Jane’s love of designer clothing add another element to the character’s back story and makes being a city medical examiner look very cool. The word “nerd” never enters your mind once, even while she’s spouting off all kinds of medical dialogue. At last, “brainiacs” have a positive role model.

This past year, Sasha served as Social Media Ambassador for TNT’s “SAG Awards” just as her former castmate Pauley Perrette served a similar role for CBS’ “Grammy Awards” broadcast. That’s millions of dollars invested in millions of garnering viewers, and the numbers tell the story. TNT is keeping pace with CBS, pretty darned good for what used to be an upstart cable network. Audiences want alternatives to mind-numbing, banal shows like "Mom" and "Mike and Molly," so TNT has plenty in store this year even if you're watching recorded programs on different nights.

If you’ve never seen “Rizzoli & Isles” before, there is every reason to do your due diligence and catch at least one of the episodes of today’s marathon on TNT. You’ll soon embrace the characters of Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles.

As important as star power is to any successful television show, you’ve long respected veteran actors Lorraine Bracco (Angela Rizzoli, Jane’s mom), Bruce McGill (Detective Vince Korsak) and Brian Goodman (Lt. Sean Cavanaugh). With Boston as a perfect backdrop for Americana, family is everywhere, with Jordan Bridges as Jane’s brother Frankie Rizzoli, Jr., and Colin Egglesfield as sometimes seen brother, Tommy Rizzoli. The role of estranged dad of family Rizzoli, Frank Rizzoli, Sr. belongs to Chazz Palminteri, seen in the first two years of the show.

Love interests for Jane revolve around those who serve, protect and defend, and quirky mysterious scions and heirs flow into and out of Maura’s world, throughout the the various episodes. The best dialogues come from the “dishing” Jane and Maura do as they do what best friends do: discuss their love lives and family ties, for good and for bad. Janet Tamaro and Tess Gerritsen deserve top kudos for writing supervision and incorporating the talents of numerous scriptwriters to keep the show worth watching each week.

Then, for good measure, TNT is smart enough to catch you again if you miss them first. Season five’s premiere will air at 8 p.m. CST, with a second-chance rebroadcast again at 10 p.m. (Houston time) after the 9 p.m. season premiere of “Perception,” starring Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce. Two chances await audiences, even before having to remember to set the TIVO.

In Central Time Zone hours, here’s the marathon lineup from TNT:

8:00 AM We Are Family
9:00 AM In Over Your Head
10:00 AM But I am a Good Girl
11:00 AM Killer in High Heels
12:00 PM Dance with the Devil
1:00 PM Somebody's Watching Me
2:00 PM All for One
3:00 PM Cold as Ice
4:00 PM No One Mourns the Wicked
5:00 PM Built for Speed
6:00 PM Judge, Jury and Executioner
7:00 PM Partners in Crime
8:00 PM Tears of a Clown (Season 5 Premiere)

One more thing. Angie Harmon is a guest on Tuesday's broadcast of "The Talk," per their Twitter page, so if you've already seen "Somebody's Watching Me," jump across to CBS for that hour and watch "The Talk."

So that “you don’t have a problem, Houston,” find whatever way you can to catch a part of today’s TNT “Rizzoli & Isles” marathon and make sure you’re in front of your television tonight at 8 p.m. (CST). You’ll be glad you did.

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