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Exclusive Interview with Sasha Alexander of RIZZOLI & ISLES

Mike Vicic - November 28, 2011

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Sasha Alexander, who portrays Dr. Maura Isles on RIZZOLI & ISLES, took some time to answer seven burning questions in an exclusive interview with TV Tango. Sasha teased the Season 2 finale, dished on Maura's relationship with Jane's brother, and confided that she and co-star Angie Harmon want to dance on screen. RIZZOLI & ISLES returns tonight at 10pm ET/PT on TNT with new episodes for five straight Mondays, closing out Season 2.




TV Tango: Are you ever surprised by the continued success of RIZZOLI & ISLES?

Sasha Alexander: Sure. I think that it's an interesting thing, television. The most important thing for us is to continue making good shows and having people come back and watch it and enjoy it and take what they can from it. We're on that treadmill; so when you put it out into the ether and how people interpret it and take it and what they make of it is all great and the numbers just come out of that. But it really does start with us doing the work and doing stuff that we feel we're proud of, and leading the show in a direction that we want to put out. I think we really felt that this season.


I think the first season with any show is just finding your way, and I think when you get the numbers then, you're like "Yeah!! Fantastic!"

And then going into the second [season] how can we make it better? How can we make it stronger? How can we continue to build on these characters? And I feel we've done that. I think when you see these next five episodes, you will agree that the mystery gets stronger and the characters deepen in really big ways. Maura gets so many more colors -- I get to do all the fun stuff I do, but then we get to learn about her life and it changes her. It's going to be interesting to see when we dive into this how, not only what people will take from it, but how it will continue to dictate where the characters go.

TV Tango: Without giving away any spoilers, what changes in your character do you expect viewers to see over the next five episodes?

Sasha Alexander: Let's just say that the mysteries get a little deeper, and a lot of them involve family members.


One of them involves Jane's younger brother, Tommy. He comes back. He and Maura really have a connection of some sort. What happens if her screwed-up younger brother and Maura have some chemistry? What does that bring up for them? But then he ends up in a little bit of trouble; so that becomes kind of a tricky little situation.


The crimes through the next five episodes, they're just interesting and different.

We have a really great episode with Korsac, where his ex-wife -- who is played by Lolita Davidovich -- comes back with his adopted son who he hasn't seen in a very long time. The kid gets in a lot of trouble, and it puts Korsac in a very difficult position.


And then the finale, which I'm very excited for people to see, is extremely powerful. It's really intense. I don't want to tell you who comes back, but let's just say Maura's got some crazy [laughs] mysterious kind of personal life that kind of comes into play. Her and Jane are tested. Their friendship is tested. That's what the season will end on -- the relationship between these two women and where do they go from there.

TV Tango: I understand that you are a former professional dancer. Will we get to see you dance in the upcoming episode "Don't Stop Dancing, Girl"?

Sasha Alexander: I wish, but no. Not in that episode. No dancing. Those are like young girls who are part of a dance company.


I wish. I'd love to. I keep telling Janet [Tamaro, executive producer] "Why can't Jane and Maura go dancing? They should go dancing." And Angie is a fantastic dancer as well; so put us two together and a little Beyonce, and we're ready to go. [You can check out their moves here.]


TV Tango: Will you play any part in TNT's upcoming interactive detective experience for fans?

Sasha Alexander: No. I think we're computer generated.


TV Tango: On the set, who's the best prankster and what's the best prank so far?

Sasha Alexander: Oooh, that's a good one. We have a lot.


The prankster is probably Angie. I'm like the quiet prankster. I'm the quiet, mischievous one. She's the louder one. She definitely does it on a regular basis.


I'm trying to think what's she done, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head.


[Laughing] I did just think of something, but I can't share it with you. Put it this way: Angie will know what it is, but I can't share it with you. They're usually...sometimes between us. [Still laughing, which means it must be good.]


TV Tango: If I asked the crew of RIZZOLI & ISLES to say one bad thing about you, what would they say?

Sasha Alexander: When I do my medical terminology, I get very focused. I kind of need it quiet in the room. I need it quiet; it's hard for me to memorize the terminology and I tend to like a quieter set. It's hard. It's hard to do. It's not in my wheelhouse; so I'm not used to doing it. It requires a lot of repetition. I do it days before and the night before and I keep going over it. When I get there, in order for it to come out in a very natural way, I have to be able to think -- to hear myself think. That's what I think the most annoying or worst thing they would say.


I don't know what else they would say. I'm pretty polite. Though I stopped drinking coffee mid-day because it makes me spazzy; so I'm only allowed one cup of coffee a day.


TV Tango: If you could be on one reality series -- besides the obvious DANCING WITH THE STARS or SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE -- which series would you choose and why?

Sasha Alexander: I wouldn't. I don't watch reality television. I have an allergy to them. I don't understand them. I don't understand people's obsession with watching people -- the voyeuristic sort of thing that people do. I don't get it. They're not actors. I just don't understand.


I get it when it's a competition. I like THE AMAZING RACE. Can I say THE AMAZING RACE?


TV Tango: Would you take your husband?

Sasha Alexander: Definitely my husband, although my husband is Italian and he's a crazy driver. [Laughing] I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.