TNT closed out season 5 of Rizzoli & Isles with two back-to-back episodes. Read on for our recap of the first, Rizzoli & Isles 5×17, and stay tuned for what we have to say about the finale!
Finding Nemo… plus a sniper
Whenever a crime show begins with a random person driving down the street, you know things aren’t going to end well. Remember the dead guy from last week’s episode? Exactly. Sure enough, a dispute over a parking space ends up with one of the participants dead – but not everything is as it seems.
Blissfully unaware of her next case, Maura is in her office when she hears noise from the autopsy room. Has one of her patients come back from the dead? Nope, it’s just Jane, Mama Rizzoli, Senior Criminalist Susie Chang and… remember that guy Jack, who’s apparently still dating Maura? Him too. They brought a cake to celebrate the fact that Maura was recently named president-elect of the New England Medical Officers committee – and she’s the first in the field of forensic pathology to achieve the position.
Maura: We used to be the outcasts of the medical community. Not long ago, a medical degree wasn’t even required to be certified, so this is…
Susie: A really big deal. NEMO is very lucky to have you.
Jane: Wait – NEMO?
Maura: No relation to the vengeful submarine captain with a bitter hatred for British imperialism. …Why is everyone looking at me like that?
Angela: Well, Nemo’s the little stray clown fish.
Jane: With the tiny, tiny fin.
And with that, Rizzoli & Isles 5×17 is off to a good start – but just as Maura is about to cut the cake with a scalpel (while Jane, of course, protests), they learn that party time is over and they’re needed at the crime scene. Jane warns Susie not to store the cake in the morgue fridge, but after she’s out of earshot, Mama Rizzoli points out that dead men tell no tales. Oh, Lorraine Bracco. You’re a hoot.
Dogs, ex-wives & mystery shooters
Although the victim clearly died of a gunshot wound, nobody saw or heard the other driver shoot him. Maura determines that the bullet was fired at a position above street level and pretty far away, eliminating the other driver as a suspect. Now what? Jane and Korsak notice streamers in the area that may have acted as wind indicators for the shooter, and suddenly the trees in a nearby park become the focus of their investigation. They discover a sniper’s nest, which confirms Ned’s death was no accident – but was he the intended target? He wasn’t even supposed to be in the area, but was heading to his wife’s office to drop off her cellphone. One of the dogs in the canine unit draws their attention to an encampment in the park where they find sniper tape and a shell casing, and Jane thanks him with a “Nice job, Officer.” Awww. Rizzoli & Isles 5×17 has made me realize that this show needs more police dogs.
Back at headquarters, Jack drops by Maura’s office with some news: His ex-wife and daughter are moving to Albuquerque, and he’s considering his options. Maura says she’s sure things will work out, but her tone belies her confidence.
Elsewhere in the building, Korsak’s rattled too: He thinks the perpetrator is a military-trained sniper, and more often than not, these types of people don’t stop after one kill. Sure enough, while he’s down in the lab talking to Maura about tracing the unique tag composed of particles mixed into the gunpowder, Frankie appears with news of another shooting at the same park, although this one wasn’t fatal.
“I’m going to need a cheeseburger”
At the scene, Jane’s unwilling to believe the two victims were randomly targeted and suggests trying to find a link between them. Just then, she spots someone lurking in the bushes, and a chase ensues. They get their guy, but he’s not exactly cooperative – he tries to bite Korsak and refuses to communicate in anything other than growls, leading Jane to nickname him “McGruff.” Maura has a theory about his condition, but, as she tells Jane, she’s “going to need a cheeseburger.” Jane’s expression is priceless.
After Maura gives “McGruff” the cheeseburger and shows him some compassion, he begins to open up to her, revealing that the wound on his hand was caused by a hunter with a gun. When she presses him, he becomes agitated and nonverbal again, so she leaves the interview room. Having observed his manner of eating, Maura shares her diagnosis with Jane.
Maura: I think he has clinical lycanthropy, usually brought on by schizophrenia or a psychotic break.
Jane: Do I need a tattoo on my forehead that says “What does that mean, Maura?”
Maura: Oh, I assumed you were just shocked into silence because his condition is so rare.
After a little more charming medical babble, Maura finally gets to the point: Basically, when “McGruff” feels threatened, he wolfs out. “That makes him an eyewitness… who thinks he’s a wolf,” Jane says incredulously. “Nobody’s perfect,” Maura counters. She’s delightful.
What isn’t so delightful is that Jack is considering turning down a full-time professor position in New Mexico – and a shot at tenure – to be an adjunct professor so he can live in Boston and be around Maura for part of the year. Jane’s spidey senses are no doubt tingling over the fact that her girlfriend is planning a potential future with a man, so she texts at precisely the worst moment and interrupts their conversation, albeit for a good reason: A third sniper’s nest was discovered, so time is of the essence.
Although Nina doesn’t have any luck finding commonalities between the two victims, the gunpowder tag proves marginally more fruitful. She gets a list of members at all the gun clubs that purchased the powder, but it’s looong and will take days to go through. Time is just not on the BPD’s side in Rizzoli & Isles 5×17. However, upon further study of the crime scene photos, Korsak is able to determine by the number of streamers that the second victim, Jeremy, was the true target.
A race against time
Maura decides to approach McGruff again to see if he can shed any more light on who they’re looking for. Several cheeseburgers and one bandaged hand later, he reveals that he tried to stop the sniper from shooting the second victim, which may well have saved the man’s life. Suspecting that he may have a brain tumor that’s causing his condition, Maura takes him to the hospital and Jane stations guards outside his door in case the perp tries to silence the witness. Sure enough, as McGruff is preparing for a CAT scan, he wolfs out in response to a man walking down the hallway, and Maura gives chase, grabbing a scalpel for defense along the way. The man ambushes her in a stairwell, but she’s prepared and stabs him in the leg. When he runs to a different floor, Jane finishes the job and apprehends him – and THAT’S why they call it Rizzoli & Isles.
Maura: He’s got a laceration on his right quadricep.
Jane: And you’re holding a scalpel. Remind me not to piss you off.
If Rizzoli & Isles 5×17 taught us one thing, it’s this: Scalpels can cut cakes, stab snipers and, oh, yeah, slice people open.
Speaking of the sniper, turns out he’s a spoiled rich kid who was fired from his job at Victim No. 2’s company. His goal was to mask his vendetta by killing other people randomly, but things didn’t quite go according to plan. “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Sociopaths always underestimate the resilience of the werewolf,” Korsak says sagely. What? OK.
Over at the hospital, Maura tells McGruff that a benign tumor is causing his condition, and reveals that she’s managed to find out his name: Michael Lyons. Come on, Lyons and not Wolfe? Lame.
Goodbye, Jack – hello, Rizzles?
Remember the other man in Maura’s life, Jack? Through a typically Maura-esque cell division metaphor, the M.E. tells him to take the full-time professor job and leave Boston for good so he can be with his daughter. Although it’s the right thing to do, she’s pretty broken up about it – but luckily she has a date with Jane at the Dirty Robber to look forward to.
At the bar, Jane pours them both some wine, shares some comforting words and tries not to look too happy that her romantic rival is not only leaving the state but also the time zone.
Look, Maura, you were given that plaque because you put others before yourself, OK? And, yes, I’m sure at the pearly gates, virtue will be rewarded, but right now, virtue kind of sucks.
And so does dating men, just saying.
Check back soon for our recap of the Rizzoli & Isles season 5 finale!