An interview with “Rizzoli & Isles” creator Janet Tamaro

AE: Do you have gay friends and have you talked with them about the show and subtext?

JT:
I do. I am insulted when they’re not fans. I have a really good friend who said, “No, I don’t really watch it.” I was like, “Really? You don’t, like, do drinking games?” She was like, “Just because I am gay doesn’t mean I like your show.” I was like, “Awww.”

AE: Do you ever feel like you are playing up or playing down that nod-wink subtext that is in the show?

JT:
I love to make people laugh. Still I think the more you do that, “Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink,” the less funny it becomes. But, let’s face it, they have remarkable chemistry together and that is the appeal of the show.

AE: Well, in the third episode, Rizzoli and Isles pretend they are a couple and then there was the “I Kissed a Girl” episode and the TNT speed dating promo. Do you think those played it up at all? How did those come about?

JT:
You know what’s funny about the two actresses is they have their hands all over each other all the time. That is not for show. They genuinely like each other and they are very touchy, really. So, when Angie is holding Sasha in the TV Guide, they do that. They grab each other’s asses. And I like that and I like that they are comfortable enough to do that. And I like that when it became public that we had this huge gay and bisexual audience, they didn’t think, “Oh, God, we can’t.” Instead they just thought, “Great, she’s got a great ass. She’s gorgeous.”

AE: So there are no plans to tone it down or try to show less of that?

JT:
No. And it’s a living breathing thing now, it doesn’t belong to me anymore. So who knows. Like I said on Twitter, “Never say never.”

AE: Speaking of never say never, what about in, say, Season 12, after one too many drinks at the Dirty Robber: Could Jane and Maura ever hook up?

JT:
I say, who knows? Who knows? I am right now focused on writing episode 11 and that’s how I approach it. I’ve been a fan of certain television shows and wanted certain characters to get together and if that’s part of the appeal, part of why people watch, then God love them for coming and shoving their families out of the way and putting my show on.

AE: The show deviates from Tess’ series quite a bit, how do you see the books in relation to the show?

JT:
Tess has been really wonderful about sharing these characters and pretty much giving them over to me. We joke and I say, “You’re the birth mother and I’m the step mother. When they’re with me they’ll do what I say.” What works in books doesn’t necessarily translate into television. And I have to do 15 of these a year. And the characters, partly because of who we cast, they’re really not the same characters as they were in the book. You want to be respectful of her work, but then it became mine and I have to generate it. So you have to think, what’s good TV?

AE: What else can fans expect from this season and anything else to say to your Rizzles fans out there?

JT:
Thank you. Thank you for watching. Keep loving these characters, they’re worth loving. We’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned. Maura’s mob dad is coming back. Tommy, Jane’s little brother, is going to get himself in more trouble. We’re going to learn some stuff about Korsak’s ex wife. We have a lot of really good stories coming up.

Rizzoli & Isles airs at 10 p.m. Mondays on TNT. Read the Rizzoli & Isles Subtext Recaps each Tuesday on AfterEllen.com.

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