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.]
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.
Rizzoli & Isles begins its final stretch of season 2 episodes tonight on TNT with more of the same — and that’s anything but a bad thing.
In its time on the cable network, the show has found a comfortable existence on Procedural Way, its two excellent female leads, Sasha Alexander and Angie Harmon, at the helm. And in these last five episodes of the season, Alexander, who navigated the waters over at NCIS for eight years before her Rizzoli gig, says the show’s seemingly simple formula has more than a few turns in store for viewers.
"The [cases] get really strong," she says. "In these episodes, Jane and Maura’s friendship gets tested in some really unexpected ways because of the mysteries and the way the mysteries unfold. The boundaries of being friends but having work-related rules they have to abide by, it’s just going to be interesting to see how [they] respond to it all. They both have huge disagreements and it puts them both on either side of the fence."
One issue the women will have to grapple with? What happens when Jane's screw-up brother Tommy (Colin Egglesfield) and Maura have a little chemistry? "How does it affect their friendship? Where does it go?" teases Alexander. "I find it really funny — funny stuff happens. But then it turns dramatic because he might have gotten himself in trouble." In addition, Tommy now also knows that Maura's real father is Irish hitman Paddy Doyle. "That kind of makes things a little tricky because now he is part of the inner fold of knowing this very very sort of dangerous information," says Alexander.
For Alexander, the pleasure of playing Maura Isles is the fact that stories that have been woven to make her — and her relationship with tough-talking Jane Rizzoli — so much more than what they could be. "These women are very different, have different colors, we learn more about them as the series goes and when they fight, they're not being catty," she says. "They aren’t fighting over who looks better in a little black dress. They’re fighting over real life issues. And these real life issues involve a personal relationship and it also involves work."
The trials that await the women in the last five episodes — and, in particular, the season finale — will "leave [fans] wanting to know what happens between these women," says Alexander. "I think the finale really tests their friendship and their relationship…it’s very powerful."
When "Rizzoli & Isles" returns to TNT Monday night (Nov. 28), Sasha Alexander's Maura Isles is definitely carrying the more lighthearted end of the story. That won't last.
Alexander tells Zap2it that "it gets darker for Maura as the episodes go," and that by the time the finale airs in December, people may find themselves choosing sides between Maura and Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon).
"You're going to learn a lot of things about her by the time we finish, and when we get to the finale, it's really intense," Alexander says.
We also talked about the chemistry she has with Harmon, how fans perceive the relationship between Jane and Maura and more.
Zap2it: The show seems to have a pretty good sense of how to balance the darker and lighter moments. How do you play it?
Sasha Alexander: It's sort of like a recipe where you throw in a bunch of different flavors, and it clicks. I feel like this season has been a lot about that coming together for all the characters. Tonally speaking, we know where we are. [Executive producer] Janet Tamaro writes that really well. There's a lot of humor, and the crime and the mysteries, they've gotten a lot stronger, and they continue to get stronger as the season goes. ... She's writing the real stuff between people, and the real stuff between people is funny, and then it's dark, and then it's funny, you know? So I think we all try to keep it as real as possible.
What's on the horizon for Maura in these five episodes?
I'm really excited for people to see these next episodes, for a number of reasons. Mostly because the friendship between Maura and Jane really gets tested in some unexpected ways. ... It's dark. I've been very lucky to get to play all these colors. You're going to see a different side to her. It's going to be interesting to see how fans react to the different ways Maura and Jane are tested just at work -- their loyalty to each other, their loyalty to their jobs. They're put in real-life situations. It's not just [a stereotypical situation] of two women being catty. As Janet Tamaro says, they're not fighting about who looks better in a little black dress [laughs].
That's Maura anyway, right?
[Laughs] That's not true. But both women are tested with the people in their lives, their love lives and at work. They're completely different women from every standpoint, but they're equally right about what they're trying to do. So I'm excited for people to see the finale and how it all unravels. Because there's no way you're not going to want to come back in Season 3 and see what happens between these two women. I'm telling you -- there's no way.
Colin Egglesfield returns as Tommy in this run, correct?
Yes. And again, it's the question of what happens if your best friend starts having a little chemistry with your younger, screw-up brother. Where does that go, what does that bring up? It's a really good episode, it's very interesting for him. And you know, he and Maura have a bond. They not only connected immediately, but now they have a deeper connection because he knows her real father is Paddy Doyle. So that's tricky. It's dangerous even to have that information.
Are you and Angie aware of the segment of "Rizzoli & Isles" fandom that's parsing every word and look exchanged between your characters?
Are we aware of it? Sure -- because it's such a big, loving fan base, and it's great to see them tweet dialogue and remember things. They send us incredible gifts. It's amazing. Angie and I get packages all the time -- books and scrapbooks, things they make for us, videos. It's just amazing that people relate to the characters and that they speak to them. I'm really proud of the fact that it's a show [on which] it's women who value women. ... If you put it out into the ether, people are going to interpret what they want. What's important for me is that they watch it, they come back and that they enjoy it.
So Angie and I know about it, but I will not say that it affects our work or how we approach the work. It really doesn't. Angie and I have chemistry -- that's it. Truly, we have shot scenes where we interpret it one way and the camera shows it differently. We have chemistry, and when people have chemistry, it's that magic that film does. We could do a whole scene with our backs to each other, and people are going to say there was a glance or a touch [laughs] -- I'm not kidding. It really is that way.
And that's why I'm really curious to see the women put in this position [of conflict] during these episodes. It deepens any friendship to be in conflict and to disagree with a person you care for. But the disagreements are so deep and so about who these women are that it's going to be interesting to see who takes what side, or who doesn't take a side. ... That's the stuff I love, and I'm really excited we get the opportunity to do it on our show.
Rizzoli & Isles is premiering the second half of its second season on TNT, and coming up you can expect a lot more complicated cases, as well as interpersonal drama between characters, namely the BFFs and partners in crime (solving), Jane (Angie Harmon) and Maura (Sasha Alexander). Before you check out the winter premiere, "Can I Get A Witness?", Alexander tells you what to expect from the twists and turns to come.
LA TV Insider Examiner: One of the first things that struck us in the first episode back, "Can I Get A Witness?" is how Maura is budding up to Jane's mom, Angela, and even has a bit of a bonding moment with Roselyn Sanchez' Valerie Hudson. Where does that leave Jane? How is their relationship different, if at all, in the episodes going forward?
Sasha Alexander: I think that the relationship between Maura and Angela is completely just-- I think it suits Jane fine. Because Jane doesn't do that girly stuff with her mom, so if her mom is happy and going through that stuff with her divorce and if her and Maura want to sit around having baking contests, I think she's fine with that. I think the issue that will come up is that Maura starts to have a little chemistry with her screw-up younger brother, so it’s more what happens when that happens. That's a much more sore subject. Their friendship gets tested in some really unexpected ways.
We're so glad you brought him up, because we were going to ask: when will we first see the return of Tommy?
S.A.: You'll see him in the second one back.
And what is the nature of their relationship these days? It's been awhile since we've seen them together, but we assume they've still been hanging out.
S.A.: Look, they have chemistry. They definitely have some kind of a connection, but it has not gone any further than a flirtation. I think that there is a moment where Jane's like "Wait a second, what is going on with my brother? What’s happening?" And then we did have that episode that I think solidified their bond where [Maura and Tommy] both get held hostage in a way by Maura’s father, Paddy Doyle.
Global fans organize the inaugural Rizzoli & Isles convention
RizzlesCon 2012 is the ultimate event for all Rizzoli & Isles fans. The first fan-focused convention for this hit TNT show offers attendees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse themselves behind the scenes. Interactive panel discussions with R&I cast and crew, unique photo and autograph opportunities, a series of fan-focused workshops, specially invited table vendors and the RizzlesCon party; the event will give every true fan the chance to celebrate and share their passion for all things Rizzles. RizzlesCon 2012 is set to create memories for the attendees that will last a lifetime.
RizzlesCon 2012 | www.rizzlescon.net
Clarion Hotel, Anaheim, CA
Friday, July 20 – Sunday, July 22, 2012
Highlights of the event include an exclusive ‘LGBT and the Media’ panel discussion moderated by Trish Bendix, (Managing Editor of afterellen.com), which will have highly-recognizable panel members from all areas of entertainment industry. Already signed up are Grammy nominated singer/musician Sophie B. Hawkins and Director/Writer Gigi Gaston.
Already confirmed to attend the convention are Sasha Alexander (Dr. Maura Isles), Lorraine Bracco (Angela Rizzoli), series creator Janet Tamaro, character originator and novelist Tess Gerritsen and other senior members of the highly commended Rizzoli & Isles crew.
This event is a collaborative effort of fans based in the UK and the USA. It’s a not-for-profit event and tickets go on sale in early 2012. Tickets will be strictly limited to this brand new event and some levels include exclusive RizzlesCon 2012 merchandise – tickets go on sale in early 2012, they are predicted to sell out quickly.
Based on characters created by best-selling crime novelist Tess Gerritsen and developed for television by Janet Tamaro, Rizzoli & Isles stars Angie Harmon as Jane Rizzoli, a tough-as-nails Boston police detective, and Sasha Alexander as Maura Isles, a smart, impeccably dressed medical examiner from a privileged background. Despite being complete opposites, the two women share an offbeat chemistry and strong working relationship that has helped them bust some of Boston’s most notorious criminals.
Rizzoli & Isles is back on Monday for 5 new episodes.
Sasha and Lorraine have both tweeted out that they will be live tweeting during the episode on Monday. @RizzoliIslesTNT tweeted out that Angie would also join in.
Be sure to follow @RizzlesCon for the big announcement about the Rizzoli & Isles Convention
Sasha will be on KTLA on Monday morning. She also posted that she may be posting a video with some answers to the questions fans asked on Facebook, along with a contest. So be sure to follow her on twitter!
It's been a long time since Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey cracked crime cases, but not so long ago that "Rizzoli & Isles" fans don’t recognize some of the "Cagney & Lacey" chemistry at work in the newer TNT drama.
A big-city setting (though it’s Boston instead of New York City).
A crime-solving duo of female pals from dissimilar backgrounds.
An ampersand in the title.
And, most notably, a lot of light humor mixed in with the procedural grist.
That last one continues off-camera. During a Summer TV Tour visit to the "Rizzoli & Isles" Los Angeles set, Bruce McGill, who plays Detective Vince Korsak on the show, was asked about the "Cagney & Lacey" connections.
He acknowledged the links, but …
"I get tired of everybody thinking that I’m Tyne Daly," he said. "I get it. That's why I fought for the goatee."
That McGill can play light isn't a surprise. One of his first of many credits is D-Day in 1978’s "Animal House."
The real comic revelation on this show is Lorraine Bracco, whose credits include the mob masterpieces "GoodFellas" and "The Sopranos."
"For me, it's a big stretch," said Bracco, who plays mother Angie to Angie Harmon's Detective Jane Rizzoli. "I've never done anything remotely humorous my entire career. I'm funny at home."
"I keep getting the direction, 'Faster! Faster!'" Bracco continued. "I don't know how to do that. I've been watching a lot of Lucy."
The comic stretching by Bracco and the others in the cast is a departure from the show's source material. Under the navigation of creator and executive producer Janet Tamaro ("Lost," "Bones," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), the series springs from Tess Gerritsen’s crime novels.
"If you've read the books, which I love, there's not that much humor. They're much darker," Alexander said. "I've said it's a little like shooting a zombie movie. We have this stuff that can be kind of screwball-funny happening with a character and all of a sudden you have this crime that can be rather gruesome.
"You're working with intestines and digging into people and yet the emotional context of the scene might be something that is really rather funny."
A "Law & Order" veteran who's spent time shadowing real detectives, Harmon said she witnessed a lot of unselfconscious humor and tension-breaking byplay while immersed in the real crime-fighting world.
"When I was there with the homicide unit, yes, they'd be standing in a horrible, grotesque crime scene, but they're all still cracking jokes and talking about what they were trying to get their kids to eat for dinner," she said. " 'Are we going to get this done, because I have to get home to take them to school.' Life doesn’t have a censor button."
A former journalist, Tamaro said she has mined her earlier professional life to help hone these characters.
"(Humor) is how you get through it," she said. "You say things in context you couldn't say to anybody else. It was important to me to mash together the dark and light, to have the moments of relief. That's what cops are like."
"That's where you reveal character," McGill added. "The humor is mostly about character and relationships."
"If you give actors 'low-velocity blood splatter' every time, where do they go with that?" Tamaro said. "I like to see the different colors they have. I love to bring them to tears, otherwise everybody gets bored."
Which is, believe it or not, a real problem in the hour-long drama world, McGill said.
"I know people who do these procedurals, and they get bored," he said. "They have these great jobs and they're as bored as the face of a fish. 'Oh, the Mercedes is here?' I'm not kidding."
McGill said he saw the syndrome at work when he witnessed a producer receive on-set delivery of a $150,000 car.
"It was as if somebody said, 'Your latte’s here,'" McGill said. "I thought, 'May I never be that guy. Or the guy bringing him the latte.'"
The "Faster! Faster!" formula is working. The summer run of "Rizzoli & Isles" was ranked the No. 1 show on basic cable, with an average audience of 9 million.
That's a long way from "Cagney and Lacey" at the peak of its 1980s run, which also saw a landmark renewal via fan foment and a slew of Emmy Awards.
But for cable, in this era, it's a female buddy-cop blockbuster.
"Why did years pass before there was another female buddy-cop show?" Tamaro said. “Why is there just 'Cagney & Lacey?' Why aren’t there five others you can think of?"
On Nov. 28, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander will be back in action when "Rizzoli & Isles" returns with five exciting new episodes to wrap up the second half of the second season –and, according to Alexander, we have a lot to look forward to.
There are some big stunts coming, Jane's love life heats up with the return of her military man and the puzzles get more intricate as Jane Rizzoli [Harmon] and Maura Isles [Alexander] continue to put away the bad guys.
Other characters will be back as well, including Paddy Doyle (Maura's biological father played by John Doman), Jane's just-out-of-prison brother Tommy (Colin Egglesfield) and Maura’s mother (Jaclyn Bisset) makes another visit that will add to the tension of the finale where something shocking happens.
"The finale is going to test Maura and Jane's friendship. It is going to put them at odds in a really unexpected way. But I can’t give away how," Alexander tells Xfinity TV.
But first, the former "NCIS" actress tells us about some of the upcoming cases, how frisky Maura is these five episodes and why she understands that so many people think that Rizzoli and Isles are lesbians.
What can you tease about any really cool cases coming up for the second half of the season?
The mysteries get really strong. I am excited for our fans to see them. They are all very different. The first one is a gang-related crime. There is a fun one where Maura tags along to Jane's high school reunion and a crime happens. As it unravels, it involves a lot of people from her past. There is a great episode that involves Korsak (Bruce McGill), his ex-wife (played by Lolita Davidovich) and their sort-of adopted son, who gets in a lot of trouble. There's another episode that involves Tommy, Jane's younger brother. Let's just say they have chemistry! Then he ends up involved in something – or we think so. There is some really great stuff coming up.
Maura dated that old acquaintance of Jane's – the mechanic — because she liked his physique and that turned out to be a disaster; now Jane's brother. What’s up with that?
She is feeling very frisky this season, but she is not taking up with Jane's brother.
We met Maura's mother. How was it working with Jackie Bisset and will she be back? Is she part of the reason that Maura is so happy to adopt Jane's family?
Jackie Bisset is an amazing, beautiful, funny, warm woman and I adore working with her. She does a fantastic job. She does return in our finale and an amazing thing happens between her and Maura that is going to change the game for season three.
I do think that Maura was raised very differently than Jane. Clearly, Jane's home is much more of a middle class, warm family. They were all much more connected. Maura's personal life is much more complicated. She was adopted. She doesn’t know who her biological mother is. She just finds out that her biological father is the biggest gangster/hit man in Boston. So, she has a very complicated side to her life that I love. I love the light and the dark about her.
I do think that warmth is what makes her want to embrace Jane's mother. Angela (Lorraine Bracco) is so easy to love. How can you not love Angela?
What is your favorite thing about Maura?
That she doesn’t care about being liked. I like that how she functions in society is sort of unique.
When the series started, you said you hadn't read the books. But since then, you have. Do they affect how you play her at all, or do you stay strictly to the scripts?
It is a great question. I will tell you, it does. You can't help it. Even though the storylines on the show may have nothing to do with the books, it can’t help but deepen the character. In this season, our finale ends in a way that tonally reminds me of the mystery of the books. The way it ends between the girls and what happens between them reminds me of the books in a more dramatic and intense way. When I dove into playing that, it was very challenging for me and I felt very lucky to be able to take Maura from being sort of the comedic relief in a way to showing all these different colors. So, it was challenging. When I embarked on doing that stuff and researching it, the book kept coming up for me because I felt I knew all this backstory and I felt like I knew all this stuff that she came from, so it helps me.
What is great about this show is it is like the old-boy buddy movies and proves that women can get along and have each others' back. Is there a big appeal in that to you?
Absolutely. This is a show where women value women and the people who watch it value these characters. I am very proud of that aspect of it. There is no other show on television that has that relationship between women. What is great about it is they can go get a manicure together, but then they can turn around and be involved in something that is deeper and more intense. They are dealing with real-life issues. Our executive producer Janet Tamaro likes to say, "They are not just being catty and fighting over who looks better in a little black dress." Their problems are real. They face not only their friendship, but also they work together and they have tough jobs.
In the books, Rizzoli marries an FBI agent and Isles had an affair with a priest so we know these women are straight. Why do you think there is so much buzz on the Internet about them being lesbians?
You put something out into the ether and people will interpret what they want. The important thing for me is they keep watching it and enjoying it. The other thing I will say that makes me happy is so many women – and not just women who like women but lots of women – have become friends with people who love the show and developed friendships with other women, or connected with past friends from high school that the friendship reminds them of. I can't tell you the amount of letters and packages and gifts and videos and stuff that Angie and I receive, that are saying, "Thank you so much. You remind me of my friend in high school. You remind me because the two of us were so different physically, and we weren’t fighting over the same guy." I think that is something our producer Janet Tamaro, Angie and me … we all as women agree that we don’t all like the same guy. We don't. I am glad the show shows women in all colors. You have two different women to explore the different ways we may choose to do things and what we are. We can go from one end of the spectrum to the other. Even when we disagree, it is funny. It can be funny and intense. Why not?
Maura has a great wardrobe. Very stylish. Are there pieces that you would want to borrow, or is your real-life style completely different?
I would want to borrow everything. I love it. It is beautiful. It is all beautifully tailored clothes. It is gorgeous. Some of the stuff is definitely more prim and proper than I am. I would wear it to a luncheon. I, Sasha, am much more casual in my real life.
"Rizzoli & Isles" returns on Monday, Nov. 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.
Rizzoli & Isles’ second season took a short hiatus on TNT for the last few months, but now that it is coming back, it is going all out with complex cases and big name guest stars. In its second season winter premiere, “Can I Get A Witness?”, two such stars join the ladies for a high profile, and high tension case: Roselyn Sanchez and Bill O’Reilly.
Sanchez steps in as a District Attorney assigned to help Jane (Angie Harmon) protect a witness in a gang-related shooting. The kid is in police custody, set to testify against a well-known crime kingpin in the projects of Boston, after having watched the guy mow down a beloved community leader on a public street. But wait, there’s more. The kid watched this all occur in broad daylight, clearly seeing the shooter’s face, and the shooter, therefore, clearly seeing his. So very quickly another homicide investigation takes over Jane’s attention when her witness somehow escapes his protective custody and gets murdered in an equally public park.
Sasha Alexander is savoring family time while "Rizzoli and Isles" takes its seasonal hiatus. She plans to spend Thanksgiving here in California with her family and the Christmas season in Europe with husband Edoardo Ponti and his kin, which includes his mother, Sophia Loren.
"My mom is making Thanksgiving dinner. She's a great cook. She likes to cook alone, so I'm making pumpkin and blueberry pies to bring," reports the actress, whose hit series returns to the TNT lineup Nov. 28.
Then it will be off to Switzerland for the Pontis. Five-year-old Lucia has started to ski, says her proud mom, and baby Leonardo will turn one on Dec. 20 — another family celebration.
"I grew up in Los Angeles and never had snow at Christmas," says Alexander. "The last eight years with my husband, I've gone to spend the holidays in Europe, and I have to say, it's grown on me. They indulge Christmas down to every detail. It's so beautiful, so relaxing. I really love it now. I love to bundle up and go outside in the fresh air."
Alexander notes that she and fellow "Rizzoli and Isles" star Angie Harmon communicate occasionally when they're off work. "But she's in Charlotte, N.C., and I'm out here. She kind of buckles down with the family back east. We get back into our little family holes between seasons. We see each other all the time six months of the year."
According to Alexander, the new episodes that begin airing next week will show a testing of the friendship between Harmon's police detective, Jane Rizzoli, and Alexander's character, medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles.
"As my executive producer says, these two women are facing real-life issues," Alexander says. "They happen to be friends. Anyone who has friends knows they have disagreements; they don't always see eye-to-eye. These two are not fighting over who looks better in a little black dress or over guys. They're actually dealing with complicated issues about boundaries or rules."
Still, Jane's brother, Tommy (Colin Egglesfield) and his increasingly obvious chemistry with Maura is apparently going to be part of the reason for the clash.
Adds Alexander, "The season ends in kind of a shocking way.
I'm very interested in seeing how the fans respond to it."
Actress Sasha Alexander is guest starring on 'Shameless.'
Since her Dawson's Creek stint, Sasha Alexander-perhaps best known for playing Pacey Witter's older sister Gretchen-has grown up. In the '90s, Alexander spent her days on set with Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams, and grabbing the on-camera attention of Dawson himself. But make no mistake; the Rizzoli & Isles actress is still attracting the younger guys.
Alexander makes an appearance in Sunday's episode of Shameless, playing Helene, a professor at Lip's school. And yes, he totally has the hots for her. Really, who doesn't? "This woman is a much more sexual creature," says Alexander. "She expresses herself and she's very comfortable in her sexuality. She doesn't apologize for it."
We shamelessly asked the actress to spill her secrets for staying sexy, and thankfully she obliged.
Yahoo Beauty: In Sunday's episode of Shameless, you're playing a sexy, confident, character. Where do you channel that inspiration from?
Sasha Alexander: I admire women in the movies that have that tough girl sparkle to them. Lauren Bacall was one of them. Sigourney Weaver. Faye Dunaway had it. The toughness and the sexuality-it wasn't one or the other. I draw from that.
Does that describe you?
I'm confident, but I'm also incredibly vulnerable and incredibly fragile as well. I enjoy playing those characters because they're definitely tougher than I am.
Are you more confident now at 41 than you were in your 20s or 30s?
Absolutely. For women, maturity comes with age and experience. It all comes back to having both feet on the ground and feeling confident with who you are. You get to a place in your life when you're like, "This is who I am. I can't change this." You can change your hair color, but in general, you are who you are. Love yourself, and make the best of it.
What insecurities have you overcome?
I always thought I had a big nose. You know what? I grew into my nose. I'm OK with it. It fits my big eyes. We judge ourselves more harshly in our teens and our 20s.
You're Italian and Serbian. Have you learned any cultural beauty secrets growing up?
My [Serbian] mom believes in all natural remedies, so she's got a cure for everything. She puts olive oil all over her face and her hair, but especially in the summer time. It's the best natural conditioner. Both sides [Italian and Serbian] believe in eating natural foods-no crap and preservatives. Lots of fruit and vegetables. And napping!
Did you pick up any beauty tips from your Dawson's Creek co-stars back in the day?
Those were the acne years for everybody. The thing I learned about from Dawson's Creek was ProActiv! It was at the time where everyone was breaking out all the time. I learned don't drink red wine before going on camera. It makes your eyes puffy.
How do you maintain great looking skin?
I use a lot of sunscreen and try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. I use a Clarisonic, which I'm totally obsessed with. I wouldn't go and get Botox around my eyes-I do a lot of comedy. I have to be careful with that. On the other hand, I'm getting wrinkles! There's an interesting treatment I've done in the past year called the Q Laser. You can do it for 20 minutes and walk out like it's nothing. It tightens the skin around the eyes and gives moisture to the area and goes three layers under. I have seen an enormous difference from that thing! It's something you have to do more frequently. I'm also a big Tracy Anderson devotee. You are drenched in sweat. I believe that kind of sweat is good for us.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011
"How I Met Your Mother" star NEIL PATRICK HARRIS is Kelly's guest co-host all week. ANGIE HARMON chats with Kelly and Neil about "Rizzoli & Isles," and rocker chick AVRIL LAVIGNE performs.
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Ep 211 "Can I Get A Witness?" - airdate Nov. 28
Ep 212 "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - airdate Dec. 5
EP 213 "Seventeen Ain't So Sweet" - airdate Dec. 12
Ep 214 "Don't Stop Dancing, Girl" - airdate Dec. 19
Ep 215 "Burning Down the House" - airdate Dec. 26