Rizzoli & Isles star Angie Harmon got the chance to costar with her daughter Avery Grace, 10, on an episode of her TNT hit airing Tuesday.
“Studying lines with Avery, rehearsing with her and then finally shooting the episode made me blissfully happy,” Harmon, 43, says exclusively in the current issue of PEOPLE.
“It was not only a dream for me, but more importantly a dream come true for her.”
Not that working with her daughter came without challenges.
“It was also a new experience as I had to remain in character, but still couldn’t help watching her and feeling pride and joy for her as her mommy,” says Harmon, who is also mom to daughters Finley Faith, 12, and Emery Hope, 7.
She adds, “Watching the joy she had while she worked, her incredible ability and natural talent is something and I will never forget!”
The winter episodes of Rizzoli & Isles started with the dramatic kidnapping of Maura (Sasha Alexander), and the traumatic aftermath of that event for both Maura and Jane (Angie Harmon) will play out even into Season 7, which will be the series’ finale.
“All things come to an end,” Alexander told Parade.com. “I know we don’t like them to when they’re doing well and we like watching them, but I do feel like we’ve been very fortunate with this show. We had a really tremendous fan base from the moment it aired, and that hasn’t faltered. We’re going out on an up, I like to say, as the Police went out when they had a No. 1 hit.”
But before we say goodbye, the Boston cop and her BFF medical examiner, have a lot more adventures in front of them, starting tonight when a woman is found murdered in a grisly scene reminiscent of a horror movie. The case leads the team to uncover a frightening “game” in which people pay to experience terror.
In this interview, Alexander talks about tonight’s episode, the long-term effects of the kidnapping on both Jane and Maura, saying goodbye to the series, her role on Shameless, and more.
What’s coming up for the backend of Season 6 of Rizzoli & Isles?
We are now chasing a woman from Jane’s past who is after her. We’re trying to find any clue that we can. Maura is working with Jane to find this woman. Meanwhile, there are other cases that come along that were dealing with while we’re still continuing to hunt for that woman, which will continue into Season 7.
Maura always comes in with a lot of humor and fun stuff. We had a scene where Maura accidentally smoked some marijuana out of a ventilator, which I thought was really fun. I wanted to see Maura in a situation like that for many years. I think it was a nice way to break the intensity from the episode before, where she was kidnapped. I think Maura gets to step in and do that quite frequently, which I love.
We have a lot of really interesting cases coming up. There’s something to do with a bomb detonator that goes off, so they’re stuck in a space for awhile and that has to do with Korsak (Bruce McGill). There’s an episode dealing with people who get off on being scared and experiencing terror, and in one of those situations, somebody gets killed for real.
And at the end of this winter run, they find a state trooper who’s killed, and when they look into the getaway car, they realize that it’s somebody that might be connected to the person that is after Jane. There’s a bit of a cliffhanger because, let’s just say, the team is all together, shots go off, and we don’t know who has been hurt or killed.
So Maura is doing all the right things since she was kidnapped. She’s going to therapy, she’s keeping a journal of her feelings, and Jane is being overprotective. Is there a point where Maura maybe breaks down?
I think that Jane begins to breakdown more because – definitely in these winter episodes — for Jane, everything around her is falling apart. It’s the reality of the job that these women do. You can go along thinking that you have everything under control and then something happens that threatens everything you care about. That’s the situation she’s in. This person is scary because they’re hiding very well.
They are very smart and they clearly might even have been somebody who was a cop, because they do know a lot. They have targeted Jane, so, I think, that Jane will definitely be doing more of the breaking down at this point, but I do definitely think that Maura is dealing with a lot of her own stuff.
There’s an episode where she just gets sick. She’s not feeling well, but I think it’s because of all the stress that she’s under and not sleeping, not taking care of herself, and she starts to have these hallucinations and things. It’s fun. Those things, I think, add a little bit of lightness, but Jane is the one that’s really going to like going to be more tortured for a while.
Angela (Lorraine Bracco) called Hope (Sharon Lawrence) during the kidnapping to let her know what was going on. So I was curious if that was foreshadowing that Hope would be coming back, or maybe even Constance (Jacqueline Bisset)?
It would probably be Hope. I would love very much for Hope and Sharon Lawrence to return before our series ends. So I hope that she will be back. I don’t think it will be in these next few episodes but, hopefully, looking to the new season.
I was thinking that Maura actually has three moms because Angela is like a mother to her, or do you see her as a friend?
That’s a good question. There are moments when I thought Angela would turn more motherly. But the reality is, I think, she’s been more of a friend to Maura. I think that that’s because Maura is very mature and, even though she has mommy issues, with Angela, they’ve always been a bit on the same level. I think it’s because they share things they can’t say to Jane, or don’t want to say to her right away, and so the fact Angela’s lived in Maura’s house … there is a maternal quality, for sure, but I feel in their relationship, it’s been more like friends.
There is just one more season after this. How do you feel about the series ending?
I feel a lot of gratitude that we have had the run we have. I think in this day and age going seven years is hugely successful and we’ve made good television. So I feel proud of that. I definitely would not want to be in a series, badgering it to death after so many years, and feeling like we don’t know what to do with them anymore. I don’t feel that.
I feel grateful for the relationships I’ve made. I feel grateful for the work we’ve done. But I am also sad. I am definitely sad because this has been a really special job and I do think that these women and these characters have a lot of stories to tell. So I will be curious and wondering what they’ve done and where they’ve ended up, and who knows? It’s strange because some shows come to a place where you feel like it’s over, the story is done, but I do feel like these people have more to tell.
I hope that in Season 7, we will explore these women in terms of where they’ve come, what they’ve gone through, and where they are at in this moment in their lives, and what I mean is their personal life, the choices that they’ve made, what their jobs have kept them from doing, or what it has given them.
So, I think, that that part of it will be interesting because I do feel that they were just so much more in that mind frame of my work, my work, my work, and now they’ve grown into, wait a minute, they’re not married and they don’t have children. Do they want them? Do they not? What does their future hold?
Is there anything you’d like to take from the set like maybe some of Maura’s clothes? She’s so stylish. Last time we talked, I think you said that your designer found a certain high heel that was comfortable for you to wear, so maybe taking those?
We have over the years definitely gone lower on the heels. What I discovered in television is that they like to always cut to a close up so you rarely see the feet. So what I like to say is unless you’re doing a specialty shot of that shoe, let me be comfortable and save my feet. We have gone down from the 5-inch shoe that I was wearing in the very beginning to, let’s say two, or three inches.
What would I take with me? Good question. Besides anything in Maura’s closet, I would say I would maybe take something from her office and something from her home. I know Angie wants these really cute plates that are behind Maura’s sink. She’s asked for them for years. I think I might take her tea set. There’s a beautiful white tea set that we have had for years and I love, so maybe that.
I don’t watch Shameless but I hear that you’re very naked on that and that it was a very bold decision to do it. Was it an easy choice or did you have to mull it over?
Both. It was easy because I wanted to do something that was really out of the box and take a risk. When they came to me, I was a fan of the show. I had worked with the producers before. I knew that they’re the classiest bunch of people, so I knew the quality of the work was going to be great but, of course, I had to think about the reality of doing nudity on television.
And so yes, I did think about it and I did come to a place of feeling comfortable with the decision because of the character I was playing and because of the people involved in that show. I trusted them.
It’s a tricky thing but ultimately the character is a very interesting character for a woman. We rarely see an older woman and a younger man, and I felt that that was important.
I like complex characters. I just do. I think that even Maura … we’ve done so many different things with her and layered things with her that I know that I personally have always pushed for on the show, so that it’s never one dimensional. I think that doing something like Shameless gave me the opportunity as an actor to do that.
I was reading in an interview in which you said that the next thing you would really like to do is producing. Is that still true and are you working towards that?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve been optioning material and reading stuff for movies and television. I came out of film school at USC wanting to direct and produce. It’s hard as an actor to do it when you’re working and filming all the time. That’s just the truth, but I do feel like that’s something that I’m going to do more of when we finish with this show.
“Rizzoli & Isles” is coming to an end, but not before Angie Harmon hits a major milestone. The star of TNT’s police procedural is set to direct the 100th episode, Variety has learned exclusively.
“I have always wanted to direct and I think when one has been in this business as long as I have, it’s a natural progression,” Harmon tells Variety. “I’ve directed before and it is something I enjoy tremendously.”
The project Harmon previously directed was a short film, titled “Stockholm,” which shot in Nashville. But sitting in the director’s chair on “Rizzoli & Isles” has always been on her to-do list. The drama is ending after its seventh season and the show, on which Harmon stars alongside Sasha Alexander, will hit its 100-mark on the eighth episode of Season 7. The show is currently in the midst of Season 6, which wraps in March.
“I have always wanted to direct an episode of ‘Rizzoli & Isles,’ but the timing has never worked out because of my shooting schedule,” Harmon says. “I’m in almost every scene so it was always difficult to prep an episode before and then scout and plan shots for the episode I would direct.”
Storyline details for the 100th episode have not been made available yet, but it’s safe to assume that Harmon’s ample screen time won’t be decreased as one-half of the starring duo, but with the final season on the horizon, she’s now ready to take on the challenge. The episode she’s directing is set to shoot this May.
“We are all truly blessed to have had this show go on for as long as it has. I can honestly say I have grown more as a person, actor and grateful member of this community in the past six years than I have in my entire life,” Harmon says, adding that she enjoys directing because it has a different sort of freedom than acting.
As for the long-running show coming to an end, Harmon says what she’ll miss the most is her character Jane Rizzoli, plus her cast and crew.
“On almost every one of my projects, I make sure that we establish a family atmosphere early on and we have certainly become one. We have been through hell as a unit and we have had our celebrations as well,” she shares. “When a show ends and an actor is asked to leave a character, to me, it’s like a death. That is a person that has existed but I will never see her again. It’s a person that I have come to love and know and she will be gone. Forever. Endings are always difficult for me and this one will probably my hardest. I say that because I like Jane very much. I like who she is as a person, her ethics, her morals, her values, struggles, her integrity. I would be friends with Jane if she was real.”
Though the series wrap will be tough for Harmon — and the show’s passionate fanbase — one thing is certain: with directing being checked off her bucket list, she should have no regrets.
When Rizzoli & Isles returns to TNT to finish out its sixth season, the stakes are higher than ever—Maura (Sasha Alexander) has vanished, but Jane (Angie Harmon) will quickly realize the M.E. is in grave danger. But even though Maura's hands are tied—quite literally—she won't be passive about saving herself. And as the series starts to prepare for its seventh and final season, the danger to Jane and Maura will continue to linger.
With Rizzoli & Isles returning for the second half of Season 6, executive producer Jan Nash offered up a few teases about what's coming up.
What's in store when Rizzoli & Isles returns?
At the end of our summer season, the last thing we discovered was that Maura Isles had been kidnapped by someone clearly trying to hurt Jane Rizzoli. Someone who has burned down her apartment, has disrupted her finances, sent a threat that seemed like it was a personal threat but ultimately was a threat to someone she cared about. And so there's been this building tension in the episodes that existed in the background, and then it reached full power in the summer finale when Maura was abducted. I think quite simply, the job is to find Maura. She's been kidnapped, she is in danger. And Jane and Frankie and Korsak and Nina, their job is to figure out who has Maura and where she is and how they bring her home safely.
And then, on the flip side of that, Maura is some place in danger, and being the smart medical examiner that she is, she's going to do everything she can to protect herself, to save herself. And these two paths move forward through the episode in, hopefully, a way that the audience will find to be a satisfying conclusion. Over the course of the winter season, we don't necessarily answer the question of who did this and how we catch them; it's a longer arc story that will carry into Season 7.
How much will we see Maura's captivity versus Jane and the team trying to save her?
For dramatic storytelling purposes, for the opening part of the episode, we don't know where Maura is. And then there's a moment where it's revealed, when they figure out what's going on with Maura. And once we figure that out, we begin to see more of Maura. After that moment, she's very present in the episode, in the ongoing quest to figure out who abducted her and what she can do to escape. Of course, there is the expectation that all these people who love her are out in the world trying to figure out where she is and to save her at the same time.
How much guilt is Jane feeling about Maura's kidnapping, and how will that impact the way she goes about the case?
I think Jane Rizzoli feels an enormous sense of responsibility in Episodes 13 through 18 about, not just [about] what happened to Maura, but what's happening to the entire team in terms of the stress it puts on them and the implied danger of not knowing who this nemesis is. She does, definitely, have some moments where she gets very, very frayed and is not as in control as we expect to see [her]. It does have an impact, and I think it will continue to have an impact in Season 7 until we ultimately catch the person who is behind this.
How will this experience shape Maura going forward?
Obviously, this is a light, comic procedural, so we do try to live with as many dramatic moments as we can, and we do try and honor the drama of the situations. We will be allowing Maura to have the experience of having been affected by this kidnapping, to wrestle with what those feelings—that lack of personal safety— will mean for her life. That issue, from both the perspective of Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, is something we deal with very directly in the subsequent episodes. At a certain point, you want to continue to acknowledge it, but you don't want to lay on it too hard, because then the show becomes a different thing.
How does a more serious episode change how you and the cast go about things?
The actors, even in their previous acting experiences, have spanned the range from drama to comedy. When they get a script that's lighter, they totally get it; they do the lighter thing. When they get a darker [episode] or something that has a little more thriller, they totally lock into what the tonal intention is, and [they] can carry that to the finish line. They're actually incredible filters for us, really, because they can look at something in an episode and say, "This just doesn't feel real to me in this moment" [or say] "That's a great joke. I love it because it's an appropriate joke for the moment." We're lucky to have a group that's as talented in as many different ways as they are.
This Tuesday at 9/8c, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles resumes what is now its penultimate season with not one but two episodes — starting with much concern over abducted Maura’s fate.
In the opening hour, nothing will stand in the way of Jane (played by Angie Harmon) and the team bringing home Maura (Sasha Alexander), who was kidnapped in the midseason finale. But first, they need something close to a clue to go on, and as seen in the sneak peek above, fortune has yet to shine on the BPD. Which of the Rizzolis finds themselves somewhat caught off guard by their overwhelming concern for Maura?
Meanwhile, Maura discovers a conspiracy that is much bigger than just her kidnapping, seeing as Jane is its ultimate target!
Rizzoli & Isles is making the most of its time left.
The TNT drama, which kicks off the back half of Season 6 Tuesday (9/8c) with back-to-back episodes, will end after its upcoming seventh season. Executive producer Jan Nash says the cast and crew found out about the cancellation "the same time everybody else did" -- when TNT President Kevin Reilly announced it at the Television Critics Association winter previews in January. But they were prepared for it.
"We certainly had an inkling when they ordered 13 [episodes] rather than the usual 16 or 18," Nash tells TVGuide.com. "We figured that might be the way this would play out. We designed Season 7 so that it could act as a series finale or just B story lines that we pull back on at the end to have them continue on. But I think with where we left off and what we already had planned work in our favor [going into the final season]."
Winter TV: Scoop on your favorite returning shows
Where the show left off was with yet another precarious life-or-death situation involving our heroines. An unknown baddie who's ostensibly after Jane (Angie Harmon) kidnapped Maura (Sasha Alexander) at the end of the midseason finale. Naturally, Maura will make it out alive, and her captor will be revealed -- but that person is not the ultimate culprit, just merely working for him or her. Though the show has been wont to wrap up its cliff-hangers right away upon return, Nash chose to stretch this mystery out.
"One of the things we talked about was how much we enjoyed the serial killer arc that was set up in the pilot of the show," Nash says. "We wanted to come up with that same sort of energy without repeating [it]. We decided that something with a slow burn ... and built-in intensity that became a threat that encompassed Jane, and then Maura, would be fun and interesting. When we got into it, we loved it more and more, so when we got to this moment, it felt like to solve that mystery of who took Maura and have that be the end wouldn't do justice to some of the elements we created. When we laid it out, it actually does continue into the start of Season 7. It's not over yet at the end of this season."
In sketching out who would be their final big bad, Nash wanted him/her to be a formidable foe, whose identity will be revealed in the penultimate episode of Season 6, to face off against Jane and Maura. Moreover, this villain is a personal threat rather than a professional one to Jane -- "someone from within the world, rather than a boogeyman from the outside" -- hence Jane's loved ones are targeted. Maura was the first and definitely won't be the last.
"We'll get more into the psychology of it," Nash says. "This is a person who has targeted Jane Rizzoli and for their own reasons, [is] trying to cause harm to Jane personally, professionally, physically, emotionally. How do you get to anyone? The way to get to them most deeply is to go after the people they care about. These are the people that Jane cares about: Maura, Angela [Lorraine Bracco], Korsak [Bruce McGrill]. When any one of them suffers, they all suffer. Jane is not acting with callous disregard for her own personal safety, but she really cares about this family of people. This is her biggest threat yet. She will do anything for them -- as will they. They're all in it together, which is what makes this show so special."
The current plan is for the arc to conclude in the second episode of Season 7. "It started in Episode 7 of Season 6 and won't be finished until Episode 2 of Season 7. I don't know if we can go on any longer," Nash jokes. After that, all that's left is plotting the final 11 episodes. "We do have an idea of what we're aimed at," she says of the series finale. "The best idea wins, so if somebody has a better idea, then that's what we'll do. We have our 100th episode in the middle of the season, so we want to do a big, flashy 100th episode. There are a lot of opportunities to do fun things this year."
"Fun" is the operative word for Season 7, as the cast and crew hope to end the show on a high note for their loyal fans. "I haven't been here as long as some other people," Nash, who joined in Season 5, says. "This is a very close-knit group. I think there's a lot of gratitude for having been on such a long-running, successful show. I think we really just want to go out having a wonderful experience doing the work we love so much but also trying to make something the large and loyal audience of this show will enjoy. That has been our mantra. It's hard to say goodbye. I've been on shows that have had long runs and it's hard to come to [the] end of something, but it is certainly much more satisfying to be able to do it in a way where you can plan and feel like you got to service the characters properly."
IS SET FOR RELEASE
ON DVD JUNE 7, 2016,
FROM WARNER BROS.
Four-Disc Set Features All 18 Episodes
from the Popular Drama's Sixth Season
Plus Never-Before-Seen Bonus Material
BURBANK, CA (February 10, 2016) - Some of Boston's most intriguing murder mysteries set the stage for Season Six of the hit cable series Rizzoli & Isles, which will be released on DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) on June 7, 2016. Join one of television's hottest crime-solving teams as Angie Harmon (Law & Order) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS) star in 18 gripping episodes of the enormously popular cable TV series' sixth season. Titled Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Sixth Season, this must-own DVD release will also feature bonus content. Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Sixth Season will retail for $39.99 SRP.
Based on the best-selling crime thriller books by Tess Gerritsen, Rizzoli & Isles focuses on tough-as-nails Boston police detective Jane Rizzoli (Harmon), who has an uncompromisingly brash and beautiful bull-in-a-china-shop approach to both cases and life, and the brilliant medical examiner from a privileged background, Dr. Maura Isles (Alexander), who may be the best-dressed science nerd in New England. Together they are close friends and complete opposites who solve some of Boston's most notorious crimes.
In Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Sixth Season, Jane and Maura are put in charge of investigating a number of challenging criminal cases. The duo gets wrapped up in the world of competitive bass fishing when a leading champion tournament fisherman is killed. The team must solve the murder of a victim who is found buried in a shallow grave. When a teenage girl's body is found inside of a cage, the duo sets out to find her killer. Jane and Maura investigate the murder of a college student, who they learn had 32 girlfriends. The duo's detective skills are put to the test when they investigate the case of a dog trainer who is found dead at her home and the prime suspect is her champion Rottweiler. Jane and Maura travel to Los Angeles to investigate a murder that has connections to Boston. Season Six is loaded with several more captivating new cases that promise to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
In its sixth season, Rizzoli & Isles remains a top ratings performer, delivering close to seven million viewers per episode and ranking as the #4 scripted drama on basic cable season to-date among total viewers and as the #1 series on TNT (Source: Nielsen Galaxy Explorer, L-7US AA%: excluding repeats, sports, news, kids, specials & <5 TCs; Season to Date = 06/01/15-11/15/15.). Currently, the full sixth season of Rizzoli & Isles is not available to stream via any SVOD service.
"The chemistry between Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander is delightful. As Jane and Maura, they share a friendship most of us would envy. It's one of the key reasons Rizzoli & Isles is such a hit with viewers," said Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President, TV Marketing. She added, "With its talented cast, compelling storylines and top notch production, Rizzoli & Isles continues to deliver. We're delighted to release another season of this outstanding show on DVD."
In addition to Harmon and Alexander, the series stars Jordan Bridges (Rushlights, Mona Lisa Smile) as Frankie Rizzoli Jr., Jane's younger brother who is now following in her footsteps as a detective; with Bruce McGill (Lincoln, Law Abiding Citizen) as the seasoned and lovable Detective Vince Korsak, Rizzoli's former partner; and Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos) as Jane's nosy but warm-hearted mother, Angela Rizzoli, who moved into Maura's guesthouse after her recent divorce and works at the coffee shop inside the Boston Police Department. Also in Season Six, Idara Victor (TURN: Washington's Spies) joins the cast as a series regular, continuing her role as crime scene analyst Nina Holiday, and Adam Sinclair (24: Live Another Day) guest stars as Kent Drake, an assistant medical examiner in Maura's office.
Rizzoli & Isles is produced for TNT by Ostar Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television. Developed by Janet Tamaro (Sleeper Cell), the series is executive produced by Bill Haber (TNT's Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King) and showrunner Jan Nash (Without a Trace, Unforgettable).
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
From the Shadows: A Criminal Revealed - Featurette
Someone from Rizzoli's past waits patiently in the shadows, ready to strike against her. This featurette covers the cat and mouse game seen in Season Six.
Season 6: 18 (1 HOUR) EPISODES:
A Bad Seed Grows
Nice to Meet You, Dr. Isles
Fake It 'Til You Make It
Hide and Seek
Scared to Death
East Meets West
A Shot in the Dark
S.A. native Bruce McGill, who starts filming the 13-episode final season of longtime buddy cop drama “Rizzoli and Isles” this week, is sorry to see it end.
“But I plan to squeeze the sweet juice out of every last day,” the MacArthur grad said in a phone chat.
After all, the TNT series has been his most dependable gig since he became an actor more than a half-century ago. “It’s had a good run — seven years and 100 episodes,” he said. “I got really accustomed to a regular job with people I really liked.”
The prolific character actor of “Animal House” and “Lincoln” fame stars as homicide Detective Vince Korsak in the series. He’s the former partner and unofficial mentor of Angie Harmon’s character, homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli.
“I’ve known Angie for many, many years,” McGill said of his co-star and fellow Texan, “and we’ve gotten closer and closer. She’s very smart, very funny and a natural talent.”
He also appreciated how the series has taken his suggestions over the years and made his character more central and multifaceted. “I’ve even managed to get music into it,” said McGill, who’s musical in real life. “I play the guitar and the ukelele.”
Before heading into the seventh and last season this summer, fans can relish the last half of the sixth season, which bows with two back-to-back episodes from 8 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
McGill singled out “Bomb Voyage” (scheduled to air March 8) as his meatiest episode this season. “Every show starts out with a homicide, and in this one, a guy gets blown up in a minefield.
“So we’re out looking around in that field, and I step on a mine. I can’t move or it’ll go off, so I’m stuck there. They extract people one at a time and get to me last. The episode’s a real treat in terms of the writing for my character.”
As for the final season: “We want to wrap up the series to everyone’s satisfaction,” he said. “People who love the show really, really love it.”
He’s not kidding. When I initially wrote it was ending, the dismay from fans was deafening.
As an actress, Angie Harmon is a professional storyteller, but the star realizes that often the most important stories go far beyond the pages of a script.
Recently back home from a UNICEF field visit to Vietnam where she visited with many victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual exploitation, Harmon is sharing her experiences exclusively with PEOPLE.
"I think one of the things that really stood out is that, as much as Vietnam wants to be a large recognized country, they want to do it as a whole," says the Rizzoli & Isles star, 43. "They don't want to leave any children behind [and] they just want to move forward as an entirety."
"With Vietnam, I found that they genuinely care for each Vietnamese person no matter what their socioeconomic status is," she continued. "Families will take a child off the street and then go campaign for them for their future. Even here in America, you see teens on the street and you're like, "well, that's a terrible thing." We have a foster care system, of course, but we don't have families or entire cities and neighborhoods that would take in a child and then go campaign for their future."
Harmon made countless of "gracious and grateful" friends along the way, but Harmon most passionately speaks of one particular 27-year-old, whom she calls "one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen," and how the young woman still smiles amid the cruelty and torture she's experienced in her past.
"[This] young girl that had been trafficked into China and she tried to get away, tried to get away and finally she did, and then she met a woman who she thought could get her back home to Vietnam, but instead the woman sold her into a brothel where she had to service seven to nine men a day," Harmon says of the girl, who was four months pregnant when UNICEF rescued her and brought her back home.
"She now lives with her mother and has family all around her who all support her. They all take care of her and her baby. This child still smiles and she's a nurturing mommy. Her son is running around and she's taking care of him, and it was one of those situations where I was so moved by the hardships."
And although Harmon's daughters Finley, 12, Avery, 10, and Emery, 7, are still fairly young, she is confident they will grow up to be just like mommy.
"The subject that I'm doing is fairly brutal, [so I can] only explain to them in so many words the situations that happen, but my oldest one, [Finley], is definitely starting to understand that this is something that exists," says Harmon. "It's so interesting watching a child trying to wrap their head around 'How do you sell another person?' or 'How do you be that horrible to another human being?' like, 'Why mommy? How does that work?' "
She adds, "As my girls get older, I would love to take them with me on these kinds of visits, but they're just not old enough yet."