Tonight is a big night on Rizzoli & Isles. It’s not just the 100th episode or the beginning of the homestretch to the series finale, or even the arrival of guest star Sharon Gless, a.k.a. Cagney of Cagney & Lacey. It’s also star Angie Harmon’s directorial debut.
Harmon, who has been a procedural queen on television since she first arrived on Law & Order in 1998, was filled with excitement as she talked about the opportunity and described her hug-filled directorial style.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why step behind the camera now?
ANGIE HARMON: It was just presented to me, and who passes that opportunity up? It just would’ve been really stupid on my part. When they offered it to me, I was so honored and in such disbelief. At first, I thought I’d totally misunderstood them.
Had you expressed interest in doing that before?
Always, but my schedule never really permitted it. It just was never right. It never worked out. It was always sweet — they were always asking and offering, and it just never really worked. And then when they offered the 100th, it was like, “We’ll make it work. We’ll do whatever we can.” It was just so humbling and such an honor for me. I jumped at the chance. Leapt.
Was there any part of you that was like, “Man, the 100th, that’s a lot of pressure for my first time out?”
Absolutely. A 100th episode is such an accomplishment for a show these days, and I wanted it to be a special episode just because of what it is. And, from the feedback I’ve gotten from TNT, from Warner Bros., from our producers, from everyone, it looks like the 100th episode. It looks special. I mean, granted, they could just be saying that to me but I’m hoping they’re not. It was just such a wonderful, fun process. I loved it immensely.
How did your castmates react to seeing you behind the camera?
I’m a very vocal and emotional director, I guess you could say. Like, at one point, I guess they just took my chair away because I can’t sit down and I jump around and I come running out from behind video village and screaming and yelling and hootin’ and hollerin’, and I run up and I hug ’em and I kiss ’em. From what I understand, I’m a very excited… They may have liked it, they may have hated it. I don’t know. I think I frightened some people. I’m sure. But I just know when you get that shot and all that magic comes together, it’s so uplifting and so magical and I just, I can’t keep it in. It just all comes out and I come runnin’. It’s so funny to see the look on their faces at first: It’s just sheer horror.
Are you looking to do more directing once the show wraps?
What is happening in this episode?
We kind of think the crime is one thing and then we discover that it’s something else and Jane’s gotta go undercover in a prison to get to the bottom of it. And I have a very, very, very special guest star [Gless], who it was just my honor to work with and then to direct was just the icing on the cake. And she was so incredible and she was so complimentary and kind and I just love her and adore her. That’s just kind of it, and then, you know, they solve the case.
I think one of the great things about this episode is everyone is sort of helping somebody else. I love that. We kind of go back to the pilot, we kind of get a little dark, but also everyone is making that transition into helping somebody else in a magnanimous way.
What does the episode title, “2M7258-100,” mean? Other than the “100,” obviously.
That is Jane’s prison number.
Rizzoli & Isles airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.