Recap: Rizzoli and Isles Ep. 5.05 The Best Laid Plans


by L.T. Milroy

So, exactly how pregnant is Jane supposed to be? Because here we are in episode 5, and she isn’t even showing yet. And she’s still wearing all her regular clothes. Is this not getting a bit ridiculous? If not for the bitching about coffee, we’d never know she’s in the family way. It’s an enviably easy pregnancy, and it’s not like she hasn’t tested it. In the last couple of episodes, she’s flown through the air shooting at a perp and been in an explosion. That kid’s been through a lot, and we can’t even see any evidence of it yet.

But, I digress. On to E5.

It’s night at the mansion. Someone sneaks upstairs to a sleeping old woman’s room, that’s set up with all kinds of medical equipment, and gives her an injection. She opens her eyes and goes into arrest as a monitor flatlines.

The gang is in Maura’s kitchen. Ma Rizzoli asks Maura when Jane’s doctor’s appointment is. Maura says it’s tomorrow, and she can take her. Jane points that that tomorrow is the first day of Maura’s seminar at Boston Cambridge University, but Maura says she’ll blow it off. Jane’s health is more important. Neither Rizzoli is having that nonsense. Ma says she can take Jane, and Jane asks why Maura wants to get out of teaching class. Maura still tries to push the concern crap then comes clean: BCU wants it to be a course for credit, and Maura is terrified of having to give grades. Seems she’s still scarred over the A-minus biochemistry incident of 1996. It’s obvious Maura has suffered some kind of deep, traumatic blow to her psyche in the past, but I had no idea. It says a lot about her resolve. Lesser nerds would have lost the will to live after that.

Maura’s phone rings. It’s the governor. He wants Maura to issue a death certificate for Chelsea Rothsberger, the rich babe who died in the opening scene. Maura appears rather casual with the gov, like they chat all the time. Jane decides to tag along to the mansion with Maura, but Maura reminds her not to do any Downton Abbey jokes, so of course, that’s what Jane immediately does, even though, as I suspected, she’s never seen an episode, since she falls asleep before it comes on. Jane insists she’s “meditating.”

Jane is still cracking Downton Abbey jokes about monocles as they arrive at the mansion.

r&I BLP downton abbey face

A stuffy butler answers the door to reveal an equally stuffy room behind him. Maura looks like she’s stifling a few Downton Abbey jokes herself at this point.

Upstairs, Maura inspects the body. The family doctor says Chelsea died of ovarian cancer, and he’s already prepared the death certificate. All Maura has to do is sign it. But she won’t be rushed by anybody and continues her examination. Jane talks with a housekeeper, who seems distraught about the death, when Maura calls Jane over. She says it wasn’t cancer that killed Chelsea, so she won’t be able to sign the death certificate. She wants to do an autopsy but is hesitant, because there are politics involved. Jane says to screw politics. Maura’s the ME, and if she wants an autopsy then she should do one, dammit. The antsy doctor again tries to get Maura to sign the death certificate, but, apparently emboldened by Jane’s righteous indignation, Maura says it’s a suspicious death, and the body will have to go downtown (Downton?) for an autopsy.

r&i BLP maura talks back

The doc says he’s calling the governor, and Jane to do it outside, ‘cause this is now a crime scene.

Yowza, that was awesome! That’s what this show needs. More Jane and Maura kicking ass and taking names. More of that, please, show.

Maura is conducting the autopsy as Jane walks in. Maura says she’s gotten twenty-seven calls from the doctor, and Jane says he’ll probably show up soon with someone to shut everything down, so every minute counts. Several causes of death have already been ruled out, but Maura needs more time. To try to buy her some, Jane takes Maura’s phone, so she can’t answer. Maura thanks her, “for the plausible deniability, for the support, for the friendship.” Jane gives her a sincere “You’re welcome.” Wow, get a room, you two. Yeah, like that’s never happened…

Once Jane gets to the hallway, Maura’s phone vibrates. She answers and pretends she’s trying to make a call to the Medical Examiner’s office then  ridicules the guy on the other end for pretending to be the governor, because he’d never answer the phone at the Medical Examiner’s office.

r&i BLP gov answers phones

Is this supposed to be Deval Patrick, or is this an alternate-universe Massachusetts where there’s a Boston, but the politicians are different? They never say who ‘the governor’ is, so it’s anyone’s guess.

Korsak and Frankie are discussing the case. Frankie says Chelsea’s estate is worth hundreds of millions. Her husband died in ’05, but her two sons and the household staff had access to her room. Meanwhile, Maura is in the lab, doing some sort of disgusting test on Chelsea’s heart. She’s all excited as she immerses the heart in water, and even moreso when it begins to bubble.

r&i BLP maura wow

She tries to explain what’s going on, but is way too clinical. Jane makes her talk in English. There was air in the heart, so Chelsea must have been injected with an empty syringe to make the death look like it was from natural causes.

Frankie tells Jane that Chelsea had an appointment to make an addendum to her will but cancelled it. Korsak walks in talking then stops dead in his tracks. All three of them see someone sitting at Frost’s desk, but it’s not his replacement.  It’s some computer geek installing a software upgrade. Jane is still bent-out-of-shape and kicks him out of Frost’s chair.

r&I BLP Frost's chair

That bit of drama over, Korsak says Chelsea met with members of her staff and with her sons individually after she started hospice care and told them they’d be provided for after her death. Frankie shows Jane the figures on what kind of money everyone was left, which is substantial. Jane wonders how anyone could want money bad enough to kill a dying woman to get it.

At BCU, Maura hauls some luggage into a classroom. No, she hasn’t brought a change of wardrobe and several pair of shoes to her new teaching job. She’s brought along her own AV system, just in case. A man named Jack is there and offers to help. He says there’s a wireless system in the room and hooks Maura’s laptop up to it. Then he tests it to make sure it’s running.

r&I BLP flirty Maura

Maura assumes he’s from the AV department, but he’s not. He’s a teacher. Maura and Jack flirt a bit as students start to come in. I know I’m supposed to think Jack is hunky, but he looks way too much like Paul Ryan for my taste. And since I loathe Ryan, I’m not all that fond of Jack. I hope he grows his hair out a little or something, because right now when I see him, I feel like I want to hurl, and I don’t want to have to keep an appointment with the porcelain god every Tuesday night from now on.

The detectives found that Chelsea paid everyone on her staff well, except the chauffer, Brad, who had money problems. Son Larry is a successful businessman, while the other son, Kalter, is a loser who’s done eleven (!) stints in rehab. Any cash he gets has to be approved by his sobriety counselor. Jane says they should check to see if any valuables are missing from the mans. Ma Riz shows up to take Jane to her doctor’s appointment, but Jane is too busy to go, so Ma says she’ll reschedule.

Maura is done teaching her first class and Jack is there. Turns out he stayed and watched. Ok, that’s kind of stalkerish and creepy, but Maura doesn’t agree, she’s kind of intrigued, (Maura’s creepy radar has never been that sharp), and they flirt some more, before Jack asks her for coffee.

Korsak and Frankie question Kalter, who says he’s sober and praises his mom for never losing faith in him. He’s been sober for seventy-four days and can’t access his trust fund until he’s been clean a year. But he doesn’t want the money, because he knows he’ll probably slip up again and having all that money around will kill him. So the screw-up son is looking less guilty. Korsak gets a call. An auction house has a stolen necklace. The good son, Larry, sold it.

Jane and Korsak question Larry, who says his mom told him to sell the necklace. He talks a lot about how proud he is he made it on his own and not on family money or reputation. But Jane says his company is tanking, as well as that reputation, and he could sure use some of that family dough right now. He denies killing his mom, but his alibi isn’t rock solid. He was home alone, reading Proust. Jane calls that alibi “shaky and pretentious,” which it is, and Larry lawyers up.

Back at the station, Ma Riz is waiting for Jane at her desk. Instead of rescheduling that doctor’s appointment, seems she went in Jane’s place. But Jane shouldn’t get upset. It’s not like she told the doctor she was Jane, because she’s not a crazy person. And just to prove she’s not crazy, she tells Jane she wants to be her midwife. Jane finally loses it, which is WAY overdue IMO, and tells her she’s being invasive. She’s gone way too far and has to back off.

r&i BLP womb is not a we

Ma is aghast, which makes her the single-most clueless person on earth. She stomps out.

Maura is in her office, practicing for her next lecture by speaking into her hairbrush.

r&i BLP maura hairbrush

Jane barges in without knocking and starts to rant about Ma then stops and asks what Maura is doing. Maura pretends to brush her hair and tries to hide her notes, but Detective Rizzoli ain’t falling for that, so Maura comes clean. She complains there are expectations and somewhat references teacher guy. Jane immediately puts it together and wants to know the details. Maura is pessimistic it will work out with Jack, but Jane says to give it a chance. Frankie calls her back to the station, and she does a whole “You’re sexy” dance before she leaves.

r&i BLP jane you're sexy

The housekeeper, Polly, is waiting there. She wants to know if Larry is a suspect. She says she can’t believe he’d hurt his mom. He was a wreck when she died. Then she says she can prove he’s innocent and confesses that it was an assisted suicide.

At first, it looks like Polly’s confession is false, since she said she injected Chelsea with morphine. But Jane said the confession is so detailed, and why would she confess if she’s innocent? While Maura runs a saline test, she comes up with several possible reasons Polly could be lying. Then she backtracks, when she finds a mix of morphine and saline in the saline bag and says the story is true, but Polly didn’t commit murder. By the time the morphine was injected, Chelsea was already dead. Frankie thinks Polly can be arrested, but the attempted murder of a dead body is not a crime. Oh, Frankie, you’re a cop. You should know that.

The detectives discuss theories as to why two people would try to kill the same person on the same night. Korsak says he questioned Larry, who admitted he lied about his alibi to protect his marriage. Larry’s quite the hound dog, apparently: he had two women on the side. And a man! Ol’ Lar doesn’t look like anything all that exceptional, so why’s he getting that kind of action? Does he know the Venus Butterfly? And there’s video evidence of Larry’s alibi. Ewwww. Korsak tosses the video to Frankie. As the newbie, it’s his job to do the “research.” Frankie at first objects but sees that protests are futile and leaves resignedly with the tape. Jane then tells Korsak that Frost’s desk is a problem. It’s sitting there like a “thing,” and they have to “dethingify” it by having someone sit in it every once in a while. Korsak contemplates that as Jane runs off.

r&i BLP korsak-frost's chair

Jane escapes to, where else? Maura’s lab, to say she’s hiding from an empty chair. Maura has some final test results and determines there was enough morphine to kill Chelsea. They’re interrupted by a delivery guy with a plant for Maura. You’ll never guess who it’s from. Jane sees the card is written in Latin and says that plus the metaphor plant, means it’s a soul match.

r&i BLP he wrote the card in latin

But Maura says she’s been doing a field study on dating for over ten years and has concluded her soul mate doesn’t exist. Then they go over Maura’s recent dating history, which of course includes psychos who tried to kill her, so yeah, there’s evidence that her taste in men can be somewhat lacking. (SEE?) At least she’s self-aware enough to realize this. Then she shifts back to the case at hand and says it’s ironic that Chelsea had tried to plan her death, but it didn’t go according to plan. Jane says that might be the key.

Frankie returns from the video room and says he’s “seen things I can’t un-see.” Poor Frankie. He says Larry’s not guilty. Well, not of murder, anyway. Of being a skanky sleaze, not so much. Jane thinks the motive is more personal than just money. Chelsea died painfully when she had planned to go peacefully. Someone wanted to inflict pain.

Jack stops by Maura’s office, and she tells him she doesn’t think they should see each other, before she briefly explains her crazy boyfriend history. Since she falls for whackos and she likes Jack, that means he’s probably whacko and should get a full mental and physical checkup. She’s so polite, even when trying to dump someone. Maura’s a classy broad. Jack hears her argument but rejects it. He asks for another chance, and by the smile on Maura’s face, it looks like she just might.

Jane is in the café, but Ma isn’t paying attention to her. She’s still pissed at Jane for losing her temper earlier. I am officially SO OVER Ma Riz. That she could even think about holding a grudge over this, proves what a clueless idiot she is. Ugh. Enough already with this obnoxious character. For some reason, Jane apologizes, which gets Ma to ramble that Jane withdraws, because she saw how Pa treated Ma, and she’s spent her whole life trying not to be Ma, and yada yada yada yada yada. Ma is so verbose, I had to add on two extra yada’s. Ma’s annoyance factor is simply off-the-charts this week. I hope the writers rein her in some, or else I’m going to start FFing her scenes, which really leaves holes in a show for a recapper, but I don’t care. She’s driving me nuts. Okay, rant over.

Frankie’s done some digging on Brad the chauffer. His mom worked at the mansion from ’76-79, and she died of liver disease when Brad was sixteen. That year, he started working for the Rothsbergers. The detectives determine that Brad is really Larry’s son and is presumably angry to have been treated as the help all these years. But Jane can’t really concentrate. She’s distracted by Frost’s chair again. Everyone has been avoiding it, but Korsak thinks it would be a good idea to start sitting there again. So he does. It’s not like they’re dishonoring Frost’s memory by sitting at his desk, he says. Frost will always be with them in spirit, but the desk is just a desk. It’s a touching little scene, and a testament to how much those on the show obviously still miss Lee Thompson Young. It’s nice that Frost is still such a presence, five episodes in.

Back to the case, Brad gave an alibi of going to the movies, but there’s plenty of time unaccounted for. The needle he used is found, with his fingerprints on it. Jane and Korsak bring him in and inform him that it’s over. They lay out the evidence that he’s Larry’s son, and he confesses. Chelsea never welcomed him into the family but instead offered him money, and that pissed him off enough to kill her. Considering how much that babe was worth, I assume he was offered a tidy little sum. Probably would have made me happy enough, even if I didn’t get someone to call grandma, but whatever.

Jane is at Ma’s, and Ma is talking inappropriately. Again. Good thing she’s interrupted by the sound of a motorcycle. Maura’s home from her date. The bike has apparently been fixed since last week, as it’s mentioned that Jack is a sidecar fan. Maura is shocked they don’t ask about her date, but Janes says they’re working on their boundaries (nod toward Ma), so Maura has to volunteer the information. She triumphantly says he didn’t try to kill her. Jane gives a little clap and says, “Yaay!”

r&i BLP Jane yaaay

Now, that’s funny! Baby steps, Maura, baby steps. Maura asks for a drink, and they raise a toast to Jane solving the case but not getting credit and Maura being serial killer-free. It’s the little victories that count.

r&i BLP a toast to maura

Tune in next week when Jane goes to the beach, wears a bikini, and looks better in it than most non-pregnant women. Then she goes sky diving, operates a jackhammer and buzz saw, and to finish it off, she takes part in an ironman triathlon. Then she hits the streets and chases down bad guys. All in a day’s work for Boston’s favorite knocked-up detective!



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