How Rizzoli & Isles dealt with the loss of a beloved character and castmate

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: January 25, 2024, 2:15PM    Tags: Lee Thompson Young, Barry Frost, Rizzoli & Isles

Life is beautiful, especially when surrounded by the ones you love. Sometimes, when you work with an individual for so long, they become your friend; when that bond grows more robust, they become family. That was the case for the cast of Rizzoli & Isles.

We've seen plenty of stories about the love between the series stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander; however, the entire cast and crew appreciated each other and enjoyed working together. So the loss of Lee Thompson Young, who played Barry Frost, was devastating for his castmates and dedicated viewers.

According to a 2014 The Record cover story, the entire team struggled with the loss. It reads, "Serious matters will be in order as the (fifth) season starts, as anyone aware of a cast member's death should expect. The late Lee Thompson Young played Detective Barry Frost, whose absence will be mourned by Boston police detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles and their colleagues."

Young died on August 19, 2013, at just 29 years old; the former Disney star was dealing with depression. Sasha Alexander, who played Maura Isles, questioned how the show would handle the situation.

"I did not know what the answer was," she said. "All I know was that we needed to pay the proper respect to the character and to our friend, and the first two episodes of the season really do that. Jan (Nash, the then-new executive producer) really found a way that I'm pretty confident the audience is going to respond to the way that we did."

According to The Looper, executive producer Jan Nash shared her thoughts with TV Guide, saying, "We couldn't just say, 'Barry Frost went on vacation,' and occasionally talk about how much fun he was having or give him a new job in a new city. That would feel icky. We realized that we had to have the character die so we could deal with that loss the same way the people on the show had dealt with Lee's loss."

In the season five premiere, Frost died in a car accident while returning from vacation. The funeral was held in episode two, "...Goodbye," the top-rated episode of the series on IMDb.

Young and his character Barry Frost were irreplaceable, as both the cast and viewers knew that, so mourning the loss in the show was the best decision.


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