Last night, the fifth season of Rizzoli and Isles aired on TNT and for the first time the show recognized the absence of actor Lee Thompson Young, who played Barry Frost. Since his tragic suicide, show runner Jan Nash struggled with deciding how to write Young out of the show. “It was very daunting knowing what was before me and what I had to do,” Nash told TVGuide. “I knew that doing it in a compelling and respectful way was the most important thing to them for the season.”
Nash decided that killing off the character was the best way to honor Young. “We had to deal with it in a real and concrete way. 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,” she says. “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. What comes with that is we had to make sure we were not being exploitive and we were honoring his memory appropriately … and I think we all feel as a collective that we, to the best of our abilities, accomplished that.”
Part one of the farewell played out in the first episode of the new season with the main characters finding out that Young’s character Frost died in a car accident. Part two will take place in the second episode, which airs June 24 at 9/8c, and will focus on the remaining characters grieving the loss in what Nash calls an incredibly moving scene.