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Published:July 11th, 2011 13:43 EST
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Sasha Alexander Talks The Second Season Premiere of Rizzoli & Isles

By Paulette Cohn

When Sasha Alexander joined the cast of Rizzoli & Isles, she hadn`t yet read the novels by Tess Gerritsen on which the TV show is based. But it wasn`t long before she became of fan of the series of crime-solving books that feature Boston detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and medical examiner Maura Isles (Alexander), complete opposites yet good friends.

"I write [Tess] constantly about just ideas that I`ve read that have stayed with me," Alexander says. "As I was reading the books I would just be totally moved by a scene and write her about it. I think that the books are much darker than the show. To me they are in the vein of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And that`s really hard to bring to television because it`s a totally different series."

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For Alexander, Rizzoli & Isles is also a completely different series than NCIS, on which she starred for two years as Agent Caitlin Todd. On that show, she got to be a part of all the gun-toting action as the NCIS agents tracked down the bad guys. On the new series, she is the more girly-girl character and more cerebral.

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So which is she in real life?

"I`m a complete tomboy," she admits. "I was an athlete growing up. I was going to the `88 Olympics as an ice skater so I love the action part of it ... One of my dreams is, honestly, to do the female version of the Bourne Identity movies."

Despite all the online chatter that Rizzoli & Isles are a lesbian couple, this season Maura has a boyfriend and we get to see a little more of her personal life.

"We do get to know more about her dating life," Alexander says.  "She dates a lot this season, some of Jane`s friends from high school and she has kind of an interesting relationship with Jane`s younger brother, Tommy, played by Colin Egglesfield. Also, one of the loves of her life shows up and he`s a very interesting character named Ian."

On tonight`s second season premiere, airing at 10 p.m.on TNT, Rizzoli is honored as a hero at a public event after taking a bullet in the first season finale. The celebration is short-lived, however, when disaster strikes. The ensuing case reunites Rizzoli with an old high-school flame, Sgt. Major Casey Jones (guest star Chris Vance), who may be just the person she needs to heal her emotional scars.