“I have always wanted to direct and I think when one has been in this business as long as I have, it’s a natural progression,” Harmon tells Variety. “I’ve directed before and it is something I enjoy tremendously.”
The project Harmon previously directed was a short film, titled “Stockholm,” which shot in Nashville. But sitting in the director’s chair on “Rizzoli & Isles” has always been on her to-do list. The drama is ending after its seventh season and the show, on which Harmon stars alongside Sasha Alexander, will hit its 100-mark on the eighth episode of Season 7. The show is currently in the midst of Season 6, which wraps in March.
“I have always wanted to direct an episode of ‘Rizzoli & Isles,’ but the timing has never worked out because of my shooting schedule,” Harmon says. “I’m in almost every scene so it was always difficult to prep an episode before and then scout and plan shots for the episode I would direct.”
Storyline details for the 100th episode have not been made available yet, but it’s safe to assume that Harmon’s ample screen time won’t be decreased as one-half of the starring duo, but with the final season on the horizon, she’s now ready to take on the challenge. The episode she’s directing is set to shoot this May.
“We are all truly blessed to have had this show go on for as long as it has. I can honestly say I have grown more as a person, actor and grateful member of this community in the past six years than I have in my entire life,” Harmon says, adding that she enjoys directing because it has a different sort of freedom than acting.
As for the long-running show coming to an end, Harmon says what she’ll miss the most is her character Jane Rizzoli, plus her cast and crew.
“On almost every one of my projects, I make sure that we establish a family atmosphere early on and we have certainly become one. We have been through hell as a unit and we have had our celebrations as well,” she shares. “When a show ends and an actor is asked to leave a character, to me, it’s like a death. That is a person that has existed but I will never see her again. It’s a person that I have come to love and know and she will be gone. Forever. Endings are always difficult for me and this one will probably my hardest. I say that because I like Jane very much. I like who she is as a person, her ethics, her morals, her values, struggles, her integrity. I would be friends with Jane if she was real.”
Though the series wrap will be tough for Harmon — and the show’s passionate fanbase — one thing is certain: with directing being checked off her bucket list, she should have no regrets.