'Rizzoli & Isles' actor Lee Thompson Young talks season 2, his years on 'The Famous Jett Jackson'

Lee-Thompson-Young

Image Credit: Danny Feld/TNT

Whereas many kid stars have post-fame stories about rock bottoms and scandal, Rizzoli & Isles‘ young detective Lee Thompson Young has no shame. In fact, the former Famous Jett Jackson star loves remembering his days on the Disney channel.

“It’s always a really great feeling when I talk to people who watched Jett Jackson because we were the same age. We were all kids. I was 13 when I started working on that show and that was part of my childhood. And It’s kind of like we have that in common,” he says. “It means a lot to me when people enjoyed it and when it was a part of their childhood. It’s cool when you see people revert back for a quick second to middle school, and they’re like, ‘Oh, man! I remember…’ It’s really great to me that our work is still with people after ten years.”

And Thompson says he recognizes that he’s had “a great deal of luck and great timing” in his post-child stardom years. In that time, he appeared in 2004’s Friday Night Lights and 2006’s Akeelah and the Bee, projects Thompson says he felt “really resonated with people.” “For a few projects over my career that people recognize me for, I feel like those projects mean something to people.” The latest, of course, being TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, the female-helmed buddy-cop drama starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander that last year set ratings records. Young plays inexperienced Det. Barry Frost, “a young detective who just wants to prove himself.” But it’s a task often made difficult among a power pair like Harmon and Alexander. Young himself doesn’t feel similar pressure, however.

“You know what, I don’t really notice or often register that this show has two female leads versus male leads or whatever,” he says. “Although, when I sit back and reflect on it, it’s pretty cool to see the two female leads who are interesting, three-dimensional women. They’re not typical roles, and I think the writers try to do things that are fresh and different. But on set, for me, it’s more about appreciating their skills as actresses. Both Angie and Sasha are great people and have been on great shows for their whole careers. They’re so talented, and when they start working together and start playing off of each other, it’s like watching Charlie Parker and Miles Davis play together.”

Monday night marks the start of the show’s second season, which the actor says will feature more action than their first season — a welcomed challenge, he says. “When they send a little action my way, that’s a treat for me…What do you need me to do? You need me to zip-line across this?” After all, he says with a laugh, he once played a secret agent on a TV show…within a TV show.

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  • Renee

    I love Rizzoli & Isles and cannot wait for the new season! Seeing how far Young has come from his days on Jett Jackson makes me feel proud of who he has become. I was a fan of that series when I was a kid and it is nice to see him doing well for himself.

  • Meg

    I thought the season started Monday the 11th, not Sunday the 10th…

  • Paul

    Lee is a cool dude he should be starring in something not a side-character.

    • Liz

      I agree. His character-centric episode of FlashForward (not to be confused with the Disney Channel’s Flash Forward, another classic) was the best part of the show and I was hoping he would be offered some major roles afterwards.

      • steph

        I miss the Disney Flash Forward, it was SUCH a good show!

  • Jon

    I just looked up my cable guide as well. Can’t find it Sunday night.

  • ks

    TNT WEBSITE SAYS THE 11TH!!! Come on EW

  • Lorenzo Von Matterhorn

    tonight has Leverage and Falling Skies, tomorrow is The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles. if you don’t take yourself seriously, why should your readers?

  • Kal-El

    How dare you not remember his time on Smallville. Still not showing any love for that show huh? loL

    • allyson

      i agree with you kal-el. that show was on for ten years and still can’t get any love from ew. he was great as cyborg.

    • Shiny

      I really remember him from Smallville and FlashForward, glad to see he’s doing great things.

  • tracy bluth

    I loved “The Famous Jett Jackson”! Great to see him getting work. No whatever happened to those kids from “The Jersey”…

    • J. Davis

      Well, Jermaine Williams (Slaw) plays a recurring character on Raising Hope.

    • Maureen

      I was a huge fan of the show too! I had such a big crush on Lee as a kid! (still have one now);)

      • kimberly

        You’re not the only one. I thought he was so good looking on the famous jett jackson…and he is still hot!

  • entwashian

    ::facepalm:: So THAT’S why he was always so familiar!

  • Frank Me

    Angie Harmon is the best looking brunet on tv since mary tyler moore

    • @

      No doubt – I had the biggest girl crush on her from back to her Law and Order days…THEN I found out she was a republican and the crush crumbled – sigh. She’s still a great actress though!

  • BJohnson

    So glad it’s on tomorrow along with The Closer. Yeah!

  • steph

    Oh man, I used to LOVE Jett Jackson!

  • Melody

    My nieces and nephews loved him on Jett Jackson, the movie that ended the series was rewatched by my nephew countless times. I’m glad to see him happy doing what he loves.

  • Jen E.

    Love him! What a sweetie to embrace the kiddie show where he got his start.

  • Jeff C.

    I LOVED the famous Jett Jackson as a kid. Lee Thompson Young has come so far since then. He’s really come into his own as an actor. i really hope he keeps the momentum going!

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