TV - Movies
The Tragic Truth
Behind Frost's
Death On Rizzoli
& Isles
By EAMMON JACOBS

THIS STORY CONTAINS DISCUSSIONS OF mental health and suicide.

Content Warning
For the first four seasons of “Rizzoli and Isles,” Lee Thompson Young played homicide detective Barry Frost, the second partner of Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon). The homicide detective couldn’t stand the sight of gory crime scenes or dead bodies — a fact that might suggest he had chosen the wrong vocation, given that dead bodies are inextricably linked to investigating homicides.
Despite this obvious humorous irony, the writers gave Detective Frost’s character depth and didn’t reduce him to mere comic relief. He was fiercely loyal to his partner, highly educated, and had a complex relationship with his military father that the show explored in Season 2.
However, in Season 5, Barry Frost was written off “Rizzoli & Isles,” due to tragic circumstances in real life. Just before the filming of the penultimate episode of Season 4, Young, who struggled with depression and lived with bipolar disorder, died from suicide at the age of 29.
Showrunner Jan Nash explained that the series needed to address Young's passing with care: "We couldn't just say, 'Barry Frost went on vacation,' [...] or give him a new job in a new city. That would feel icky [...] 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." On the show, the Boston PD set up the Barry Frost Memorial Scholarship to help pay for students' education.