'Rizzoli & Isles': Mark-Paul Gosselaar dons swim trunks for chilling guest stint

mark-paul-gosselaar-rizzoli-isles-02-320.jpg Mark-Paul Gosselaar is psyched for his guest appearance on "Rizzoli & Isles" and thinks it went swimmingly ... well, except for the swimming part.

On the Monday, Aug. 9 episode "Money for Nothing," Gosselaar's character Garrett Fairfield is a triathlete and is seen taking a few leisurely laps in a pool.

"I'm not a swimmer, not really," Gosselaar admits to Zap2it. "It worked out, but it was one of those June gloom kind of days, kind of cold. They had to heat the pool using external heaters. It wasn't the warmest thing. It was interesting to try to get the lines out through chattering teeth."

Being a trouper on set, however, will win over his die hard fans since he does appear in swim trunks in the scene. Although, for the rest of the episode, Gosselaar is more covered, wearing sharp pinstriped suits befitting his character's professional demeanor. Garrett Fairfield's story intersects with Jane Rizzoli ( Angie Harmon) and Maura Isles' ( Sasha Alexander) when the body of his older brother Adam is found in the harbor.

The death causes a furor not only because the Fairfields are Mayflower descendants, but also because Maura had become acquainted with the family in the past when she dated Garrett.

"What they feel now I think would be giving things away, but they were serious at one point back in college," reveals Gosselaar. "So they have a good history together. They just haven't seen each other for many years and they both have warm feelings for each other."

It's where these warm feelings might lead and Maura's obviously posh upbringing that creates friction with Jane, who's more aware than ever about the social differences.

mark-paul-gosselaar-rizzoli-isles-angie-harmon-sasha-alexander-320.jpgDespite the on-screen discord, Gosselaar says that off-screen, the actors had a blast. Not only is he already friends with Alexander and Harmon, but he's friends with writer Joel Fields, with whom he worked on "Raising the Bar," and director Nelson McCormick, who helmed a few episodes of "NYPD Blue."

"It's a fun set. They keep it very light, which makes the work go by quickly," he says, adding, "I've caught the first episode, and they got great ratings and it's well deserved. They're talented and fun to watch. And it's good writing."

Gosselaar is making himself at home in the TNT family it seems. After his stint on "Raising the Bar" and dropping by "Rizzoli," he'll embark on another new series, the legal dramedy "Franklin & Bash" opposite Breckin Meyer that premieres Sept. 20.

Jared Franklin (Meyer) and Peter Bash (Gosselaar) are street lawyers hired by a high-end prestigious firm. The comedic elements to the series make it a very different legal show from "Raising the Bar," in which Gosselaar played an idealistic, righteous public defender.

"There's nothing too earnest about it, about these guys," he observes. "They're lifelong friends. It's a light relationship. There's some kidding around and stuff, but this is pretty much a comedy with elements of drama in it."

Luckily, he and Meyer can pull from their off-screen camaraderie to play the friends.

"We gel pretty well. We have a lot of the same work ethic and the same sort of morals," says Gosselaar. "You just find people in life you just connect with and he was definitely one of them. It shows up on screen and was one of the things that make this show so strong."
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Seeing Gosselaar in a comedic role again should excite his "Saved by the Bell" fans, who may hope for an added bonus. In 2009, he had reprised his teen role of Zack Morris on Jimmy Fallon's late night show to promote "Raising the Bar." Could another Zack attack happen to promote "Franklin & Bash"?

"It's not something I've thought about and it hasn't come up," he says. "I had the opportunity to do it that time. I don't know if I'd do it again. I really don't know."

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Photo credits: TNT