Actress Sasha Alexander has spoken of how crime drama Rizzoli & Isles is saying an emotional goodbye to Lee Thompson Young, who played Detective Barry Frost in the TNT show.
The 29-year-old actor was found dead in his North Hollywood home last August in an apparent suicide. In the first episode of the new season, which was shown this week, his colleagues learned that Frost had died in a car accident.
Frost's memorial service will be featured in Tuesday's episode. Sasha Alexander, who plays medical examiner Dr Maura Isles, said although the episode was difficult to shoot, she hoped it would help fans grieve and begin to heal.
"I hope that people who knew him and adored him and loved him on the show will enjoy it and be able to move through it with us," the 41-year-old actress said.
Rizzoli & Isles also stars Angie Harmon as Detective Jane Rizzoli.
Jan Nash signed on as the new show runner just months after Young's death and had the difficult task of deciding how to proceed with the new season.
"I really do think it was very brave of TNT and Warner Bros and Jan Nash to embark on handling it head-on," Alexander said.
"They might have been like, 'I can't deal with this. I don't know how to handle this', but they didn't. They went for it and everyone just embraced it and I think that was really just to show our love for him."
Alexander says Young's absence is felt on the set.
"They have not replaced him and don't intend to do so any time soon," she said. "So his seat remains empty and it's something that we have had to look at and struggle with from day one of shooting."