From the archives: Lee Thompson Young interview from 2011

otaylor@thestate.comAugust 19, 2013 

Editors note: This is an archive story from Sunday, July 10, 2011, edition of The State

Detective Barry Frost is a different kind of homicide detective. He’s a wiz with computers, but when he steps into a morgue and sees a cadaver, he gets weak in the knees and has to leave before putting his lunch on the floor.

Like most detectives, though, he’s fiercely protective of his partner.

On the second season of “Rizzoli & Isles,” TNT’s hit police drama which premieres Monday night, we’ll learn more about Frost, who is played by Columbia native Lee Thompson Young .

“It gets into the character’s story, family, what makes him tick,” Young said. “That I’m very excited about.”

Thompson’s character, Frost, is the partner of Jane Rizzoli a smart, street-wise Boston homicide detective played by Angie Harmon, a former “Law & Order” star.

“As an actor watching her work, it’s inspiring because she’s really very, very skilled,” Young said.

Sasha Alexander plays Dr. Maura Isles, Boston’s chief medical examiner on the show, which scored the second-highest debut ever for a basic cable TV series when it premiered last summer.

Young, 27, has contributed to a string of successful productions. He starred on the Disney Channel series “The Famous Jett Jackson” and the Disney movie “Johnny Tsunami,” and he’s had roles on TV shows such as “The Guardian,” “Smallville” and “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Young has appeared in films such as “Friday Night Lights,” “Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story” and “The Hills Have Eyes 2.”

He’s made his mark in Hollywood on TV. He was an arrogant intern on NBC’s “Scrubs,” and he played an FBI agent on ABC’s high-concept drama “FlashForward.” Frost is his main role now, but intrepid viewers might have noticed him – minus the beard he wears on “Rizzoli & Isles” – as a soldier protecting the director of national intelligence from an attack on episode of NBC’s recently canceled “The Event.”

Young decided he wanted to pursue acting after reciting Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in a production of “A Night of Stars and Dreams” when he was 10. Young, who attended Irmo Middle School Campus I (now Crossroads Middle School), did more community theater before moving to New York two years later with his mother so she could attend Union Theological Seminary.

“It worked out,” Young, who now calls Los Angeles home, said of the move. “I definitely have my roots in South Carolina and I have some people that have moved to Georgia now.

“I get out of L.A. as often as I can.”

Young earned a film production degree from the University of Southern California. He now spends a lot of his time on the Paramount Pictures Lot in Hollywood. He often studies his lines at home, which doesn’t leave much time to enjoy the L.A. dating scene.

“I feel like, you know, it’s kind of tough everywhere,” he said. “That’s why all these Internet dating sites are blowing up. In L.A., people are centered on their work. It’s hard to get that time.”

Does he call home to let family know when he’s on TV?

“A lot of times my family misses stuff because I don’t tell them,” he responded, before adding a caveat. “Me, I don’t really like to watch myself. You become more self-aware, more self-conscious and that takes away from being genuine.”

Viewers will be more aware of Frost this season. There were glimpses into his psyche last season. In one episode, Rizzoli and Frost questioned members of Boston’s elite at a sprawling estate and there was obvious tension that alluded to Boston’s problematic racial history.

“My character is aware of history, and it comes up again this season, the history of African-Americans in colonial Boston,” Young said. “(Frost) doesn’t really hold any grudges. At least I don’t play it that way.”

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