Sasha Alexander

After last year's friendship-threatening season finale on Rizzoli & Isles, Sasha Alexander was happy to see the TNT drama go in a slightly different direction this year.

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Oh, it's still action-packed — a building will collapse — but Jane (Angie Harmon) and Maura (Alexander) will be working as one to free their loved ones trapped inside.

"I think it shows how far they've come and progressed since [the Season 2 finale when Jane shot Maura's mob boss dad Paddy Doyle]. It's a beautiful finale — maybe not what you'd expect after last year," Alexander tells TVGuide.com. "They're on the same page and Maura, in particular, is really there for Jane for this situation. You can really see what an incredible, wonderful relationship these two women have."

The same can't be said for some of their other relationships. After begging her ex Lt. Col. Casey Jones (Chris Vance) to stay with her last week to no avail, Jane will wait to hear on his risky, possibly life-threatening, spinal surgery  — and decide if she wants to make another effort to help him. Meanwhile, Maura's estranged biological mother, Hope (Sharon Lawrence), will make her first appearance since unceremoniously dismissing Maura, not to mention her offer to donate a kidney to Hope's ill 18-year-old daughter Kayleen, in July. Now, Kayleen desperately needs a kidney transplant.

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"Sharon and I were both very excited to do the scene where she comes back because it's just so awkward," Alexander says. "Time has passed and when Maura confronted her, she just completely broke Maura and rejected her. It was so rough and I think it really changed Maura. And here is this woman now and she's there because she has no choice. She wants to save her daughter, so she sucks it up and tries to apologize to her other daughter."

Not that Maura is ready to forgive and forget. Instead of being her usual proper and polite self, Maura will have a "breakthrough and unload on Hope," Alexander says.

"I think she deserves it," Alexander laughs. "She tells her how she feels and how hurt she was. ... It's such a complicated relationship between them and the scene was so well-written by Janet Tamaro. I think you'll definitely see a new layer to Maura."

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As to whether or not Maura will agree to help Hope, Alexander teases, "She does make the decision, but she's not telling her yet. [And] then ... the [building] crisis happens." The actress suspects and hopes (no pun intended) that Lawrence will be back next season to continue the story line. "No matter her decision, I don't think you can leave it like that. And I love working with Sharon. She's so fantastic and I would love to explore more of their relationship."

Maura's mommy issues aside, Alexander also hopes that Season 4 will be "less bleak" than Season 3 — and filled with lovin' and dancing.

"We've both been very unlucky in love in Season 3. I just want lots of handsome men for both of us next year!" she says. "What I am really rooting for is a dance scene. I'd like the girls to dance hip-hop or something. We can move, not just solve crimes!"

Rizzoli & Isles airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on TNT.