Rescue Me Premiere (FX)

FX network is bringing back one of its best shows of 2004. Dennis Leary has been trying to get a regular TV gig for quite some time. This time, I think he’s here to stay. A brutally honest, in-your-face drama about NYC firefighters in a post-9/11 world, where being a public hero is a weight not everyone can bear. Personal demons, workplace conflicts, and family complications make this job an needed escape, even though the job itself entails facing death every day.

This show came out of nowhere in 2004, got a couple of reruns on FX later in the fall (it only had 12 episodes), and finally was picked up for a second season. It’s very similar to Leary’s last project – “The Job”, which ironically, lasted for two seasons at ABC. Remember those golden ABC days when every show was given a matter of weeks before it was dumped into trash? Well, even though Leary lasted two seasons, I guess it was not to be at a squeaky-clean network. “The Job” was about the harsh realities of NY cops – dealing with dysfunctional families, walking the line of crime world, facing death, and escaping into work, even if it could be your last day. Sounds familiar?

It should, because in essence “Rescue Me” is the same story, only told through the eyes of a firefighter, and not a cop. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of cops on the show, but now they’re adversaries, the “other heroes”, who also have tough lives, must life up to the public perception, and must claim their victories over firefighters. The show has most depressing moments, and still manages to sneak in a few decent comic reliefs here and there.

The cast, again, will be familiar to you – Leary’s posse. Andrew Saxe, John Scurti, Mike Lombardi have appeared in past Leary projects. Add to this Andrea Roth, Jack McGee and Callie Thorne and you have a cast that can deliver any situation, any line without blinking an eye. They worked before, they can complete each other’s sentences. They can do funny and they can do sad, and we’ll lap it up.

Leary plays a gung-ho firefighter who regularly disobeys orders, breaks procedural code, risks his life (when it’s not even necessary) in order to redeem himself. This guy’s got baggage – broken family, resentful kids, an ex-wife who keeps demanding money (that he doesn’t have), and a handful of girlfriends who also need time, attention, and an official status. Can’t a guy just sleep around and have no responsibilities for once? Leary’s Tommy Gavin is that guy – mature in some aspects, and very childish and reckless in the most sensitive areas. He’s admired by co-workers, but he’s a hothead who can quickly get on his boss’ nerves.

The credits he earns he quickly squanders, and at the end of a disastrous day, he downs a few bottles to silence the demons in his head. He’s saving lives every day. But who’s going to rescue his soul, and put his mind at ease?

Check out this unbelievable drama on FX, Tuesdays at 10pm (In Canada, you can see it on ShowCase, same time slot).

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