Rescue Me

Wednesdays at 9 p.m.


Debuting at just the right time to help save a poor summer
television season is the latest drama from FX, “Rescue
Me.” Cut from the same cloth as the critically acclaimed
“The Shield,” the fictional show follows the Fire
Department of New York from the firehouse to the burning buildings
and everything in between, all the while creating a sense of
realism and believability rarely seen in the television
suspense-drama genre.

Denis Leary (“The Secret Lives of Dentists”) stars
as senior firefighter Tommy Gavin, who is forced to find a balance
between his high-stress job and a failing marriage. He beautifully
portrays a no-nonsense, yet vulnerable, wiseass who still has a
soft heart: In order to stay close to his ex-wife and children, he
moves in across the street from them.

Ghosts from his past, including his fellow firefighting cousin
who died in the World Trade Center attacks, appear frequently to
Gavin, reminding him of his troubled life. These supernatural
visitations, however, aren’t essential, as the show is
definitely strong enough to stand on its own already.

A powerful combination of fast-paced, witty dialogue and
effective secondary characters, most notably Jack McGee
(“Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde”), a
real-life former firefighter, as the sports-betting Chief Reilly,
only add to the already stellar premise.

Viewers quickly bond with the squad, and subsequent episodes
will surely give all cast members a chance to shine. New recruits
to the FDNY are quickly taught the attitude required for the job,
as Gavin tells them, “I ain’t no hero. I’m a
fireman.” “Rescue Me” holds nothing back, and
that’s why it’s one of summer’s most intriguing
new programs.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

— Doug Wernert

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