FX looks like it has another hit on its hands with Rescue Me, a drama about New York firefighters coping with their jobs and the post-traumatic stress of 9/11.
The show follows the exploits and daily lives of the crew of the 62 Truck company in uptown Manhattan. The show is a powerful mix of firefighting movie Backdraft and FX cop-drama The Shield, with some of the dark humor of Six Feet Under thrown in for good measure.
It's edgy, hard-hitting and doesn't mince words (including some of those the FCC frowns upon).
The show also shies away from the politically correct path, not afraid to throw out ethnic slurs or anti-gay talk. In other words, it depicts exactly how many firefighters speak and act.
Comedian Denis Leary takes a dramatic turn as Tommy Gavin, a firefighter haunted by the people he was unable to save — including his cousin Jimmy Keefe, who died at Ground Zero.
Jimmy appears to him often, offering advice and reminding him of the pain and loss he's witnessed and suffered.
Gavin's marriage has hit the skids: his soon-to-be-ex wife (Andrea Roth) is living across the street and has just started dating again, prompting Tommy to recruit his NYPD detective brother (Dean Winters, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and his nephew/godson (Michael Zegan) to carry out his “evil” plans. He bribes his kids for info on her new boyfriend.
The supporting cast includes Lt. Kenneth Shea (John Scurti), who writes poetry to cope with the horror he witnessed at Ground Zero; Billy Warren, played by real-life former firefighter Ed Sullivan; Franco Rivera (Daniel Sunjata), the ladies' man; Sean Garrity (Steven Pasquale), the rather dim “know-it-all” of the firehouse; Mike Siletti (Michael Lombardi), the rookie; and Chief Jerry Reilly (Jack McGee, Backdraft, also a former firefighter). Reilly faces the possibility of losing his job after beating up a gay firefighter who told the New York Post some of the men who died on 9/11 were gay. What he doesn't seem to know: his own son is gay.
Leary gives Rescue Me a dark edge and provides quite a few genuinely funny scenes, including a subtitled conversation between Tommy and his father in the third episode.
Leary created the show and is its driving force, as executive producer and writer.
The plight of firefighters is close to Leary's heart. In 1999, his own cousin and a childhood friend were killed along with four other firemen in Worcester, Mass. He created the Leary Firefighters Foundation following the tragedy.
Rescue Me debuts July 21 at 10 p.m. on FX. Its regular time slot will be Wednesdays at 10.