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Rescue Me

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Rescue Me is an American television drama series which premiered on the FX Network on July 21, 2004. The series focuses on the professional and personal lives of a group of New York City firefighters in the fictional Ladder 62 / Engine 99 firehouse.

The show mainly follows veteran firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) and his ever troublesome family as they deal with real life issues, either with post 9/11 trauma or domestic problems. Tommy has to struggle with the loss of his cousin and best friend Jimmy Keefe, who died on September 11, 2001, and frequently visits Tommy in visions. In the pilot episode, Tommy and his wife have already separated and Tommy has moved across the street. He is ill-tempered, self-destructive, hypocritical, manipulative, and a relapsed alcoholic.

Rescue Me was created by Denis Leary and Peter Tolan and is produced by Cloudland Company, Apostle, DreamWorks Television and Sony Pictures Television.

It was announced on August 28, 2009 that FX had decided to end the series in 2011 after seven seasons and 93 episodes. The finale is expected to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9/11.[1]

Season 1

The first season of Rescue Me debuted on July 21, 2004 and began by introducing the members of New York City Fire Department's Ladder Company 62 aka "62 Truck" and exploring their lives, both at home and inside the firehouse. It also features the well known comedian Denis Leary who carries over his humorous nature into the show. It focused on main character Tommy Gavin as he dealt with the effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks, which, for him, include seeing the ghost of his cousin Jimmy Keefe as well as those of various people he failed to save over the years. Gavin and his wife are separated and, from across the street, he sees her begin to date again and concocts a "secret evil plan" to get her back and prevent her from taking his children and leaving the state.

In other stories; Chief Jerry Reilly attacks a gay former firefighter in a bar after the guy speaks to the press and claims that at least 20 of the 343 men who died during the 9/11 attacks were gay. Sean Garrity begins to date one of Franco Rivera's (many) ex-girlfriends, which leads to Franco finding out that he has a daughter with the woman, whom he takes in after the mother's overdose death. Tommy also gets involved with Jimmy's widow Sheila, and "Probie" Mike Silletti begins to date a "fat chick" named Theresa (Ashlie Atkinson), which he keeps secret. Lt. Kenny Shea deals with 9/11 by writing poetry, and then starts to have an affair as his wife is preparing to leave him anyway.

After fireman Billy Warren dies in a fire, the city sends Laura Miles to replace him. She clashes with the guys in general, who do not want a woman on their crew, and with Tommy in particular, whom she is watching and believes is growing dangerous as he takes more and more seemingly unnecessary risks on the job. The season comes to a close with Tommy's mistake at a fire causing Franco to get hurt, and Tommy's eventual transfer out of the house after the rest of the crew find out he has been seeing Sheila and gotten her pregnant. In the final scene of the final episode he shows up at his wife's house, only to find her and his children missing, along with everything in the house.

[edit] Season 2

The second season premiered on June 21, 2005. It began with Tommy at a new firehouse on Staten Island and his replacement at 62 Truck, Sully, becoming everyone's favorite. Sully leaves after the crew finds out that he likes to wear women's clothing and shun him. This clears the way for Tommy to return. Back in the old house Tommy shifts his focus to finding his family and dealing with his father, who took an unannounced vacation and came home with a new (rich) wife, Jenny Ng. Sheila loses the baby, but lies about it to keep Tommy near.

Meanwhile, Tommy and Johnny Gavin find out that their father had a long going affair during their childhood, which produced two children. Soon they suspect their new-found brother, a priest, is a pedophile. Mike stalks his ex-girlfriend. Chief Jerry's wife gradually deteriorates from Alzheimer’s and he is forced to seek help from his estranged son before placing her in a long-term care facility. Laura and Franco begin dating, but Laura eventually leaves Franco and the firehouse. Lt. Shea is conned by a prostitute, resulting in him losing his entire life savings. Jenny Ng dies, and Tommy's estranged sister Maggie shows up.

Tommy and his family reconcile for a time, but when their only son Connor is killed by a drunk driver it's too much for Janet to handle. It only gets worse when Johnny finds out the driver may not do time, so Tommy's uncle, Teddy, murders him in public.

[edit] Season 3

The third season began on May 30, 2006. Tommy and Janet are now re-separated and Teddy is in jail for murder. Janet begins sleeping with Johnny, Tommy's brother. Tommy and Johnny fight it out in the street, and, later, following an argument, Tommy and Janet have a very physical sex scene. The violence of the act is contrasted with his post-coital attitude and the suggestion that she may have enjoyed it.

Meanwhile Lt. Shea, still smarting from getting conned, is becoming testy with everyone on the crew and slowly spiraling down. The Probie (Mike) begins a sexual relationship with his (male) roommate and Tommy falls back into things with Sheila, Jimmy's widow. Sheila wants to get Tommy back and begins to drug him to have sex. Maggie soon finds herself dating Sean Garrity, among others.

Janet gets pregnant with either Johnny's or Tommy's baby and wants to have it to replace Connor. The crew finds out about Probie's possible homosexuality and Tommy comes to his defense. Franco starts to date Alicia (Susan Sarandon), a rich older woman who eventually takes his daughter from him (he is unable to do anything about it because he had taken her from foster care without permission and therefore is not the girl's guardian anyway). Lt. Shea moves in with Tommy and begins seeing Teresa, a soon-to-be ex-nun with whom he plans on moving to Florida to be first mate on his cousin's boat. Chief Reilly tries to meet his wife's increasing health care costs by taking a second job at a bar. Later he suffers a heart attack after having sex with Karlene, an illegal immigrant who cares for his wife.

During a stakeout, Johnny is shot three times through the back and killed by someone who was contracted to kill him to stop him from testifying against a powerful drug dealer. During his funeral Sean and Maggie decide to get married at the cemetery. Rosemarie Gavin is also introduced, the long lost sister of Tommy, Johnny, and Maggie. She is deaf and had been shunned by her parents but reconciles with her father.

With the house seemingly breaking up Tommy decides to retire and move in with Sheila. He changes his mind after talking with Janet about her pregnancy and hearing that Mike isn't transferring, Lou has changed his mind about the boat (after discovering he lacked "sea legs") and Franco has failed a lieutenant's exam.

While at Sheila's new house he tells her he is not retiring from the FDNY. Distraught, she drugs him and accidentally starts a fire. The fire is able to spread while Sheila is overwhelmed by frustration, and the finale closes without making it clear if either Tommy or Sheila made it out of the house.

[edit] Season 4

The fourth season of Rescue Me premiered on June 13, 2007. Tommy and Sheila are apparently rescued by firefighters, but are then accused of arson and insurance fraud. Janet has given birth to the baby and Tommy has come to accept it as his own. Unfortunately, the baby's hair finally comes in and it is "jet black" in color, leaving them to now believe that it is Johnny's son instead.

Teddy is released from prison and immediately abandons his new wife in a coffee shop. Colleen runs away from home and moves in with her boyfriend leaving her parents enraged.

Depressed after being told that he can no longer serve in active duty due to his poor heart, Jerry takes a desk job for one day before shocking everyone by taking his own life.

Janet is suffering from postpartum depression and is also deeply affected by her inability to bond with her new son. The baby cries constantly and his crying seems to worsen when Janet holds him. Getting wind of this, Sheila has approached Tommy about them giving her the baby; she has offered Tommy $850,000 in payment. She continues to hound Tommy about this and Tommy has not told Janet of Sheila's offer. Seeing how his wife is suffering and how the baby is being neglected and seemingly rejected by everyone in the family but himself, Tommy is reluctantly beginning to re-consider Sheila's offer.

Tommy soon decides to give the baby to Sheila after contemplating throwing him off into the Hudson river at the request of his brother's ghost. After Janet learns of what Tommy has done she runs him down with her car. After she realizes that he is OK, she sends the youngest daughter up to Sheila's apartment and steals the baby back. Meanwhile Tommy has a breakdown in the apartment in which all of his ghostly friends including Jimmy let him know that they are tired of his selfishness and leave him.

Tommy then shares custody with Sheila by bribing his daughter Colleen with a no limit credit card. Colleen gives the baby to him when she has him, so he can in turn give it to Sheila. Colleen's boyfriend uses the credit card to buy a wedding ring. After Tommy learns this, he goes to the recording studio to sort out Colleen's boyfriend and destroys his guitar. The boyfriend tells Tommy the ring wasn't for Colleen, but for another girl. Relieved of this he apologizes to the boyfriend and wishes him and his new girlfriend the best of luck. When the boyfriend explains this to Colleen, he says its because Tommy scares him and that is why he left Colleen, so now of course Colleen hates Tommy even more.

Maggie Gavin and Sean Garrity are on and off throughout the whole season ending with Garrity pretending to be an alcoholic to spend time with Maggie and an eventual final split.

The family starts their own AA meetings due to the high amount of alcoholics in the family. Michael Gavin, Tommy's father, refuses to attend meetings but contacts Tommy and tells him that he's going to be sober ironically at a bar to "keep his friends close and his enemies closer". Tommy struggles to maintain his sobriety the entire season.

Tommy also begins seeing a woman Valerie (Gina Gershon) who can't be touched after she orgasms during sex. She and Tommy are on and off due to Tommy's periodic want for his ex-wife Janet.

Janet has also taken a job, where she is dating her new, much younger boss.

A new firefighter also joins the house. He's a new guy named Shawn. The crew decides to call him Black Shawn to distinguish him from Sean Garrity but Black Shawn is not happy with this. Due to Lou and Franco negotiating to get him for their basketball team, he says he doesn't want to be referred to as "Probie" and he is virtually absolved of any probie work, which initially angers Garrity, Mikey, and most of all, Tommy. However, due to Black Shawn's ability to prove himself worthy in the face of a fire, he is accepted by the whole house, including Tommy, who pays him begrudging respect.

The season ends with Tommy, Lou, Sean, Michael Gavin (Tommy's Dad), and Uncle Teddy attending a Newark Bears minor league baseball game at the request of Tommy's dad. Tommy and his father take the close up seats while the rest of the crew take seats higher up in the same section. Lou explains to Garrity how Baseball is like life, waiting for something to come and not being awake for it to happen, but having enough time for a beer, a hot dog, and maybe a blowjob here and there. Also, Colleen is seen attending a picnic with Black Shawn. The last shot is of Tommy showing his father a hit, and his dad not responding or waking up. Tommy realizes that his father has died and puts his arm around him and continues to watch the game.

[edit] Minisodes

On June 23, 2008, webisodes seasons began airing on crackle.com and between shows on FX. Ten episodes aired. Viewers can also find complete episodes of the first four seasons on Crackle.

[edit] Season 5

The show was renewed for a fifth season of 22 episodes. In an interview with on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Thursday, May 15, 2008, Leary revealed season 5 had been delayed until March 2009 because of the writer's strike, but that all 22 episodes would air on consecutive weeks. Michael J. Fox joined the cast, playing Janet's (Andrea Roth) new love interest. According to the L.A. Weekly, on December 1, 2008 during an appearance at Book Soup in West Hollywood, Leary revealed plot details for season 5, specifically a retrospective look into the events leading up to and surrounding 9/11 by each of the characters. Subsequently, Tommy and Lou vie for the affections of the woman who is writing a 9/11 story, which is the plot line in the first 10 episodes of Season 5, which premiered on April 7, 2009.[2]

Silletti gets insurance money and an inheritance following his mother's death in Season 4, and is convinced by Franco and Garrity to invest it in a bar. The bar becomes a popular after-hours place for the fire crew.

Later in Season 5, Garrity suffers renal carcinoma and requires surgery, forcing him to reunite with his estranged mother and brother. Damien (Michael Zegen), Sheila and Jimmy's son, finishes Probie school, and joins the firehouse as a Probie. A woman named Kelly (Maura Tierney) rushes into a fire that the crew is fighting, and retrieves a mysterious metal suitcase. Tommy appears to shun both Janet and Sheila to spend time with Kelly. While there are some romantic undertones, Tommy is more interested in why the suitcase was so important to Kelly. Candy, the prostitute who conned Lou in Season 2, reappears after getting out of jail, claiming that she has turned her life around. After Lou's vehement dismissals, he eventually lets her move in with him. The two even start to make wedding plans, until Lou realizes she has used him again.

Much of Season 5 also follows Tommy's extended family—Cousin Mickey (Robert John Burke), Cousin Eddie (Terry Serpico), Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) and Teddy's wife Ellie (Patti D'Arbanville)—as they all return to drinking after spending several months in AA. In the penultimate episode, the four are drinking with Tommy when an obviously drunk Ellie leaves to pick up a dog she and Teddy had adopted. Shortly after leaving, Ellie is shown running a red light and crashing her car. In the final episode, it is revealed that the crash was fatal. Teddy confronts his nephews and Tommy in the gang's bar, clearly pointing the finger of blame at Tommy. The cliffhanger for the next season is set after Teddy shoots Tommy twice in the shoulder during an after-hours party, apparently leaving Tommy to bleed to death. Teddy threatens to kill anyone who tries to leave and go for help.

[edit] Seasons 6 and 7

On June 16, 2009, the Los Angeles Times website confirmed Rescue Me will return in 2010 for a sixth season due to increased ratings.[3] The August 28, 2009 TV Guide reported that Season 6 will return with ten episodes and Season 7 (2011) will have nine episodes culminating with the series finale on or around the 10th anniversary of 9/11.[4] Season 6 premiered Tuesday, June 29 at 10 p.m.[5] A Season 6 trailer was shown Tuesday, May 11, during FX's airing of Justified.


The show was well received when it premiered. The series premiere garnered Denis Leary and Peter Tolan an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series. Tolan also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series. Leary received another Emmy nomination the next year, this time for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Critics praised the show's willingness to take risks and talk about family, depression, alcoholism, homophobia, and the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[6]

The debut episode was seen by almost 4.1 million viewers, ranking #8 all-time for series premieres in basic cable.[7] Season one and two averaged 2.7 and 2.8 million viewers, respectively.[8]

Controversy surrounded Rescue Me after an episode in season 3 ("Sparks") showed Tommy raping his ex-wife, Janet. A few minutes later, Tommy leaves the home and Janet is on the couch reading a magazine. Two episodes later ("Zombies"), Janet forces herself on Tommy to make them "even". A later episode dealt with Sheila, the wife of Tommy's deceased cousin, drugging him with rohypnol and Viagra and then proceeding to rape him.[6]

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