June 13, 2007 9:14 AM
7 reasons to watch 'Rescue Me'
Missing Sopranos and The Shield? Still in the mood for edgy TV in the midst of all the summer reruns and reality shows?
Lisa Bornstein offers seven reasons you should catch Rescue Me, back for its fourth season tonight on FX:
Back for its fourth season, the FX comic drama about New York City firefighters picks up with, as usual, lives in disarray. Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) was last seen in the house that his lover, Sheila (Callie Thorne), set afire. Now he's trying to prove he didn't set the fire himself, but because she drugged him, he doesn't really know what happened. Chief (Jack McGee) is coming to terms with his gay son and the heart attack that could keep him off a truck. And Tommy's baby? Well, they're not sure whether it's his or his brother's. Sounds like a soap opera, but The Rocky's Lisa Bornstein says there are at least seven reasons you should tune in:
1 Denis Leary as firefighter Tommy Gavin. The most underrewarded man on television, with Golden Globe and Emmy nominations but no win yet. He's gone beyond his caustic stand-up persona to become a true actor with this show. Yes, he's still acid in a solid state, with the dry delivery of rapid-fire stream-of-consciousness, as demonstrated by his response in the first episode this season to a co-worker's inquiry as to his level of stress:
"Yeah, little stressed out. The basketball thing, haven't had sex or a smoke in nine months, and I just found out everybody I know pretty much thinks I'm going to jail. So you know, yeah. Stressed? Yeah. Little bit."
His character (as well as the show) is defined by an old-fashioned Irish-American idea of masculinity: quick to drink, quick to insult and quick to fight. But his fights have included the defense of his family, and his reactions to tragedy, from Sept. 11 to the death of his son by a drunk driver or the murder of his brother. All have been surprising and affecting.