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Leary Suffers from Burnout As Season 6 of Rescue Me Begins

Leary Suffers from Burnout As Season 6 of Rescue Me Begins

“Rescue Me,” the FX drama about New York firefighters led by Worcester native, series co-creator, executive producer and writer Denis Leary is choking on fumes.

The Boston Herald via YellowBrix

June 29, 2010

“Rescue Me” needs help.

The FX drama about New York firefighters led by Worcester native, series co-creator, executive producer and writer Denis Leary is choking on fumes.

After watching the first four episodes of the sixth season back-to-back – an endurance test I don’t recommend – it’s apparent “Rescue Me” is recycling plots, revisiting Tommy’s tired battle with the bottle and biding its time until its scheduled series finale set for next year on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

In tonight’s episode, “Legacy,” the series opens with a confusing resolution to last year’s cliffhanger.

Sure, there was never any doubt Tommy (Leary) was going to survive his bullet wounds. Even a trip to post-9/11 heaven and hell does little to straighten Tommy’s self-destructive bent.

Tommy is soon up and walking about, and so is Uncle Teddy (Hub native and comedian Lenny Clarke), apparently after the most lax, forgiving police investigation in the history of New York.

During Tommy’s recovery, Janet (Andrea Roth) has relied on hunky Franco (Daniel Sunjata) for help around the home, a fact that does not escape Tommy’s bleary notice. Daughter Colleen (Natalie Distler) apparently has inherited the Gavin gene and is drinking herself blotto.


The supporting actresses find a way to heat up the warmed-over material. Callie Thorne as whackjob Sheila seductively tells Tommy tonight, “I love you. I hate you. And I want you. I hope you die.”

Next week, Roth gets her moment: “Now, everything that I do is coated in anger and cynicism and ash. I hate what you’ve made me.”

These scenes are far more authentic than the idea that these two women would invest years fighting over someone with so little to give. The episode is capped with Tommy sinking to a new low and finding a new place to get smashed.

With the exception of Lou (John Scurti), who also faces health issues his season, the rest of the smoke-eaters have little to do other than cough up punch lines. The banter between the guys, as always, can be riotous (and, alas, unprintable here).

But jokes are no substitute for stories, and these actors (Mike Lombardi, Steven Pasquale and Larenz Tate) are wasted.

Leary co-wrote the first two episodes of the new season and they are the weakest of the lot. Tommy flip-flops so much about his sobriety, he might give you a case of DTs.

But once Evan Reilly takes over the scripting chores in the third installment, the show manages to become both more politically pointed and more comedic. The guys scheme to save their firehouse and run across a firefighter dying from illness sustained in the 9/ll cleanup.

Still, Leary looks exhausted oncamera; even his trademark rants lack their typical spark.

As it begins its countdown to its final hours, “Rescue Me” could use a dousing with lighter fluid and a lit match. Maybe something good would emerge from the ashes.

Season premiere tonight at 10 on FX.


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