Having survived being shot twice at the end of last season, New York firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary), in the final two seasons of this popular series, begins to try getting his life together as these 19 episodes (on 5 DVDs) progress.
Gavin suffers from “survivor’s guilt”. He was one of the lucky firemen who walked away from 9/11 when so many of his “brothers,” including his cousin, perished. Since that terrible day, he has been a drunk who often talks to the dead, but since his daughter, Colleen (Natalie Distler), seems to be going down the same alcoholic road, he realizes that it is time to clean up his own act, which is easier said than done.
Tommy has always been a “loose cannon,” and his outrageous antics have now put Firehouse #62 in jeopardy of being closed by the brass down at City Hall. Only some sneaky maneuvers can save it…or him.
Although he’s living back home with his wife (Andrea Roth) and kids, Tommy still has feelings for his cousin’s widow, his former lover, Sheila (Callie Thorne), who has taken up with Mickey (Robert John Burke), another Gavin cousin and a former priest.
One can never claim that the Gavins are not dysfunctional.
There are several surprising story twists in these final seasons, which climaxes with a major fire that takes the life of a leading character and then concludes with a fitting tribute to the heroic New York City Fire Department.
There is a lot to like about Rescue Me.
The dialogue is consistently witty, many of the scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, and actors on the show continue to deliver impeccable performances.
The episode about the wedding of Colleen and Tommy’s “brother” firefighter, “Black” Shawn (Larenz Tate), is unforgettable and one that would make Archie Bunker proud.
On the other hand, this is a series that probably should have been cancelled one or two seasons ago, because the writers seem to run out of story.
Established story arcs continue to be “stretched out, treading water” with no real forward movement. They are repetitive and, frankly, none of them are that compelling. The “stakes” are just not high enough for us to care.
How many times can we watch Tommy Gavin go “off the wagon” then swear he won’t do it again, only to repeat his behavior whenever life gets a bit rough?
I’m also getting bored with all the scenes that have him talking to the ghosts of his late cousin, father, brother and son.
Gavin may be a heroic firefighter, and you certainly have to respect and admire him for that, but, otherwise, he’s really a first class jerk.
Interestingly, there are a couple of promising storylines that are begun as the two seasons move along, but they are never really developed. In one, there are strong hints that the fire chief (Jerry Adler) may be experiencing early Alzheimer’s Disease, but nothing ever comes of that.
Also, nothing is ever made of the fact that the climactic fire that kills one of the crew was the work of an arsonist.
Rescue Me is definitely slow moving, but there is enough going for it to keep established fans watching, particularly since these are the final seasons and all issues will be resolved.
The widescreen picture is broadcast sharp. There are no noticeable flaws.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound is excellent.
Kicking the Ashes and Mopping Up and The Creator’s Last Call are “Behind the Scenes” featurettes about the final seasons of the show; a discussion with Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, the series creators.
Balls is a short montage, illustrating how a certain word has been used so prominently in the series.
Denis & Lenny: A Match Made in Hell is a gag reel, featuring Leary and actor Lenny Clarke.
Burning the Actors At Both Ends is a second, more general gag reel.
Deleted Scenes are available for various episodes.
Although these episodes are not as compelling as in earlier seasons, fans of the series should purchase this set, if only to see how the lives of these characters are resolved.