Rescue Me returns to FX
by: Lou Angeli
NEW YORK, NY (March 4, 2009) -- Cable hit "Rescue Me" is back with an expanded fifth season. The firefighting drama begins airing on Tuesday, April 7, during FX’s 10pm time slot. This season the show will present 22 one-hour episodes -- a true bounty for a cable drama.
The season 4 closer was powerful, bringing closure to various sub-plots with Leary’s character, Tommy Gavin, apparently being tossed from the FDNY. Even though "Rescue Me" brought in huge audiences, it is an expensive program to produce, and my first thought was that the series had run its course. Thankfully, I was wrong.
Cable’s most popular drama series has been absent from the screen since the season 4 finale which aired in late summer 2007. There was no talk about a 5th season until the Writers’ Guild Strike was settled, and even though Denis Leary and his partner, Peter Tolan, had much of a 13 episode Season 5 outlined, production was postponed.
With the 5th season announcement came an added surprise, Not only would the series return in spring of 2009, FX had ordered 22 new one-hour episodes, a first among original cable programs, which typically only have a 13 installment run.
Concerned that the unusually long delay between seasons might result in the loss of audience numbers, Apostle Pictures agreed to produce ten short mini episodes, which aired on FX during the show’s normal summer time slot, and drew huge audiences on the viral web circuit. Seemingly, every fireman's blog contains a link to at least one of the webisodes.
New to the series this season is actor Michael J. Fox. The 47-year-old actor - who suffers from Parkinson's disease - will play a wheelchair-confined love interest for Denis Leary’s on-screen ex, Janet, played by Andrea Roth.
Of all the firefighting dramas ever produced, "Rescue Me" is most like the real thing. Leary treats the firehouse for what it is -- a family! Kooky at times, emotionally distraught at others, but always there for one another when they step off the rig to do battle with the beast.
"Rescue Me" has humor, conflict and an identifiable antagonist (Gavin himself), all of which are essential for making a successful dramatic series. In developing this series Team Apostle has discovered the secret formula producingh firefighting dramas.
Without knowing it, Leary and his staff have paid firefighters the greatest tribute by reminding us that life and family are precious and can never be replaced. My hope is that others in our ranks will recognize this tip and take the program’s message to heart.
Partial Cast: (from IMDB)
"Tommy Gavin" -- Denis Leary
"Mike Silletti" -- Mike Lombardi
"Sean Garrity" -- Stephen Pasquale
"Janet Gavin" -- Andrea Roth
"Franco Rivera" -- Daniel Sunjata
"Lt. Kenny Shea" -- John Scurti
"Sheila Keefe" -- Callie Thomas
"Jimmy Keefe" -- James McCaffrey
Official FX Website,
Sony Pictures Website