Rescue Me (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Rescue Me

caption = Series logo
rated =
format = Drama
runtime = approx. 45 min.
picture_format = 480i (SDTV) (NTSC)
576i (SDTV) (PAL)
1080i (HDTV)
creator = Denis Leary
Peter Tolan
starring = "See Characters"
country = Flagicon|USA United States
network = Flagicon|USA FX
Flagicon|UK Sky One, Sky One HD - 2004-2008
first_aired = July 21, 2004
last_aired = present
num_seasons = 4
num_episodes = 52
list_episodes = List of Rescue Me episodes
imdb_id = 0381798
tv_com_id = 24321
website =

"Rescue Me" is an American television drama series created by Denis Leary and Peter Tolan. It premiered on the FX Network in 2004. It is produced by the Cloudland Company, Apostle, DreamWorks Television and Sony Pictures Television. "Rescue Me" focuses on the professional and personal lives of New York City firefighters after the trauma of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The show stars Leary, who plays the role of a New York City firefighter Tommy Gavin, a character whose life is full of torment and chaos.

Tommy has to struggle with the loss of his cousin, and best friend, Jimmy Keefe, who died on September 11th, 2001 and frequently visits Tommy in visions. In the pilot episode, Tommy and his wife have already separated and Tommy moved across the street. He is ill-tempered, self destructive, hypocritical, manipulative, and a relapsed alcoholic. He has also realized how much he has contributed to the breakup of his family and constantly struggles to reconcile with them. He loves his children very much and desires to get back together with his wife. However, despite slowly making steps toward his redemption, tragedy always seems to be right around the corner.


"Rescue Me" mainly focuses on the Gavin family and the men of the firehouse, but many other characters have been introduced over the four seasons that have stayed on as main characters. Recurring guests include performers known primarily for films, including Tatum O'Neal, Artie Lange,Susan Sarandon, Marisa Tomei, Gina Gershon, Amy Sedaris and Jennifer Esposito.

eason overviews

eason One

The first season of "Rescue Me" began on July 21, 2004. It began by introducing members of a New York City fire station and exploring their lives, both home and in the firehouse. It focused on main character Tommy Gavin as he dealt with the effects of 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. Kenneth Shea deals with 9/11 by writing poetry, and then starts to have an affair.

After fireman Billy Warren dies in a fire, the city sends Laura Miles to replace him. She clashes with the guys in general, who don't 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's 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.

eason Two

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.

eason Three

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, 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 her self 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 isn't 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 Riley 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 his 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 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.

eason Four

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 shocks 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 $850,000.00 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 beats him with a frying pan and 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 Bart, but insists on being called Sean. The crew decides to call him Black Sean to distinguish him from Sean Garrity but Black Sean 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 Black Sean and he is virtually absolved of any probie work, which initially angers Garrity, Mikey, and most of all, Tommy. However, due to Black Sean'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 Sean. 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.


On June 23, 2008, webisodes seasons began airing on There are ten episodes planned to air.

eason Five

The show was renewed for a fifth season of 22 episodes. In an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on Thursday, May 15th, 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. Joining the cast will be actor Michael J. Fox, who is set to play the part of Janet's (Andrea Roth) new love interest.


The main title theme song for "Rescue Me" is "C'mon C'mon" by the band The Von Bondies. This song was picked by Denis Leary's son, Jack, who helps pick some of the music used in the show. The underscore and end title theme for the show is scored by composer Christopher Tyng, who also scored Leary's previous show "The Job". "Rescue Me" often ends with a musical montage. The official soundtrack was released on May 30, 2006 on Nettwerk records.


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. [cite web|url= |title=Denis Leary plays with fire on ‘Rescue Me’ |accessdate=2007-04-12 |date=2006-08-08]

The debut episode was seen by almost 4.1 million viewers, ranking #8 all-time for series premieres in basic cable. [cite web|url=,1002,271%7C89573%7C1%7C,00.html|title=FX Fired Up about 'Rescue Me' Ratings|accessdate=2007-04-12|date=2004-07-24] Season one and two averaged 2.7 and 2.8 million viewers, respectively. [cite web|url=,1002,271%7C97525%7C1%7C,00.html
title='Rescue Me' Finale Generates Ratings Heat | accessdate=2007-04-12|date=2005-09-15

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. [cite web|url= |title=Denis Leary plays with fire on ‘Rescue Me’ |accessdate=2007-04-12 |date=2006-08-08]

Media releases


All four seasons available from Sony Pictures Television International on iTunes []
Season 1 available starting 14 October 2008
Season 2 available starting 21 October 2008
Season 3 available starting 28 October 2008
Season 4 available starting 7 November 2008 ("never released before in the UK, premiering on iTunes)" [Sony Pictures Television International Press Release, 8 October 2008]


* The family name "Gavin" is a reference to Denis Leary's friend and fellow Boston comedian "Father" Don Gavin.
* Many actors on "Rescue Me" were also on "The Job", Denis Leary's previous television series about the New York Police Department. There are also a number of stylistic and comedic similarities between the two series and in episode 207, "Shame", Leary is seen wearing a "The Job" t-shirt.
* In the first season opening credits the E-One logo is clearly visible on the front grille of the truck. In the following seasons the logo is blank.
*The part of Battalion Chief Jerry Reilly was played by Jack McGee. In Paul Haggis's Crash McGee played the gun store owner who harasses a Muslim customer (Shaun Toub), saying he "incinerated his friends" by flying 747s into the Twin Towers.
* The turnout jacket Leary wears in the pilot episode belonged to New York firefighter Captain Patrick "Paddy" Brown, who died in the World Trade Center attacks. The jacket was donated by Leary's fellow co-star Robert John Burke who was good friends with Captain Brown.
* In the pilot episode of the show, Leary is also seen wearing a Leary Firefighters Foundation 9-11 memorial t-shirt.
* In episode 110, "Immortal", Leary is seen wearing a shirt bearing Garnet "Ace" Bailey's name, number and picture. Ace Bailey was the lead scout for the Los Angeles Kings and a former Boston Bruin who was killed on September 11th when Flight 175 hit the World Trade Center.
* Several hockey players have appeared on the show in various roles. Most notably Hall of Famers and former Boston Bruins forwards Phil Esposito and Cam Neely—with whom Leary has raised money via Comics Come Home.
* In episode 211, "Bitch", Leary's hockey helmet is emblazoned with a "W 6" logo on the front. W 6 stands for "Worcester Six" and represents and memorializes six firefighters who died on December 3 1999, in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. Among the dead were Leary's cousin, Jerry Lucey, and childhood friend, Lt. Thomas Spencer.
* New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had a cameo in episode 312, "Hell", as a mourner at a funeral. In the scene, Belichick and Phil Esposito briefly discuss their interest in sports (ironically, lacrosse, golf, and tennis).
* The replacement Chief in episode 313, "Beached", is played by Co-Creator/Writer Peter Tolan.
* In episode 404, "Pussified", Leary says, "...when the Bronx was burning, ever hear about those days?" That episode was the first new episode after the premiere of the ESPN mini-series "The Bronx is Burning", in which Daniel Sunjata stars. Sunjata is in Leary's presence as this line is spoken.
* Leary mentions a "Cold Storage Warehouse fire" in the same episode, making another reference to the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire.
* Firefighter Mike Moran's quote "You can kiss my royal Irish ass." is often used in the show.
* The FDNY has never had an Engine 99. It once had both a Ladder 62 and Battalion 30, both merged into the FDNY from the Brooklyn Fire Department. [cite web |url=|title=FIRE COMPANY LOCATIONS OF NEW YORK CITY|accessdate=2007-07-20|format=PDF] . The reference to Engine 99 is a tribute to Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky whose number 99 was retired by the entire NHL after his final game as a New York Ranger.
* In 405, "Black", the coach of the NYPD hockey team is Ernie Boch, Jr., the President of Boch Automotive, a prominent chain of car dealerships in Norwood, Massachusetts. The coach of the NY firemen's team is legendary hockey player Phil Esposito, a Boston Bruins alum.
* Lyndon Byers an ex-member of the Boston Bruins and a current Boston area Radio DJ, has a recurring role as "Ryan" co-captain of the FDNY hockey team.
*The name Silletti given to the character portrayed by Mike Lombardi is taken from producer Tom Sellitti, the only difference is the switching of the letters E and I.


External links

* [ Sony Pictures Rescue Me Site]
* [ "Sky One Rescue Me site"]
* [ "Rescue Me"] on TV Squad
* [ "Rescue Me" minisodes homepage] on Crackle

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