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"Rescue Me" Burns Bright

FX's new firefighter series Rescue Me is more dramatic than you might expect from Denis Leary (The Job) and Peter Tolan (Larry Sanders). But as you would expect, it mixes that drama with quirky characters and some pretty funny stuff.

Leary's character is probably more screwed up than the one he played on The Job, but in switching from NYPD to FDNY he's also shifted into a profession haunted by 9/11. And Rescue Me doesn't hide from it. In fact, 9/11 is a major force in Rescue Me, as Leary is haunted by four firefighters from his unit (including his best friend) who were killed at Ground Zero.

But they don't haunt him in a scary way. Instead, he holds amusing conversations with them while lamenting their deaths. Meanwhile, he's fallen off the wagon and is in deep denial about the death of his marriage. And yet, while all these things are serious as a heart attack, we can't help but laugh to keep from crying.

Does Rescue Me cover dark topics? Sure it does. But it mixes that darkness with some real laughs, quirky characters, and genuine emotion. It's the find of the summer TV season.


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