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Lt. Kenny "Lou" Shea
Its humor is as brittle and brutal as its intense scenes, and, like everything here else, is memorably credible.
[Denis Leary] and co-creator Tolan have taken the issue of our time and turned it into gripping, thoughtful drama. For that startling feat, Rescue Me deserves to be mentioned with the best hour series in this golden age for drama.
Leary's character, the abrasively witty New York firefighter who is blunt to friends and a liar to lovers, has few redeeming qualities... That's the beauty of Rescue Me. Tommy is simultaneously loathsome and likable.
Rescue Me's greatest strength may be in showing the terrifying, confusing situations that firefighters encounter every day.
This is what a great TV series does -- it mines difficult emotional ground. It's willfully complex, putting popularity at risk. It avoids convention and takes irregular dramatic steps.
While season two could be chalked up as a disappointment for many fans (this reviewer included), it delivered the kind of build-up that could make season three one hell of year for the show.
Thanks to the nimble Leary, ever riveting as TV's most nuanced antihero (sorry, Tony Soprano), Tommy's tenuous struggle for sobriety is even more rewarding than last season's harrowing downfall.
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