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Rescue Me: Season 1 Review

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Comedian Denis Leary writes, produces and stars: but he won't make your coffee.

★★★★★

Denis Leary has practically made a career out of smoke. Kicking off as a profane, chain-smoking stand-up comedian, he’s hit it big by writing, producing and starring in this fire department drama that’s now into its second series Stateside.

Leary plays Tommy, a grizzled wiseguy of a fireman on a unit covering downtown NYC. Having recently split with his wife and lost his best friend in the Twin Towers, this boozy, brawling bad boy is fertile ground for Leary’s acidic wit, his craggy chops coming with built-in pathos, the American blue-collar Everyman poster-boy. From the number of references, it’s clear the whole series is pitched around post-9/11 soul-searching, and making out the fire brigade are somewhere between the Marines and a comedy troupe is difficult to swallow. But that’s American TV for you, of which considering the upsides — fast pace, vibrant hand-held cameras, lurid characters and full-throttle dialogue, with an action-oriented fire call every
ten minutes to end those difficult scenes — this is a good example.

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