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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The debut episode was seen by almost 4.1 million viewers, ranking #8 all-time for series premieres in basic cable. Season one and two averaged 2.7 and 2.8 million viewers, respectively.
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.
|Title||Originally aired||DVD release dates by region||Blu-ray release date|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||2004||June 7, 2005||February 20, 2006||February 8, 2006||Discontinued|
|The Complete Second Season||2005||May 9, 2006||January 29, 2007||September 27, 2006||Discontinued|
|The Complete Third Season||2006||June 5, 2007||TBA||TBA||June 5, 2007|
|The Complete Fourth Season||2007||June 3, 2008||TBA||TBA||TBA|
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)