TV-MA. FX. Premiered July 21 2004–present, 75 episodes. Season 1-5 available on DVD. Season 6 premiered June 29 2010.

Created by Denis Leary and Peter Tolan. Cast: Denis Leary, Adam Ferrara, Mike Lombardi, James McCaffrey, Jack Mcgee, Tatum O Neal, Steven Pasquale, Andrea Roth, John Scurti, Daniel Sunjata, Larenz Tate, Callie Thorne.

Rescue Me is quite simply put, one of the best shows on television. It is riveting entertainment; both powerfully moving drama and a hysterically funny comedy.

The series focuses on the professional and personal lives of a group of New York Firefighters in the fictional Ladder 62/Engine 99 Firehouse. The show mainly follows veteran firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary in his most solid performance to date) and his ever troublesome family as they deal with real life issues, either with post September 11 2001 trauma or domestic problems. Tommy has to struggle with the loss of his cousin and best friend Jimmy Keefe who died September 11, 2001 and frequently visits Tommy in visions. In the pilot episode, Tommy has already separated from his wife Janet (a fantastic Andrea Roth) and he is an ill-tempered, self-destructive, hypocritical and relapsed alcoholic.

Denis Leary is backed up by a terrific supporting cast, which include: Sheila Keefe (a feisty Callie Thorne) the widow of Jimmy Keefe, who Tommy has an affair with,  Lt Ken Shea (John Scurti) Tommy’s best friend and fellow firefighter, Franco Rivera (Daniel Sunjata) fellow firefighter and all around ladies man. Mike Selletii (Mike Lombardi) and Sean Garrity (Steven Pasquale) are the probies, a “Laurel and Hardy” like duo that provide most of the shows more comical moments.

Rescue Me is also blessed to have frequent guest stars on the show such as Susan Sarandon, Marisa Tomei, Gina Gershon, Jennifer Esposito, Amy Sedaris and Michael J Fox, all playing pivotal roles.

It is an ode to the skill of Denis Leary and Peter Tolan as writers, that they have created a show that confronts 9/11 with a no holds barred approach, delves into day to day situations that we are faced with in real life and also takes us inside the world of firefighters, showing their true bravado and courage.  The fire fighting sequences themselves are very realistic and nothing short of exhilarating.

In fact, I got to talking to a group of Firefighters from Boston and asked them what they thought of the show. They told me that the things that are depicted on the show actually happen to them every day. Inside and outside of the firehouse. They said it was the most accurate representation of the life of a firehouse that they had ever seen. I believe them. 5/5 stars