Andrea Roth, Rescue Me

On Rescue Me, being a drinker is practically a prerequisite to being a Gavin. But if there's an exception to the rule, it's Andrea Roth's character Janet — at least for now.

In Tuesday's episode, Janet and ex-husband Tommy (Denis Leary) — who recently resumed his dangerous up-and-down battle with the sauce — visit their daughter Katie (Olivia Crocicchia) at her Connecticut boarding school, a place Roth says Katie ran to seeking refuge from her dysfunctional parents.

"[Katie] was very unhappy," Roth tells TVGuide.com. "Obviously, they've failed as parents, and their level of dysfunction is pretty intense. So, Janet didn't really feel there was much of a choice. [She] is a mom trying to make her child happy, thinking that maybe it was something good and stable for her for a while."

Once on campus, Roth describes both Janet and Tommy as "fish out of water" among the other wealthy, snobby parents. But when Janet adds a little (OK, a lot) of booze to a dinner full of condescension, she shows her true, Gavin colors.

"You'll see sides of all of us that you haven't seen before," Roth says. "Hilarity ensues when the two of us attempt to be mature, rational parents. That gets turned on its head, of course, because we have no hope in hell of becoming rational, sane parents."

Janet's drunken tirade gives Roth the chance to do some comedy. "I get to do crazy intense scenes with Denis — our stuff is usually very volatile, disturbed, angry behavior," Roth says. "This was pure fun; we just got to play and be giggly, which is a nice change of pace."

So might this bender lead to a rekindling of Tommy and Janet's relationship? "I know in the character's heart that [Janet] is always still connected to Tommy," Roth says. "I think it's easy to fall into [the relationship] again. The two of us end up bonding — he comes to my defense, which just comes back to the idea that you don't mess with family."

But don't expect a seamless reunion. Tommy will have his share of temptresses as the season rolls on, which can only mean one thing: a catfight. "There's no shortage of women throwing themselves at Tommy this season," Roth says. "He will have his pick between Janet, Sheila (Callie Thorne) and (guest star) Maura Tierney, all of which come with intense conditions. He's going to have to figure out with whom and where he wants to be and who he truly loves. But there will be a three-way showdown. It's quite a run-in — again with booze involved. It's some pretty fun, catfight-y madness."

So is drinking becoming pattern behavior for Janet? "As expected, [Tommy] drinking again is going to be big bad news for him and most people involved," Roth says. "But by the end of this season you will see many characters in utter despair and sadness, and all sorts of crazy behaviors acting out because of needs not being met. And Janet — though she's not much of a drinker — starts to use booze as a crutch more and more in dealing with stressful, emotional situations."

That twist might lead to an even darker Season 6, which some cast members suggest may be the last. Roth, however, remains hopeful that Tommy and Janet will find some sort of "peace between the two of them."

"Whether they're together or whether they're not, I hope they can understand that they both screwed up and that it was a dynamic that built this big, ugly monster that is called their relationship," Roth says. "I don't know if the writers have any desire to have things tie up nicely. I think one or two of the characters will be lucky enough to have some sort of growth, but I think most of us may be left sitting in our broken-down little lives."

Watch more from Roth in the video below:

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