Denis Leary

Cheers to Rescue Me for a remarkable run of episodes.

If you've drifted away from Denis Leary's FX firefighting dramedy, make sure to tune back in for the next three episodes (airing July 27, August 3 and August 10). Tellingly entitled "Blackout," "Sanctuary" and "Forgiven," they could just as easily be called "The Last Temptation of Tommy Gavin." The raging alcoholic finally, truly hits rock bottom and attempts to save his daughter Colleen (Natalie Distler) from the same fate—in a way that's breathtakingly dark and twisted even by Rescue Me standards. (It involves Peter Gallagher's straight-talking Father Phil, my favorite new character on TV this summer.)

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There's so much more packed into these installments—the city's threat to shut down Tommy's firehouse becomes dangerously real; Franco's flirtation with Tommy's estranged wife, Janet, leads to fisticuffs (maybe not between whom you think); there's a beautiful ballet sequence; and it all culminates with a note-perfect Tony Bennett tune. Bizarrely, Rescue Me's only Emmy nomination this year came for a song, "How Lovely to Be a Vegetable," cowritten by creator Peter Tolan. If Rescue Me doesn't earn nods  next year for Tolan's writing and direction, writers Leary and Evan Reilly, directors Valerie Harrington and John Fortenberry, and the sensational ensemble (especially the obscenely underrated John Scurti), there'll be no rescuing the Emmys' credibility.

Are you still fired up about Rescue Me?

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