Maura Tierney Maura Tierney

Cheers to Maura Tierney for her incandescent performance on Rescue Me.

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The amazingly versatile actress returned to her recurring role on FX's firefighter dramedy as Kelly McPhee, a feisty single woman who warmed the cockles of Tommy Gavin's cold, cold heart. (They bonded over the fact that they had both lost children.) But when Tommy bumped into Kelly in a drugstore, something had changed: She'd been diagnosed with cancer — much like Tierney was in real life — and had lost much of her hair.

Tierney's turn is even more brave and beautiful considering how unsentimental and matter-of-fact her character is about the disease. As the always-underrated Rescue Me's final season progresses, Kelly's relationship with Tommy grows deeper, richer and more complex, and there's no one better equipped to handle the show's trademark rubberneck shifts between comedy and drama than the NewsRadio and ER vet. Maybe this role will finally earn Tierney the Emmy she's so long deserved.

Are you fired up to see Maura Tierney back on Rescue Me?

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