<EM>Rescue Me</EM>'s Denis Leary Rescue Me's Denis Leary

This season on Rescue Me [returning tonight at 10 pm/ET, on FX], everybody dies. In the third episode, the entire cast gets killed, and then a whole new cast comes in. That's not true, but it would be awesome if it was, wouldn't it?

Actually, my character, Tommy Gavin, makes it through the fire he was trapped in at the end of last season. He goes through a midlife crisis because he's got a new baby. While he's taking care of the kid, Tommy becomes "pu--yfied" — that's what we're calling it. He starts to watch Oprah and listen to Dr. Laura on the radio, and he's having problems performing in the bedroom. Basically, everything's going wrong.

Jennifer Esposito plays one of Tommy's new girlfriends. She's a volunteer firefighter on Long Island, a rough-and-ready girl who gives as good as she gets and doesn't take crap off anybody — including Tommy, so he doesn't know what to make of her. She's a female version of him. Initially, that's what attracts him. Then it scares the crap out of him.

Tommy's sister, Maggie [Tatum O'Neal], and his fellow firefighter Sean [Steven Pasquale] are having severe marriage problems. Couldn't see that one coming, huh? She goes over the edge with drinking. Sean confronts her about it, and she doesn't want to quit. Then there's a giant family AA intervention. Almost everybody in the family decides to quit drinking at the same time — which is not a really good idea, it turns out. Everybody starts to figure out what's in their heads, and they all start to blame each other for being the way they are. That should be a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, Lou [John Scurti] is in the throes of dating an ex-nun and discovers there is such a thing as too much sex. It starts to get on his nerves, and they take a break from each other. It doesn't work out well.

Probie [Michael Lombardi] goes into a spiraling depression. There's a death in his family, so he has to deal with that. Then he gets hurt, so he's away from work for a while, and he kinda loses it. But because it's Rescue Me, we'll not only play it for the drama but also for laughs.

Honestly, there are a couple of major deaths this year. People should keep their eyes open early and late. This show's about life and death. It started with the death of a bunch of people on 9/11, so we've always dealt with grief.

We're trying to outdo ourselves this season. That's part of the deal. If we want people to keep watching, we don't want to have one of those seasons like The Sopranos, where people are like, "What the hell's going on?" It's good for the audience, and it's definitely better for us — it keeps our imaginations locked in.

And if that doesn't work, we're killing everybody off.

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