August 02, 2004 12:00 PM

FX (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET)

New York City firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) has a truckload of stress in this involving new series. A father of three, he’s separated from his wife (Andrea Roth) but lives across the street from her and spies on her new boyfriend. He drinks more and more to bolster his courage on the job. And he’s haunted by the chatty ghost of his cousin Jimmy (James McCaffrey), a fellow firefighter killed on 9/11.

Though Tommy’s conversations with Jimmy seem like a glib gimmick, Rescue Me redeems itself with rough firehouse humor and a realistic depiction of the emergencies faced by the crew. Leary earns sympathy for Tommy with out covering his flaws, and former real-life fireman Jack McGee stands out as a veteran who jeopardizes his career when his temper flares.


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