Bilious, alcoholic New York City fireman Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) literally returns from the dead in the sixth and final season of Rescue Me
. But Tommy's haunting vision of the afterlife isn't half as purgatorial as the festival of stress and guilt that is his actual life: his daughter is slipping into addiction, his job is threatened by budget cuts, he's juggling his wife Janet (Andrea Roth) and his dead brother's widow Sheila (Callie Thorne), he feels responsible for the crippling of another fireman, he discovers that Janet is hiding a pregnancy from him, and just about everyone hates him at one time or another. The weakness of Rescue Me
has always been the central conflict: vacillating between drinking and not drinking loses its emotional heft over dozens of episodes. Watching everyone in Tommy's life badger and berate him again and again for his floundering attempts to keep them all happy also feels repetitive. But the show's saving grace is its humor, which ranges from goofy verbal banter in the firehouse break room (such as trying to decide if a pavilion is more or less than a million) to the worst excesses of human nature played for maximum comic effect (using a brain-damaged coworker as a ploy to pick up women is only the tip of this iceberg of psychological squalor). At its best, the dark comedy of Rescue Me
captures moments that are so startling and true that you don't so much laugh as blanch and maybe blush in recognition. The set contains 19 episodes and a healthy dose of extra features that put the series to rest with honor. --Bret Fetzer
The acclaimed, groundbreaking series from creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan comes to an unforgettable end in this remarkable set combining both the tumultuous Sixth Season and emotional Final Season. As troubled NYPD firefighter Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) confronts his need for rescue and redemption, the crew of 62 Truck wages their own climactic struggle to survive and persevere - both on the front lines and in their personal lives. Embraced by critics and viewers alike for searing, true-to-life performances and unflinching storytelling, Rescue Me closes out its astonishing run with the most compelling seasons of the series.