The long-running FX drama Rescue Me, created by and starring Denis Leary, will come to an end on September 6th of this year – only five days before the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that inspired the show.
Over its seven season run, Rescue Me followed the story of New York City firefighter Tommy Gavin (Leary) dealing with post-traumatic stress from the September 11th attacks, which killed his cousin/best friend, as well as personal problems such as alcoholism and other family struggles.
Initially, Rescue Me‘s gritty aesthetic, as well as Leary’s critically-acclaimed performance, made it one of FX’s most popular shows and helped the cable channel craft its identity as a network for great original programming. In its later seasons, one could argue that the show’s myriad plot developments became somewhat convoluted, but that’s up for debate.
Given that the events of September 11th are what drove the majority of the characters’ decisions over the course of the show, the decision to close the series the week before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is fitting and certainly a better decision than airing it on September 11th. As FX president John Landgraf explained in this article from The Hollywood Reporter,
“It seemed appropriate not to air it on the day because there are more solemn and appropriate things to do on the day. The weeks surrounding the day seemed to be the appropriate place to do it.”
As I said at the top of the post, Rescue Me (along with The Shield) helped define FX’s legacy as a top quality network for original television, paving the way for later shows like the popular crime drama Sons of Anarchy. While it’s still not at the quality of its cable rival AMC, or premium cable juggernaut HBO, FX has consistently been one of the best networks on TV, and Rescue Me is a testament to that fact.
Rescue Me returns Summer 2011, on FX.