By Ken Tucker
June 23, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
Robert Zuckerman/FX
  • TV Show

Season 6 of Rescue Me opens with Denis Leary’s Tommy Gavin dead. Remember, he got shot in the bar at the end of last season? Well, he’s eventually revived (no spoiler there — Rescue Me wasn’t going to have Tommy float around as a ghost), and he resolves to stop drinking for what seems like the 2,785th time in this series. At home, eldest daughter Colleen (Natalie Distler), now 21, is working on developing her own drinking problem.

The firehouse is a potential victim of the recession, on a list for possible closure by New York City. And it’s suggested that while Tommy was laid up, firefighter Franco (smoldering Daniel Sunjata) may have grown close to Tommy’s estranged wife, Janet (Andrea Roth).

But Rescue Me is alarmingly Tommycentric in the first three episodes, with few subplots about anyone else. Hang in there, though. By the fourth hour, Peter Gallagher is doing a great guest-star job as a feisty priest, and our beloved Lou (John Scurti) has a medical emergency. As usual, the series brightens whenever Roth’s Janet is on screen. She gets the best line in the show’s second episode, telling Tommy, ”Everything I do is coated with anger and cynicism and ash; I hate what you’ve made me.” (Credit where it’s due: That’s from a script by Leary and Evan Reilly.)

Uneven but irreverent, Rescue Me manages to rescue itself, immersing us in the tumultuous firefighting life that is the reason we watch the show. B

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