Rescue Me: The Complete Third Season – DVD Review

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Denis Leary
Peter Tolan


Denis Leary ………. Tommy Gavin
Mike Lombardi ………. Mike Silletti
Jack McGee ………. Chief Jerry Reilly
Steven Pasquale ………. Sean Garrity
Andrea Roth ………. Janet Gavin
Daniel Sunjata ………. Franco Rivera
John Scurti ………. Kenny Shea
Michael Mulheren ………. Chief Ron Perolli
Callie Thorne ………. Sheila Keefe
James McCaffrey ………. Jimmy Keefe
Natalie Distler ………. Colleen Gavin
Trevor Heins ………. Connor Gavin
Dean Winters ………. Johnny Gavin
Diane Farr ………. Laura Miles
Charles Dunning ………. Michael Gavin
Tatum O’Neal ………. Maggie

The Show

The FX Network has been called the “HBO of cable television” by some people, when it comes to its original programming. HBO has been critically acclaimed for its original programming that includes The Sopranos, Sex in the City, Entourage, The Wire, and many other shows. One reason HBO has succeeded in turning out successful TV shows is because you have to pay extra to receive HBO, and thus it is free of restrictions that many network and cable shows fall victim too. In the last few years, certain cable channels have followed HBO’s lead and produced more “controversial” programming that is critically acclaimed. The FX Network has been one of the frontrunners on cable, known for its edgy dramas including The Shield and Nip/Tuck. Perhaps the most edgy and controversial show on FX, though, is Rescue Me.

Rescue Me focuses mainly on the professional and personal lives of New York City firefighters after the trauma of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The show stars Denis Leary, who plays the role of New York City firefighter, Tommy Gavin, a character whose life is full of torment and chaos. Tommy has to struggle with the loss of his cousin, and best friend, Jimmy Keefe, who died on September 11th, 2001 and frequently visits Tommy in visions. Tommy is ill-tempered, self destructive, hypocritical, manipulative, and a relapsed alcoholic. He has also realized how much he has contributed to the breakup of his family and constantly struggles to reconcile with them. He loves his children very much and desires to get back together with his wife; however, despite slowly making steps toward his redemption, tragedy always seems to be right around the corner.

Denis Leary is the star of this show, but he has a strong supporting cast around him. All of the characters are very strong and are played by some great actors. There is not really a weak spot in the cast, which is pretty hard to do with the number of people in the cast. During the third season, there is also some high-profile actresses making guest appearances in a few episodes including Tatum O’Neal, Marisa Tomei, and Susan Saradon. All fit in well with the main cast.

The third season of Rescue Me may probably be the most controversial season of them all. While the first two season were known for taking risks and talking about taboo subjects such as family strife, depression, alcoholism, homophobia, and the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, among others. But some people say this season went too far when it tackled subjects such as date rape and the mentally ill. While the subject matter may be shocking, it really fits in line with the rest of the show. Just when you think Rescue Me has shocked you enough with its content, it pushes the envelope even more. All in all, though, these controversial subjects are often very realistic and are well-crafted with other strong storylines.

With the exception of HBO, if Rescue Me was on any other channel than the FX Network, it wouldn’t nearly be as good of a show. It would definitely have to be toned down on network TV, but yet there is still a good chance that the show would still probably exceed based on its strong characters and storylines. However, it definitely would be as edgy or real for that matter. That is what Rescue Me is known for. The show is controversial, but in the world of 200+ channels on television it’s refreshing to watch a show like this in all of its glory.


Disc One:

Episode 1 – Devil
Tommy struggles with his impending divorce, his problems with alchohol and smoking, and accepting his son’s death while caring for his dad, and dealing with his uncle’s legal problems.

Episode 2 – Discovery
As his dad’s birthday approaches, Tommy tries to keep his life from spinning out of control as both Sean and Johnny do their best to keep Tommy from learning some troubling secrets.

Episode 3 – Torture
Still seething over his discovery that Janet is seeing his brother Johnny, Tommy finds that getting high school teacher Nell Turbody to end her affair with his nephew comes with a price.

Episode 4 – Sparks
Sean tells Tommy about his relationship with Tommy’s sister only to discover that Tommy already knew. Sheila presses Tommy to use a sperm bank to ensure the survival of the Gavin family’s legacy.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – Chlamydia
Tommy tries to enlist his former sister-in-law in a scheme to take revenge on Johnny and Janet, while Franco panics after discovering that his new girlfriend has kidnapped his daughter.

Episode 6 – Zombies
Tommy conspires with Johnny’s ex-wife to make his brother and Janet jealous, while an accidental overdose of a powerful sleeping pill sends Sean on a sleepwalking rampage.

Episode 7 – Satisfaction
Tommy fights his survivor’s guilt and depression as Sheila sets out to get revenge for his affair with Angie.

Disc Three:

Episode 8 – Karate
As Sean proposes to Maggie and Lou tries yoga to get his life back on track, Tommy struggles to keep things going with the three woman in his life: Sheila, Angie, and Janet.

Episode 9 – Pieces
Tommy’s concerns about his own safety grow as he discovers that the firefighters of 62 Truck are preparing to move on.

Episode 10 – Retards
Sheila gives Tommy a Cadillac to encourage him to consider her marriage proposal, while Franco’s effort to make a good impression on Natalie backfires and Mike’s transfer is upended by his gay affair.

Disc Four:

Episode 11 – Twilight
As caring for his aging father creates even more pressure for Tommy, Lou admits to dating a nun, while Jerry looks for something to help his performance in bed.

Episode 12 – Hell
With Johnny’s murder on the heels of Jerry’s near-fatal stroke, the wheels of change are set into motion for Tommy, his family, and his friends.

Episode 13 – Beached
Following Johnny’s funeral, Tommy wrestles with how he’s going to care for his family and deliver on his promise to retire and live with Sheila.

The Video:

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Transfer is good with minimal distortion. The quality is pretty good for a TV show. The widescreen format is nice to have and overall it’s above average compared to other TV shows these days.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English. Again, it’s pretty standard quality for a TV show. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear.

The Extras:

“Behind the Hose” Featurette
This is one of two “behind-the-scenes” featurette. Basically, there is a lot of comedy on this set. We really only talk to the cast as they do wacky things while making the third season. Pretty funny.

“Behind the Smoke” Featurette
This is second “behind-the-scenes” featurette of making the third season. The cast and crew break down almost every major character and their story arcs during this season. They also discuss the more controversial scenes during the season. This is very insightful.

“Being Denis Leary” Featurette
A short featurette on Denis Leary’s double on the show, Eric. This is mainly meant for laughs, even though it isn’t all that funny.

“Going to the Gay Place” Featurette
Another short featurette about a practical joke the producers of the show wanted to play on two of the stars of the show. They created a fake scene between Mike Lombardi and Steven Pasquale. They wanted them to become lovers and kiss. It just goes downhill from here. The basic point of this is that these guys love to joke on set. It’s short, but you should check it out nonetheless.

“The Bravest Traditions” Featurette
A short featurette on the real-life NYC firefighter traditions. Everything from the firehouse pets to sliding down the pole to the firetrucks to family roles among other subjects. Real firefighers talk about these traditions. Fairly interesting.

Deleted Scenes
These were all cut for a reason. Nothing you should go out of your way to see, but they are there nonetheless.

Location Tour
This is an interesting map tour of the sets used on the show. You pick a location on the map from various places in New York City and surrounding areas and crew members talk about scenes shot in those actual locations. Pretty decent feature.

Fighting Fires in a Vertical City
A featurette about fighting real fires in New York City. Real firefighters talk about their experiences. New York City has lots of high-rise buildings and they prove to be very difficult to fight fires in. The firefighters talk about fighting these fires. Pretty interesting.

Gag Reel
What you would expect? Funny bloopers and mistakes from the third season. Definitely check it out.

Rescue Me Comedy Short
I’m not really sure what this was exactly. I think this was an extra extended scene with all of the guys at the fire station. There is a “monster” in the station and everyone freaks out about it. You really have to see this to understand it.

Rescue Me Season 4 Preview
A 30 second promo piece for the fourth season of the show. Basically, an ad would you see on FX to promote the new season. You’ve seen this before, so it’s not really an extra.


If you are easily offended, this is not the show for you. If you want a real show that is edgy and refreshing, then rent this show if you haven’t seen it. You’ll probably like it enough to buy it. But at least give it a shot, if you have never seen an episode before. It may be hard to pick up with season three, but you will get an overall feel of what this show is all about during this season.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Rescue Me: Season Three
(OUT OF 10)