Rescue Me: Craig Blankenhorn
EW Staff
August 04, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Why we love ”Rescue Me”’s Denis Leary

WHAT HE’S DOING Leary plays Tommy Gavin, a divorced New York City firefighter coping with the aftermath of September 11 while haunted by the ghosts of his dead cousin Jimmy (James McCaffrey) and other friends he’s lost on the job.

WHY HE’S HOT RIGHT NOW Leary’s late, lamented 2001 TV series ”The Job” was a poor fit for family-friendly ABC, but basic cable’s FX, the home of controversy-courting shows like ”Nip/Tuck” and ”The Shield,” is the perfect place for the brash comic to push buttons while wrestling with material that’s close to his heart. (Leary’s first cousin, a firefighter, died in the line of duty in 1999.)

BREAKOUT MOMENT When Tommy looks at a charred body and flatly states, ”I won’t be ordering the crispy beef anytime soon,” it’s classic Leary: wry, bitter, and brutally honest.

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