‘Rescue Me’ Ends Its Run Right on Time

“Rescue Me” (FX, 10 p.m.) does something tonight that few series are ever allowed to do – run out its eight seasons just where its creators wanted it to close – the 10th anniversary of 9/11 that inspired it.

The creation of Peter Tolan and Denis Leary, who was morning a fireman’s tragedy that claimed his cousin in Worcester, Mass., was the triumphant achiement of art sparked by the tragedy. Other shows put Muslims as bad guys; “24” may have ramped up the bloodthirstiness for torture, but it was “Rescue Me” that faced the issue dead on and did it fearlessly.

It was early in the first season when one plotline involved one character’s awful 9/11 poetry that I knew we’d all get past the mire.

And what characters in this series – not only the troubled Tommy Galvin who kept seeing ghosts; but the whole, hilarious firehouse and the longsuffering women – all superbly acted.

Few other series on TV have balanced comedy and tragedy so deftly and none have realized how important it was to have the comedy to balance the tragedy. “Rescue Me” has gone off the rails more than once in its eight seasons (that’s what happens when a show allows itself to take chances). But xxx and Leary have said they are confident in how the show ends – indeed they shot the present season concurrent with the last one and have wrapped the thing up long ago.

Which is more than you can say about the people building World Trade Center memorials even now.

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