On tonight's episode of Rescue Me - "Mickey" - Tommy's (Denis Leary) pacts with Sheila (Callie Thorne) and Janet (Andrea Roth) are starting to unravel, while Gavin remains sexually adventurous, much to Tommy's chagrin. Elsewhere, Garrity (Steven Pasquale) reveals his medical secret, while Tommy proclaims his recent drinking at an AA meeting, yet it was AA sponsor and defrocked priest Mickey (Robert John Burke) who delivers the final surprise.
The fifth season of Rescue Me, of course, comes after a long 18-month hiatus, and critics have noted that the "complete creative rejuvenation" on top of guest star Michael J. Fox's appearance as the riveting, wheelchair-bound Dwight might have saved the show.
"We work in a vacuum," says star and co-creator Leary. "It's impossible to tell what the audience or critics will think. Last season, we investigated places that we had to go, specifically with Tommy being sober. But it's not until it's out there that you get the reaction where people go, 'Y'know, it's really dark.'"
As for co-creator and writer-director Peter Tolan, Rescue Me definitely lost focus on the fourth season.
"The fourth season had its pleasures, but it was certainly not up to snuff, in my opinion, with what we had done in the previous years," he says. "The stories weren't as solid, and the storytelling, I thought, was a little weak. And many people noticed it. Because of that, I said to the guys that when we come back, we have to come back firing on all cylinders -- we have to come back at 150 miles per hour and not stop."
It was reported early this year that Rescue Me will return for a sixth season set to air in 2010 owing primarily to the excellent quality of season five.