‘Rescue Me’ really isn’t that good (part 2)
Wednesday’s episode did more to confirm than allay my feelings that “Rescue Me” is in need of its own rescue.
Specifically, Chief Reilly, who committed suicide in the final scene of the previous episode, was mourned in Wednesday’s show via a Tommy/Leary rant in the opening teaser. The rant took up all of two minutes of screen time, and then it was back to the usual stuff regarding Tommy’s sex life and the question of whether he’d get back together with his wife.
Nothing wrong with that material per se (except that it’s getting kind of tired), but Reilly’s death was mined for an appallingly small amount of drama. It seems clear to me that killing him off was done on a whim for cheap shock value, and not for any better dramatic purpose. If you missed the first few minutes of the show, you’d barely even know that they’d killed a major character at all.
In short: Why do it? Reilly was one of the more grounded characters in the ensemble. His character dealt with human issues rather than contrived and jokey ones.