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TCA: 'Rescue Me,' dropped pants, and the end

"Rescue Me": Denis Leary in the season 7 premiere that aired at 10 p.m. July 12. Photo Credit: FX

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.

What can you say about a show whose producer and co-creator stand on stage in front of a couple hundred critics and reporters and drops his trousers to reveal ... well, best to not go there (but let's just say they were tight and blue)? Obviously, you can't say enough, so here's to you Peter Tolan, for forcing an entire room out of its two-week-long-too-many-shows-to-watch torpor.

But pants aside, the final panel of FX's classic "Rescue Me" -- the finale airs Sept. 7 — had to be one of the high points of this tour if only because it reminded me so vividly of all the talent and energy that went into this series, particularly in the early seasons.

Tolan — and Denis Leary, who was very funny, as usual — explained that there had been a couple of thoughts about how to end this journey, including flat-out suicide, with Tommy Gavin sitting on the sofa in a burning room, waiting for the flames to engulf him; another thought — to have him visit the beach house of the character Maura Tierney plays — Kelly McPhee — then walk out into the water, this time with the waves engulfing him. FX rejected both, Tolan said. The show has long asked, "Will a man who survived this great tragedy [9/11] actually survive it? You don't say no."

Tolan pointed out that "Rescue Me" was the only piece of popular entertainment — the only! -- that emerged from 9/11, and actually remained before the viewing public over most of the past 10 years.

"I always felt the show kept the idea of what happened on 9/11 alive ... I felt that was a positive ancillary effect."

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