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Leary's Firefighter Locks Wouldn't Cut It

The creators of FX’s firefighter drama, Rescue Me, pride themselves on the show’s authenticity.

New York City Fire Department (FDNY) veteran Terry Quinn is a consultant on the show, and various cast members have served in the department, as well. But they draw the line when it comes to co-creator/star Denis Leary’s hair. Leary, nominated for an Emmy last week for his portrayal of troubled firefighter Tommy Gavin, famously sports luxurious locks that appear to be in violation of the FDNY grooming code.

According to Rule 2.1.1 of that code, "hair on the top and sides of the head will be neatly groomed." Per 2.1.8, concerning bangs, hair "will be maintained no longer than mid-forehead level." We won’t quibble over what constitutes "neatly groomed," but it looks to us as though Leary’s magnificent mane "might impair the full effectiveness of the [oxygen] mask facepiece," thereby subjecting him to "command discipline or formal charges." (3.1.1).

Asked for comment, an FDNY spokesman refused to torch Leary. "It’s a TV show," he said. "It’s meant to entertain." An FX spokesperson chalked it up to creative license: "We don’t disagree that he’s in violation of FDNY regulations, but Rescue Me is not a docu-drama."