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Review: FX's 'Rescue Me'

Tommy Gavin and the crew of 62 Truck are back - in all their dysfunctional glory - for the fifth season of FX's Rescue Me. As this admittedly lapsed fan of Denis Leary's firehouse drama can attest, the show returns as engrossing as ever.

When we last left Leary's character, he was dealing with the death of his father, the stagnation in his relationship with Valeri (Gina Gershon) and a possible Section 8 dismissal from the fire department for reckless on-the-job behavior. But the series doesn't spend much time dwelling on the immediate past. Instead, it heads back, in a way, to its beginning - specifically, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Tommy and the other men of the 62nd are forced to relive that dark day in NYFD history with the arrival of Genevive Lazard (Karina Lombard), a French reporter who's working on a book on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. In addition to providing him with a new love interest, she's also brought back a "ghost" from his past: His cousin, a 9/11 casualty who shows up in news footage he's asked to watch, leading to questions about how he actually died.

The show manages to keep up its fine writing, crisp acting and black sense of humor. Even if you've been away for a while, it's easy to get sucked back in.

The fifth season of Rescue Me premieres on FX on Tuesday, April 7 at 10 p.m.