Tonight marks the season finale for "Rescue Me" (FX, 10 p.m.), setting up its final season to run next year to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.
This season has been a bit herky-jerky. Some people have been frustrated that the storyline has dwelled too long on the Gavin family's alcoholism, while others have felt the show's trademark sense of humor hasn't been as sharp.
For me, I think that "Rescue Me" often sets its own bar so high that it's hard to clear it.
The show hasn't had as easy of a time integrating its storylines as it has in year's past.
Tonight's finale is a little uneven, but also packs a wallop. The opening seven minutes, which pick up some time after last week's cliffhanger, are perhaps the most emotionally devastating the series has ever done, which is saying something considering the 9/11 references and the fact Tommy's son was killed by a drunk driver. I'm not going to give anything away, but some viewers are going to have a difficult time watching.
And, I suppose, that's always been the point of the show. Later on, one of the characters unintentionally brings humor to a situation at a bar when the guys try to meet women. On most shows, the situation might be considered bad taste. On "Rescue Me," that's the point. For firemen, who deal every day in life and death, the gallows humor is the only way they can cope.
Say what you will about the show, but few series right now ever challenge the viewer so directly, nor stir such a bevy of emotions.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Tonight's network schedule will be disrupted slightly by President Obama's 15-minute TV address at 8 p.m. concerning the end of combat operations in Iraq.
On cable, "Louie" (FX, 11 p.m.) wraps up its season following "Rescue Me."
USA has new episodes of "White Collar" and "Covert Affairs" beginning at 9 p.m. I actually enjoyed "Covert Affairs" last week. Perhaps they should make the show about Augie instead of Annie.
SyFy has a new "Warehouse 13" at 9 p.m.