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While Maura Tierney may be cancer free, it seems her character on Rescue Me isn’t so fortunate. Word is, when Tierney’s character Kelly returns in the FX series’ final season, she’ll be battling cancer.
TV Guide posted the news, stating that Rescue Me co-creator Peter Tolan informed them that Tierney agreed to this twist in her character’s fate. According to what TV Guide reported, they waited until Tierney successfully beat breast cancer before approaching her about the idea they had for her character and after some thought, she agreed to it.
If you’re wondering whether or not Tierney had any input in how her character might handle a struggle with cancer, she definitely did. Series co-creator Peter Tolan said the following:
"We wrote like dopes. We haven't had cancer, and we wrote stuff that was a touch melodramatic perhaps. She got me on the phone one time, and we had the most fascinating conversation. She tried to explain to me what it felt like and what was going through her mind. ... It actually took me a long time to figure out what she was saying."
As unfortunate as it is that Tierney had to endure cancer, it sounds like she’s found a way to use the experience toward something that could reach people on an emotional level. Yes, Rescue Me is “just a TV show,” but in terms of human drama and attempting (and sometimes failing) to find the silver lining in even the most dismal circumstances, Rescue Me is among the best and most realistic. Rescue Me is a show that digs deep into the hardships of a job that’s not only physically grueling but also emotionally brutal for some and I expect the same could be said to describe cancer. If there’s any show out there that can handle the subject, it’s this one and Tierney’s more than enough actress to handle the part.
The only concern I have in terms of the plot of the show, is for Tommy Gavin, who has already lost so much. The thought that Kelly’s story might end on a sad note, much like so many other people in Tommy’s life doesn’t exactly make me smile. I think Kelly might be my favorite of Tommy’s emotional-baggage-toting romantic entanglements. Is it too much to hope she’ll have a happy ending?