"I want to walk away from this as clean as possible, but I'm not gonna sugarcoat it."
While Tolan insists Reilly's demise had "very little to do with Jack McGee and everything to do with the fact that Rescue Me is a dark show," he adds that McGee's stint as series regular was not trouble-free. "Yes, yes, he made errors. Not just inviting people to the set, but bringing them into Denis's trailer when Denis was trying to relax or not working... But Denis doesn't hold grudges. Denis says, 'Let's not have it happen again,' and then he moves on."
As for McGee's feeling that he was shut out by Leary and the rest of the cast for no discernible reason, Tolan says, "There's not a shutting out. But you can, by your own behavior, shut yourself out for [other] people."
Asked for an example, Tolan recalled the shooting of one scene that ended with McGee telling another actor, "That thing you're doing? You shouldn't do it anymore." The actor told McGee, "Fuck you -- it's not your job to tell me how to act."
Tolan declined to name the actor or say when the incident occurred.
Most damningly, Tolan says that after being informed of his character's impending death, McGee threatened not to return for filming of the fourth season.
Tolan says that after delivering the bad news, he urged McGee to "take the high road... What he did then was threaten not to come back for the [new] season at all. He put us all in a bad situation, and by that act, fouled the waters that had come before. If he wasn't asked back [to the premiere] it may have been because of that one thing... After I told him to take the high road, then to be treated to this -- I found it a little difficult to take."
McGee denies that he ever threatened to walk off the show. "Never, never did I threaten to not come back to the show for the beginning of Season Four. Whether it is Peter Tolan or Jim Serpico -- who were the only ones I spoke to at that time -- who said that this is what happened, [they] were either misinformed or misled by someone else."
McGee cops to bringing guests to meet Leary in his trailer, and to offering unsolicited notes to a costar -- the unnamed actor in Tolan's anecdote, says McGee, is Steven Pasquale, who plays Sean Garrity. "That occurred in the middle of the first season, and within a day or two following that conversation, I apologized to Steve Pasquale and told him I was out of line, and that he was brilliant at what he was doing, and he accepted, and appreciated my acknowledging my putting my foot in my mouth. That was almost two and a half years ago."