"I want to walk away from this as clean as possible, but I'm not gonna sugarcoat it."
As for the trailer incident, "I took responsibility [and] acknowledged that it was wrong to do. This happened at the beginning of the second season, and not once after it was brought to my attention did I invite anyone to the set."
"Denis and Peter gave me the opportunity to play a role of a lifetime, and for that I'll always be grateful," McGee concludes. "Yes, I made mistakes, and I've learned a lot from the whole experience. I wish them all the best in the future. All this he-said-she-said is nothing but firehouse washwoman bullshit. It really reminds me of the New York fire department kitchen... I'm actually happy to be away from 'The Brilliant Bully.'"
Tolan disputes that description of Leary. He says McGee's suggestion that Dean Winters was written out of the series for failing to kiss up to Leary is "hearsay, because Dean never said anything to me. I did hear from a second party that Dean was not exactly happy that he was being written out. But I never heard that it was specifically aimed at anybody. He liked the show, he liked the part, he was sorry to see it end. He never spoke to me, but I only heard anecdotally that he was kind of upset that it was done. It was never anything about Denis." Winters did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Tolan adds that it would be a mistake to assume that Leary is as unpleasant as his Rescue Me character.
"I never heard anybody complain about Denis," Tolan says. "I complain about Denis because I have to work with him so much. I'm in contact with him more than anyone else on the show, so goddamn it, I have the right to complain. But when people tell me, 'Boy, Tommy Gavin is an incredibly complex, dysfunctional character,' I always say the same thing, which is, 'Denis is acting!' Frankly, if he was that dysfunctional, that much of a prick, would I work with him for seven years?'"
Matt Zoller Seitz is a New York Times film critic, and the editor and publisher of The House Next Door.