MONDO EXTRAS

Jack McGee Without Pity

*******

Peter Tolan has a different version of events.

Tolan, who has been Leary's co-writer and co-producer since the short-lived but critically acclaimed ABC cop series The Job, says, "Jack is being disingenuous if he says nobody explained to him what was going on. The difference he's drawing is, apparently he wanted to hear [the bad news] from Denis, when the fact remains that Denis is wearing about eight different hats on the show and doesn't have anything to do with the hiring and firing of actors."

Asked to justify Reilly's death from a dramatic standpoint, Tolan says it was about violating audience expectations. He refers to the third-season episode in which Reilly suffered a heart attack and Johnny got shot three times in the back.

"Last season, we realized we were gonna kill Johnny in one episode," Tolan said. "What we wanted to do was throw the audience off a little bit. We wanted to make it a bit more jarring than it would be otherwise. We wanted to have Jack have a heart attack -- 'Oh, my God, is he dead on the floor or not?' -- and then go to Johnny being killed. It was a one-two punch. The audience is thinking, 'Oh, my God, they're gonna kill two people in one [episode]."

And then they didn't. Johnny died, but the chief lived.

Then, during the hiatus between seasons, Tolan and Leary "decided thematically what the fourth season was gonna be. It's about loss for these firefighters over time, because of their difficulty maintaining relationships with families and friends that have nothing to do with their jobs. They really have no lives without their jobs. We said, 'Let's do The Ghost of Christmas Future [from A Christmas Carol]. Let's see what the future is going to be like for Tommy and these guys if they don't change their ways. We had to have that affect a member of the crew. We decided that crewmember would be Jerry Reilly. One of the things we threw out was, 'Maybe he fails the physical [and] he kills himself.' As soon as we came up with that, we said, 'That's what we're gonna do.'"

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."

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Jack McGee Without Pity

*******

Peter Tolan has a different version of events.

Tolan, who has been Leary's co-writer and co-producer since the short-lived but critically acclaimed ABC cop series The Job, says, "Jack is being disingenuous if he says nobody explained to him what was going on. The difference he's drawing is, apparently he wanted to hear [the bad news] from Denis, when the fact remains that Denis is wearing about eight different hats on the show and doesn't have anything to do with the hiring and firing of actors."

Asked to justify Reilly's death from a dramatic standpoint, Tolan says it was about violating audience expectations. He refers to the third-season episode in which Reilly suffered a heart attack and Johnny got shot three times in the back.

"Last season, we realized we were gonna kill Johnny in one episode," Tolan said. "What we wanted to do was throw the audience off a little bit. We wanted to make it a bit more jarring than it would be otherwise. We wanted to have Jack have a heart attack -- 'Oh, my God, is he dead on the floor or not?' -- and then go to Johnny being killed. It was a one-two punch. The audience is thinking, 'Oh, my God, they're gonna kill two people in one [episode]."

And then they didn't. Johnny died, but the chief lived.

Then, during the hiatus between seasons, Tolan and Leary "decided thematically what the fourth season was gonna be. It's about loss for these firefighters over time, because of their difficulty maintaining relationships with families and friends that have nothing to do with their jobs. They really have no lives without their jobs. We said, 'Let's do The Ghost of Christmas Future [from A Christmas Carol]. Let's see what the future is going to be like for Tommy and these guys if they don't change their ways. We had to have that affect a member of the crew. We decided that crewmember would be Jerry Reilly. One of the things we threw out was, 'Maybe he fails the physical [and] he kills himself.' As soon as we came up with that, we said, 'That's what we're gonna do.'"

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."

Previous 1 2 3 4 5Next

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