Maura Tierney’s RESCUE ME Character to Battle Cancer

Maura Tierney

It will be a case of art imitating life when Maura Tierney returns to RESCUE ME in its final season. TV Guide reports that her character, Kelly McPhee, will be battling cancer, while Tierney was in fact recently treated for breast cancer.

Kelly and Tommy (Denis Leary) bonded during Tierney’s first visit to the show because each had lost a child, but this time their emotional connection will come from a much different place. Executive producer Peter Tolan said “It’s about survival and anger – it is anger at survival,” That was one of the things that Maura said. Even though she got a clean bill of health, her initial response was not relief. It was anger and, ‘Why did I have to go through that?’ And that fits right into Tommy’s [storyline].”

Tierney helped guide her character’s arc. Tolan admitted, “We wrote like dopes. We haven’t had cancer, and we wrote stuff that was a touch melodramatic.”

Rescue Me‘s seventh and final season is set to air on FX in 2011. Tierney can also be seen this fall on ABC’s new legal drama The Whole Truth.