10 Firefighter Shows That Have Burned Up Our TV Screens

    The acclaimed firefighter drama Rescue Me ended 10 years ago on September 7, but the small screen has seen no shortage of hook-and-ladders since then. Firefighter shows aren’t as ubiquitous as cop shows, perhaps, but they give TV viewers an inside look into a dangerous profession—from the safety of their living room couches, of course.

    “Most people will never have a close encounter with a firefighter or spend a shift in a fire station. They don’t know what it’s like to run 30 calls in 24 hours,” retired fire officer Linda Willing wrote for FireRescue1 earlier this year. “The general public wants to like and admire firefighters, but they are also open to understanding them. In this regard, TV can help to tell the story of the fire service as it really is and as it could be.”

    Here are 10 shows — dramas, reality series, and even a comedy — that focus on firefighters, with varying degrees of accuracy!


    This Fox procedural drama from producer Ryan Murphy follows first responders in Los Angeles—including LAFD firefighters played by the likes of Peter Krause, Aisha Hinds, and Kenneth Choi.

    9-1-1: Lone Star

    In Fox’s spin-off, Rob Lowe plays a firefighter captain transplanted to Austin from New York City, where he lost the rest of his firehouse in the September 11 attacks.

    Chicago Fire

    Depicting the heroism of the fictional Firehouse 51, this show lit the fuse of Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise on NBC, which now includes Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med.


    Like 9-1-1, this NBC show also tracked Los Angeles first responders, airing across six TV seasons in the 1970s. These days, fire trucks from the show are on display at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.

    Live Rescue

    This A&E spinoff of Live PD is a docuseries giving viewers live ride-alongs with firefighters across the United States, with Captain Garon Mosby from the St. Louis Fire Department offering expert commentary.

    Rescue Me

    Comedian Denis Leary co-created, starred in, and earned Emmy nominations for this FX drama, playing a firefighter suffering from PTSD and survivor’s remorse after losing friends and colleagues at the World Trade Center.

    Station 19

    ABC’s second Grey’s Anatomy spinoff shifted the action out of Grey Sloan Memorial and into the titular firehouse, where the close-knit team of firefighters battles blazes and, in recent seasons, social injustice.

    The Smoke

    Jamie Bamber, Jodie Whittaker, and Taron Egerton starred in this 2014 Sky One series, which centered on an injured firefighter making a risky return to work.

    Tacoma FD

    A rare firefighter comedy, this truTV series follows the boredom-staving antics of underworked firefighters in one of America’s rainiest cities.

    Third Watch

    True to its title, this 1999-2005 NBC show chronicled NYPD and FDNY workers covering the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift at a fictional New York City precinct.

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