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|Kenneth "Lou" Shea|
|Rescue Me character|
|Portrayed by||John Scurti|
|Nickname(s)||Lou, Ken, Kenny|
|Occupation||FDNY Firefighter, 1st Class|
Lieutenant Kenneth Shea aka Lou or Kenny is a fictional character in the FX drama Rescue Me. The character is played by John Scurti. Lou Shea is a New York City Fire Department Lieutenant assigned to the fictional Ladder Company 62, also known as "62 Truck", quartered with Engine 99 and the 15th (later 30th) Battalion in Harlem, Manhattan. Due to his rank, he is nicknamed "Lou" (phonetically short for Lieutenant) by the other firefighters in the house.
Seasons 1 and 2
Kenneth "Lou" Shea is a sensitive artist who tries to reconcile his love for poetry, alternate forms of spirituality, and yoga with the ultra-macho nature of his job and his fellow firefighters, often with little success. At the end of season one, his attempts to use poetry to deal with the trauma of the September 11 attacks lead to his wife cheating on him and leaving him for another man. In season two, he befriends a call girl, Candy, who is revealed to be a con artist who steals all of Lou's money, leaving him broke and living in utter poverty and alcoholism.
Ken starts the season living in a small apartment and drinking heavily to deal with his depression. He hides Candy's scam from the crew, who are constantly asking him for money. Kenny starts to get into screaming fights regularly with the crew. While drinking near the train tracks he contemplates suicide. Lou then moves in with Tommy so he can get a focus on his life. He also visits his uncle, a retired firefighter that famously saved a young boy in the sixties. Lou regains his self-worth upon learning that the con-artist who scammed him was arrested and he begins trying to rebuild his life with help from his new girlfriend, a nun who is in the final stages of leaving the church.
Lou is still dating the ex-nun and brags about the amount of wild sex he has been receiving. One scene shows the couple having sex in a church during mass. However, he asks for a "break", insisting that he can't handle so much and that it detracts from their personal relationship. He catches her sleeping with his cousin.
In spite of the conflict with his personality and his job as a firefighter, Lou is well-liked by his fellow firefighters, who often turn to him for advice. He also has a close friendship with Tommy, perhaps motivated by their failed marriages and struggles with alcoholism.
Lou competes with Tommy for the affections of an attractive French journalist, who is writing a book about the aftermath of 9/11 from people who were there. Candy (Season two) reappears in Lou's life after getting out of jail. After Lou's vehement dismissals, he eventually lets her move in with him. Later in the season, after the two are married, Lou discovers that her real name is Barbara Callahan and she is wanted in Florida. Realizing this is the only reason she wanted to marry him, Lou robs the money she had in the bank from her last con and spends it on a new apartment and other inanimate objects.
After a particularly busy shift, Lou suffers a major heart attack. Against medical advice, Lou goes back to work for the purpose of an FDNY cook-off. Lou also went as far to pay off the doctors to falsify the test results so he can return to active duty.
Continued health problems
Given Lou's health problems, he is guaranteed to fail his physical exams. The other firefighters take turns wearing his blue lieutenant's shirt and attending his various tests for him, resulting in a clean bill of health. After "passing" his physical, Lou continues with his unhealthy eating and is confronted by the crew. After some heated arguments, Tommy strikes a deal with Lou: If Lou goes on a diet, Tommy will make him the godfather of his new child. Meanwhile, Lou agrees to temporarily make Franco acting lieutenant after Franco challenges Lou's leadership. Franco soon shows that he is not ready for the responsibility, and gives up his temporary commission as acting lieutenant.
Tommy gives Lou a letter for him to read in the event of his death. Lou betrays Tommy's trust by reading the letter anyway, when he discovers that it was a trap and Tommy expected him to open the letter. After a confrontation, Tommy gives Lou more letters for the crew, family and friends. Lou goes behind Tommy's back and gives the letters to Sheila and Janet. After accidentally burning Janet's letter, Lou writes a replacement that says Tommy will take a safer job and stop fighting fires. When it is revealed that Lou wrote this fake letter, and delivered the letters to Sheila and Janet, a rift is created between the two friends.
Death and legacy
In the final episode, it is revealed that Lou died after an explosion while fighting a five-alarm fire. While cleaning lockers, Tommy discovers a letter from Lou in his locker with instructions to read it in front of the other men.
Lou's body is cremated, and at a private service Tommy reads Lou's letter to all present. As one final prank, it is revealed that Lou requested that the bagpipers play "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" at his funeral. After an in-car misshap, the remainder of his ashes are combined with Duncan Hines cake mix and scattered into the Atlantic Ocean.
Tommy names his newborn son Shea in Lou's honor.
Later, after Tommy has given his speech to new FDNY recruits, Lou's ghost appears in Tommy's truck for one last conversation.