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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2007
This four-disc set represents the first and long-overdue U.S. DVD release of the landmark police drama Cagney & Lacey.

This remarkable series, which dealt with controversial social topics, ended up being quite controversial on its own. It began with a pilot in 1981 starring Loretta Swit and Detective Christine Cagney, and Tyne Daly as her partner, Detective Mary Beth Lacey. When the show debuted as a series the following year on CBS, Cagney was portrayed by Meg Foster while Daly reprised her role. The show suffered poor ratings and Foster only last six episodes. She was replaced by Sharon Gless in the pivotal role of Cagney, while Daly remained in unforgettable portrayal of Lacey. It was widely reported that Foster's portrayal of the very tough Cagney along with Daly as a second woman lead, was making viewers uncomfortable that Cagney might be gay. Officially, the network explained Foster's replacement by saying they feared viewers might have trouble "telling the two leads apart."

Ratings remained low and the show was cancelled after only one season, but the saga was far from over. An unprecedented outpouring by fans who worked tirelessly to bring the show back on the air was rewarded by its return in 1984. It finally went off the air in 1988 after 125 series episodes, while four reunion movies followed.

The 22 of the first season episodes featuring Gless and Daly are on this set, along with a new two-part documentary about the show.

Cagney & Lacey redefined gender roles in TV dramas. Now, it hardly seems possible that a series starring two women leads would be a pioneer in overcoming the glass ceiling that prevented women from obtaining untraditional jobs, but it was. While another groundbreaking cop show, Police Woman, starring Angie Dickinson, should also be lauded, it was Cagney & Lacey that went much further in focusing the series spotlight on two professional women, and dealt directly with the sexism that they encountered among the public and within the own New York City police department. Eventually, Cagney was promoted to Detective Sergeant.

Through the years, the show also dealt with drug abuse, alcoholism, racism, rape, and balancing a home life while having a successful career. Daly was two win four Best Actress Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Lacey, while Gless won two of the coveted awards for Cagney.

The primary cast included Al Waxman as Lt. Bert Samuels, John Karlen as Harvey Lacey, Carl Lumbly as Detective Mark Petrie, Martin Kove as Detective Victor Isbecki, and Dick O'Neill as Charlie Cagney. Sidney Clute, who played Detective Paul La Guardia, was only in four episodes before passing away. Show creators and producers decided to leave his picture and name at the start of each episode for the remainder of the series as a tribute to the fine actor.

This set includes the following episodes: Witness to An Incident, One of Our Own, Beauty Burglars, High Steel, Hot Line, Internal Affairs, Mr. Lonelyhearts, Conduct Unbecoming, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Recreational Use, Hopes and Dreams, The Grandest Jewel Thief of Them All, Affirmative Action, Open and Shut Case, Jane Doe No. 37, Date Rape, Burn Out, Chop Shop, Let Them Eat Pretzels, The Gang's All There, A Cry For Help, and The Informant.

Let us hope that the remainder of the series, including the pilot and the Foster episodes, will also be released on DVD much sooner than it took for this first boxed set to be released.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
I am glad that the older crime dramas such as "Hawaii Five-0", "Ironside", and now "Cagney & Lacey" are finally being put on DVD. This show was unique in that it was the first time that two basically average looking women played the leads in a TV show that was not about the fact that they were just average looking women. The show was also ground-breaking in that both detectives in the partnership were women - smart, capable women. Women had gradually been integrated into TV police forces over the 15 years prior to this series, but prior to this they were usually part of a crime-solving team such as on "Ironside". The balance in this show was not through the well-known old cop/young cop formula. Instead, both detectives were 30-something women. The contrast came in the form of their marital status and their personal situations. Lacey was married and a mother, and Cagney was single.

Technically, this is not season one of this show. There was a pilot and six episodes during the 1981-1982 season starring an actress other than Sharon Gless as Detective Christine Cagney. This DVD set contains the 22 episodes that comprised the 1982-1983 season which is technically season two.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2007
recently i purchased all of the cagney and lacey episodeds from a canadian website...watching those episode reminded me of not only how great this show was, but also how so many of the episodes are stuff that drama's deal with in 2007 this show was really ahead of its time...i loved that cagney was so career driven and mary beth was all about her family...and even though they would argue, in the end they had each others backs..it's about time that they are finally releasing season 1. and even though i just finished watching every episode including the 4 movies i can't wait to order the 1 season..cagney and lacey dealt with breast cancer,racism, rape,gay issues,drinking problems and sexual harassment at time when many shows would not go near these issue or would make light of them...but the best part of this show was the relationship between christine cagney and marybeth lacey
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2007
I'm glad this is finally coming out but like other posts I agree this is not season 1 its season 2!

I don't see why the pilot movie with Loretta Swit and Tyne Daly and more particularly the first six episodes with Meg Foster as Chris Cagney aren't included on this DVD set.

I haven't seen the Meg Foster episodes for over 20 years and I'd like to see Ms Foster's performance as the feeling was she dropped because of the pressure from the network that Cagney might be thought of as gay and that Meg Foster in general,got a raw deal.

The paring of Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless was of course ideal but like a lot of C AND L fans,I get annoyed that the Meg Foster episodes are being ignored.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2007
This was a landmark series. I remember it being part of the CBS Monday night line-up after Newhart and Kate & Allie. Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly dominated the Emmy Awards for the entire run of the series - no other dramatic actress on TV during the 1980s could come close. The most vivid episode I recall was from season 2, I believe as Sidney Clute was still alive, called "Heat." Mary Beth is held hostage during the summer in a boxcar. Tyne was - no IS incredible! I can't say enough about this series or the two actresses.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2007
BUY THIS!!! If you are a fan of C&L or fans of Gless and/or Daly from other projects or if you just like good old fashioned drama, then this series if for you. This show is character driven. It was made before all the focus became on technical stuff like autopsies and "crime scene investigation"...before the MTV Generation with shaky cameras, lightning fast scene-jumping for those plagued with TV-induced ADD, and no real character development. This show isn't really about cops and robbers. It's about the lives of two smart, lovely, real women, best friends, who have to balance their families, careers, and each other. You'll get interesting stories and award winning acting in every episode.

Some of you are disappointed that they didn't include the first season with Meg Foster. Maybe that will come, but personally, Sharon Gless is the only Cagney to me, the one I loved in the role.

For those of you who are C&L fans already, please buy this! It's what we've been waiting for for so many years. From what I understand, Barney Rosenzweig, who produced the original series, is pushing hard to get the DVDs released. If the the fan support is there and the sales are good, the entire series, complete with the TV movies and Meg Foster's Cagney, will eventually be realeased. Go Barney!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2008
The best. What a great show...then and now. Sharon Gless and Tyne Daley had great chemistry on this show. I saw them on Graham Norton and they seem to really like each other for real as well.
I took this DVD set up north to my sister's while visiting her and I forgot it. Well that was in September. I just got it back. She and her husband watched every episode before they would mail me back my DVD. That is how good this show is.
Bring out season two soon, please!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2007
Sometimes when you look back at series, they don't hold up the way you remember them. This holds up and more so. This series had top notch acting & writing. Its time to release season 2, 3, 4 ........
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2007
Ironically, this CAGNEY & LACEY set has the words, "The True Beginning" on it. But it is neither the beginning, nor is it true. C&L began as a TV-movie with Tyne Daly and Loretta Swit. When it was optioned as a series Swit was still committed to M*A*S*H, so the first six episodes had Meg Foster playing Cagney. The show did not catch on, with critics complaining the two characters were too similar. So, they brought in Sharon Gless, who looked different than Tyne and more like Loretta Swit. The chemistry worked and, after a slow start, the show became a success.

But this set, allegedly calling itself "The First Season" completely ignores the genesis of the show, starting it off with the second season episodes with Sharon Gless. The first episode makes you feel like you've been dumped into the middle of something already in progress, because that's exactly what's been done. The whole idea with DVD sets is to get the complete story - not a "best of" set, nor the edited versions you see on daily or weekly TV. By sweeping the pilot and the entire first season under the rug as if they never happened, the creators have robbed us of the very "True Beginning" of the show that they falsely claim this to be. I realize many people don't remember the Meg Foster episodes, or are even aware that they exist. But this set uses double-sided discs. It would have taken exactly one more disc to include the pilot and all six Meg Foster episodes. They could have called it "The First and Second seasons" as they did successfully with "Quincy" - which also had a limited first season run with episodes that differed from the version of the show that people eventually came to know. And if a fan had wanted to ignore the pilot and first season episodes, he or she could simply have started with Disc 2.

Other DVD sets include thing like unaired pilots and deleted scenes to show you more about the beginnings of a series. Here, whole episodes have instead become deleted and unaired. What a sad precedent. What next? Skipping the first season of MANNIX where he worked for Intertect? Starting THE AVENGERS with the Diana Rigg shows? Thank goodness this didn't do only the Jim Phelps episodes of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, or skip the early HAPPY DAYS where Richie had an older brother. Shame on all those who made the decision to ignore a portion of this show's history and then had the nerve to label this travesty "The True Beginning!"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2007
I absolutely loved this show when it aired in the 80's and it holds up just as well today thanks to great acting and terrific scripts. I hope the show finds a new audience in it's DVD release - those born too late to enjoy the initial run of the show don't know what they're missing! Tyne and Sharon totally dominated the Best Actress Drama category of the Emmy Awards during the show's six-year run - no other actress stood a chance. They were phenomenal. The ups and downs of Chris and Mary-Beth's partnership/friendship kept me absolutely riveted. It was the realistic portrayal of the two "WOMEN who happened to be cops" that had me hooked from the beginning. I'm anxiously awaiting my Mother's Day present - the DVD along with Producer Barney Rosenzweig's long-awaited book, CAGNEY & LACEY ... AND ME.
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