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Finally, a US DVD Release of a Landmark Police Show
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.