A ground-breaking show that re-defined its genre, Cagney and Lacey was something entirely new: a cop show featuring two strong and intelligent female detectives, with real lives and real problems--ordinary women doing extraordinary jobs. Now recognized as a true classic, this remarkable show tackles poignant social issues and explores the human side of hard-boiled detective work. Starring Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless as one of the most compelling detective duos of all time, this Emmy Award-winning drama is landmark television at its finest.
Twenty-two early episodes of the breakthrough television series, Cagney & Lacey, are gathered in this Season 1 pack, though these do not include those with early Cagneys Loretta Swit and Meg Foster. Directed by Karen Arthur, written by a female team, and starring two filmic heroes of the feminist movement--Sharon Gless as Christine Cagney and Tyne Daly as Mary-Beth Lacey--the show pioneered on-screen presentation of independent, working women. With Cagney as the career-minded single woman, and Lacey as the mother/wife juggling job with home time, the two detectives serve as foil characters, the way other cop shows such as ChiPs, Moonlighting, or Charlie's Angels starred police with opposing opinions. But where other shows cast the foxiest people possible, Cagney & Lacey relied on character development instead of sex.
That is not to say that Gless and Daly aren't attractive, for indeed they are. Episodic narratives include Cagney & Lacey fighting female spousal abuse in "A Cry For Help"; date rape in "Date Rape"; racism in "Let Them Eat Pretzels," and many other issues targeted in the consciousness-raising feminist movement of the '70s and '80s. Many of the episodes, compared to the lightning fast-paced cop shows airing today, are slow and surprisingly non-humorous. But regardless of the show's occasional descent into tedium, Cagney & Lacey did much to promote the image of the self-made, multitasking woman. The two-part featurette, "Breaking the Laws of TV," starring heavyweights such as Gloria Steinem, critically places the show in TV history by contextualizing what was happening in the women's movement concurrent to the show's airing. Though the show may have its dull moments, it is fascinating to remember how television has changed over the decades. Trinie Dalton