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Cagney & Lacey: Season 1
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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
- Featurette "Breaking the Laws of TV (Part 1)"
- A Cry for Help
- The Informant
- Featurette "Breaking the Laws of TV (Part 2)"
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.