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Cagney & Lacey

By Wikipedia

Cagney and Lacey was an police drama series, which aired on CBS for six seasons from 1982 to 1988. The series stars Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as New York City police officers and, later, detectives.

Loretta Swit played the role of Christine Cagney in the original television movie, but had to decline the role in the series when the producers of M*A*S*H refused to let her out of her contract. Subsequently, Meg Foster played the role of Cagney when the series first aired as a midseason replacement in the spring of 1982, but was replaced by Gless in the fall, after the network deemed Foster too aggressive and likely to be perceived as lesbian by the viewers, which was not yet tolerated in the early 1980s.

In 1983, the series was cancelled by CBS, but was subsequently brought back to the network's schedule after fans of the show organized a major letter-writing campaign. TV Guide celebrated the shows return with the cover reading "Welcome Back". The show went on to earn an impressive 36 Emmy nominations and 14 wins during its run, including 6 nominations for stars Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless and 4 wins for Daly and 2 for Gless.

The show also garnered controversy. In 1985 there was an episode about the bombing of an abortion clinic which several CBS affiliates refused to air. But no episode was more shocking and controversial than one in 1987 called "The City is Burning" based on the December 1986 racial incident in Queens, New York's Howard Beach Neighborhood. The explosive episode included racial slurs that were taboo in primetime. Other storylines included the birth of Lacey's third child, and Cagney's experience as a a victim of date rape.

The show also included a dose of comedy with a number of hilarious episodes. The show's success was due in part to the well-written scripts and the superb acting of Gless and Daly. Cagney and Lacey is ranked with Hill Street Blues and others as one of the best dramas on television.

Al Waxman also starred as Cagney and Lacey's supervisor, Lt. Bert Samuels. Dan Shor joined the cast from 1985 to 1986 as detective Jonah Newman.

The first season main titles are accompanied by the theme song "Ain't That the Way" by Michael Stull, sung by Marie Cain, and show Cagney and Lacey being promoted to plainclothes detectives and later disguised as prostitutes. From season two the instrumental theme tune is composed by Bill Conti, and among the incidents depicted in the main titles is Lacey dragging Cagney from a shop window.


Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Cagney & Lacey? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I am among a group of diehard C&L fans at yahoo. Currently the show is not aired in syndication anywhere in the U. S. We have recently started an online petition to persuade the moguls at MGM (who now own all 125 episodes) to release them on VHS or DVD. Here is the url to the petition: Naturally we are trying to gather as many names as possible to try and preserve this fantastic show forever! Is there a possibility that you can put the link to the petition somewhere on this site? Thanks for reading!"

--Melissa Parker

"I liked Cagney and Lacey alot because these women proved that they can be just as tough as the men at doing their jobs in the male dominated world. I thought Meg Foster as Cagney was great but CBS thought she was to tough and re-placed her after the first 6 episode with Sharon Gless. Gless was good but Cagney was ment to be tough, so I didn't see what the problem was with Meg .. and love Tyne Daly as Lacey."


"I loved the show. I had several episodes that I enjoyed. I like the ones that involved the relationship between C & L both on and off the job. How they protrayed what they thought a PARTNER was. Not just a partner but a member of the family."


"Cagney and Lacey was a wonderful show. I was a teenager when this show was on and I liked the fact that they were real women with real problems. They were hard working women and the show let a young girl see real lives of these women. It showed that you could have the career and a family, but it was not easy. They were good role models for young girls, even though Christine Cagney had many problems in her personal life. This show dealt with everything that is important to women."


"This was my favorite TV show when it first aired (I was part of the letter writing campaign that supposedly kept it from being cancelled) and I still enjoy reruns on Independent KFWD TV 52 in Dallas.

I seem to recall that when actor Sidney Clute (Det. Paul LaGuardia) died of cancer during the 1985 season, the week's episode ended with the cast gathered on the squad room set, expressing their affection and admiration for him as an actor and person, and announcing that his name and photo would continue to be featured on the show's opening credits. I remember being very impressed and touched by this tribute. Indeed, Clute is listed in the opening cast credits of every episode in syndication, whether or not he actually appeared, from the show's first season to its last. Other featured actors (like Dan Shor and Barry Primus) are added and dropped from the credits as their characters are written in and out of the series.

I wonder if anyone else remembers this, or if this is just some fiction of memory I've concocted. It most certainly is the sort of gesture one might expect from this tightly-knit, perfectly-orchestrated ensemble of New York-based actors."


"I still am a die hard fan of C & L since it aired in the Awesome80s especially when Sharon Gless took over as Christine Cagney she made the character come alive, Meg Foster wasn't as beleivable, I thought she was too robotic and boring to watch. I say, "KUDOS" to Sharon Gless, I LOVED her as Cangney and now as Debbie Novonty on Queer as Folk."


"Meg Foster wasn't meant to play Cagney, Sharon Gless Mastered the role, Tyne Daly Mastered the role as Lacey, the 2 women made the show realistic and wonderful as I'll always remember it! I'd also like to thank Tyne Daly for letting me come up to her 2 times & let me talk to her for a few minutes! she's a down to earth human being!"




Aired: March 24, 1982 - September 6, 1983; March 14, 1984 - August 25, 1988

Cast: Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, Al Waxman

Network: CBS

Genre: Police Drama

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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