Bring Cagney & Lacey Home!

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 Cagney & Lacey - Season 1(The Complete First Season)

 Cagney & Lacey - Season One Online Download

 Defining Women: Television and the Case of Cagney and Lacey


Show Type: Police Drama

First Telecast: March 25, 1982

Last Telecast: August 25, 1988

Broadcast History:

March 1982 - April 1982, Thursday 9:00-10:00 on CBS

October 1982 - September 1983, Monday 10:00-11:00 on CBS

March 1984 - December 1987, Monday 10:00-11:00 on CBS

January 1988 - April 1988, Tuesday 10:00-11:00 on CBS

April 1988 - June 1988, Monday 10:00-11:00 on CBS

June 1988 - August 1988, Thursday 10:00-11:00 on CBS


Detective Mary Beth Lacey..... Tyne Daly

Detective Chris Cagney (1982)..... Meg Foster

Detective Chris Cagney (1982-1988)..... Sharon Gless

Lieutenant Bert Samuels..... Al Waxman

Detective Mark Petrie..... Carl Lumbly

Detective Victor Isbecki..... Martin Kove

Detective Paul La Guardia (1982-1985)..... Sidney Clute

Deputy Inspector Marquette (1982-1983)..... Jason Bernard

Desk Sergeant Ronald Coleman..... Harvey Atkin

Harvey Lacey..... John Karlen

Harvey Lacey, Jr. ..... Tony La Torre

Michael Lacey..... Troy Slaten

Charlie Cagney..... Dick O'Neill

Sergeant Dory McKenna (1984-1985)..... Barry Primus

Inspector Knelman (1984-1988)..... Michael Fairman

Detective Jonah Newman (1985-1986)..... Dan Shor

David Keeler (1985-1988)..... Stephen Macht

Alice Lacey (1985-1987)..... Dana & Paige Bardolph

Alice Lacey (1987-1988)..... Michelle Sepe

Detective Manny Esposito (1986-1988)..... Robert Hegyes

Detective Al Corassa (1986-1988)..... Paul Mantee

Josie (1986-1988)..... Jo Corday

Kazak (1986-1987)..... Stewart Coss

Beverley Faverty (1986-1987)..... Beverley Faverty

Tom Basil (1986-1988)..... Barry Laws

Verna Dee Jordan (1987-1988)..... Merry Clayton


"We had a shot," said producer Barney Rosenzweig, "at television history." Cagney & Lacey was certainly unusual for commercial TV, asserting that two women could be best buddies in the Starsky-and-Hutch, Paul Newman-Robert Redford tradition and do a "man's job" just as well as any man could. With male leads it would have been a rather ordinary TV police series. Mary Beth Lacey was the married one, trying to be a wife and mother, as well as a New York City police officer. Chris Cagney was single, ambitious and full of the joys of living. Though beautiful, she was often disappointed in love. Despite their different lifestyles, Mary Beth and Chris were partners and fast friends, determined to break the stereotypes often ascribed to women in jobs not traditionally associated with them. They fought criminals, the chauvinism of their male fellow officers, the ignorance of their friends regarding their unusual careers, and sometimes each other 0 with shouting sessions in the ladies' room. Working primarily as undercover cops, they infiltrated criminal organizations and sometimes served as decoys to capture street criminals.

Not all of the cases worked out, either. Like Hill Street Blues and other "reality" shows, Cagney & Lacey reflected the real world of the big-city cop.

The off-screen troubles of this series were almost as dramatic as the on-screen problems of its stars. Conceived by Rosenzweig with the help of feminists Barbara Corday and Barbara Avedon in 1974, it was turned down as a series by all three major networks, finally airing as a made-for-TV movie on CBS in October 1981 with Loretta Swit as Cagney. The movie drew a tremendous audience, and a limited-run series was commissioned for the following spring. Loretta Swit was unavailable, so Meg Foster was cast as Cagney. This time the ratings were poor, and CBS thought it knew why. "They were too harshly women's lib," said an unnamed CBS executive in TV Guide, "too tough, too hard, and not feminine." "The American public doesn't respond to the bra burners, the fighters, the women who insist on calling manhole covers peoplehole covers," he continued. "We perceived them as dykes."

That last remark set off a storm of protest, but the role of Cagney was once again recast, this time with beautiful Sharon Gless, who was to provide a softer, more feminine counterpart for Lacey. Gay groups protested that - "She's from the Copacabana school of acting," complained the Gay Media Task Force, "very kittenish and feminine..." - but the decision stuck.

Despite the changes, audiences were disappointingly small in 1982-1983, and the series was cancelled at the end of the season amid a flurry of publicity about the cop show that had tried to be "different." Loyal viewers thereupon inundated CBS with letters, and summer reruns began to pick up new viewers who were curious about the fuss. In September, the show won an Emmy. Much to everyone's surprise, CBS relented and the series surfaced once again in the spring of 1984 - accompanied by the TV Guide headline "Welcome Back, Cagney & Lacey," and advertising that proclaimed "You Want Them! You've Got Them!"

The series flourished after being brought back and the personal lives of Cagney & Lacey became more prominent in the story lines. Mary Beth had another child, a daughter named Alice. Chris's social life, first her relationship with drug-addicted fellow cop Dory McKenna and later with attorney David Keeler, was featured. At one point, she was even the victim of date rape. Her personal problems, including the fear of never marrying and having a family and a bout with alcoholism, were also depicted. Chris's father, Charlie (Dick O'Neill), also turned up from time to time until he passed away in the spring of 1987. that year she was promoted to sergeant.