”Cagney & Lacey” resurrected on DVD
This ”25th anniversary” edition of Cagney & Lacey is dubbed ”the true beginning.” Sure, if you ignore the 1981 TV movie starring Loretta Swit as Christine Cagney and Tyne Daly as Mary Beth Lacey, and the six episodes spun off from that with Meg Foster in Swit’s role. But CAGNEY & LACEY: SEASON 1 (Unrated, 1,083 mins., 1982-83) represents the first full season of TV’s pioneering female cop drama that featured Daly and her perfectly cast counterpoint, Sharon Gless. (One or the other won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama every year the show was on.) The series itself was equally stellar, both in terms of its unabashed feminism off screen (hiring female writers and directors) and its topicality. It’s often said that without Cagney & Lacey, there could have been no Thelma & Louise. And without C&L episodes on onetime taboos such as date rape, it’s also hard to imagine there being a Law & Order: SVU. Fans will be disappointed to learn there are few extras in this edition, with only two making-of featurettes and no commentary tracks. But there are nice details like producer Barney Rosenzweig’s battle with CBS to keep the show on the air; Daly’s campaign to get Gless to take the part (”Basically, I got her drunk and she said yes”); and the curious fact that Lacey never used contractions. Well, sort of — there is one. Midway through the season, Lacey offers her partner a ”You’re exceptional, Christine.” Given how true it was of them both, we’ll let it go.