Series / Cagney & Lacey

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Cagney & Lacey — Two female cops, Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey, fight crime in New York City. It was groundbreaking in its time (The '80s); for that matter, you don't see many series like it today, either.

Was recently repeated on BBC2 on weekday afternoons. (Oct-Dec 2013, March 2014 - currently running) Terrestrial station This TV also currently airs three reruns Sundays at 8/7 pm, 9/8 pm, & 10/9 pm Central.

Cagney & Lacey provides example of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Both leads qualify for this trope. Two female cops working as partners have to be able to handle some action.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: The New York City in the series is still mired in the various troubles and squalor that defined it for most of the late 20th century. A lot of the crimes in the series relates to the gang turf wars, social divisions, and the poverty inherent in the city.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Possibly the first example with two female cops.
  • Dirty Harriet: Both characters go undercover as prostitutes in the very first episode. Lampshaded:
    Det. Lacey: "They call these plain clothes?"
  • Drives Like Crazy: Christine apparently drives like this, though we mainly just get to see Mary Beth's reaction shots from inside the car.
  • '80s Hair: Especially obvious in the first season opening, when they go undercover as hookers.
  • Entitled to Have You: "Rules of the Game" introduces a high-flying Detective Captain who engages in some mild flirting with Chris, which makes him think that he's entitled to Chris. He threatens her career and even her job if she turns him down.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Regularly used. Often Christine will play the bad cop, then Mary Beth will act all sweet and conciliatory. Watch out, however, if Mary Beth plays bad cop because then there is trouble.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: A constant worry of CBS was that the two female characters would be perceived as lesbians — as a result Mary Beth Lacey was married, and actress Meg Foster (playing Cagney) was replaced by Sharon Gless because she was "too aggressive and likely to be perceived as a lesbian by viewers". CBS hoped Sharon would be a more "high-class" and "feminine" Cagney, but fortunately the producers resisted this Executive Meddling and kept Cagney's tough working-class character.
  • Lovely Angels: The title characters.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: The pilot and four sequels (aired in the mid-1990s).
  • Name and Name: The show's title is the names of the protagonists.
  • Pretty in Mink: Cagney wears a fox fur coat in the second opening.
  • Salt and Pepper: One of the other detective pairs, who would occasionally get A Day in the Limelight, of Marcus Petrie and Victor Isbecki. In contrast to the usual, the black detective, Petrie, was the firmly middle class buttoned up by-the-book cop and the white Isbecki was the streetwise rebel.
  • Shirtless Scene: They even put one of these in the title sequence with Detective Isbecki stripped to the waist. The show was not shy about having him change shirts in the middle of the squadroom or have Christine and Mary Beth walk in on him changing. Given this show was for the ladies, this Fanservice for them was only fair. Plus it was the best kind that TV standards at the time would allow.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: You wouldn't expect a show with frequent Downer Endings to have such an upbeat, cheerful theme tune. (In fact, when Bill Conti was signed to compose a new theme from season two onwards, he was specifically told to not advertise that it was for a cop show because CBS had scheduled it after a comedynote  and they didn't want to lose the audience.)
  • Very Special Episode: "Rules of the Game" tackles sexual discrimination, and sexual intimidation in the workplace, when a visiting Detective Captain tries to pressure Christine into sex.

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