One of our favorite television detective shows was Cagney & Lacey, which aired on CBS from 1982-1986.
The groundbreaking show featured two women as detective partners at the New York City Police Department. Christine Cagney was played by Sharon Gless and Mary Beth Lacey was played by Tyne Daly.
Producer Barney Rosenzweig came up the idea when he learned that there had never been a female “buddy” film. He produced a comedy, but no movie studios were interested. Rosenzweig changed the screenplay to a drama and took it to the networks.
The series was launched with a T.V. movie. After the T.V. series started, execs worried that Cagney, as played by Meg Foster, would be perceived as gay – and not “accepted” by the average viewer. The character was re-cast with Gless. When execs also pulled the plug on the series early on, public outcry led CBS to keep it in on air. The show was a huge hit, and for six consecutive years either Gless or Daley won Emmys for Best Lead Actress in a Drama.
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