Long before Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU) or Catherine Willows (Marge Helgenberger, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) eschewed feminine wiles and employed their smarts to break barriers and muscle their way onto the elite, male-dominated detective squad, there was Cagney & Lacey, the landmark show that paved the way.
Now, for the 30th anniversary celebration of the hit show's television premiere, the complete series starring
Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless (seasons two through seven) will be released for the first time in any home entertainment format in a special collector's set, Cagney & Lacey: The Complete Series (32 discs, 119 episodes, 93+ hours).
Also available, online only (see www.cagneyandlacey.com) is a special 30th anniversary limited-edition collector's set (38 discs), with an additional 29 hours (approx.) of special features, including: the feature-length, made-for-television, 1981 film of the same name, starring Loretta Swit as Cagney and with Daly originating the role of Lacey, from which the series was spun off; the series' premiere season (six episodes) with Meg Foster as Cagney; four made-for-TV films, which aired after the series finale, The Return (1994), Together Again (1995), The View Through the Glass Ceiling (1995) and True Convictions (1996) ; exclusive, personal interviews with Gless (who assumed the role of Cagney in season two), Daly and series' producer, two-time Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Barney Rosenzweig; footage from the British Film Institute's recent 30th anniversary celebration event; the audiobook (12 hours) of Rosenzweig's book, Cagney & Lacey … and Me: An Inside Hollywood Story OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blonde. Additionally, enclosed is a fan photo personally autographed by Daly and Gless.
Cagney & Lacey — which aired on CBS for seven seasons (1981-88) — was not only an enormously popular series that set entertainment industry standards and broke records, but was groundbreaking in its impact on women's issues and other provocative topics (off-limits on most shows of the day) such as sexuality, equal pay, workplace ethics and politics, sexual harassment, domestic violence, date rape, incest, breast cancer, abortion, illegal immigration, addiction and other complex social/personal themes. Frequently controversial, the show fought a virtually ongoing battle with the network's standards and practices office.
Featuring two women as the central characters was a pretty "far-out" concept in 1981 … But the iconic crime drama hit a nerve, becoming so much a part of the era's lexicon that it was utilized to illustrate liberal, feminist stories on such hard-hitting news shows as 60 Minutes, Nightline and CBS Reports. The characters were so engrained in pop culture that, years after the show's finale, the international media even referred to political mavericks Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) as "Senate's Cagney & Lacey."
Although CBS announced plans to cancel the show — not once but three times — fiercely loyal fans' letter campaign protests (an effort promoted by the National Organization for Women, among others) prompted the network to reconsider … But with Gless then joining the cast as Cagney. The series went on to draw 30 million viewers a week and garnered 36 Emmy Award nominations and 14 wins — including two for "Best Drama Series" and combined "Best Actress" wins for six years in a row, a streak unmatched to this day in any major category — as well as two Golden Globe Awards and a host of other honors.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications called it "… deservedly, one of the most widely discussed programs in television history." Wrote The Telegraph (London) about a reunion celebration last year in the U.K. (where the show was equally popular), "The near-hysteria and deep affection are testament to the success of the series. It was, and remains, quite something: One of the very few popular shows on television ever to show real women living real lives and coping with real problems."
In Cagney & Lacey, Christine Cagney (Gless) and Mary Beth Lacey (Daly) are New York City police detectives who lead very different lives. Both are tough and street smart, but Gless is a single, career-minded woman, while Lacey (who has a softer side) is a married mother, juggling family and work, along with the resulting guilt. Set in Manhattan's 14th Precinct (Midtown South) the crime-solving duo maintain a close camaraderie both on and off the job. As they track down clues — despite obstacles imposed on women of the era — the series also tackles social and/or personal issues each episode that were considered taboo on other shows of the day and were frequently controversial.
The Cagney & Lacey: 30th Anniversary Limited-Edition Collector's Set was curated by Rosenzweig, who laughs, "Without Cagney and Lacey, there never would have been a Thelma and Louise, Kate and Allie or Murphy Brown. There is no truth to the rumor that I once claimed that without this dynamic duo there never would have been an Eleanor Roosevelt, but still ... Well, I'm just sayin' ..."
About Visual Entertainment, Inc:
Visual Entertainment, Inc. (VEI) releases contemporary and classic television programming, across a wide variety of genres, on DVD and Blu-ray. Launched in 2004 and headquartered in Toronto, Canada, VEI boasts a library of 80 titles, licensed from Universal/NBC, MGM, CBS and ITV, among others. VEI serves the collectible, fan marketplace with contemporary hit series (Hell's Kitchen), popular classic series (Cagney & Lacey, McMillan & Wife, Diagnosis Murder), hard-to-find television (The Invisible Man), cult (Earthworm Jim); and more. Visit us online at: www.visualentertainment.tv