Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top Female Cops Back ... on DVD

It seems impossible that it's been 25 years since Cagney & Lacey first hit the airwaves. Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly played tough New York City cops who never set out to be role models, but that is exactly what they became.

The series will mark its 25th anniversary on May 8 with the DVD release of its first season. The first set also contains a two-part documentary and commentary from Gloria Steinem, who championed the show for featuring women in roles that typically went to men.

The program was initially cancelled after it's first season, but a letter writing campaign to the network -- led by the National Organization for Women -- convinced CBS to bring back the program. The shows producer, Barney Rosenzweig, credits NOW with saving the series.

Cagney & Lacey was a solid hit with the critics and viewers, winning virtually every important industry award possible, including 14 Emmys, a Golden Globe and Directors and Writers Guild awards.

"It changed the history of television for women," Gless told the AP Tuesday. "Absolutely changed it."

Gless, 63, said she has "never seen a better female character" than Cagney, who struggled with alcoholism and man troubles.

"She was ambitious, very strong," she said. "She was very complicated. She was kind of screwed up. Had a lousy attitude, hated authority. She was not what one would ever consider a hero, and that's why I love her. But she was. She was just very, very real."
Daly, who has stared in numerous Broadway productions, was last seen on television in the series Judging Amy, and Gless played the P-Flag mom everyone loved on Queer As Folk.

"I haven't seen it for 17 years or whatever it's been," Daly, who played Mary Beth Lacey, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Eighteen years? 25 years? ... So, you know, I haven't seen them in a very, very long time, but walking down the street in New York City I still get 'Cagney and Lacey' instead of, you know, other stuff I've done."

"I'll be really interested to see if anybody wants to see them again," said Daly, 60.
I met the two in 1995, first at a premier NOW hosted for the "return" of Cagney & Lacey, and later when the two top cops agreed to emcee a rally NOW held on the issue of ending violence against women. Our paths cross again in 2004 at the March for Women's Lives in DC, and Tyne was a keynote speaker last year at NOW's 40th anniversary conference.

The wonderful thing about being an activist is that every decade or so you get to catch up with friends ... some who have inspired you for 25 years or more!

No comments: