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'Cagney & Lacey' Movies on DVD

18 Jun, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

Don’t be in any way bothered or offended by the title of the four-movie “Cagney & Lacey” collection due Aug. 25 (prebook July 31) from S’More Entertainment. Both actresses behind “Cagney & Lacey” say The Menopause Years is a very apt title.

“I remember when T-shirts came out embroidered with it,” said Sharon Gless, 66, who played Chris Cagney in the iconic female cop series. “We always called [the movies] that.”

Tyne Daly, 63, who played Cagney’s partner Mary Beth Lacey, said the name was an on-set joke when they were filming the movies.

“It seems to upset a few people,” she said. “People back then didn’t say ‘menopause,’ like people didn’t say ‘cancer.’”

After a successful six-year broadcast run in the 1980s, Gless and Daly reunited for four TV movies released from 1994 to 1996: The Return, Together Again, The View Through the Glass Ceiling and True Convictions. In addition to the films, S’More Entertainment has included interviews with Gless, Daly, producer Barney Rosenzweig and writer Barbara Corday on the $39.95 DVD set.

The movies gave fans a few longer, last looks at an on-screen partnership that broke gender barriers and more than one social taboo, taking on stories involving AIDS, child abuse and date rape. In the series, the procedural police drama was made unique by the disparate nature of Cagney (single and career-minded) and Lacey (a married mother). Bringing the characters back for the movies saw them changed drastically: Cagney has been promoted and is in the D.A.’s office, while Lacey has retired from the New York police force.

“The beginning of it was hard for me. It was a different Cagney,” Gless said. “She was a raging alcoholic. That was a first for television and a first for women. It was tough and great.”

Daly said the content of the series and movies “are still topical.”

“We did this series and movies with a lot of passion, and a belief that we were making something good,” she said.

Gless said the upcoming DVD release has given her and Daly a chance to reconnect.

“We always get together when [Daly’s in New York City],” she said. “We sweated together for six years. It was such a big part of our lives. We put in 17 hours a day at times.”

Neither Gless nor Daly plan on watching the DVDs any time soon: Gless has a strict policy of not watching her own work (whether it be older fare such as “Cagney & Lacey,” or newer appearances such as “Burn Notice”), while Daly doesn’t own a TV, much less a DVD player.

“I don’t think it’s healthy for me to look at the past,” Daly said. “But I really hope other people look at these movies.”

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