"You call this plain clothes…?" (Re)watching Cagney & Lacey

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
AN UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE
In the previous episode, Taxicab Murders, young Michael had a discussion with Chris about firing shots, and she said hat she'd never shot anyone. In hindsight, this was significant to viewers who would tune in this week.
Yes, I picked up on that, too, but I'm not sure how many casual viewers would actually have remembered a brief conversation a week later.

There was a similar conversation in Sharon Gless's first episode, Witness To An Incident, where Chris said she'd never shot anyone. Watching both the Taxicab and Witness episodes, I was reminded of the Pilot, where Chris had shot a man.
That I don't remember.

Charlie and Dory are there to help in their own way.
Dory is now sans moustache. I found it odd that that was important enough to be a plot point. My own theory is that he looked too much like John Karlen. ;)

And now I can't NOT see Barney in the credits. Now that I know where he is he sticks out like a sore thumb. :lol:
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
THANK GOD IT'S MONDAY
Chris stays up all night looking at legislation to find that time spent out of state doesn't count
This reminded me of the twist at the end of Around the World in 80 Days when Fogg realises that he has miscalculated how much time has passed in London and he has another 24 hours to win his bet. Presumably the law in New York allows the time to be rounded up since it's unlikely that the perp's visit would have lasted precisely that long.

a very specific episode callback when Cagney and Lacey were on a stakeout
Meaningless to new viewer but a nice reward for those who were fans back then and maybe wrote the letters that revived the show.

19 February 1983 actually was a Saturday
Let Them Eat Pretzels actually aired on 21 March
I'm willing to believe that the incident happened on the Saturday, was filmed, and aired on the Monday. ;)
Isbecki's squeeze, exotic dancer Bonbon LaChocolat
It's worth noting that although Chris quickly takes control of the case, it was Victor who recognised the picture. Victor is often portrayed as the fool but Samuels wouldn't keep him around if he didn't earn his place on the squad.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
First, let's talk about the post-titles credits. There's been a little experimentation this season. Heat used a different font. Subsequent episodes have reverted to the American Typewriter/Courier font, but I'm noticing different actors getting their credits bumped up to here from the end titles. First Dick O'Neill, then Harvey Akin. Now the two Lacey boys are up front. It's good to see them getting some recognition.


LaGuardia hasn't been in the show for a few episodes now, and Cagney mentions getting a postcard from him, saying he's just left Rome and is on his way to (if I heard correctly) Columbia. I have a feeling Sidney Clute was seriously ill at this point. IMDb tells me that he does appear in a few more episodes this season. And of course he remained in the credits to the end of the run as a tribute to him.
All well spotted. I didn't notice the change in font but the post-titles credits and postcard from LaGuardia all got my attention.

Nothing much to add to your review except that Mary Beth's line to Christine that "You're hooked on Dory McKenna the same as he is on drugs!" reminded me of Val's similar admission regarding Gary and alcohol on Knots Landing and also nicely underlined the double meaning of the episode title.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
OUT OF CONTROL
we have two ordinary scenes with two different tones. The difference is subtly reflected by Ian Fairbairn-Smith's soundtrack. During Mary Beth and Michael's scenes there is no music - just the ordinary sounds of a kitchen and conversation. The music for Harv Jr.'s search is slightly jaunty but each time we cut back it's a little more intense.
I can't say I noticed the music but I couldn't help thinking how the two boys were being developed into such strikingly different personalities. They could have just gone with two generic kids.

the burglar was one of Knots Landing's Scooters, by the way
Quite a different role. I almost wasn't sure it was him
Samuels has installed a brand new microwave oven in his office ("no more cold pastrami sandwiches"). It has the lot - including a walnut veneer surround. Shot over the top of it at the beginning of the scene I thought it was a TV set. Mary Beth is very excited to be part of its inaugural use while they speak:
Nice to see an opportunity for Mary Beth and Samuels to bond that way after all his tete-a-tetes with Chris.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Mary Beth gets giddy while Chris remains unmoved
I was somewhat surprised by Mary Beth's enthusiasm. It seems her enthusiasm for marriage in general overrides any reservations about Dory in particular. Charlie and Harve seemed more realistic about it or was it just male reserve?
someone in the accounts department of a department store has stolen between 1 and 99 cents from the customer for every item returned to the store.
This reminded me of Richard Pryor's scheme in Superman III. The store manager didn't seem to understand it, saying that they would have to pass the cost on to customers when it was the customers who were being directly ripped off.

And more names...

The running gag about revealing Coleman's first name. And, more subtly, the names of the two companies - Rosenzweig & Sons, and Neufeld's Department Store. The latter no doubt named for Mace and/or Stanley Neufeld who have production credits.
 
Last edited:

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
RULES OF THE GAME
Complicating things is that as they work together it becomes apparent that Hennessey is attracted to Chris.
Unfortunately the preview scenes spoilt the tension, making obvious what should have been more ambiguous. I wonder who puts those clips together.

Oh - LaGuardia is back in one of the episodes I watched last night. Which is great. I'm curious to the background of all this. Were his remaining episodes spaced apart to make it more balanced. Or was Sidney Clute taking a little time off here and there?
Harvey Atkins was there just about from the beginning as the initially unnamed desk sergeant but I'm thinking that they're gradually building up his role as La Guardia fades away.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
ISBECKI: “I think Barry Manilow is an underrated performer. I mean, maybe he’s not hip or high brow, but he sings the songs the whole world sings.”
This is one scene that I thought I had remembered very clearly. Again, Isbecki seems shallow but, on re-viewing, I realise that he's actually revealing something quite tender about himself.
There’s yet another plot where a stray dog attaches himself to Samuels, who at first wants nothing to do with him. There’s a sweet scene where the little boy who lost him comes to collect him to find that Samuels is prepared, with a bag full of dog accessories which he then hands over to the boy. It’s always good to see a storyline that shows Samuels’ soft underbelly.
I had the impression that Samuels had bought those things for himself but if he was expecting the boy that puts a different spin on it.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,955
Reaction score
9,577
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
Unfortunately the preview scenes spoilt the tension, making obvious what should have been more ambiguous. I wonder who puts those clips together.
I'm not a fan of previews at all. I understand they serve a purpose - to whet the appetite for the upcoming episode and to try to hold on to attention deficit viewers, posed with the remote control - but as someone who likes to watch things unfold organically and avoids spoilers and hints about any series I'm watching I usually give them a wide berth.


Harvey Atkins was there just about from the beginning as the initially unnamed desk sergeant but I'm thinking that they're gradually building up his role as La Guardia fades away.
Yes, that does make sense.


Isbecki seems shallow but, on re-viewing, I realise that he's actually revealing something quite tender about himself.
The fact that he admits to being a Fanilow does actually seem out of character on the surface, but I love that his tastes don't run to the predictable or stereotypically macho. It's a nice way of saying something about Isbecki's gentler side without compromising the character.



I had the impression that Samuels had bought those things for himself
Same here.


but if he was expecting the boy that puts a different spin on it.
Yes, and the ambiguity works well because whichever way you look at it Samuels comes out of it a richer, more likeable character.


It's hard to imagine the Samuels and Isbecki of the very early days behaving like this, but I feel they were doing so all along. It's just that this side has only been gradually revealed to us as we've got to know them.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
WHO SAID IT'S FAIR? (Part I)
Could this be the start of Cagney & Lacey's first soapy extra-marital affair between leads? Even knowing it wasn't, there's something about it that unsettles and makes the stakes feel higher.
Yes, the subterfuge seemed wrong somehow.
WHO SAID IT'S FAIR? (Part II)
Without any kind of recap or preview, it’s straight into the episode.
Very unusual, confronting almost.

a mildly amusing piece of casting here: Dr Larwin is played by Martin E. Brooks, AKA Dr Rudy Wells who rebuiltThe Six Million Dollar Man.
I had to smile at that. Seeing him gave an aura of reassurance which was not really warranted. Metatextual, do they call it?
Marcus politely asks Isbecki to stand up, and then punches him in the face with full force, knocking him to the floor. It was entirely out of character, and I can’t believe for a minute that Isbecki or the force would allow Marcus to walk away from it with impunity.
An odd moment, indeed.
I was surprised to learn that Mary Beth will have to wait for years even with these circumstance
Storywise, we learn later that the squad can't have two sergeants. Whether that is an actual NYPD rule I don't know but I wouldn't want to think that the whole medical emergency was just a plot device to promote Cagney without Lacey failing the exam.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
LOST AND FOUND
This episode could only possibly take place after Who Said It’s Fair?
It's virtually Who Said It's Fair, Part Three.
HOUSEWIFE: “You’re a policewoman? Like Angie Dickinson?”
MARY BETH: “Oh, don’t I wish? No, I’m a detective.”
HOUSEWIFE: “Like Kojak?”
MARY BETH: “Yeah. Sort of.”
The reference to Police Woman is nice as it's the antecedent of the female cop shows of that era but it's interesting that she should identify more with the male Kojak. I haven't seen either for a long time but Wikipedia describes Dickinson's character as an "undercover police officer". I guess the distinction between that and a "detective" escaped me.

But it’s still a relief when onscreen events catch up to allow the audience some wish fulfilment.
A teary-eyed moment, for sure. :re:
 

TJames03

Telly Talk Dream Maker
Messages
1,740
Reaction score
394
Location
California
Medals
2
I don't consider the pilot, Season 01, or Season 02 (and onwards) to even be in the same reality.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
TWO GRAND
Everyone involved slipped right back into place
Not quite. Samuels is no longer a Grand fan. Perhaps the pointing of the clues to the squad, which Christine praised as "style" was too much for him.
Even LaGuardia is floating about in this episode.
His scene was quite distinct from everything else. Filmed separately at his convenience?
Victor has haemorrhoids. The whole running thread feels like a strangely useless piece of padding that doesn’t bring anything to the show.
I assume that Martin Kove was unavailable for the week so the B-story was written around that. Interestingly, Petrie, who slugged him two episodes ago, here lies for him simply because he is his partner.
There’s a really lovely freeze-frame where the two hold hands,
Unusual for the freeze-frame to include a guest character. I liked that Christine had a Moriarty-like nemesis. From memory, she gets another one eventually, someone a little less genteel.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
CON GAMES
Another callback episode.
Chris’s hearing against Jack Hennessey from Rules Of The Game is upcoming,
Editing the two episodes together would make a great feature-length story.
I was surprised to hear the “Dory” version of the theme play
I was, too, I thought we'd seen the last of him.
pressure to drop the suit against him for the good of the department.
Low blow, in a way. Protecting the department is probably the one thing she might care about enough to sway her.
Paula mentioned being a recovering alcoholic which I was convinced was going to tie into Dory’s appearance, but it seemed to be just a throwaway comment.
It has added resonance in a repeat viewing. I had to remind myself that there were things we weren't supposed to know yet.
Outbursts in court. I love them - especially when they’re warranted!
Terry Louise Fisher knows how to write a great courtroom scene.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,955
Reaction score
9,577
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
I can't help wondering what Isbecki's reaction would have been to Manilow's recent coming out.
Oh yes. I like to think it would have been another step towards Isbecki's enlightenment, but it would have been an interesting journey to see.

Now that's got me thinking about the remake that was mooted recently. I wonder what a 2018 Isbecki's artist of choice would be. It would need to be someone that was associated with the previous decade but still performing as a known name. Someone like James Blunt? Or perhaps Michael Bublé?
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
ORGANIZED CRIME
LaGuardia is the one to bring the Sergeants exam results to the office
Again, it looks like this scene was filmed separately.
It’s another defining moment in her life and career that feels fitting for the end to the strongest season yet.
Amen.
I wonder what a 2018 Isbecki's artist of choice would be. It would need to be someone that was associated with the previous decade but still performing as a known name. Someone like James Blunt? Or perhaps Michael Bublé?
I'm not that familiar with Blunt but Bublé seems like a good choice. Schmaltzy and sentimental, seemingly at odds with the he-man persona he likes to affect.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
Season Five - Even More Success
I'm not sure that the DVDs even need season titles and this one is more self-congratulatory than most but I guess they deserve it after all the heartache.
ON THE STREET
Presumably not an intentional reference to season 1's "Street Scene".
Messing with perfection, Bill Conti's theme has been re-recorded again.
I noticed the difference right from the opening fanfare. Obviously they need the extra length to include Atkin but it's better than the Dory version and the return of the hotdog segment is welcome.
The fact that time has passed also highlights that the show is moving pretty much in real time. This episode clearly takes place some time after Organized Crime (oh - how that "z" pains me). Maybe not five or six months later, but we're certainly not moving in prime time soap time where we pick up the scene a few moments later.
The time jump was a bit jarring (and I hate the "z", too).

This is Stephen Macht's first episode as David Keeler. It's good to get to his arrival.
I was surprised it took this long. I had thought he showed up earlier.

During one of their disagreements, Chris actually pulls rank on Mary Beth. Which considering she was only promoted in the previous episode is a little troubling.
A by-product of the time jump. I would have like to have seen some of Christine settling into her new role but I suppose the decision to incorporate Daly's real-life pregnancy made that unavoidable.
 

Seaviewer

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
3,180
Location
Australia
Medals
3
Member Since
14 September 2001
ORDINARY HERO
Beyond The Golden Door, notable for its sympathetic treatment of illegal immigration. Ordinary Hero has a very similar theme
Mary Beth's faltering use of Spanish has been a recurring theme since then as well but she's improved noticeably over the time.
Elizabeth Peña was a familiar face to me.
I actually didn't recognise her face but I should have. Her name in the credits reminded me that she starred in a short-lived 80s sitcom called I Married Dora.
 
Last edited:
Top