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

Snarky Oracle

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The CBS execs didn't like Foster, they feared viewers might think Cagney and Lacey could be lesbians.

The phrasing was "looks like a couple of dykes" (un-PC even in 1982) and producers were told to replace her "with somebody more like Angie Dickinson." The irony being that Meg's episodes were perfectly high-rated, and she was more feminine than Tyne, Sharon or Loretta. But that ice-blue eye color from Meg screams "lesbian!" (something singer Anne Murray has lived with for decades) to some people.

Gless irritated me a bit, but overall she did a decent job.

 

Hell O'Drama

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I still get confused by all the Cagneys.

Since all three had quite different energies I tend to compartmentalise each version and think of them as operating in alternative universes.



I liked Meg Foster the best, but the show might not have lasted with her in the role.

Last time I watched I really appreciated Meg in the role. She can look quite hard and plays to that edge really well, but there's also a soft underbelly that made her fascinating to watch. I'd really like to have seen more of her.

My main gripe with the show during that era was the fact that the series hadn't found its identity and there was that theme tune and the godawful Nelson Riddle score which made it sound like Batman. But Meg seemed to bear the brunt of any negative perception of the series at that time, which is just wrong.

If pressed I'd say Gless is my Cagney of choice, because that screen chemistry with Tyne Daly is just magic. But of course my perception of her will also be influenced by her longevity and the fact that Gless's Cagney was far better serviced. I know she was Barney Rosenzweig's first choice, which I imagine might have affected how the character was developed. And I suspect he'd have fought much harder had the network's concerns been with Sharon rather than Meg.

I rewatched The Trials Of Rosie O'Neill recently and really enjoyed seeing Meg sharing a number of scenes with Sharon Gless.



The irony being that Meg's episodes were perfectly high-rated, and she was more feminine than Tyne, Sharon or Loretta.

Regarding the "dyke" thing, even Sharon Gless said many years later that if the network felt Meg was too butch, all that was needed was put a blonde wig on her to differentiate the two. It's a slight oversimplification, but again hints at how Meg wasn't given a proper chance to be the Cagney they wanted.



Gless irritated me a bit

Now I'm curious to know why. Her performance seems more or less universally loved, so I'd find it refreshing to hear a different opinion.
 

Sea-Boo!-Er.

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Last time I watched I really appreciated Meg in the role. She can look quite hard and plays to that edge really well, but there's also a soft underbelly that made her fascinating to watch. I'd really like to have seen more of her.
It had been years since I'd seen those episodes when I rewatched and I hadn't expected to like her so I was quite surprised when I did and was sorry to see the last of her.
 
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