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

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Mel O’Drama, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to mention some interesting casting.

    Fred Grandy, of course, trying to look not like Gopher with his menacing beard. He reminded me of Jack Bannon's post-Lou Grant appearances on Knots Landing and Falcon Crest but without the head shave. ;)

    And two from Star Trek - Wrath of Kahn's Bibi Besch and DS9's Armin Shimerman. Oddly I recognised the latter sans Ferengi makeup but didn't recall the former until seeing her name in the closing credits.
     
  2. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    It's impossible to recall what that would have felt like at the time. Watching it now, I knew where it was going to end because I've read that the WTC was deliberately built across from Miss Liberty I guess for just that effect. More recent history is now forever overlaid on that view.

    This episode continues the style of the last with the strike and the case being used to reveal more of the relationships and backstories. It occurs to me that in that sense this season is really "the true beginning". Until now the characters may have been superbly drawn and acted but here is where they became real and we started to fall in love with them.

    A couple of continuity nitpicks: Cagney needs the concept of a task force explained to her despite having headed one in "Beauty Burglars" and when she has to wear her uniform she says she had vowed never to put it on again, yet it didn't seem to bother her in "Jane Doe #37".

    Conversely, it was nice to hear Isbecki say that he and Petrie had been partners for a year and a half since that tied in with my observation that they didn't seem to be together at first. A shame that there was no specific acknowledgment of their being teamed up.
     
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  3. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely. And because of this, seeing it make an appearance in an older film or series now suggests to me - at least in that moment - that things are taking place in a different, somewhat more innocent era.

    Yes, and along the lines of your comment about the WTC, it's difficult to rewatch the earlier episodes without bearing in mind some of the character developments that took off here. I wonder what history would have made of C&L had it been cancelled for good after Season Two.

    Well spotted. Those both passed me by completely.
     
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  4. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    @Snarky's Ghost's posted video of Conti discussing the Falcon Crest theme led me on to another which covers the C&L theme. The psychology (and business acumen) behind choosing the jazzy style is a fascinating example of Rosenzweig's attention to detail:

     
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  5. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    "I don't want anyone to think it's a cop show."

    That more or less sums it up right there.
     
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  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Star

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    It always sounds to me like Phil DONAHUE's new theme when he moved from Chicago to NYC in 1984.
     
  7. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Not much in this one we haven't seen before. Chris and Mary Beth's reactions are consistent with their established personas by this time. I'm not sure if she's called herself Mary Elizabeth before, though. Possible psychoanalysis point with the Frenchman. ;)
    Kay Lenz, unfortunately best known for a brief marriage to David Cassidy.
     
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  8. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    In a way this episode is a reworking of "The Grandest Jewel Thief...", showcasing Christine's obsessive personality. Victor's reaction is interesting, too, in a scene which gives an insight into his and Marcus's relationship. They are usually buddy-buddy enough but here, out of Victor's line of sight, we see Marcus despairing over Victor's envy of the bounty hunter's extra-judicial methods.
    For some reason Brian Dennehy has always annoyed me as an actor, coming across as smarmy and generally unlikeable. Granted, these qualities are appropriate to the character but I'd be unlikely to want to see him on a weekly basis.
    Another example of multiple use of character names. Surely there was some discussion about this. I know people in real life can have the same name but in fiction it tends to be avoided. It's happened often enough that I'm thinking it's deliberate.

    I mentioned that last episode's guest star Kay Lenz was married to David Cassidy. Coincidently, Laurie Prange (the ex-wife of the escapee) also has a connection to him, being the Albuquerque-bound runaway in the episode of The Partridge Family which includes the song "Point Me in the Direction of ...".
     
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  9. Mel O’Drama

    Mel O’Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes indeed. I always enjoy seeing this side to Chris.

    They're a perfect pairing from a TV perspective. There's that regular kind of tension that comes from their very different outlooks and I like that they challenge each other now and then.

    I know what you mean. I'm pretty ok with those qualities in him because I just get wrapped up in watching him work. I find him a fascinating actor. But he has a very intense presence, and if it's one that you find unattractive I can understand how that would make a series in which he plays lead far less attractive a prospect. Who's to say - maybe I'd feel the same way after half a season.

    This would be an interesting one to put to Barney Rosenzweig. I'm sure there's an official line and a good reason for it. I hadn't really noticed it, but now you've pointed it out I like that it goes against the unwritten law of TV.
     
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  10. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I've been trying to work out whether the "featured" star relates to which gets top billing that week but I don't suppose that would even be a workable proposition.
    Her career-first attitude is nicely illustrated in the opening scene. She runs out of her date in full evening dress, ostensibly to save a woman being harassed, but pushes roughly past two other women and asks the victim if she's okay without waiting to see if she is. It seems obvious her real motive is the collar; it's hard to say whether that and justice are one and the same.
    The Laceys were talking about having another baby sometime last season. It was nice to see that finally pay off here.

    Yeah (the name thing). And it's not just that the Bounty Hunter was named Mike. It was in the very episode in which Michael was featured.
     
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  11. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't help but be struck by the changes in technology since then. If this was being made now Mary Beth would have whipped out her mobile phone and called 911. It gives you an appreciation for just how much on their own they were back then.
    She does like those little flattering moments, though. Harve picked up on that, much to her chagrin.
     
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  12. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Another Terry Louise Fisher written episode focussing on the frustrations of the legal system, with Georg Stanford Brown (Tyne Daly's husband at the time) as a rather pompous Assistant District Attorney.

    The scene with Chris priming Mary Beth with how she thought the defence attorney would act made me think of Gless's later Trials of Rosie O'Neil series.
    Women who are cops, not cops who are women, I believe was how Rosenzweig put it.

    This was also the episode where Chris said she wanted to be the first female police commissioner. I still think it's not too late to see that.
     
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