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

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

  1. Seaviewer

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    That's a tradition going back at least as far as Superman: The Movie with Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill cameo-ing as little Lois's parents.
     
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    Very unusual Iif not unique) for a "part two" not to follow immediately. I wonder how they decided on that or seriously considered using the alternate title.
    One of my pet peeves is when English speakers insist on pronouncing French or Italian words ending in 'e' or 'er' as 'ay'. As my Italian grandmother and high school French teacher taught me, it's more like 'Boo-shair'.
    This only occurred to me gradually. It's certainly not an in-your-face Christmas Episode like the earlier ones.

    You seem to have left out COST OF LIVING in your reviews. This featured the return of Cagney's nemesis Mansfield and another humiliation when she learns that none other than David Keeler is on his legal defence team.

    The subplot is about Mary Beth's reaction when she discovers that a rapist who had threatened her back when she was in uniform is now out of jail. This makes three episodes in a row dealing with a rapist in the past of one of the detectives.
     
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  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Damn. :confuse: I've no idea how that happened unless I watched a few consecutive episodes before coming back here.
     
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    That does appear to be what happened. :)
     
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    An example of the thoughtful writing of the show. Unlike, say, how it has been remarked that Knots's Abby's kidney donation was never mentioned again.

    I've also noticed how the two leads have developed what are almost two separate parallel relationships. On one level they are still Chris and Mary Beth - best friends who can still go back and forth at each other at the tops of their voices - but suddenly on the job they can become Sergeant and Detective - especially if they disagree on how to proceed, when rank becomes Cagney's prerogative.
     
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    With the American u-less spelling. :)
    Waxman seems to have gained confidence in his directing. In his first effort he was hardly present on screen. Here he is not only front-and-centre in the c-plot but actually films himself in that solo scene you mentioned.

    It reminds me of an early directorial turn by Adam Arkin on Chicago Hope. Largely absent from the episode, he appeared briefly and was asked by one of the other characters where he had been. He replied that he had been "trying to stay out of sight."
     
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  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It pained me to write that.

    Incidentally, I always read the American spelling as fɐ.ˈvoɾ. With the emphasis on the second syllable as in "por favor". So the episode title reads in my head as "fuh-VORZ".


    Agreed. He does.
     
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    It took me moment afterward to figure out what the title had meant. Then I thought, oh yeah, the basketball...

    I didn't even see her take the gun out, she was so quick off the mark into 'cop mode'.
    She was seen from the back as we followed along. Again, the emphasis on the professional until the immediate danger had passed.
    Her main concern seemed to be explaining it to Michael. Personally, I don't see the problem in being honest with him that the only way to get it back was buying it. A lesson that life isn't always fair.
     
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  9. Seaviewer

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    I felt that this episode came off as rather contrived, you might even say "soapy."

    It starts with hold-ups at AA meetings, which requires Chris and Mary Beth to go undercover at an AA meeting. Then the MO changes to Al-Anon meetings (so that we can hear the other side of the story) where they just happen to run into Charlie's girlfriend Donna.

    And all this happens just as Charlie's alcoholism is reaching its climax and Mary Beth is noticing the signs in Christine, of which Christine herself remains largely oblivious - although there is one telling line when she says that she doesn't drink too much because she has will power. It seems to me that if you are aware that you have to use will power to stop yourself doing something, then you already have a problem.
     
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    A very unusual but enjoyable episode.
    Definitely the Lucy and Ethel vibe. :)
    I've probably seen that quote before (possibly in his book) but it does explain the sudden change in tone. I wonder if the recent attempt at a reboot would have been more successful if they'd gone down that road.
    I had that thought, too. That Knelman is not to be trusted. ;)
     
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  11. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It did, but it worked so well I can forgive the series a little soapy indulgence.


    That's a great point. Well spotted.
     
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    Not much to choose from between those two titles.
    It's an interesting conundrum, though. On the face of it, it's a legitimate business. She takes money for a service, pays someone to do the work, pockets the profit. If all parties agree that they are getting their money's worth, who are the rest of us to disagree?
     
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  13. Seaviewer

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    A sort of bad taste pun which seems a little out of character.

    In addition to the main and subplots there's also a background continuation of the disintegration of Chris's relationship with David. Mansfield's name was not mentioned but he has effectively damaged her personal life as well the professional. She has clearly not forgiven David for what she sees as a betrayal in the earlier episode and he comes to her loft intoxicated - and he's not an attractive drunk. There's a confrontation and Chris's neighbour-friend throws him out.

    I had not remembered any of this or why she (and we) stopped seeing David and it's sad to see it play out. The fact that he would show up in that condition knowing what was going on with her and Charlie just makes it all the more cutting.
     
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    I hadn't thought of it that way. I suppose it's fitting that while Chris has a hard-bitten racketeer, Mary Beth has an officious pencil-pusher.
    A Beatles song title, itself a quote from a gun advertisement that John Lennon found absurd.
    Another nice catch. I'd love to be able to follow this up with Rosie on DVD but sadly there seems little likelihood of that at this stage.

    Speaking of minutiae, I've been staring on and off at the detectives' sign-in board, trying to make sense out the order of the names. It's not in order of rank, else Sgt. Cagney would be at the top. It's not alphabetical. Partners are not always together. I've come to the conclusion that what must happen is that when someone leaves or dies, the newcomer's name is just put in their place, resulting in a the random-looking list. There are also a lot of names of detectives we don't know but the squad room has become increasingly crowded over the years and presumably those names belong to those faces.
     
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    From The Beatles to The Byrds and the implied Biblical quotation "a time to die."
    I can't recall now whether I knew before it was aired here but I did know watching this time. That enabled his low-key last line "Here's looking at you, kid." (unfortunately previewed in the preview scenes) to take on a greater resonance.
    That parallel occurred to me as well and of course its been repeated many times since then as well.
     
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    Tearing the cellophane off the last DVD cover ... :(
    Strangely enough, although I clearly remembered seeing Joe Regalbuto play a character called Harry Fisher, I was surprised to find that I had no recollection at all of what it was about. I'm not sure if his over-the-top performance was deliberately playing for laughs but it more presaged his Murphy Brown character than recalled the one from Knots Landing.

    And I was pleased to see that Paul Mantee's credit has been moved to the beginning of the episode, though not in the opening credits.

    There's really not much more to say about this one. It's a follow-up in a way to the South Africa apartheid episode focusing on that larger issue of racism that remains with us, if not worsening. In another context, I remarked on the Forum some years ago that, while there was racism in Australia, it was not the hot-button issue it was in the States. I now fear that that we are only heading in that direction.
     
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    Alan Fudge (Patrick Duffy's boss from Man From Atlantis) has a line - previewed in the pre-credit sequence - where he snarls at Mary Beth that "in a couple of days your badge isn't going to be worth spit."

    Obviously, this is a sanitised version of a coarser expletive that they probably wouldn't think twice about using nowadays but Fudge delivers it in such a chilling tone and it struck me that today the line would have been shouted with not nearly the same effect.

    He and Samuels have it all worked out. Especially interesting is Samuels's belief that Cagney will have her own squad within the year. I don't remember how the series ends but she has quite a different job in the first reunion movie so I'll be interested to see if there's any clue about what happened in between.
     
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    Carl Lumbly credit is gone but his other scenes are still in the opening sequence.
    Yes, that about sums it up.
    A standout in an otherwise relatively forgettable episode.
     
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    The slogan of Virginia Slims cigarettes and their eponymous tennis tournament, if I recall correctly. Rebutted by feminists wearing T-shirts that said, "We haven't come all that far, and don't call me Baby."
    By George, you're right! The Meg Foster episodes have slotted in so seamlessly in my mind that I forgot that altogether.
    I'm not at certain why Merry Clayton doesn't rate a slot in the opening credits. More notable for her music than acting but surely at least as deserving as Robert Hegyes and Dan Shor. Meanwhile, Jordan's name has been chalked in in the space on the board where Petrie's used to be, which seems to confirm my theory about the randomness of the order.
     
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    Seven seasons in and they seem to be experimenting with different stylings, a technique that was to work well for Xena: Warrior Princess, which would vary wildly in tone from week to week, but here C&L seems to be unable find their footing. The preview was edited to make it look more slapstick than it actually turned out to be.

    With the amount of movie and TV merchandise available, I'm surprised that they haven't produced Cagney & Lacey figurines for real by this time.
     
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