NOW Hosts Premiere of Cagney & Lacey: The Return

by Beth Corbin

NOW President Patricia Ireland, second from left, joins Cagney & Lacey Producer Barney Rosenzweig, star Sharon Gless, Washington Post columnist Judy Mann, Feminist Majority President Ellie Smeal and star Tyne Daly at NOW reception.  Photo by Beth Corbin

They're back! And the National Organization for Women had the honor of hosting the Washington, D.C. premiere of Cagney & Lacey: The Return, on Wednesday, Oct. 26. NOW has a long-time relationship with the program, as NOW members nationwide played an active role in the revival of Cagney & Lacey twice during its 1982-88 run.

 To celebrate the return, NOW held a premiere reception and screening of the two-hour movie. Stars Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly, along with the program's executive producer Barney Rosenzweig, joined NOW President Patricia Ireland at a reception that also served as a fundraising event.

 "Cagney & Lacey brought honesty about women's lives to television viewing," said Ireland. "We saw smart, tough, determined women who now serve as role models for how life changes." Ireland, emphasizing the importance of positive images of women on television, told of hearing young women say that they used to play Cagney & Lacey instead of Barbie dolls.

 Thanks to a generous contribution by The Rosenzweig Company, and the many loyal fans who came to meet the two stars, the event raised money for the Ginny Montes Fund for Economic Empowerment, to help bring young women of color who could not otherwise take part to NOW's Young Feminist Summit on Violence in April. (A special tribute to Montes appears on page ----)

 The critically acclaimed and multi-award winning series, Cagney & Lacey, starring Emmy Award winners Gless and Daly, made a triumphant return to CBS on Sunday, Nov. 6, finishing in first place on CBS for the week and sixth place in overall ratings.

 Rosenzweig has a deal for four Cagney & Lacey movies for CBS. Two have been produced, with the fate of the others dependant upon high ratings for The Return.

 In their return to prime time, Gless and Daly are reprising their roles of Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey, two New York "buddy" cops whose personal and professional lives often collided. The story picks up six years later, with the two women, now on different personal and career paths, meeting at a retirement party and reunion of their old 14th Precinct. A series of events bring Cagney and Lacey back together to fight crime.

Cagney & Lacey was a solid hit with the critics and viewers, winning virtually every important industry award possible, including 14 Emmys, a Golden Globe and Directors and Writers Guild awards.

 The series concerned the lives of two dedicated policewomen who were partners and fast friends, determined to break the stereotypes often ascribed to women in jobs not traditionally associated with them. They fought criminals, the chauvinism of their male fellow officers, the ignorance of their friends and sometimes each other. Cagney & Lacey: The Return also touched on critical issues of the day, including the debate over healthcare.

 In an article appearing in the May, 1983 National NOW Times, then-editor Toni Carabillo described the program as "not the formula cops and robbers routine -- but one of the few shows on television depicting credible women whose lives, through dramatically suspenseful and entertaining, also had some grounding in reality." The same is true today.

 To thank CBS for airing the program, and to encourage the network to bring the duo back on a regular basis, write to: Peter Tortorici, President, CBS, 7800 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

CBS also has a suggestion box on the Web.

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