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Cherry Pop

'Cagney & Lacey: The Menopause Years'
(Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1995) 2009 / S'more Entertainment)

Overview: Winner of 14 Emmy® Awards and nominated for 36, “CAGNEY & LACEY” was a ground and gender-breaking television series built around two now-iconic female cops: Chris Cagney (Sharon Gless) and Mary Beth Lacey (Tyne Daly). Now, 'CAGNEY & LACEY: THE MENOPAUSE YEARS,' a compilation of four feature-length films that followed the TV series’ conclusion, will be available for the first time in a Collector’s Edition DVD set on sale now.

DVD Verdict: Cagney and Lacey are back - my favorite female police partners return in this four-disc boxed set featuring all of their reunion movies on DVD for the first time. The team of Christine Cagney, portrayed brilliantly by Sharon Gless, and Mary Beth Lacey, portrayed equally well by Tyne Daly, hardly need any introduction. Co-starring in Cagney & Lacey during the 1980's, the women portrayed two women detectives fighting crime and sexism in the New York City Police Department.

In doing so, Cagney & Lacey redefined gender roles in TV dramas. Now, it hardly seems possible that a series starring two women leads would not only be controversial, but a true pioneer in challenging the sexism that prevented women from obtaining untraditional jobs, but it was. While another groundbreaking cop show of that era, Police Woman, starring Angie Dickinson, should also be lauded, it was Cagney & Lacey that went much further in focusing the series spotlight on two professional women, and dealt directly with the sexism that they encountered among the public and within the own New York City police department.

The series went off the air in 1988, after 125 series episodes. Four reunion movies followed, and are collected here on DVD for the first time: Cagney Lacey: The Return, 1994; Cagney & Lacey: Together Again, 1995; Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling, 1995; and Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions, 1996.

The first film re-introduces Cagney and Lacey, and what they've been up to in the intervening years. Things have changed. Lacey has quit the force, and Cagney is now a lieutenant working for the D.A.'s Office. But the biggest change is that Cagney has married, and the two best friends have lost touch.

Happily, most of the supporting cast from the series returns, including John Karlen as Mary Beth's husband, Harvey Lacey; Al Waxman as Lt. Samuels; Carl Lumbly as Det. Marcus Petrie; and Martin Kove as Detective Isbecki. New cast members are David Paymer, who plays Deputy Assistant District Attorey Feldberg; Vonetta McGee who portrays Petrie's wife, Claudia; Kenny Johnston who replaces Troy W. Slaten as the Lacey's son, Michael; and Molly Orr as the couple's daughter, Molly.

I won't ruin the movies by providing spoilers. Just know that fans, new and old, of Cagney and Lacey will not be disappointed. John Karlen, an incredible actor who is sadly underrated, appears throughout the movie reunions. Other guest cast members include: George Coe as Dan Broadbent; Lynn Thigpen as Capt. Gigi Cardenas; Chip Zien as Assistant District Attorney Douglas Trayne; and Sandra Oh, as Officer Angela Lum.

The first movie is also being released in a separate single-disc package on the same release date as the boxed set. [EH] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Intimate Interviews with Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, producer Barney Rosenzweig and writer Barbara Corday.