Cagney and Lacey should not be remade with a black Mary Beth, says Sharon Gless

"Call them something else," says the actress

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Cagney & Lacey star Sharon Gless has revealed that US network television is planning a reboot of the hit 1980s’ police crime drama.


“CBS has expressed an interest. They want to redo it,” Gless says in the new issue of Radio Times. “But I think you have to be really careful – Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey were two very interesting women and casting is everything.”

Asked whether she would consider doing a cameo, the actress adds: “It would depend on the show. Especially if they’re really going to use the names Cagney and Lacey.

“It’s been said at CBS that they want Cagney to be white and blonde. And Lacey to be black. I have no problem with that. But that isn’t literally Cagney and Lacey. Just call them something else.”

Sharon Gless with Cagney & Lacey co-star Tyne Daly
Sharon Gless with Cagney & Lacey co-star Tyne Daly

During its original seven-season run between 1982 and 1988, Cagney & Lacey, Gless picked up two Emmys for Best Lead Actress for her portrayal of hard-drinking Christine Cagney. Her co-star Tyne Daly, who played Mary Beth Lacey, won four Emmys in the same category.

In the UK, the drama was screened on BBC1, where it was regularly among the top 20 highest-rated programmes of the week.

Expressing her view that nobody could play the parts like she and Daly, Gless comments: “We had a unique working relationship that isn’t the norm on a long-running series and we liked each other as friends on and off set.

“That gave us the chemistry the public loved so much – and that’s why it wouldn’t be the same without Tyne and I as Cagney and Lacey.”

Gless, 74, will next be seen this Saturday guest starring on BBC1’s Casualty, where she is set to play brain surgeon Zsa Zsa Harper-Jenkinson. On the topic of her experiences on the medical drama, the actress says, “I ended up having the best time. I really hope they invite me back.”


Read the full interview in the new issue of Radio Times, out on Tuesday