Christine Cagney: The Doctor Who of Crime
Whereas Tyne Daly has played the part of Mary Beth Lacey from the very beginning, the persona of Christine Cagney has gone through three incarnations. Loretta Swit played the first Christine Cagney in the original movie, but was unavailable for the TV series.
This necessitated getting another actress to play the part and Meg Foster was the one chosen. Unfortunately certain people had problems with her in the role.
"When Cagney & Lacey replaced the late, lamented Lou Grant in '82, Meg played Chris Cagney, but producers-wary of "lesbo lady cop" overtones-replaced her after 3 episodes, reportedly because "her looks were considered too 'tough and masculine.'" Her successor Sharon Gless (who ironically played a he-in-she-body on the series Turnabout protested: 'Meg Foster is beautiful and feminine...but they just needed more contrast." (Celebrity Sleuth, Volume 2, 1986.)
It didn't help that Meg Foster had played a lesbian in the film A Different Story. This was a 1978 movie in which Foster marries a man to prevent his deportation, then falls in love with him.
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