This Was Television On October 8

1981: Cagney & Lacey is on the beat

The cop drama about a pair of female NYPD detectives began with a pilot movie on this date before going to series the following spring—with a different actress in one of the lead roles. In the movie, Loretta Swit played Christine Cagney, but conflicts with her ongoing series, M*A*S*H, prohibited her from assuming the role on a regular basis. Meg Foster took over the role for the first six episodes of the series, alongside Tyne Daly’s Mary Beth Lacey. But CBS ousted Foster for fear that her audiences would read her character as a lesbian; Sharon Gless stepped into the role, which she held for the remainder of the show’s seven seasons.

The casting ultimately worked out: Between 1983 and 1988, both Daly and Gless were Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, and in each of those six years one or the other of them won the award (Daly four times, Gless twice). -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Nick Bakay, feline voicer (53); Nick Cannon, youth show host (32); Chevy Chase, and you’re not (69); Jeremy Davies, Harlan hood (43); Darrell Hammond, impressionist (57); Karyn Parsons, Bel-Airite (46);  Emily Procter, Bartlet administration contrarian (44); Stephanie Zimbalist, detective (56).

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