Episodes are not necessarily listed in the order in which they were filmed or exhibited, but rather (in some cases) in the order the scripts were commissioned.
At a glance:
CHILD WITNESS | HEAT | INSUBORDINATION | OLD DEBTS | FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS | TAXI CAB MURDERS | AN UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE | THANK GOD IT’S MONDAY | HOOKED | LADY LUCK | OUT OF CONTROL | AMERICAN DREAM | HAPPILY EVER AFTER | RULES OF THE GAME | STRESS | WHO SAID IT’S FAIR? Parts I and II | LOST AND FOUND | TWO GRAND | CON GAMES | VIOLATION | ORGANIZED CRIME
Cagney and Lacey are called by a school principal who has reason to believe that a six-year-old girl has been sexually abused. The child accuses her twenty—two—year old babysitter, who denies the allegation. Later, the girl tells Cagney and Lacey (after coaching from her father) that she lied; they don’t believe her.
When Cagney and Lacey confront the father, a noted defense attorney, and ask why he encouraged his daughter to lie, he declares he doesn’t want his daughter to go through the trauma of testifying. Cagney and Lacey convince him that if the molester remains free, other children will become victims just like his daughter. He allows his daughter to decide for herself. She will testify.
Subplot: Petrie, dressed for undercover work, is mistaken for a car thief by two uniformed officers and rousted.
NOTE: Emmy Winner in several categories, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Film Sound Mixing
Director: Karen Arthur
While Cagney and Lacey investigate vandalism at a railroad yard, Lacey is abducted by a young armed thug who keeps her locked in a railroad car in order to get away from the authorities. Heat from the summer sun broils the pair in the boxcar. They move to a shack and eventually, with the help of helicopters, most of the 14th, and the Swat teams for cover, Cagney leads the assault on the shack that saves her partner.
When Cagney and Lacey are assigned to a cocaine dealing case they discover that their commanding officer is Dory McKenna, once Cagney’s boyfriend and a one-time cocaine addict. Cagney must deal with her ambivalent feelings toward Dory’s re—entry into her life.
Subplot: Samuels must deal with his feelings toward being ordered about by an officer that he once caught taking bribes.
Cagney and Lacey are assigned to guard a cop killer on parole, at a hotel until he can get new identity and be moved out of the area. Not for long, Cagney & Lacey’s charge is killed by a bomb concealed in a telephone that explodes while they have him under guard.
Although they are besieged with congratulations from the entire department (except for Internal Affairs) Cagney and Lacey are determined to find the killer.
Subplot: Cagney and Dory rekindle their relationship.
Cagney and Lacey investigate an apparent suicide. While questioning the victim’s wife, she confesses to murder, without a motive. The daughter, Jane, also confesses to the murder, without motive. Cagney and Lacey confront Jane in the hopes that she will retract her confession.
Instead, they find out she has been sexually abused by her father and that he was going to leave his wife. Now they have two confessions and two motives. Finally, Cagney and Lacey track down the family maid, who had disappeared the night of the murder.
With her statement, we finally learn the truth: Jane had confronted her father about the years of abuse and its effect on her life; Her mother had overheard and, after Jane left, had killed her husband. Jane had confessed only to protect her mother and expurgate her feelings of guilt.
Subplot: Charlie Cagney meets Dory McKenna unexpectedly in Cagney’s loft on a Sunday morning,and confronts his feelings about his daughter’s sexuality.
TAXI CAB MURDERS
Director: Karen Arthur
Written by: Ronnie Wenker-Konner
Cagney and Lacey, undercover driving cabs, are in search of a murderer who has been killing taxi cab drivers with a mountain-climbing pick. They locate a prime suspect, and during the interrogation an undercover cop finds the murderer in the act.
Subplot: Michael Lacey upset that his mother does not tell him the truth about her job assignments nor keep her promises to “do nothing dangerous,” runs away from home.
Returning from a meeting in Spanish Harlem, Cagney and Lacey stop at a grocery. While Cagney waits for her partner in the car, she hears glass breaking. In the alley, she finds a young, wild-eyed Puerto Rican boy swinging a baseball bat. He ignores her commands to stop and keeps coming at her.
She shoots, critically wounding him. Auturo Perez, a Geraldo Rivera—type reporter, takes up the cause ... an innocent young Latin, brutally shot by an over—zealous, bigoted, female cop. Because of the structure of the law, Perez is free to attack Cagney, but the people of the 14th are unable to get the records and test results needed to clear her.
Even the boy’s death is just more news for Perez, but now Cagney can get the info she needs to clear herself. Lacey informs Perez, demanding he clear Cagney on TV, but for him, it’s no longer news. Case closed. Cagney, trying to come to terms with her feelings about the killing, goes to face the boy’s mother.
Subplot: When Cagney needs Dory most, he’s unavailable to her...on his own case. On his return he offers to fix up her predicament. She tells him, she doesn’t need any “white knight.”
The detectives are looking forward to the weekend, when Samuels informs them that they will have to work to get their files organized by Monday. When two pieces of paperwork are compared it is learned that the Statute of Limitations on a particularly heinous felony ends at midnight.
The closer they get to the perp, the farther away they get from their weekend plans. Despite all the obstacles, they eventually get their man within minutes of the midnight deadline.
Subplot: Harvey and Dory come to an accommodation about their friendship (or, more precisely, their lack of friendship) while waiting for Cagney and Lacey to finish paperwork /investigation.
We meet Isbecki’s girlfriend, Bon Bon, for the first time.
When the man who sponsored Dory McKenna through the drug rehab program is arrested for cocaine possession sale, Dory tells Cagney it’s a case of mistaken identity. But later, when it is learned that the evidence in the case has been tampered with, Cagney struggles with the possibility that Dory may have been responsible.
Subplot: Harvey Lacey is bed-ridden, with a bad back, and Lacey tries to juggle nursing him, taking care of her family and doing her job.
Lacey thwarts a woman’s suicide attempt, but then feels a sense of responsibility for her life. When the woman, a compulsive gambler, is threatened by loan sharks, Lacey again tries to save her life, and when the woman is found murdered, Cagney and Lacey go after the loan sharks with a vengeance.
Subplot: Isbecki falls hard for Jennifer, a victim of an attempted rape. But after she is attacked again Jennifer leaves town, and Isbecki’s heart is broken.
OUT OF CONTROL
A man is shot to death during an attempted cat burglary. Upon further investigation Cagney and Lacey learn he was accidentally shot with the gun which he and his wife had purchased illegally in order to protect themselves from intruders.
Subplot: Lacey catches Harvey Jr. playing with her service revolver. When she realizes that he doesn’t understand the serious consequences of his action, she is distraught and finally arranges for him to witness the autopsy of a young boy who died of a gunshot wound.
Cagney has an inauspicious first meeting with Dory’s children. When one of them becomes ill, Cagney meets his ex-wife at the hospital and realizes that she is a good mother and decent woman.
Director: Sharron Miller
Teleplay by Harvey Brenner
Story by Steve Brown and Harvey Brenner
The owner of a trucking company is trying to take over the delivery business for the whole garment industry. Cagney and Lacey suspect him of arson after a series of garment businesses are destroyed. They put him under surveillance and, with the aid of his latest victim, catch his accomplice in the act of fire-bombing yet another warehouse.
Subplot: Harvey takes a white collar job selling tax shelters. When his income soars, the Laceys begin thinking about buying their own home. They find their “dream house,” but before the close of escrow Harvey realizes how unhappy he is. He wants to go back to building something with his hands ... “You can’t carve your initials in a tax shelter.”
It means they can’t afford the house but, although Mary Beth is broken hearted, she insists they couldn’t really afford the house in the first place. Harvey gives her the engagement ring she always wanted and they could never afford.
Coleman makes book on who will pass the Sergeant’s exam.
A stray bullet leads Cagney and Lacey to the solution of 32,000 petty thefts committed by a computer whiz, an accountant for a department store, who has pilfered pennies from thousands of customer accounts in order to afford expensive gifts for his rich girlfriend.
Subplot: Dory proposes to Cagney, but she decides she likes her life the way it is and feels that marriage would turn her into a different kind of person ... not because of pressure from Dory but from pressure from herself and... her unrealistic ideas of what a “wife” should be. Cagney decides she does not want to be married.
Isbecki and Petrie try to figure out Sergeant Coleman’s first name -— from Reginald to Rumpelstiltskin till Lacey, fondly remembering the movie, A Tale of Two Cities, hits on it:... Ronald Coleman.
RULES OF THE GAME
Director: Sharron Miller
Written by: Georgia Jeffries
Cagney and Lacey are assigned to a special task force investigating the murder of a Hungarian diplomat. Captain Hennessey (Edward Winter) the attractive officer in command, retains Cagney as his investigative partner while relegating Lacey to desk duty.
Hennessey’s interest in Cagney becomes obviously more personal than professional, and when she refuses to trade sexual favors for professional ones, he threatens her with a poor job evaluation.
Lacey breaks the case; she and Cagney solve the murder while Cagney agonizes over the consequences of bringing a sexual harassment suit against a fellow officer. With Lacey’s encouragement, she decides to press charges.
Subplot: Harvey thinks he and Lacey should draw up a will, but Mary Beth doesn’t want to think about dying.
Coleman conducts an aggravating quarterly inventory of office supplies.
Cagney witnesses a stabbing and successfully apprehends the vicious perp, who then threatens her life. He has a long list of arrests but no convictions because he intimidates witnesses. Eight witnesses “saw nothing”. Only Cagney and the victim will testify.
When the victim is found murdered and the perp begins to stalk Cagney, she maintains a brave posture until she begins to crack under the pressure.
Subplot: A mandate is issued that all detectives must participate in Stress Reduction Seminars, and Cagney attempts to hide her fear.
A stray dog attaches himself to Samuels.
WHO SAID IT’S FAIR?
Cagney and Lacey respond to a call from a worried mother, who fears her young son is missing. Happily, the boy turns out to be late. When the mother, a young black woman (Lynn Whitfield) struggling to stay off welfare, reports her son missing again, Cagney is judgmental about what she perceives as evidence of neglect in the home.
After discovering money in the child’s locker, Cagney and Lacey suspect drug involvement. They eventually find the child trapped in a partially demolished house where he had been en route as a drug runner and Cagney makes a dramatic rescue.
Juvenile authorities, acting on Cagney’s initial report, remove the child from his mother’s custody. When the boy, with his mother’s encouragement, helps them to arrest the pusher, Cagney changes her mind and proves instrumental in reuniting mother and child.
Subplot: Lacey may have breast cancer, but is unwilling to go to a doctor. When, with the persistence of Cagney and Harvey, she is finally examined and diagnosed as having a malignant tumor, the doctor recommends a mastectomy.
Mary Beth, terrified, must confront her own mortality with Harvey and the kids. Again at Cagney’s urging, Lacey is persuaded to go for a second opinion. She discovers that with the malignancy, a lumpectomy will probably be sufficient. The operation is a success.
The 14th Precinct is psyching up for the Sergeant’s exam, and Lacey is forced to miss it because of her operation.
LOST AND FOUND
Director: Al Waxman
Cagney’s beloved yellow Corvette convertible is stolen, and the only clue is a graffiti “signature.” Obsessed with recovering her car, Cagney learns about street graffiti, which leads her to “El Vengador,” the gang member who stole her car. She then intimidates him into helping her bust the car theft operation.
Subplot: Lacey is fully recovered from her breast operation, but does not want to return to work. She feels that she should spend more time with her family, and, over Cagney’s protestations, seriously considers leaving the force.
The video portion of the Sergeant’s exam occupies Isbecki’s thoughts of how he’ll look. Petre thinks about the academic considerations.
Cagney’s fear of the potential loss of her partner almost overshadows the exam, until when facing the video tape she is relieved to learn she is to discuss Grand Theft Auto, a subject on which, thanks to the recent experience with her own Corvette, she has recently become exceptionally knowledgeable.
Director: Alexander Singer
Written by: Steve Johnson
Albert Grand, jewel thief extraordinaire and past nemesis of Christine Cagney, reappears on the scene when the clues from a major jewel theft lead to members of the 14th Precinct.
Cagney is confronted with a series of Grand’s wild goose chases, coupled with his persistent charm and complicated by a major diamond heist. She discovers the real reason for his crime: a gesture of both triumph and generosity because he is dying. He surrenders to Christine Cagney, the best police officer he’s known on seven continents.
Subplot: Isbecki is absent from the precinct under the pretext that he’s gone to the Bahamas with his girlfriend. When she suddenly appears, worried about Victor’s disappearance, Petrie covers for his partner. His private investigation turns up Isbecki in a hospital where he was having an “embarrassing” operation for hemorrhoids.
Cagney, despite pressure from the department and even her father, is going through with her complaint against Captain Hennessey (from “Rules of the Game”) for sexual harassment.
Paula Eastman, the last of Cagney’s possible witnesses against Hennessey, admits he offered her a promotion in return for sex, but because he’s following through on his promise, she refuses to testify for Cagney.
As the hearing goes on, Cagney becomes angrier and more frustrated —— Hennessey’s lawyer is doing a good job of making her look like a slut. On the last day of trial, Paula changes her mind, and appears at the trial, ready and willing to testify.
Subplot: Cagney and Lacey are working with the bunco squad undercover at a series of banks. Lacey, acting as the perfect pigeon, is responsible for bringing in an entirely different set of con artists than those they were trying to uncover.
Cagney and Lacey search for a missing teenager who disappeared the night of his prom. Investigation shows he was last seen at a liquor store. When the store owner refused to sell him a bottle based on his fake ID, he tried to steal a bottle.
Because of the age on his phony ID, he is booked into the adult prison at Rikers Island where he is viciously raped by several of the inmates.
Faced with not only bureaucratic reluctance by the NYPD, but also a multi-million dollar lawsuit against New York City, Cagney and Lacey are finally successful at identifying the rapist —— but only after they pressure a successful businessman who had been arrested as a “john” and was a witness to the rape.
Subplot: Isbecki bets that a lost money clip found by the local “used garment dealer” lady will be claimed before the deadline. As the time grows short, Isbecki has printed a newspaper story headlined “The Last Honest Person in New York City,” thereby alerting the owner.
Isbecki wins the bet, but peer pressure forces him to turn over his winnings in partial restitution to the bag lady.
When Cagney and Lacey investigate a poorbox robbery, they find a murdered nun and an offer of help from an unexpected source, Quinones, an organized crime boss who, incensed by the killing of a holy woman, offers Cagney and Lacey mob cooperation in their investigation.
Exerting pressure, Quinones offers to sweeten Cagney and Lacey’s professional careers and at the same time offers Harvey a construction job he “can’t refuse”. Morality versus practicality creates conflict between the detectives and Laceys. Meanwhile, the killer turns himself in rather than face mob retribution.
Subplot: Tension is high as the precinct awaits the Sergeant’s exam results. In spite of Isbecki’s superstitious prediction, Cagney gets the promotion.
All Episodes - Bibles Episode Guide - Characters Season 1 (1982) Season 2 (1982-3) Season 3 (Spring 1984) Season 5 (1985-6) Season 6 (1986-7) Season 7 (1987-8) The Menopause Years (1994-5)