Season 5 (1985-6)

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:




Director: Alexander Singer

Written by: Cynthia Darnell

Cagney and Lacey investigate the beating of a teenage hooker and learn that her pimp had been suspected previously of the bludgeon killing of another young prostitute. When the detectives try to question the young girl she is totally uncooperative. 

After a change of mind (more to spite her parents than anything else),she accuses her pimp of beating her and states that she saw him kill the other hooker. That’s enough for Cagney and Lacey until their star witness runs away allowing the pimp to get out on bail. Now Cagney and Lacey have to find the girl before he does and that is made easier for the duo when the girl is promptly picked up for hustling. 

The parents, giving up on the girl, decide to have her put away in an institution. Cagney, unwilling to give up on the girl, works out a legal way to keep her out of the institution and out of the custody of her parents. All she has to do is get the girl not to give up on herself. 

Subplot: Cagney is going out with a man with great teeth she believes to be a dentist, but he turns out to be an ACLU lawyer. He is, eventually, the key to helping Cagney’s young charge.


Note: Winner of Humanitas Award for writer Eisele.

Director: Reza Badiyi

Written by: Robert Eisele

Cagney and Lacey, working a sting on the street, witness Eduardo Carrera heroically bring down a mugger who’s just robbed an old lady. At Lacey’s urging, Eduardo is awarded a medal for bravery by the Mayor, but is spotted by the Immigration Department as being an illegal alien and picked up for deportation to Chile. 

Cagney and Lacey persuade the I.N.S. to let Eddie stay in the U.S. long enough to testify in the mugger’s trial while they try to find a way for him to permanently stay in the U.S. Carrera is so effective as a witness that the case is wrapped up almost immediately and long before Cagney and Lacey can do anything about his status as an illegal alien. 

He escapes while being taken back into the custody of the I.N.S., and he and his family disappear from an illegal refugee safe house. Cagney and Lacey go along with the I.N.S. and F.B.I. to check out an address where the Carrera family might be hidden. While checking out the attic, Cagney spots Eddie and his family crouched in an attic crawl—space. After a tense moment, Cagney yells to the F.B.I. “nothing here” and moves on, sparing the Carrera family for at least another day.


Director: Ray Danton

Written by: Debra Frank & Scott Rubenstein

Cagney and Lacey are investigating a woman’s disappearance while the woman’s husband and mother, not willing to rely on the police, have hired a well—known psychic, to find her. All clues point to Nora being a runaway wife, but then the case becomes a homicide when the woman’s body is found, seemingly from causes predicted by the psychic. 

The psychic’s reading, combined with their own detective work, lead Cagney and Lacey to the murderer, the woman’s husband, who had tried to throw suspicion off himself by making the psychic’s prediction come true. 

Subplot: Lacey feels insecure about her appearance since her cancer operation. 


Director: James Frawley

Written by: Steve Johnson

Almost a year after a lottery drawing, one two million dollar prize remains unclaimed. Then two people suddenly show up with winning tickets. Cagney and Lacey are assigned to investigate and, after some dispute over another suspect (a disreputable bartender once arrested as a con man) they finally discover that one of the tickets had been forged by a retired master engraver for the Post Office. 

Case is closed, right? Wrong. Yet another winning ticket is brought in. Although the computer data on the lottery had been “accidentally” dumped, one of the original tickets was verified, but the other “winner” happens to own a cocker spaniel not unlike one owned by the arrested engraver. 

This guy “happens” to be a computer expert. After a chase through the Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, Cagney and Lacey bring in the culprit behind it all. 

Subplot:  The Laceys are being audited by the IRS. Despite Harvey’s apprehensions and conspiracy theories, they get a refund of $600 which would seem terrific except they end up re—enacting “The Gift of the Magi”. Mary Beth pays for non-refundable reservations for the weekend in the mountains Harvey wants, and Harvey opens penalty for early withdrawal bank account for the Lacey Baby, which Mary Beth had let known earlier would be the best use for the money.


Director: Al Waxman

Written by: Steve Johnson

Having earned kudos for the undercover arrest of an illegal drug pusher, Cagney and Lacey go after the pusher’s supplier, Bruce Mansfield, a slippery big-time dealer. During the set-up, Cagney, out of sight of the surveillance equipment, illegally entraps Mansfield. 

The dealer is arrested, and the Narcotics Lieutenant in charge of the bust urges Cagney and Lacey to “get their story straight over the weekend.” Lacey is reluctant to lie and Cagney issues her an ultimatum: either back her up -— thus committing perjury or the partnership is over. 

Lacey agonizes over the moral dilemma, then finally agrees to back up her partner. When Lacey is unexpectedly called upon to corroborate Cagney’s testimony in the hearing, Cagney herself admits the attempted perjury. Mansfield is free but Cagney and Lacey plan to go after him again, and do it right the next time. 

Subplot: Petrie requests a new partner when he thinks that Isbecki has been spreading gossip regarding his wife’s affair, but Samuels intervenes, encouraging them to “get it all out in the open,” and the partnership survives.


Director: Alexander Singer

Written by Judy Merl & Paul Eric Myers 

Cagney and Lacey are called in to police a demonstration against abortion outside a woman’s clinic. When a young woman is intimidated by the abuse of the crowd, Lacey sympathizes with the woman’s confusion about her decision to have an abortion. 

Cagney’s ambivalence (Catholic upbringing verses a woman’s right to choose)quickly develops into a sore spot between the two women, made more poignant by the revelation that the now happily pregnant Lacey once had a(then illegal)abortion when she was nineteen. 

The clinic is bombed, destroying it, and severely injuring a vagrant sheltering near the clinic. When the vagrant dies, the leader of the protest group reluctantly gives Cagney and Lacey a list of the members of the organization. A cross check of files zeroes the investigation in on one of the protesters. When Cagney and Lacey question the suspect, she cracks and threatens to set off another bomb only -- being deterred by the thought of killing Lacey’s five-month fetus. 

Subplot:  Samuels, after much soul—searching, reconciles himself to his son’s marriage to a divorced Asian, older than his son,-and to the fact that his son will not live out the dreams Samuels has for him.


Note: Emmy Award for John Karlen (Harvey Lacey) for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. 

Director: Ray Danton

Written by: Frank South

A young man on trial for assault and mugging, is set free when his mother provides him with a very believable false alibi. Cagney and Lacey are then assigned to another case but when the boy’s father comes forward and volunteers that his son is guilty and his ex-wife perpetually lies to protect him, Cagney and Lacey return to question the woman but cannot persuade her to change her story. 

Cagney and Lacey reopen the investigation on an old crime robbery and assault on an elderly Korean man. When the father gives the detectives a gold watch, that his son had left behind with the old man’s name engraved on it, they have the evidence they need to get him off the streets. 

Subplot:  Harvey Jr. gets cut in a fight with a boy at school who tried to steal his pocket money. Harvey and Mary Beth are at odds over the incident —— Harvey is rather proud of him for defending himself, but Mary Beth feels money isn’t worth fighting over. 

When Harvey Jr. is suspected of throwing bricks through a window of a local television repair store, a major breech opens between Harvey and Mary Beth, until Mary Beth gets the truth from Harvey Jr. (He had done it in retaliation for the mugging.) 

Cagney is called in as a “ringer” when Newman cleans out the squad in a poker game. She does her “dumb woman playing poker” act, setting Newman up for the second “so you think women can’t play poker, huh?” game. But Newman has found out from Charlie that she’s actually an ace player and the competition is on.


Director: Sharron Miller

Written by: Richard Gollance

Cagney and Lacey investigate the robbery/murder of an old woman living with her daughter, son-in-law Frank, and their twelve—year—old son. The murder is blamed on a cat burglar, but further investigation (and Cagney’s stubbornness) leads Cagney and Lacey reluctantly to believe a family member was responsible. 

Suspicion centers first on the son-in-law, but further questioning leads Cagney and Lacey to the chilling conclusion that the murder was actually committed by the woman’s 12 year old grandchild. The pregnant Lacey is so upset by the case that she decides it’s time to go on clerical duty. 

Subplot:  Ignoring a cough, Charlie Cagney ends up in the hospital with pneumonia, complicated by some cirrhosis of the liver and the diagnosis that he is an alcoholic. Once out of the hospital he and Cagney face his mortality and what Cagney’s part in his future will be. She makes the difficult decision to call her estranged brother, Brian, in California.


Director: Georg Stanford Brown

Written by: Georgia Jeffries

Cagney chases and fires on a kid who attempts to rob a grocery in which she is a customer. The owner of the grocery, files a complaint against Cagney, charging her with non—feasance (cowardice). No bullet can be found in the alley to support her story, and Cagney is suspended. 

Lacey, temporarily off clerical duty, investigates, with Cagney’s unofficial help, and they uncover the store owner’s record as a “chronic complainer” and his animus for the NYPD.Eventually they track down the teenager, with the bullet wound from Cagney’s shot in his arm. Cagney is reinstated. 

Subplot:  Brian, Cagney’s brother, comes to New York to try to persuade their father, who is still recuperating (see FILIAL DUTY) to come to California with him. He re—awakens old family jealousies, pain, and bitterness, especially when Cagney finds out that Charlie has been accepting a stipend from Brian without telling her. 

Brian and Chris come, if not to an agreement, at least to a truce. Charlie will visit California and his grandchildren, and maybe Brian’s daughters will get to meet their Aunt Chris, eventually.


Director: James Frawley

Written by: Patricia Green

When Cagney temporarily takes over control of the squad, she is thrilled until she encounters resistance and hostility from the other detectives. The problems mount, when Knelman forces her to send Lacey home on maternity leave and Cagney must endure this time at the top alone. In a blaze of media glory and departmental kudos, Petrie and Isbecki arrest a notoriously slippery hit—man for the murder of a mob—connected businessman. 

Cagney takes the case away from Isbecki when he resists her authority. She doesn’t believe the hit man is guilty and continues the investigation with Newman and Corassa, even in the face of Knelman’s opposition. Cagney tracks down the real murderer, then comes to Lacey for reassurance and validation, and ends up calling Isbecki, so he can make the collar. 


Director: Charlotte Brown

Written by: Judy Merl & Paul Eric Myers

With Lacey at home, Cagney and Newman investigate the flake case of the month; the disappearance of some street—corner musicians. They uncover the kidnapper, an old—time jazz great. The musicians had recognized him while he was setting up his revenge on the man who built a recording empire on songs he stole from the jazz great, then married the woman he loved as well. 

Subplot:  Cagney’s own rules of non—exclusivity backfire on her, when she sees David Keeler with a “bimbosity” with great clothes. 

A very pregnant Lacey wants to go swimming all by herself like a “rich kid,” and Harvey surprises her with a maternity swimsuit and a rental of an indoor pool in a major new condo on which he has been employed.


Director: James Frawley

Written by: Judy Merl & Paul Eric Myers

With Lacey out on maternity leave, Sara Jones, a charming, bright, eager uniform cop, persuades Cagney that she’s just the person to help with Cagney’s mountain of paperwork. Once the papers are out of the way, they start tracking down a brutal repeat rapist. 

Sara, with brilliance, intuition, and hard work comes up with the name of the rapist, but no real proof. She starts to spend her evenings following her suspect and harassing him. Cagney begins to worry about Sara, as she is over—stepping the bounds of reason and law in her pursuit of this man. 

Checking Sara’s file, Cagney learns she was raped, which explains her determination to get at least one rapist off the streets, even if it costs her career. When she’s ordered off the case, Sara sets herself up as bait for the rapist, and kills him.


Note: Features Emmy Award winning actor, Michael Moriarty

Director: Jan Eliasberg

Written by: Frederick Rappaport

The entire 14th Squad is furious when Patrick Lowell, a Serpico—type character who blew the whistle on some crooked cops, is assigned to the Precinct. Cagney is the most displeased, as with Lacey home on maternity leave, he becomes her temporarily partner. 

They investigate a series of teller machine muggings, identifying the driver of the getaway car. Cagney tries to persuade the kid to turn in his buddies in crime, but Lowell hinders the process as he points out that-- if Billy turns informer, it should be his own choice, with full knowledge of the possible consequences and not as a result of outside influences (Cagney included). 

Cagney, with a nudge from Lacey, is forced to change her opinion of Lowell and come to terms with the similarities in motivation between Lowell’s actions and her own charges of sexual harassment against Captain Hennessey (from RULES OF THE GAME and CON GAMES). 

One man’s righteous indignation is another man’s tattletale. Eventually, when the youth’s wife is attacked, he turns, and the other muggers are rounded up.


Director: Al Waxman

Written by: Les Carter & Susan Sisko

The son of one of Lacey’s neighbors is badly hurt by a drunk driver, and Lacey, on maternity leave, refuses to let the case rest. She pursuades Cagney (who is on night duty) and Harvey (temporarily out of work) to investigate for her. They locate a witness who could prove the driver’s guilt, and it is Lacey who finally persuades the witness to testify. 

Subplot:  Cagney, heading the graveyard shift, is confronted with two strange detectives, the Monk and the Mongoose. She tries to keep her sanity and stay awake by making a ship in a bottle for Charlie. 

Cagney deals with her feelings about Charlie’s alcoholism and her own drinking habits.


Note: Mulitple Emmy award winner: Outstanding Drama Series, Sharon Gless for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. 

Director: Sharron Miller

Teleply by Cynthia Darnell

Story by Norm Chandler Fox

While investigating a mugger who preys on the handicapped, Cagney finds herself romantically attracted to Ted Peters, who is assisting the police. He’s charming, magnetic, intelligent and in a wheelchair. 

Subplot:  Lacey dreads a surprise baby shower Cagney has put together for her.


Director: James Frawley

Written by: Georgia Jeffries

When Harvey Jr. goes off on a ski trip, Michael Lacey is off to Washington, D.C. with his grandmother, and Harvey is called to Saratoga to make his bid on a construction job, Lacey’s labor pains start. She and Cagney make a frenetic dash in Cagney’s Corvette for the hospital. The baby girl is named Alice Christine Lacey.

Subplot: Cagney finds out, by accident, that her father has a girlfriend (Donna La Mar), and is forced to accept that she’s not the only woman in her father’s life.


Director: Georg Stanford Brown

Written by: Liz Coe & Steve Brown

Lacey’s estranged father, Martin Zzbiske tracks her down despite his abandonment of the family when she was a child. Lacey, still bitter and angry, at first refuses to see him. She relents enough to see him before he leaves, but not enough to forgive him. 

Subplot:  Cagney and David Keeler team up to investigate the case of a West Point cadet accused of possession of cocaine who refuses to speak in his own defense.


Director: Alexander Singer

Writen by: Peter Lefcourt and Kathryn Ford

Cagney goes after Mansfield (the drug dealer first seen in ENTRAPMENT) determined to arrest him and have it stick. It’s become a personal grudge with her, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring him in. That includes using Hector Estevez (the car thief first seen in LOST AND FOUND) as an informant again and pushing him too far. 

Lacey clashes with Cagney over her use of Hector, and, although they do get Mansfield (acting on Hector’s information) it is a Pyrrhic victory when Hector is murdered as a result of his being an informer. 

Subplot: Petrie and Isbecki investigate a murder in Union Square Park. The victim’s name: Leon Trotsky.


Director: James Frawley

Teleplay by Steve Johnson

Story by Steve Johnson and Jeff Nelson

Noreen Dixon, star of stage and screen (and one of Lacey’s idols) is dead. Cagney and Lacey have to determine if it was suicide or murder and if the latter, then by whom: the jealous understudy, the thwarted lovers, the threatened ex—husband, or the greedy producer? 

The final conclusion: Accidental death, by overacting. 

Subplot:  Harvey reveals that he’d been married, at 16, for all of 24 hours. Lacey feels betrayed that Harvey kept this a secret all these years. 

Samuels’ son is buying into a restaurant, and Samuels asks Cagney to find him a date for the opening night party.


Director: Alexander Singer

Written by: Frederick Rappaport

A Cambodian immigration lawyer, is murdered. Suspicion centers on other Cambodian immigrants who he was exploiting, but it turns out his American business partner, who taught him English, murdered him when she learned he was planning to end their partnership. 

Subplot:  Delayed by bad weather in his start on the Saratoga job, Harvey is ridden with anxiety that creates friction in the Lacey household. He toys with giving up his job, although he sees it as their ticket to a better life. Lacey helps pull Harvey through this difficult time until the weather breaks. 

Cagney tries to sell her beloved problematic Corvette. In the end, she cannot part with it and decides to keep it with her forever as a piece of sculpture…a cube of crushed metal.


Director: Charles S. Dubin

Teleplay by Kathryn Ford

Story by Bob Rosenfarb

Cagney and Lacey travel to Los Angeles to extradite a perp in an old case of Lacey’s. Unfortunately, the perp is released prematurely by computer error, and promptly goes into hiding. Cagney and Lacey track him down. In the airport, he escapes again, and gives himself up when Lacey appeals to his fatherly instincts. 

It is clear their perp is not a typical criminal. He has rehabilitated himself, and now has a wife, a child and a good job. What would a term in prison serve? When Lacey learns that the complainant has died, she arranges for her charge’s release. 

Subplot:  Cagney visits her brother Brian’s family for the first time in twelve years. Cagney and Brian clash over his older daughter Bridget, who’s a lot like Cagney.


Director: Alexander Singer

Written by: Georgia Jeffries

Cagney and Lacey investigate a plutonium theft: two yuppie thieves steal a car containing a small vial of the metal. When the FBI agent assigned to the investigation pulls jurisdiction on Cagney and Lacey and takes the case away from them, concerns are raised about nuclear responsibility and the government’s handling of the problem. 

Subplot:  The Laceys make an offer on their dream house. 

Cagney turns an uncomfortable 40.


Director: Jeffrey Hayden

Written by: Hannah Louise Shearer

Revisions by Patricia Green

When an exemplary labor leader is killed execution style, Cagney and Lacey search for a connection with the mob. The connection turns out to be that he was mistakenly killed in his drug-dealing son’s place. 

Subplot:  Cagney’s niece arrives unexpectedly from Los Angeles and gives Cagney her first taste of parenting. 

Cagney gifts Lacey with a British nanny when Harvey’s mother has to be out of town.


Note: Emmy award for Georg Stanford Brown, Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series

Director: Georg Stanford Brown

Written by: Liz Coe

The 14th Precinct is shattered when Newman is shot outside the court house. While the murder investigation becomes top priority, each detective deals with the death in his or her own way. It turns out the shooter had no reason for killing Newman. He just wanted to see if he could commit a murder and get away with it. 

Cagney, who is masking her grief with humor, is shattered by the revelation that the killing was random. At last, she tries to deal with her true sadness about Newman’s untimely death.

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