Cagney & Lacey

Season 5 Episode 9

Old Ghosts

0
Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Dec 09, 1985 on CBS
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
8 votes
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Chris is accused of being a coward when a robbery suspect eludes her in a chase. Meanwhile, her brother, Brian, comes from California to check on their father.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Christine's brother, Brian, flies in from L.A. and tries to cajole the ailing Charlie to move west for his health. Meanwhile, Chris' efforts to break up a restaurant robbery are interpreted as cowardly by the owner.moreless

    9.8
    The depth of the Cagney family dysfunction is explored for the first time in this priceless episode. David Ackroyd is terrifically restrained as tax attorney/absentee son/brother Brian. The early restaurant scene with Christine

    just drips with unspoken animosity. We are dying to know what exactly the beef is between the two.

    This is just a guess (because I know nothing of the genesis of this series) but one of the Barbaras who created this show, Cordray or Avedon, must have had personal experience with or intimate knowledge of some kind of a real person who became the inspiration for the character of Christine Cagney. Otherwise, this rich-girl-cum-gritty-street-cop could never have been brought off in anything close to a believable fashion. I totally buy Christine as a tough, streetwise, self-made cop, but I simply cannot buy her back-story, as much as I want to.

    Having said that, the beauty of the Christine character is her vulnerability, the ice-queen facade thinly veiling a lonely woman, worn desperately tired by the strain of the tough-guy coverup.

    We love Christine and we root for her because we are allowed by the superb writers to see right through her. She is convinced she must portray the Superwoman/Supercop image always, and is in the TRYING that we come to care for her so much. We working stiffs (especially the females) know how hard it is to project the in-control-achiever image ALL the time. Therefore, when the occasional crack appears and displays the vulnerability underneath, we immediately identify with the vulnerability . . . and with the attempt to deny it.

    In other words, we root for Christine to succeed, but are secretly glad when she does fail, because it lets off a little pressure, if nothing else. And of course all this is underscored by the fact that Chris' partner, MaryBeth, NEVER places that burden of perfection on herself in the first place. The job for MaryBeth, is just that . . . a JOB. Where does she get off, anyway?

    The "B" story, the actual cop stuff, feels forced and almost goes unnoticed, except for three elements: 1) Christine's suspension makes her even more vulnerable, because she no longer has her cop identity to hide behind; 2) fellow detective and rival (and male mirror) Newman concedes some respect for Chris and actually goes to bat for her; 3)MayBeth is actually able to bully Chris into submission (for Chris' own good, of course) and Chris actually recognizes this and expresses gratitude for it to MaryBeth.moreless
Tony LaTorre

Tony LaTorre

Harvey Lacey, Jr.

Tyne Daly

Tyne Daly

Det. Mary Beth Lacey

Sharon Gless

Sharon Gless

Sgt. Chris Cagney

Carl Lumbly

Carl Lumbly

Det. Mark Petrie

Dan Shor

Dan Shor

Det. Jonah Newman

Harvey Atkin

Harvey Atkin

Desk Sgt. Ronald Coleman

David Ackroyd

David Ackroyd

Brian Cagney

Guest Star

Tom Troupe

Tom Troupe

Dr. Shapiro

Guest Star

Theresa Saldana

Theresa Saldana

Dr. Strathmore

Guest Star

Dick O'Neill

Dick O'Neill

Charlie Cagney

Recurring Role

Paul Mantee

Paul Mantee

Det. Corassa

Recurring Role

Michael Fairman

Michael Fairman

Department Inspector Knelman

Recurring Role

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