Let's take a quick look at the casting discrepancies for 'Cagney & Lacey'.....
'Cagney & Lacey' is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network for seven seasons from March 25, 1982 to May 16, 1988. A police procedural, the show stars Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless as New York City police detectives who lead very different lives: Christine Cagney (Gless) was a single, career-minded woman, while Mary Beth Lacey (Daly) was a married working mother. The series was set in a fictionalized version of Manhattan's 14th Precinct (known as "Midtown South"). For six consecutive years, one of the two lead actresses won the Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama (four wins for Daly, two for Gless), a winning streak unmatched in any major category by a show.
And that's how the show will always be remembered.
But the role of Chris Cagney was not always played by Sharon Gless.
It all began with a pilot film starring Tyne Daly as Mary Beth Lacey, but it was Loretta Swit who played her partner. Unfortunately for her, the Powers That Be behind 'M*A*S*H' would not let Swit out of her contract in order to take part in the series. So the role was recast with Meg Foster.
But Ms. Foster only appeared in the first six episodes arc of the series as a mid-season replacement before the role was recast yet again with Ms. Gless. And the rest, as they say, is History.
From several reports I've seen, CBS wanted Foster replaced because she was coming off as too aggressive and they were afraid she would be perceived as being a lesbian. (I always wondered why they didn't make the same decision about Gless. The way those suits thought - if they even bothered to - Gless' voice at times might have made them see her as being a bit too butch as well.)
Regarding the casting of Loretta Swit in the role, that's a softball splainin. That pilot movie is shipped off to Toobworld-MOTW, where many of the TV movies which just don't fit into Earth Prime-Time can also be found. And with this Recastaway conundrum, that's the best of all possible Toobworlds for it.
Now, as for those first six episodes which might as well be considered a mini-series.....
Normally I would have cited Occam's Razor on this recasting and gone for the simplest splainin: Those first six episodes took place in that Prequel Toobworld while the remaining bulk of the series claims residence in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.
But in this case, I wanted to take on the challenge of keeping it in the main Toobworld along with the Gless episodes. I felt something more was needed to give the Toobworld Dynamic some of that TV pizazz. It needed a flashier splainin for the Recastaway to keep those first six episodes in Toobworld Prime. Something along the lines of a temporary alien replacement.
And it's all because of those hypnotic eyes of Meg Foster.
Foster has always been stunning with the bluest eyes imaginable. They are practically unearthly! So it was not hard to then imagine that it was an alien who stole Chris Cagney's identity for a few weeks before finally abandoning the ruse and the real Chris Cagney was able to return.
But which alien? Surely it should be an alien whom Ms. Foster had already played in Toobworld.
And that's why I'm going to claim that for a few weeks, Detective Chris Cagney was impersonated by Hera, the Greek demi-goddess and errant wife of Zeus.
You may not ever have considered it, but Hera - as well as all of the demi-gods of mythology (not just the Greek pantheon) - were aliens not of Earth Prime-Time. They were - are! - pan-dimensional beings who crossed over from their home dimension to establish dominion on Toobworld. Some ruled from their seat of power at the locus for the multi-dimensional rift near Mount Olympus; others held sway in the "great white North" of Asgard accessible by the burning rainbow bridge of Bifrost.
I can't speak for all the fictional universes created from Mankind's collective imagination, but for Toobworld, those demi-gods still exist as do their half-breed human spawn like Hercules. (In Toobworld today, Hercules hides in plain sight as the actor Kevin Sorbo.) Some of those demi-gods, like Apollo, will still be around somewhere in the galaxy centuries from now.
All of that information... information... information has already been established in other TV shows. So it's not inconceivable to consider Hera still existing in Toobworld in the 1980s. In fact, she may have "hidden in plain sight" several times over the millennia. Here are two pozz'bilities - the 1700s and the 1880s:
Perhaps her life was in danger from some other demi-god. Let's face it, back in those days of Legend, Hera was "μια ενόχληση" - she had a tendency to really piss people off. It might even have been her husband Zeus spoiling for a bit of a domestic dispute. At least a rematch....
But I think it more likely that the demi-goddess felt the need to be an avenger for a period of time, to make right what once went wrong. Perhaps she was atoning for some past transgression by this action.
And so Hera chose to do her penance in the guise of a detective in the NYPD. She used her magicks to abscond with the real Chris Cagney and hold her as a (hopefully!) pampered prisoner while she impersonated the policewoman.
And neither Chris' partner Mary Beth Lacey, nor Lt. Samuels or any of the other detectives in the squad - Isbecki, La Guardia, or Rob Petrie's third cousin Mark - ever noticed the change. Like most of the demi-gods, Hera had the talent to alter her appearance and so to everybody else she looked just like Christine Cagney.
But because we saw this all play out from our position in the Trueniverse, our perspective showed us Hera as she truly looked. It would be much the same situation years later when we saw Dr. Sam Beckett leap into the lives of various people at different points in his own personal timeline. No matter who they were, we only saw them as they truly looked whenever we saw their reflection. Otherwise, we saw Sam Beckett.
Eventually the demi-goddess must have realized that she could no longer maintain the illusion of being Chris Cagney. Perhaps Hera achieved the goal she was seeking. At any rate, she returned the true Christine to her own life - with her memory of that period erased, of course, and false memories instilled into her mind - before departing through the vortex and back to a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity; the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.......
Thanks to Hera's ability to shape-change, we could make the claim that any TV role assayed by Meg Foster could be the demi-goddess. So with having 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena, Warrior Princess' already to her credits, we just might induct Hera into the TVXOHOF as a Birthday Honors member some day......
That's my splainin and I'm sticking with it.
BCnU!My thanks to John Hadlow for the inspiration for this post. Recently he posted a picture on Facebook of Meg Foster and Tyne Daly as 'Cagney & Lacey' (that last one of the dynamic duo) and I realized I had never addressed this discrepancy before. Probably a good thing as I might not have thought of the Hera connection before now......