Sharon Gless

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A TV show that (almost) fills ...

Question: A TV show that (almost) fills the void left by my dearly departed Alias, USA's Burn Notice has become my new favorite show. While it's not as flashy as Alias, and the twists and turns not nearly as breathtaking, it does manage to seamlessly blend the best of all worlds: action, comedy, espionage, sexual tension, family dramedy, escapade-of-the week storylines and a series-spanning mystery to solve (who put out the "burn notice" on Michael and why). It's as if someone threw Alias, Moonlighting, CSI: Miami and MacGyver into the spin cycle and out popped Burn Notice. Jeffrey Donovan, whom I only remembered as the smarmy client in Hitch, delivers such a charmingly witty performance as burned CIA operative Michael Weston. The spectacular casting of his cohorts — bold-n-brassy yet sexy former-IRA assassin (Gabrielle Anwar), washed-up alcoholic ex-spook with uncertain loyalties (Bruce Campbell), not to mention his formerly estranged, not-as-helpless-as-she-seems mother (the ... read more

"Broken Rules"

I know this blog is coming a little late in the game, but I’ve been watching this show since the beginning. So whether you’ve been a fan from the first episode or a Johnny-come-lately, welcome to the party.The PlayersMichael Westen: a former spook who’s been burned. He's deposited in Miami without any money, credit or job references. He takes on local cases to make money while he tries to find out who burned him.Fiona: Michael’s former flame, who still carries a torch. Her accent in the first episode (and her name) might have us believe she’s Irish, but she can fake an American accent pretty well. She’s former IRA and met Michael on the job.Sam: a spy buddy of Michael’s forced to keep tabs on him. Sam’s living comfortably off his pension and can’t have his friendship with Michael interfere with that. When Michael discovers his duplicity, the agency sends in new surveillance.Jason Bly: the new guy. He works for a branch of the NSA and isn&... read more

DVD Pick of the Week: May 8, 2007

Cagney & Lacey - Season 1 courtesy MGM (Video and DVD)

It's Wednesday, so you know what that means.... It's "Pick of the Week" time!May 8 brings us a couple of Season 1 sets, a couple of complete series sets, with the only volume release being Voltron.I'm drawn toward choosing from two releases this week — Cagney & Lacey Season 1 and The 4400 Season 3. I decided to go with Cagney because it's a long-awaited series, though The 4400 has more bonus material, a better transfer and better audio. But it's a newer show, so that's to be expected.I've been forever linked to Cagney & Lacey for obvious reasons (hint: it has something to do with my last name). Some people have a hard time spelling "Lacey" so I would just say, "Like Cagney & Lacey" and they would realize it's "Lacey" and not "Lacy." Cagney & Lacey, for those who aren't aware, started as a TV movie, then received a short first season before airing a complete second season. Sharon Gless joined the series in Season 2, so MGM decided it was best to release these epi... read more

Matt Roush reviews The State Within

Even without the accents, you'd know The State Within (Feb. 17, 18 and 24 at 9 pm/ET on BBC America) was a British spy thriller for one reason: The hero doesn't pick up a gun until the final night, and he never fires it. Which doesn't mean there isn't a high body count in this frighteningly smart three-part miniseries. The State Within, from the BBC but set mostly in Washington, D.C., is one of those bloody exercises in paranoid conspiracy where you wonder if any of the good guys — such as they ambiguously are — will survive to the end of the story. "This makes Watergate look like a parking violation," says one of the players in this nightmare scenario, which begins when a passenger plane heading to England explodes after takeoff from Dulles Airport. The cause: a bomb, with a British Muslim implicated. Handling the diplomatic fallout is British Ambassad read more

How can Showtime bring ...

Question: How can Showtime bring Brotherhood back after killing its most compelling character (Michael)? I mean, doesn't the fact that there is no longer a second brother kind of make the whole title moot? Answer: I checked with the other big Brotherhood fan in the office, and we agreed that while Michael was badly beaten in the shocking season finale, there's no reason to think he's dead. Heaven, or in his case hell, forbid. Look for him to return in the second season. And if you're a true Jason Isaacs fan, here's some more good news: He's the star of a much-anticipated BBC America miniseries airing next month, The State Within, a political thriller in which he plays the British ambassador to Washington, with Sharon Gless as the secretary of defense. Can't wait to watch that one ... read more

I don't have any wagers, ...

Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly, Cagney & Lacey

Question: I don't have any wagers, arguments or bets to settle. I just have a question, if that's OK. Was there another actress who played Cagney on Cagney & Lacey before Sharon Gless did, or is my memory failing already? Thank you for your time.


Answer: Actually, there were two, Ruth. Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H) first played Det. Chris Cagney in the CBS TV-movie that aired in 1981. However, after that movie proved successful enough for the network executives, who didn't initially believe the concept was strong enough for a show to order up a series, Swit was unavailable. In stepped actress Meg Foster, and the reason for her abrupt departure, together with the lack of network spin on it, provides an interesting lesson in how different today's political climate is from that of 20 years ago.

"[T]oo read more

Who costarred on the old TV ...

Question: Who costarred on the old TV show To Catch a Thief with Robert Wagner? I say it was Eddie Albert, but my husband insists it was Norman Fell. Thanks much.


Answer: Well, I insist that both of you need a little straightening out, Ms. Wendy. For one thing, To Catch a Thief was the Hitchcock film that starred Cary Grant and Grace Kelly as a former high-class thief and the socialite who had designs on him. It Takes a Thief was the Wagner vehicle that swiped the basic concept and made it into a series, which ran on ABC's schedule from January 1968 to September 1970. The general setup was that high-end thief Alexander Mundy (Wagner) was cooling his heels in prison but was offered a chance to work for the government on clandestine operations. Since tooling around Europe and living the high life with various gorgeous babes was more read more

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