Blast took part in a conference call with “Burn Notice” star Sharon Gless and guest star Tyne Daly. We’re probably too young to remember here at Blast, BUT these two television ladies worked together in the 80s on a little show called “Cagney & Lacey,” where they played a couple of detectives.

REPORTER: It’s great to hear the two of you together. How did you all feel about the prospect of re-teaming?

Sharon Gless: I’ve been trying to talk Tyne into coming and doing our show. Tyne said she’ll do it if she could play a mute. But Matt Nix said I’m not paying Tyne Daly to not hear that voice of hers so.

REPORTER: Had you all tried to work together in the past few years?

Sharon Gless: I did Tyne’s show, the Judging Amy.

Tyne Daly: Sharon came when we were in trouble because of – my colleague had died, Richard Crenna, and we didn’t quite – we were thrown into a very unpleasant situation. Sharon came and pinch hit and was lovely on our show.

And so I figured to do this Burn Notice, you know, turn about is fair play.

Sharon Gless: Yeah. We’ve been doing it a long time. You know, so, yeah, we developed something on Cagney & Lacey. And I find it very easy and wonderful working with Tyne when she was with us. People got so – when we were in the makeup trailer we’re sitting just chatting and laughing before we begin and that isn’t sort of the tone of our makeup trailer so everybody was going boy I wish that we did that more.

REPORTER: What kind of a vibe did you get from Burn Notice when you went to work on the show?

Tyne Daly: That Sharon was safe and sound, that they love her there. They admire her there. They – and I, you know, I threatened everybody if they weren’t treating her right that I would lean on them, you know. But it seems to be a good working place.

I don’t know that we’ll ever replicate the kind of work we did in our primes, you know. We had the advantage of – let’s see, an opportunity to do something that hadn’t been done on TV before. But I figure, you know, the two of us are continuing to do what we do. And if we do it with some kind of class I’m grateful for that.

Sharon Gless: I’ll tell you what happened — When Tyne walked in – we always walked in together – over that set the likes of which I’ve never seen. I said to the crew, I said, I didn’t get this kind of respect when I walked in. But the two of us together – I was fascinated because I know my crew. They were just so, so respectful wanting to watch us work together.

Tyne Daly: And we felt like, you know, it’s kind of like bicycle riding – this is Tyne – you know, with Sharon we just fall into a rhythm and it was nice and easy. It was really fun. We had only what three or four scenes but the – it felt like a very great tennis match.

REPORTER: When you – going back in time do you guys remember when you first started working together. Tyne, what did you learn from Sharon? And Sharon, what did you learn from Tyne? We’ll start with Tyne.

Tyne Daly: That laughing – that laughing is important in a situation. When you’re working really hard laughing is important to do as much as humanly possible. We laughed – I think we laughed everyday. And there were some tense days too but we laughed anyway. That’s what I learned from Sharon.

Sharon Gless: Thank you Tyne. Thank you. I think the more tense – the more tense the situation became the more we started laughing.

Tyne Daly: There’s hysterical laughing too, there’s nervous laughing, that’s right.

Sharon Gless: When I first started the show I learned generosity towards another actor. I’d never seen anything like that. Tyne was so generous in welcoming me to the show. I was her third Cagney. She liked the last one she worked with. And made me feel like I was welcome and it was my home now. And she was just wonderful.

And I try to do that when we have guests who are nervous, you know, I always remember how generous she was to me so.

REPORTER: Can you give us some insight about what’s going to happen in this particular episode too from your perspective – from your character’s?

Sharon Gless: It’s very, very unusual the situations that they put me in with Tyne. They had me go undercover. They had to have me go undercover because they were busy. And – their characters were busy. So we sent (mom) in and the person that I went to deal with was Tyne Daly.

REPORTER: Tyne, are you interested in doing like a regular TV gig and if Tina (her character in “Burn Notice”) was offered up as a regular gig would you take it?

Tyne Daly: Well at the moment I don’t have time. I’m doing the Caberet, I actually open tonight in San Francisco and then New York and LA and wherever else it is unintelligible. Yeah so I’m doing my Caberet and after that I’m obliged to play in Washington.

When I finished Judging Amy I was ready to take some time to be in a kind of theater where you’re in the same room as your audience. So, you know, musical theater, legitimate theater, cabaret all have to do with being with your audience at the same time and not being on film.

When I tire of this we’ll see if anybody wants to ever take my picture again. That’s in 10 years time.

REPORTER: Ooutside of working together once in a while since Cagney & Lacey are you in touch? Do you guys see each other, you know, socially?

Sharon Gless: Whenever we can. We live in different cities but we’re very, very close. Tyne, oh never mind, that’s right. Yeah, we…

Tyne Daly: Yeah, right now we’re both in San Francisco. Sharon is opening a play. I’m opening at the Raz Room and our schedules are exactly the same so we’re going to be able to maybe have a, you know, a glass of wine and a hamburger together. But we’re not going to be able to see each other’s shows which is too bad.

Sharon Gless: I know.

Tyne Daly: Staying busy is great. The drawback is you don’t have a lot of leisure time. But I am always grateful to Cagney & Lacey because I got my friend Sharon out of it. You know, she’s a real friend and a friend for life. And that doesn’t always happen in our business. It’s really pretty rare.

REPORTER: Well in what ways do both of you see how women on TV today are benefiting from the ground you paved on Cagney & Lacey?

Tyne Daly: Sharon?

Sharon Gless: Yeah. Shoot, I knew you were going to say that. How are women benefiting today was your question?

REPORTER: Yeah, from the ground you paved on Cagney & Lacey.

Sharon Gless: There are some wonderful shows on starring really, really wonderful women. It’s mostly motion picture stars that – who would never touch television who now are flying to it who are playing strong women – the leads. There’s no one – there’s never been a format like Cagney & Lacey again where it was two sharing it.

But I was just told that there is some producer now who’s going to try and do a show like Cagney & Lacey. I hope we had some impact, I mean, there’s some wonderful women on the air now in strong roles.

Tyne Daly: Well, you know, television serves very briefly in its own time as far as I’m concerned. So we hit a very lucky time when we could reflect – because I don’t think television leads, I think it reflects. We could reflect some of the influences that were happening in the society.

Women come up to me and say how grateful they were that they spent time with their moms watching TV or that, you know, they were encouraged to be professionals because of the images that they saw on – saw us do.

We served (then), whether or not that thing would be of use in the 21st Century I don’t know. We’re onto third-wave feminism and a whole bunch of stuff that I’m – don’t understand completely. But I do think we did good service in our time. And I can stay proud of that.

Sharon Gless: While we were on the air – this is Sharon – (unintelligible) got lots of mail from young girls saying we’re going to join the force.

Tyne Daly: Oh God.

Sharon Gless: And I always wanted to say are you crazy, you could get killed. But now it’s been 20 years later and I’ve met so many of them who are now have put in their 20 and they’re retiring.

REPORTER: Well what do you – what do you each appreciate about each other now that you, you know, that you couldn’t during the height of Cagney & Lacey?

Tyne Daly: …we’ve been pretty good at appreciating each other.

Sharon Gless: Yeah. I still appreciate Tyne’s talent and I appreciate her friendship.

Tyne Daly: I am encouraged that Sharon keeps finding new things to do and new ways to be, you know, of service as an actor and so I can too. If I get blue and I get bummed I think well, you know, Gless has gone to London and done a play and she’s developing a new plan thing. And so I…

Sharon Gless: If Gless can do it…

Tyne Daly: Really but, you know, I wanted to be a long distance runner, you know, when I started out. And Sharon is being one and I’m being one in a profession where usually, you know, you do your sprint and then it’s over…

Sharon Gless: Yeah.

Tyne Daly: …especially for women in some way. Women don’t tend to last in this business. They think their shelf life is much shorter than the guy’s. So I’m encouraged by Miss Gless.

Sharon Gless: Thank you my friend and I you.

REPORTER: What are the differences you’ve seen in your opportunities since Cagney & Lacey? — Differences as in the culture changing, roles available for women.

Sharon Gless: I’m not equipped to discuss the culture but there are better parts now for women than there were when we were television. I think that’s why we got the acclaim we did. And while we were on the air no other woman ever won the Emmy. And it’s because we had the material.

But I think Cagney & Lacey certainly had impact. And it’s probably one of the reasons why there’s so many good women’s roles today. There were not at that time.

Tyne Daly: I think though on another level, you know, you make your own opportunities, you make your own opportunities, you find them. There are places to go and serve as an actor and be, you know, entertaining or amusing or interesting if you’re willing to find them.

If you think there’s only one place to do it like it has to be Broadway or it has to be Hollywood then you limit yourself. I’m enjoying at this point well after my prime, you know, being able to go and be an actor or a singer or whatever I’m doing in different places.

I think actors limit themselves to a specific location and that’s the only allowable success. Does that make any sense?

So if you accept limitations then, yeah, you’ll be limited. If you don’t accept limitations then the horizon is pretty vast.

REPORTER:: We know you’re both doing a lot of theater these days, Sharon, you’re doing the Round Heeled Woman in San Francisco and Tyne, you have your play right now in addition to all the past Broadway stuff you’ve done. We’re just wondering if you could describe the process a little bit especially about starting a new show, Sharon, with the Round Heeled Woman.

Sharon Gless: Oh the process. This has gone on – I bought this – the option on this book about nine years ago. It’s gone through many lives and now it’s actually happening here in San Francisco. But it’s been a long time coming, long, long, long. And I’m nervous.

But I don’t know really how to describe the process it just took time and patience and finding the right people to do it; I can’t do it alone, you know, so…

REPORTER: Do you guys give each other advice about your respective shows?

Sharon Gless: Well I fit Tyne in the script and she applauded my courage.

Tyne Daly: I think – this is Tyne talking – I think we’ve been pretty good supporters of each other, you know, since Cagney & Lacey. I’m interested in Sharon’s work and what she’s doing and trying to follow it and she in mine. Right now we’re both in San Francisco and yet our schedules are so much the same that I’m not going to get to see her play and she’s not to get to come over and see the Cabaret which is too bad. But…

Sharon Gless: Yeah.

Tyne Daly: …but I think we don’t hesitate to, you know, tell each other our opinions. And you can’t get straight opinions out of a lot of people in this business. So I think in some ways I rely on Sharon to give me the straight story. You know, she came to New York to see my – me try this Cabaret thing at Feinstein’s in New York and was not only a supporter and a booster but also, you know, somebody who told me the straight story about what she liked and what she didn’t.

Sharon Gless: She was fabulous.

REPORTER: Would you guys ever consider doing…

Sharon Gless: And I loved her shoes.

REPORTER: …a play together?

Tyne Daly: I guess – are you the best fashionista lady? I never spent so much money on shoes in my whole life and I….

I’m now working this Cabaret all over the country to work off the shoes because….

Sharon Gless: Absolutely, I would.

Tyne Daly: Sure we actually…there’s a time, yeah.

Sharon Gless: We actually were approached by a company in London to do a project that just turned – time wise it didn’t work out for either of us but.

Tyne Daly: There’ll be a time. I think there’ll be a time to say if the gods subscribe. You know, years ago, I mean, years ago we were approached to do some production somewhere of Arsenic and Old Lace. And we both kind of got, you know, a little huffy and said we’re too – but in another 10 years, Shar – Arsenic and Old Lace might be right up our street.

It’s nice to know it’s over there in case we need it when we get…

Sharon Gless: Yeah.

Tyne Daly: …when we get well into our 70s. Sure…

Sharon Gless: But in the interim I’d love her to come back – in the interim I’d lover her to come back to Burn Notice. They loved her.

Tyne Daly: I had a good time. I had a good time.

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About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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