Two more reboots of classic TV shows are returning to the small screen, as CBS confirms pilot orders for updated versions of Magnum P.I. and Cagney and Lacey. The award winning cop dramas were big hits back in the 1980s, and while it was already known that a new version of Magnum P.I. was in the works, the announcement of a new incarnation of Cagney and Lacey comes as something of a surprise.
The original Magnum P.I. made a star out of Tom Selleck and involved the title character making a living in Hawaii as a detective, with the aid of some close friends. It ran on CBS from 1980 to 1988, and consistently ranked as one of the most-watched U.S. programs during the first five seasons. It also earned Selleck and John Hillerman (who played the character Higgins) Golden Globes and an Emmy each for their performances. While Magnum was more action-orientated, Cagney and Lacey had an emphasis on procedural cop drama and the relationship between the two female detectives working in Manhattan. Running for seven seasons on CBS between 1982 to 1988, it starred Sharon Gless (The Gifted) and Tyne Daly (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as the two title characters, with private lives that were as important to the stories as the crimes committed in the precinct. Both actresses also picked up awards for their performances in the show, and reunited for four TV movies in the '90s as they reprised their roles.
Now Deadline reports that CBS has officially picked up six pilots for upcoming shows, which include the confirmed reboots of Magnum P.I. and Cagney and Lacey. Peter Lenkov, the writer and producer behind Hawaii Five-O and MacGyver, will also serve the same duties on the new version of Magnum. Bridget Carpenter, who worked on HBO’s Westworld, will be the writer and executive producer on the updated Cagney and Lacey.
The reboot of Magnum will see the millennial version of the private detective as a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who specialises in "lost causes." In this version, the gruff military character of Higgins will become MI6 agent Juliet Higgins, and the show will deal with the subject of PTSD among the lighter touches of action and comedy. The specifics of the rebooted Cagney and Lacey are not yet known, but it is believed to be a valuable part of CBS looking to provide more female characters and writers on the network, with many of the gender issues covered in the original series being just as relevant today as in the '80s.
CBS seems to be gripped by a desire to reboot plenty of its older properties with Murphy Brown recently announced for a comeback. Other networks are following the trend, and within the last few days both Charmed and Greatest American Hero have had pilot orders for reboots as well. The effectiveness of the new versions of these much-loved cop shows will depend on the way their strongest aspects are updated, without losing their original appeal. Hopefully both can be worked to keep their quality and relevancy. More news on those reboots of Magnum P.I. and Cagney and Lacey as we get it.