Episode 233: “Directing Miami Vice and Cagney & Lacey | Jan Eliasberg”

“I was quite set on theater. I was going to go out to Los Angeles for one year -- and that was it. Then I was going to go back to New York and devote myself to the theater. It didn’t work out that way.” -- Jan Eliasberg
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The Conversation

  • How do you get 10,000 hours of experience when directing requires so much time, money and people: Europe or Yale?
  • What can Shakespeare and Ibsen teach you about directing TV? Everything…
  • Frances McDormand, Angela Bassett, John Turturo, Tony Shalhoub and Courtney Vance -- how do you quickly figure out what different actors need to create great performances?
  • What happens when you direct a play about South African apartheid in St. Louis in the early 1980s?
  • On shadowing directors: “I’m already a director -- what am I doing watching these people? I mean, they’re good, but I’m good, too. And that was the kind of confidence -- or maybe you could say arrogance, fearlessness - -that it takes to go into a field that is predominantly male and actually make a dent and get a job.”
  • How a twisty game of cat-and-mouse with Barney Rosensweig led to Jan’s first directing gig -- on Cagney & Lacey. (S5, EP13 -- “Act of Conscience”).
  • Directing L.A. Law -- and David Kelly’s very first script!
  • How asking others for advice is a gift that goes both ways.
  • Directing two classic, fan-favorite episodes of Miami Vice.
  • Jan gets her first feature film in 1988: How I Got Into College -- but you won’t believe what happened to her on Day Two of filming…
  • Past Midnight -- working with the great Rutger Hauer and Natasha Richardson.
  • Is the window for women directors opening or closing? Jan gives us her take.

So, join Susan, Sharon -- and Jan -- as they talk Dennis Farina, Michael Moriarty, Rutger Hauer, Paul Giamatti, Daniel Craig, Meg Foster, Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz, Kirsten Dunst, George Clooney, Patricia Arquette, Stanley Tucci -- and creamsicles!

Our Audio-ography

Find out more about Jan at JanEliasberg.com.

Buy Jan’s new novel Hannah’s War at Bookshop.

Read Michael Cieply's 1988 article on Jan and other fired women directors at LA Times.  


Catch 90s TV Baby Serita Fontanesi’s “Not Ugly” podcast at Apple.


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Credits: 80s TV Ladies™ Episode 233: “Directing Miami Vice and Cagney & Lacey | Jan Eliasberg”

Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem. Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson. Guest: Jan Eliasberg. Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey. Producer: Melissa Roth. Associate Producer: Sergio Perez. Music by Amy Engelhardt. Copyright 2024 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.