Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly won six Emmys playing policewomen Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacy on CBS' "Cagney & Lacey." The series won as best drama in 1985 and 1986.

Its creator and producer, Barney Rosenzweig, said the series "brought to me about everything I ever wanted."

But "Cagney & Lacey" is over now and in its spot is "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" (Monday at 10 on CBS). Without Daly, who went off to star in the stage musical "Gypsy," Gless is going it alone this time.

The first day of work on "Rosie O'Neill," Daly sent a huge yellow balloon and a card that said, 'From Your Partner." Gless was so touched she cried.

"Television has been so good to me," said Gless, 46. "When I decided to return after a two-year hiatus, I chose the series format. I wanted to do a series because I wanted a family to go to every day."

Clearly, the patriarch of her "family" is producer Rosenzweig, whose company produces the series.

"Barney said, 'You can't go home again, Sharon.' And I said, 'Bull -- -- -- -- .' I didn't want to do it without him and he didn't want to do it. He said, 'I hate development.' So I said, 'All right.'"

So they're doing it.

Barney Rosenzweig and Sharon Gless say they are each other's best friend. He once said, while he was married to his second wife, television executive Barbara Corday, that "if Brigham Young were president, I'd ask them both {Gless and Daly} to marry me."

Gless isn't married. And plainly, she's nuts about the man.

"For women, he's the best," she said. "I think at heart he's an old chauvinist. He doesn't mean to be, but Barney is at an age {54} where chauvinism was the way he grew up. Barney is basically a decent human being and he's always believed in equality for everyone. And also, more than any other man, he gets it about women. He basically loves women and the need for women to be equal."

Rosenzweig's Rosie O'Neill is a lawyer who is coming out of a long-time marriage (she finally signed her divorce papers in the Oct. 1 installment) that included Kim, a 15-year-old stepdaughter, played by Lisa Rieffel. Her trials, of course, are personal as well as legal ones.

"Barney created this whole thing," Gless explained. "I didn't want a stepdaughter, but Barney was vehement about it. I said, 'Either give me a daughter, or not. This child isn't my blood.' He said, 'It is a part of your past.'

"The truth of it was that Barney was right. My character never had the time to have the children. This daughter is by her husband's first marriage."

Rosenzweig also has three daughters by his first marriage, all now between 26 and 30 years old.

On the other hand, Gless got to name her character.

"I liked the name Rosie -- Rosie: You can be a child or an old woman -- but for her first name the writers picked Fiona. I said, 'Fiona!?' That's the way Rosie feels, too. She doesn't use it."

When Rosie O'Neill's sister gave birth to a daughter in the early episodes, the infant was named Rose.

"For her last name I wanted something that sounds pretty. Barney wanted me to pick Rosie McCarthy. But my grandfather, who was Howard Hughes' attorney, was Neil, so I added another 'L' and made it O'Neill." That was a tribute to actor Dick O'Neill, too.

Dick O'Neill played Charlie Cagney, Christine Cagney's father, who died of alcoholism as the series closed its 1986-87 season. At the time, Gless said, "He was like my own father. We look very much like father and daughter ... I told him, the last episode is my love letter to you."

Rosie is evolving, Gless said, and she isn't certain how the character will change. "And that's the truth. I'm not sure yet who Rosie is. This is a woman who is going through life changes. She's accepted the desertion by her husband -- she's accepted it physically, I don't know emotionally.

"We open every show with a therapy session. That was my idea and that's my favorite part of the show. She's very emotional about her feelings. In the three minutes, I can get across what she's going through."

Rosie O'Neill has taken her maiden name back after her marriage to Patrick Ginty, with whom she owned a law firm. When she left, she made a good financial settlement, including keeping a Mercedes. When she got into a fender-bender two weeks ago, however, she realized Ginty had canceled its insurance and she'd failed to renew it.

"Barney says that she moved to a little house in Santa Monica," said Gless. "The only thing she took with her is a piece of art that she hated but that he adored."

As a public defender assigned to felonies, Rosie O'Neill defends people she might never have met in her cushier life at the law firm. Two weeks ago she defended an unrepentant rapist and won the case on a technicality, setting him free. Gless said several people have asked her whether the man will show up again. No decision, she said, but ...

Rosenzweig considered making Rosie O'Neill a social worker, said Gless, then became intrigued by the Stuart murder case in Boston, in which the city for a time believed Stuart's claim that a black man was the killer. Rosie, he decided, would be a public defender.

"I said, 'Law show -- I think that's overserved,'" said Gless. "But Barney always zigs when everyone else is zagging. And he said, 'No one has done that side of the law.' Public defending, it's the least popular. They burn out very fast. They're idealistic young lawyers and they're going to make sure that due process is served, that everyone gets a fair trial. But in order to defend the innocent you have to be willing to defend the guilty as well. I don't always get to win for the ones I know are right. Sometimes I win for the ones I know are guilty."

Now there's a debate over whether to bring into the series Rosie's ex-husband, who left her for a younger woman, Bridget Kane (Helen Hunt). Rosie and Bridget meet in an episode two weeks from now.

"Barney and I are having a fight about that," he said. "He wants to bring the guy around in the Christmas show. I don't want to. I don't want to see him. What I want to show is therapy. Right now, Rosie is self-doubting. Barney says this show is about self-esteem and passion -- her self-esteem, which is very low, and passion, about which she has a lot.

"She's like a lot of women whose husbands get to mid-life and need to be reconfirmed with a young body. That's about him, not her. The divorce wasn't her fault."

"The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" came to television without a pilot, a vote of confidence from CBS' Entertainment President Jeff Sagansky for the talents of Rosenzweig and Gless. Sagansky was also in a bit of a bind. Connie Chung decided to have a baby, leaving her show's timeslot open on CBS's Monday night schedule.

"Rosie O'Neill," to be a midseason replacement and slated for only eight episodes, was already underway. Now, Gless said, the order is for 13.

"So far so good," Gless said. "Our viewers are slightly different {from those who watched 'Cagney & Lacey'}. We have more men. She's a woman who just happens to be a lawyer, and they find her softer than Cagney."

And then there's Rosie O'Neill's 24-year-old lover, Steve Cunningham (Doug Wert), who will show up for about four episodes.

"He was there building shelves and he heard her trying to talk to her husband on the phone. She's crying and he comforts her. They just fall into bed. Some men at the network were upset about my going to bed with a young man. But the women at the network were all saying, 'Great!'"

She laughed, then turned serious. "But for Rosie, it wasn't so great. I want Rosie to be her own self."