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Margaret York, an L.A.P.D. Model for ‘Cagney & Lacey,’ Dies at 80

“These people either look at us as a mother figure,” Ms. York told The Los Angeles Times in 1993, “or they think we are too stupid to know what to do with the information.”

Ms. Kidder said she thought the pair obtained so many confessions because they had actually listened to people. “We didn’t start putting words in their mouths,” she said in the interview. “We gave them a chance to tell their stories.”

Because of the energy of the women’s movement, Ms. Kidder said, “The timing was just right for ‘Cagney & Lacey.’” She herself didn’t care for the series, thinking it unrealistic and “too New York,” by which she meant “brusque,” but she was glad that it showed women in professional roles other than teacher or secretary.

Ms. York wasn’t thrilled with it, either, telling The Los Angeles Times in 1982 that in its earliest iteration “Cagney & Lacey” depicted “two women trying to do exactly what men do,” rather than showing the special skills and attributes that women could bring to the job.

But the show contributed to a national conversation, fueled by sex discrimination suits and consent decrees, about whether women could and should be police officers.

Even after the show was overhauled and started winning awards, Ms. York rarely watched it. “She was a mother and a busy professional,” Judge Ito said in a phone interview. “I don’t think watching it was at the top of her to-do list.”

Margaret Ann Mandley was born on Aug. 4, 1941, in Canton, in northeast Ohio. Her parents, Ralph and Hazel (Moore) Mandley, were florists. They raised their family in the nearby village of Minerva until they moved to the Los Angeles area for better economic opportunities when Peggy, as she was known, was 13.

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