Judge's Cop Wife was model for Cagney & Lacey

LANCE ITO, the judge in the O.J. Simpson case, is married to the top woman cop in Los Angeles, who was half of a female homicide team that inspired the hit TV show, Cagney & Lacey.

Capt. Margaret "Peggy" York, now head of L.A.'s fraud/forgery unit, and her former partner, Helen Kidder, both now 50, rose to fame in the'80s and were the basis of the popular CBS cop drama.

The duo became partners by default. "None of the male detectives wanted to work with us," says Kidder, the team's Cagney, while York was the model for Lacey.

In an exclusive STAR interview, Kidder tells how they lived the fast-paced life of Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey, played on TV by Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly.

"We got worldwide attention in June, 1980, when we discovered the first two bodies in what turned out to be a serial killing," Kidder says.

As more bodies turned up, York and Kidder were put on the case and soon got calls from Hollywood agents intrigued by the idea of two tough women detectives who dressed in Chanel-style suits.

"We finally signed with Jack Webb, the original Joe Friday on Dragnet," says Kidder. "That deal eventually came to a halt But it sparked the idea for a female police show, which became Cagney & Lacey."

Ito, 43, met bride-to-be Peggy, who has three grown sons by her first husband, in the line of duty. "We met at 4 a.m. at a homicide scene, both looking over a dead body," says Ito, who then worked for the L.A- County district attorney. They wed in 1981.

Kidder adds: "Peggy hasn't said much about the O.J. case. Her husband has signed all kinds of confidentiality agreements." When STAR tried to contact Capt York, a police colleague said she was unavailable for comment.

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