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Before there was ‘Mare of Easttown’: Groundbreaking female cops on TV

Before there was ‘Mare of Easttown’: Groundbreaking female cops on TV

Kate Winslet’s tough but tender small-town police detective Mare Sheehan of HBO’s acclaimed crime thriller “Mare of Easttown” is the latest in a long line of female TV detectives including S. Epatha Merkerson (“Law & Order”); Helen Mirren (“Prime Suspect”); Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer); Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: Svu”) and Regina King (“Watchmen”).

Unfortunately, it took an inordinate amount of time for actresses to get a fair shake in police procedurals. Early TV crime dramas were inundated with the likes of taciturn toughies Lee Marvin (“M Squad”), Robert Taylor (“The Detectives”), Jack Webb (“Dragnet”) and Broderick Crawford (“Highway Patrol”). Way too much testosterone.

But slowly the dynamics began to change especially with the rise of the Women’s Movement. Here’s a look at five trailblazing female cop shows who paved the way.

Beverly Garland (“Decoy”)

After macho actor after macho actor as police detectives and cops,

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