Sam Waterston to Exit ‘Law and Order’ After 20 Seasons

Sam Waterston is saying goodbye to Law & Order after 20 seasons.

The actor, 83, announced on Friday, February 2, that he would exit the NBC procedural after more than 400 episodes as Manhattan District Attorney Jack McCoy. His final episode will air on Thursday, February 22, with Tony Goldwyn stepping in as the new DA.

“Greetings, you wonderful people. It’s a pleasure to talk directly like this to the backbone of Law & Order’s absolutely amazing audience,” Waterston told The Hollywood Reporter in a Friday statement. “The time has come for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me. There’s sadness in leaving, but I’m just too curious about what’s next. An actor doesn’t want to let himself get too comfortable. I’m more grateful to you than I can say.”

He continued, “L&O’s continuing and amazing long run, along with its astounding comeback, is all thanks to you and Dick Wolf, but for whose vision, patience, perseverance, and unique combination of creative and business talents, none of this would have happened. I feel very blessed. I hope to see you all on the flip side.”

Waterson joined the cast of L&O in 1994 during season 4, joining as a series regular for season 5. His character was appointed interim DA in season 17 and he went on to win the elected position of district attorney in the final season of the show’s original run in 2010. When NBC revived the show in 2022, he reprised his role as McCoy, serving as a link to the original series.

Waterston also guest starred in a handful of episodes on L&O’s sister show, Law & Order: SVU, and scored critical recognition for his performance including a SAG Award and multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations.

In addition to Waterston, L&O stars Hugh Dancy, Camryn Manheim, Mehcad Brooks, Reid Scott and Odelya Halevi. The series was created by Dick Wolf, who has since created a franchise that includes multiple spin-offs like SVU, Criminal Intent, Law & Order: LA, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Law & Order: Organized Crime and more.

Goldwyn, 63, is best known for his roles in Scandal and the 2023 blockbuster hit Oppenheimer. Details of his L&O character are being kept under wraps at this time, but he does have a history with the series as he directed an episode in 2006. His other notable credits include The Hot Zone, Murder Mystery 2 and The People We Hate at the Wedding.

SOURCE: US Magazine

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