March 4, 2024

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Sam Waterston is exiting Law & Order, and Tony Goldwyn is set to take his place

Sam Waterston is exiting Law & Order, and Tony Goldwyn is set to take his place

District Attorney Jack McCoy is out. Sam Waterston is exiting Law & Order after more than 400 episodes. Its last episode will air on Thursday, February 22. Tony Goldwyn, best known for his role as Fitz on the ABC series “Scandal,” has been chosen as the new district attorney.

Waterston joined the Dick Wolf series Mother in 1994. He remained a main cast member until the show's original run ended in 2010. When the show was revived for its 21st season in 2022, he returned to the role. He has also played the character in “Law & Order: SVU,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” and “Exited: A Law & Order Movie.”

Following the news, Waterston shared a statement regarding his exit, which he began with, “Greetings, beautiful people.”

“It's a privilege to speak directly in this way to the backbone of the absolutely amazing Law & Order audience. It's time for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me. There's sadness in leaving, but I'm very curious about what's next,” he wrote. “The actor doesn't want to allow himself to get too comfortable. I am more grateful to you than I can say. The credit for L&O's long and amazing run, along with its amazing comeback, goes to you and to Dick Wolf, but because of his vision, patience, perseverance, and unique blend of creative and business talent, none of this would have happened. I feel very lucky. I hope to see you all on the other side.”

Waterston, who has been a mainstay in the entertainment industry for decades, received three Emmy nominations for the role and 11 Screen Actors Guild nominations, winning one in 1998.

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Ahead of the series' return in 2022, Waterston opened up about diverse On returning to the set after more than a decade, describing the experience as “absolutely surreal.”

“It's a step back in time. They built the 42 sets in every detail, from the books on the shelves to the linoleum on the floor. You know very well that all of this wasn't done for you, but you can't escape the feeling that you've been given “This opportunity to go back in time in your own life. Again, diving into the conflicts back in time. “The goal of the show has always been to make people throw their shoes at TV… I feel like, for me, 'Law & Order' could be It has something to contribute to the public conversation because we're all angry about something. We're all very angry about something right now and angry at each other. For us, presenting these big issues, and not arriving at a conclusion but rather at some sort of solution that you can chew on, can be a useful service.

At the time, Wolff described Waterston's character as “the absolute conscience of the series,” adding, “I look forward to emulating the career of New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who served until he was 90.” “I don't know how long I'll be on 'Law & Order,'” Waterston replied. But if my career continues like Robert Morgenthau's, I'll have nothing to complain about at all.

This isn't the first change in Season 23 of “Law & Order.” Reed Scott joined the cast following the departure of Jeffrey Donovan, who reportedly left due to creative differences.

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“Law & Order” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Entertainment. Rick Eid serves as showrunner while Wolf, Eid, Pamela Wechsler, Alex Hall, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski serve as executive producers.