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Monday April 15, 2024

Why did Sam Waterson leave 'Law & Order'?

Sam Waterson called time on his gig as Jack McCoy in Law & Order franchise

By Web Desk
February 23, 2024
File footage

Sam Waterson recently issued a statement, addressing his exit from NBC’s Law & Order after joining the mothership series in 1994.

The actor appeared as Jack McCoy in the final episode of the show on Thursday, February 2022.

Why did Sam Waterson leave Law & Order?

Speaking exclusively to Los Angeles Times in an interview, the Law & Order alum revealed that he knew that the actor “was going to stay on a short time” and that he didn’t want to “turn on TV and see somebody else playing the part when the show came back.”

He further added: “I knew it was not for the long term. This was always going to be the year (to leave). And then Law & Order designed just a beautiful exit. I couldn’t have been more pleased with it. They gave me this fantastic send-off, with a pop-up delicatessen on the set, called Sam’s Delicatessen.”

The actor capped his statement off, by adding: “It was something else.”

What happened to Jack McCoy in the final episode?

Jack, who went against the mayor’s wishes to avoid questioning his son following a conviction, revealed to ADA Nolan, played by Hugh Dancy, that his resignation was in the pipeline.

He shared: “I’ve been thinking about this for a while. It’s time, it just is,” continuing, “He’s going to bury everyone who wronged him, including you — especially you."

He said, “If I step aside now, the governor will be able to appoint someone — someone with integrity.”

Waterson initially announced his exit from the series in a lengthy statement earlier this month.

“Greetings, you wonderful people, it’s a pleasure to talk directly like this to the backbone of Law & Order’s absolutely amazing audience. 

"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.”

He admitted: “An actor doesn’t want to let himself get too comfortable. I’m more grateful to you than I can say. L&O’s continuing and amazing long run, along with its astounding come-back, is all thanks to you and to Dick Wolf, but for whose vision, patience, perseverance, and unique combination of creative and business talents, none of this would have happened.”

The actor expressed gratitude for his fans, adding: “I feel very blessed. I hope to see you all on the flip side.”

The 83-year-old actor starred in a leading role throughout the series. He returned for the revival in 2022 for the show’s 21st season. 

He also reprised his role in spinoffs Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and film Exited: A Law & Order Movie.

He will be replaced by Tony Goldwyn as the new district attorney. 

Goldwyn took to his Instagram, sharing pictures from the set. He captioned it as: “Some very large shoes to fill! First episode finished as DA Nicholas Baxter. Thanks to the L&O fam for being so welcoming!”

He is said to reprise the role starting March.