End of an Era: Sam Waterston Exits “Law & Order” After Over 400 Episodes

Sam Waterston Bids Farewell: End of an Era on “Law & Order”

After more than 400 episodes and nearly three decades of portraying District Attorney Jack McCoy, Sam Waterston is bidding farewell to the iconic television series “Law & Order.” The seasoned actor’s last episode is set to air on Thursday, Feb. 22, marking the end of an era for the long-running legal drama. Tony Goldwyn, known for his role as Fitz in “Scandal,” will step into the shoes of the new district attorney.

Waterston first joined the “Law & Order” mothership series in 1994 and remained a main cast member until the show’s original run concluded in 2010. When the series was revived for its 21st season in 2022, he returned to reprise his role. Throughout the years, Waterston also portrayed Jack McCoy in spin-offs like “Law & Order: SVU,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” and “Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.”

In a heartfelt statement addressing his departure, Waterston expressed gratitude to the dedicated “Law & Order” audience and acknowledged the visionary contributions of creator Dick Wolf. He emphasized the bittersweet nature of leaving but conveyed his curiosity about what lies ahead, citing the actor’s desire not to become too comfortable in a role.

Waterston, a veteran in the entertainment industry, garnered acclaim for his portrayal of Jack McCoy, earning three Emmy nominations and 11 SAG nominations. His impact on the show and the character’s enduring legacy have left an indelible mark on “Law & Order.”

Reflecting on his return to the series in 2022, Waterston described the experience as “totally surreal,” emphasizing the meticulous attention to detail in recreating the iconic sets. He recognized the show’s ongoing relevance in tackling timely conflicts and providing a platform for discussing societal issues.

As Sam Waterston takes his final bow as Jack McCoy, fans and colleagues alike salute his remarkable contribution to “Law & Order” and bid farewell to a character that has become synonymous with legal television drama.


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