Is Sam Waterston leaving law and order?

Waterston announced on Monday that he was leaving the show after over 400 episodes. His final episode will air on Feb. 22.

“The time has come for me to part ways with Jack McCoy,” the 83-year-old said in a statement.

“It is sad to leave, but I am too curious about what comes next. An actor doesn’t want to let himself get too comfortable.”

In his statement, he articulated a yearning to embark on fresh opportunities and embrace new challenges within his acting career.

Waterston went on to thank the show’s creator, Dick Wolf, and his fans for the “continuing and amazing long run,” adding, “I feel very blessed. I hope to see you all on the flip side. Thank you.”

Waterston joined the cast of the show in 1994, which follows a crime from the moment the police arrive until the verdict is reached.

He remained with the show until its original run concluded in 2010. He returned when the show was relaunched in 2022.

Hugh Dancy, Camryn Manheim, Odelya Halevi, Mehcad Brooks, and Reid Scott are currently in the cast, and Tony Goldwyn, best known for his roles as President Fitzgerald Grant on Scandal and Carl Bruner in the film Ghost, will join them.

Waterston was nominated for three Emmys, one Golden Globe, and eleven SAG Awards for his role in the show.

Sam Waterston
Reasons for Waterston’s Departure

In 1999, he received the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series.

“The time has come for me to leave and take Jack McCoy with me,” Waterston said in an interview.

“There is sadness in leaving, but I am just too curious about what comes next. An actor does not want to become too comfortable.”

Tony Goldwyn, who starred in “Scandal” and the 1990 film “Ghost,” has been cast as the district attorney.

McCoy and the prosecutors would take over the legal case once the New York City detectives had completed their investigation, representing, as the narrator puts it, “two separate yet equally important groups.”

Reasons for Waterston’s Departure
Sam Waterston

McCoy was a brilliant, hard-charging angel of justice who was prone to moral outrage and would cut straight to the truth.

“Your grief would appear a little more genuine if you had not just admitted you cut off your wife’s head,” he once told a defendant.

While the specific amount may not be publicly disclosed, it is estimated that Waterston makes around $75,000 to $100,000 per episode on law and order.

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