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“The time has come”: Sam Waterston exits ‘Law & Order’

NBC/Will Hart

Longtime Law & Order veteran Sam Waterston is leaving the show after 400 episodes playing District Attorney Jack McCoy, a role he’s filled since 1994.

On the show’s Instagram, the 83-year-old actor bade farewell to the NBC show’s fans in a posted statement to the “wonderful … backbone of Law & Order’s absolutely amazing audience.”

“The time has come for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me,” Waterston said. “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.”

He continued, “I’m more grateful to you than I can say. L&O’s continuing and amazing long run, along with its astounding come-back [sic], is all thanks to you and to [creator] 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,” Waterston concluded.

The Massachusetts native played McCoy on the flagship crime series from 1994 until the show’s end in 2010. However, he reprised the role across other shows in the L&O universe and rejoined the series when its revival began on NBC in 2022.

Waterston’s last episode will air on Thursday, February 22.

On Friday, NBC also announced that Scandal veteran Tony Goldwyn will succeed Waterston as the show’s new district attorney.

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