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Sam Waterston departing Law & Order

Actor Sam Waterston is leaving Law & Order after 30 years. His final episode will air on February 22. Tony Goldwyn will replace him.

After 30 years and over 400 episodes, Sam Waterston is officially stepping down from his role as District Attorney Jack McCoy on the hit legal drama series Law & Order. His final episode will air on February 22, marking the end of an era for the show.

Taking over Waterston's role is Tony Goldwyn, best known for his portrayal of President Fitzgerald Grant III in Scandal. Goldwyn will be stepping into the shoes of another district attorney, though his character's name has not been revealed at this time.

In a statement confirming his departure, Waterston expressed both sadness and excitement about the next chapter of his career. He stated that while he will miss the program, he is eager to explore new opportunities and avoid getting too comfortable as an actor.

Waterston first took on the role of Jack McCoy during Law & Order's fifth season, which premiered in 1994. He continued to reprise his role in various episodes of the spinoff series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Despite the show's original cancellation in 2010, Waterston returned for its revival in 2022, demonstrating his enduring dedication to the character and the series.

During an interview with NPR, Waterston reflected on the impact of his role in Law & Order, acknowledging that it provided him with fulfilling work and financial stability for his family. He expressed gratitude for the opportunities the show has afforded him, acknowledging that it allowed him to avoid taking on less desirable roles and projects.

Throughout his tenure on Law & Order, Waterston's performance earned him critical acclaim, including nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama. He also received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series in 1998.

As Waterston bids farewell to Law & Order, fans and colleagues alike are left with a deep appreciation for his contributions to the series and the enduring impact of his portrayal of Jack McCoy. While his departure marks the end of an era, it also opens the door to new opportunities for both the actor and the show.

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