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Sam Waterston Exiting ‘Law & Order’ As Tony Goldwyn Joins Cast

It’s the end of an era on NBC’s Law & Order as Sam Waterston is gearing up to say goodbye. Waterston’s final appearance as District Attorney Jack McCoy, whom he played across more than 400 episodes, will air on February 22.

As Waterston exits, the cast will be joined by Tony Goldwyn (Oppenheimer, Scandal), who will portray the new district attorney. Goldwyn has previously starred in the Law & Order spinoff Criminal Intent as Frank Goren, a character who died in the series. Goldwyn will be playing a new character on Law & Order.

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Waterston made his debut on the series in the Season 5 premiere (1994) titled “Second Opinion.” He scored a SAG Award and three Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1997, 1999 and 2000, for his portrayal of McCoy. He has also reprised the role in various other projects including spinoff shows: Law & Order Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Trial by Jury.

Waterston shared a message to fans of the series in a special message below.

“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. 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 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. Thank you, Sam”

Law & Order is a police procedural and legal drama that gives viewers a look at a case—inspired by real-life crimes “ripped from the headlines”— from the POV of the police and the prosecutors. It’s the longest-running law enforcement series on TV, currently in its 23rd season. New episodes air on Thursday nights at 8/7 p.m. central on NBC.

This season also stars Hugh Dancy, Mehcad Brooks, Reid Scott, Camryn Manheim and Odelya Halevi.

Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer. Rick Eid, Pamela Wechsler, Alex Hall, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers. Law & Order is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Goldwyn most recently wrapped production on his latest feature directing project, Ezra, in which he also stars alongside Bobby Cannavale and Robert DeNiro. He is also coming off promotions for his work in the highly lauded film, Oppenheimer, during a busy awards season. Goldwyn portrayed real-life attorney and government official Gordon Gray.

Other recent credits include Murder Mystery 2, the sequel to Netflix’s hit comedy with Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler; the award-winning ensemble of King Richard with Will Smith and NatGeo’s limited series The Hot Zone: Anthrax streaming on Hulu.

Goldwyn is also known for playing President Fitzgerald Grant in the hit ABC/Shondaland series Scandal alongside Kerry Washington. Additional small screen credits include HBO’s Lovecraft Country, Netflix’s Chambers, CBS’s The Good Wife and Showtime’s Dexter, among many others.

He is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Schreck Rose Dapello, et al.

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