Law & Order‘s Sam Waterston Announces Departure From The Show
(Above: Sam as Jack McCoy in his first season and the current season of Law & Order.)
Sam Waterston, who has played Jack McCoy on Law & Order since 1994, has announced his departure from the show.
Sam debuted in the fifth season of Law & Order as then-Executive ADA Jack McCoy, a character who through the years has worked his way up to the rank of Manhattan District Attorney. Though a complex character, Jack’s passion for justice has solidified his status as a fan favorite for decades. In addition to his regular role on Law & Order, Sam appeared as Jack on Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and the franchise’s movie, Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
For his role on Law and Order, Sam won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series in 1999. He was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2000, 1999, and 1997, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series in 1995. In 2000, the New York Landmarks Conservancy declared Sam, along with longtime castmate Jerry Orbach, as “Living Landmarks” to recognize their status as extraordinary New Yorkers who give back to the city.
Saying goodbye to fans of the show, Sam shared the following heartfelt message:
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 to 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.
Watch Law & Order Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC, and stream episodes the next day on Peacock.