Sam Waterston is leaving 'Law & Order' after 400 episodes

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Waterston, who played the prickly, no-nonsense prosecutor in “Law and order” Since the mid-1990s, he has been stepping down from his legal position.

Waterston's Jack McCoy will have his final episode on February 22, NBC said on Friday. He has starred in over 400 episodes of the police drama, earning a SAG Award and Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the role.

“It is time for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me,” Waterston said in a statement. “There's sadness in leaving, but I'm very curious about what's next. The actor doesn't want to let himself get too comfortable.

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

McCoy and the prosecutors will take over the legal case once the New York City detectives have finished investigating a crime, representing, as the narrator says, “two separate but equally important groups.”

McCoy was a flamboyant, hard-nosed angel of justice, prone to bouts of moral outrage and hacking at the truth. He once told a defendant: “Your grief might seem more real if you didn't admit that you beheaded your wife.”

The bushy-browed Waterston began his acting career as a New York stage actor with a number of Shakespearean roles, including Lear, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Prospero, Leonato, Prince Hal, Sylvius, Cloten, and Benedict.

This led to Waterston's role as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby opposite Robert Redford, and the role of Tom Wingfield in the television production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, starring Katharine Hepburn, for which he received his first Emmy Award nomination.

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Waterston (83 years old) joined the series “Law & Order” in the fourth season in 1994 and stayed until the show stopped in 2010, before returning for reruns in 2022.

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