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Law & Order Shake-Up: Sam Waterston Out, Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn In

Law & Order is losing a fan favorite.

Sam Waterston is stepping down as DA Jack McCoy in the flagship Dick Wolf procedural, TVLine has learned. Waterston’s last episode will air on Thursday, Feb. 22.

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Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn has been tapped as his replacement, though details on the new district attorney have not yet been revealed.

“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,” Waterston said in a statement through Wolf Entertainment. “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,” he continued. “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.”

It’s a major loss for the venerable series, which saw Waterston appear in more than 400 episodes since his debut as McCoy in the Season 5 opener, “Second Opinion.” With his departure, the NBC drama also loses its remaining legacy cast member. As you recall, Anthony Anderson, who reprised his original Law & Order role as Det. Kevin Bernard, left the show after Season 21.

Goldwyn, meanwhile, previously portrayed Det. Robert Goren’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) brother Frank in four episodes of the offshoot Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and directed the Law & Order Season 16 episode “Thinking Makes It So.”

The series, which is currently airing Season 23, has seen a bevy of casting changes since its revival in 2022 after more than a decade off the air. Following Anderson’s exit, Supergirl alum Mehcad Brooks joined the cast in Season 22 as Det. Jalen Shaw.

TVLine was first to report that Jeffrey Donovan would not be returning for Season 23 as the outspoken Det. Frank Cosgrove. Veep’s Reid Scott stepped in as his replacement, portraying Det. Vincent Riley, who’s familiar with Lt. Kate Dixon (played by Camryn Manheim), who personally recruited him onto the squad.

The current ensemble also includes Hugh Dancy (HannibalThe Path) as senior prosecutorial assistant Nolan Price and Oldelya Halevi (Good Trouble) as ADA Samantha Maroun.

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