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Sam Waterson Exits LAW & ORDER: ‘It Was Really Lovely’

Photo from LAW & ORDER’s Instagram

Sam Waterson Exits LAW & ORDER: ‘It Was Really Lovely’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Sam Waterson, the longest-standing LAW & ORDER cast member, has said his final goodbye to the show.

“It’s a wonderful job. One of the things that is tough about it is that it makes so many other things easier in life — paying for your children’s education, doing a play on short notice,” he said of why he stayed with the show for so long.

“I once did a play, ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’…The theater made a bet on keeping the season going past when their subscribers were no longer holding tickets, forgoing all their vacations, and sold out the theater for the entire run,” Waterson continued. “And guess why? Because of LAW & ORDER. It made all kinds of wonderful things possible — that’s just an example. The thing you have to guard against is it being so cushy, that you never want to leave.”

Waterson has been playing attorney Jack McCoy since 1994.

“The time has come for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me,” he wrote in a statement earlier this month. “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.”

NBC reported, “McCoy’s emotional goodbye on LAW & ORDER in the February 22 episode was a fitting end for the Manhattan district attorney, who chose to sacrifice his long-running career in exchange for putting a wealthy killer behind bars. Fans even got to see him argue a case one last time, before he stepped away from the post that defined his career.”
“It seemed completely appropriate to me,” Waterson said of the courtroom scene. “You asked me to tell you what our alternative plot was. I don’t even really remember. This wiped it out.”

The Hollywood Reporter shared McCoy’s final closing argument:

When I was elected district attorney, I gave a pledge to the citizens of New York to act fairly and ethically, without bias or favor, to always act with integrity. During my time as district attorney, I’ve tried my best to uphold that sacred oath in the pursuit of justice. Now, members of the jury, it’s your turn to act fairly and ethically without bias or favor and find the defendant guilty of murder.

It was bittersweet for Waterson, but “they couldn’t have given me a nicer farewell. It was really lovely,” he said.