Law & Order Star Reveals Sad News and Gets Emotional

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Sam Waterston has recently bid farewell to his iconic ‘Law & Order’ character, Jack McCoy, after 405 episodes spanning three decades. The 83-year-old actor reflects on his quarter-century journey, leaving a lasting impact on the legal drama’s legacy.

In a heartfelt address to the cast and crew on his final episode titled ‘Last Dance,’ Waterston expressed the deep emotions surrounding his departure: “No one – not in my situation – can appreciate the sadness of this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.”

Waterston, who joined the show in 1994 and portrayed the district attorney intermittently until season 23, garnered accolades, including three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, and a SAG Award for outstanding male actor in a drama series in 1999.

Reflecting on his privileged experience, he said, “I have had a privilege that practically nobody in show business has – to be involved over that long period of time with different people but the same community.”

In the episode, Jack McCoy wins his final case, confronts Mayor Payne, and announces his resignation, marking the end of an era. Waterston’s farewell included words of gratitude and a poignant reflection on his unique journey: “I have lived for a quarter of a century and gone from a young to an old man. If 25 or 30 years doesn’t matter than nothing matters at all.”

The actor will be succeeded by Tony Goldwyn as District Attorney Nicholas Baxter. Goldwyn acknowledged the challenge, admitting he has “some very large shoes to fill.” Cast members, including Camryn Manheim, Odelya Halevi, and Mehcad Brooks, paid tribute to Waterston, describing him as a “national treasure,” “legend,” and a “beacon of light, morality, and integrity.”

Looking ahead, Waterston is set to play a mystery role in the upcoming Netflix film “Six Triple Eight,” portraying the all-black, all-female 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion during WWII. The movie, also featuring Kerry Washington, Oprah Winfrey, and Susan Sarandon, highlights the contributions of female mail carriers.

He may be leaving the show, but he isn’t necessarily retiring. See what’s next for the actor in the video below.

As Waterston bids adieu to Law & Order, what are your favorite memories of his portrayal of Jack McCoy, and how do you think the show will evolve without this iconic character?