Law and Order's Sam Waterston reflects on "graceful and heroic" final episode

sam waterston as da jack mccoy, law and order season 23
Law & Order star reflects on "heroic" last episodeNBC - Getty Images

Law and Order's Sam Waterston has reflected on his "graceful and heroic" exit from the show.

In last night's episode (February 23), Waterston's character Jack McCoy left the procedural drama after 19 seasons, 405 episodes and 30 years.

The episode, titled 'Last Dance', was a fitting final hurrah for the district attorney, who found himself back in the courtroom to finish trying an important murder case.

sam waterston as da jack mccoy, law and order season 23
NBC - Getty Images

Related: Raising Kanan and Abbott Elementary stars added to new Netflix series

After a compelling closing argument, Jack won the case, and in the next scene he told Nolan Price he had resigned so the governor can appoint a new district attorney.

He said, "It's time. It just is. It's been a hell of a ride", before walking away from the courthouse for the last time.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Waterston, Law & Order's longest-serving cast member, praised his final episode, which was written by showrunner Rick Eid.

He said: "I had ideas, which Rick listened to and entertained, and then he delivered a much more graceful and heroic exit than anything I had ever suggested.

"At first I thought, 'Well, why isn't he loving my idea?' Then I thought, 'Oh, thank you very much.'"

sam waterston as da jack mccoy, law and order season 23
NBC - Getty Images

Related: Frasier revival returning for season 2

The actor returned to Law & Order when the show was rebooted back in 2021, but he revealed that he always knew he wouldn’t stick around for long.

"I think I always knew there was a timestamp, a use-by date, on the return," he said. "I didn't want to turn on the TV and not see myself on the show when it came back, but at the same time, I knew I didn't want to be there again for the long term. It's kind of been that way from the beginning.

"And then before this season, it became apparent to both Law & Order and to me that this would be a really good time to leave. Then Rick Eid wrote this really graceful exit."

Waterston will be replaced by Scandal's Tony Goldwyn, who will make his first appearance as District Attorney Nicholas Baxter on March 14.

Law & Order airs on Thursdays at 8pm ET on NBC, followed by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit at 9pm and Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10pm. The shows air on Sky Witness in the UK, with select episodes available on NOW.

You Might Also Like