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Actor Steps Away From Iconic TV Show After 30 Years

via The View
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Sam Waterston is leaving his role as District Attorney Jack McCoy on Law & Order after over 30 years and 400 episodes.

Though not broken up about retiring the character, he knew his departure was coming.

Waterston originally played the role from 1994-2010 before returning in 2022 and said this was a beautiful way to wrap up.

He quoted Lincoln saying if 25 years doesn’t matter, nothing matters.

Tony Goldwyn will replace Waterston.

“I knew I was going to leave when I came back, and it was just a matter of when,” Waterston said. “This was a beautiful way to go, I have to say.”

“When they say goodbye to me, the last shot that I did was on the set of the courtroom, and [series creator] Dick Wolf showed up, and everybody gave speeches, and I quoted from Abraham Lincoln going to D.C. at the beginning of the Civil War. And he had been there for 25 years. If 25 years doesn’t matter, nothing matters.”

“I think he’s going to be great. You know, my reputation is in terrible danger, because I think he’s just going to be wonderful and I’ll be watching. But I think… it’s going to be big trouble. It’ll be what the DA is: demanding,” Waterston said. “A lot of fun to watch.”

While looking forward to more free time, Waterston said he’s not fully retiring from acting and his wife/manager will find new roles.

He said leaving the long-running role left a newfound freedom and his bucket list is long, joking he was “drunk on just the freedom” to take on new challenges.

“I can’t tell you how freeing it is,” Waterston said. “It happened the minute I was walking off the set of the courtroom on that last day. Suddenly, there was space in my head that I didn’t even know there was that had been occupied by the job forever.”

“Even during hiatus, even on breaks… It’s a wonderful thing to look at the world through somebody else’s eyes, and that’s what an actor sort of gets to do,” he added. “But it’s also restricting. Now it’s my own eyes. I like it.”

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