Sam Waterston Departs from the Hard Law Series

Sam Waterston Departs from the Hard Law Series

Sam Waterston first appeared in the fifth season of the series Hard Law in 1994. It has been 30 years since his debut in the series (also known as Law & Order on NBC from 1990 onwards) where he played the role of Jack McCoy – initially as an Assistant District Attorney. Waterston, now 83, has announced that he is saying goodbye to the series, a decision that has stirred emotions among the show’s fans.

Waterston has starred in more than 400 episodes of the series and expressed his gratitude to the fans who have followed the series closely in his farewell statement. He said, “Greetings, you lovely people. The time has come for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me. There is sadness in leaving, but at the same time I am curious to see what happens next.”

He started his journey in Hard Law, created by Dick Wolf and based in New York, in the fifth season of the series in 1994 where he played the role of James “Jack” McCoy. The series, known for its densely atmospheric episodes often based on real-life incidents, follows a familiar pattern where the police and detectives investigate the crime, followed by the prosecutors who work to bring the suspects to court to hear their verdict.

The series started in 1990 and was on hiatus for twenty years (2010–2022). Upon its return to TV screens, Waterston was happy to be back. Over the years, Waterston has received three Emmy nominations (1997, 1999 and 2000), one Golden Globe nomination (1995), and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role in 1999.

In Hard Law, Waterston will be succeeded by actor Tony Goldwyn (known for roles in Oppenheimer, Scandal) as the new district attorney. Goldwyn has previously played a character who died in a spin-off version of the series set in Toronto. Waterston has also appeared in spin-off versions of the series Hard Law: Special Unit and Hard Law: The solution of justice.

The latest, 23rd season of Hard Law, includes actors Hugh Dancy, Mehcad Brooks, Reid Scott, Camryn Manheim, and Odelya Halevi among others.

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