Sam Waterson's Fate on Law & Order Season 22 Revealed

Sam Waterson's Fate on Law & Order Season 22 Revealed thumbnail

Sam Waterson Thanks Fans For His Law & Order Return

Don’t worry Law & Order fans, District Attorney Jack McCoy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Sam Waterston returned for season 21 of the NBC revival series earlier this year. And now, it has been reported that the actor will return for season 22 of the crime drama. This contract renewal makes Waterston the longest-running cast member in the series, with soon-to-be 18 seasons under his belt. 

This news follows the announcement that Anthony Anderson, who starred as Detective Kevin Bernard, will not return for the upcoming season. Last year, both Anthony and Waterston signed one-year deals.

The Dick Wolf-created series originally aired from 1990 to 2010 and returned this year after a 12-year hiatus. 

When Waterston’s return was first announced last year, Wolf said, “Since day one, Sam has had perfect pitch when it comes to Jack McCoy as a character who both reflects and expands our ability to understand the law. He is the ultimate conscience of the show and I look forward to him emulating the career of New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who served until he was 90.”

The series also stars Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim, Hugh Dancy and Odelya Halevi.

While we wait to hear who else will return for season 22, keep reading to check out which stars have exited other TV series this year.

E! News and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.

JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME

Damian Lewis, Billions

After five seasons, Damian Lewis departed Showtime’s Billions in Oct. 2021.

Fox

Emily VanCamp, The Resident

In Aug. 2021, it was reported that Emily VanCamp hung up her stethoscope for good as she had exited Fox’s The Resident.

The CW

Madeleine Mantock, Charmed

One of the Charmed ones is saying goodbye. Madeleine Mantock, who has played eldest sister Macy for three seasons, is exiting the CW’s Charmed reboot ahead of season four. She said it was her “difficult decision” to leave and thanked producers for supporting her choice. 

NBC

Megan Boone, The Blacklist

Turns out Elizabeth Keen never will find out the truth about Raymond Reddington’s identity. Megan Boone chose to leave NBC’s The Blacklist at the end of season eight, and of course her character was killed off before she had the chance to read the letter that would have revealed everything. Boone marked the end of Liz’s journey with an Instagram post in which she called the experience “a dream.” 

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Rege-Jean Page, Bridgerton

Season two of Bridgerton will be down one duke. Rege-Jean Page became the breakout star of Netflix’s massive hit drama, and then broke hearts all over the place when it was announced that he would not be returning for the second season. However, fans can rest a little easier knowing he wouldn’t have been the star anyway, as the second season is shifting focus (as the books do) to Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey. Meanwhile, Page is starring in high-profile Netflix movie The Grey Man with Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, so we’ll be seeing him again soon no matter what. 

CW

Ruby Rose, Batwoman

Rose played the titular role of Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, in the CW drama. She made her debut in 2018’s Arrowverse crossover and then starred in one season of the series—making history as the first lesbian superhero to headline their own show, as Batwoman came out of the closet in a major TV moment—before announcing her exit just two days after the season one finale aired. The role was eventually replaced with Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, a new character set to take control of the Batcave in season two. 

Later on in season two, Kate got a bit of a face swap and returned played by Wallis Day.

NBC

America Ferrera, Superstore

America Ferrera decided to exit Superstore at the end of season five, leaving Cloud 9 without a manager and the show without a lead. She ended up appearing in the first two episodes of season six due to the pandemic, and then when season six was deemed the end, she returned for the series finale to give Amy and Jonah (Ben Feldman) the happy ending they deserved. 

Syfy

Jason Ralph, The Magicians

In the season four finale of the Syfy series, Ralph’s character Quentin completed his quest to save Eliot (Hale Appleman), but sacrificed himself in the process. While the show does feature dead characters—it’s called The Magicians after all—Ralph did not return for the fifth and final season.

CW

Emily Bett Rickards, Arrow

Ahead of the final season, Arrow‘s Rickards announced her exit in a poem of sorts.

“Felicity and I

are a very tight two

But after one through seven

we will be saying goodbye to you,” she wrote.

She did, however, return for a guest appearance in the show’s series finale.

AMC

Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead

Cohan said see you later to The Walking Dead following prolonged contract negotiations. She appeared in a handful of season nine episodes, but after a six-year time jump her character Maggie Greene was nowhere to be seen. Producers were hopeful she’d return in some capacity for season 10, and after her short-lived ABC series Whiskey Cavalier was canceled, they got their wish. Cohan made her grand return in this season’s 16th episode, which aired in October 2020.

AMC

Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead

Hot on the heels of Lauren Cohan and Andrew Lincoln bidding farewell to the zombie drama came Gurira’s exit. After joining the AMC series in season three as the katana-wielding Michonne, she made her last appearance in a season 10 episode which aired in March 2020.

CW

Nicollette Sheridan, Dynasty

A recurring player in season one and series regular in season two, Sheridan starred as the iconic character Alexis Carrington. She announced plans to exit the CW reboot ahead of season three to spend time with her ailing mother.

CBS

George Eads, MacGyver

Eads exited the CBS remake in 2019, midway through season three. At the time, he expressed his desire to leave and spend more time with his family.

Fox

Damon Wayans, Lethal Weapon

Fox’s Lethal Weapon is no stranger to cast exit drama. Clayne Crawford was fired from the series after the second season and his former TV partner Wayans announced his plans to exit the hit drama after the 13-episode third season. “I’m going to be quitting the show in December after we finish the initial 13, so I really don’t know what they’re planning, but that’s what I’m planning,” he said. “I’m a 58-year-old diabetic and I’m working 16-hour days… Murtaugh said, ‘too old for this.'”

Producers didn’t need to work on a replacement plan, though. The show was canceled at the end of season three.

Showtime

Cameron Monaghan, Shameless

Ian Gallagher went to the slammer. When Monaghan left Shameless during its ninth season, his character was locked up. In reality, Monaghan was ready to explore new projects after nine years on the show. But, in a true TV twist, he went ahead and signed on to return for season 10 anyway. He’ll be present and accounted for when the show returns for its 11th and final season in December 2020.

Showtime

Emmy Rossum, Shameless

After nine seasons as Fiona Gallagher, Rossum announced plans to leave Shameless.

“Emmy Rossum will forever be part of the Shameless family,” executive producer John Wells said in a statement. “She has been integral to the show’s success, from her wonderful portrayal of Fiona to her leadership role on set, as well as directing multiple episodes of the series. We are hard at work now creating a season nine finale for Shameless which we hope will provide a Gallagher-worthy sendoff for Fiona that honors the great work Emmy has done. It is always bittersweet when an ensemble member decides to move out of the proverbial house, but our door will always remain open for Fiona to return home for a visit, or to move back in. I look forward to continuing the stories of this wildly unpredictable family and all of us on Shameless will miss Emmy and her wonderful Fiona.”

NBC

Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Peretti appeared in Brooklyn Nine-Nine when it made its NBC debut, but she didn’t stick around for the whole run. In a series of tweets in 2018, the actress announced her plans to leave the comedy, but maintained she would be back. She even used Emmy Rossum‘s farewell letter to Shameless as the basis of her own. Peretti welcomed a son with husband Jordan Peele in 2017. Her character was on maternity leave and sat out several episodes in season five.

AMC

Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead

Andrew Lincoln said goodbye to the blood, sweat and dirt of the zombie apocalypse and left The Walking Dead during season nine. “These guys have been the best surrogate family I could have hoped for. But I do have a real family and it is time for me to go home,” Lincoln said at San Diego Comic-Con. He is, however, due to reprise the role in a film trilogy sometime in the future.

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Pauley Perrette, NCIS

After 15 years, Pauley Perrette hung up her lab coat and left NCIS in 2018. “I believe in God and the universe so firmly, and it just suddenly became blindingly apparent that now was the time,” she said. “After a lot of thought, I decided to announce it myself on Twitter because I didn’t want it to be turned into anything ‘shocking. Abby leaving is more than a cheap TV ploy.”

CW

Willa Holland, Arrow

Original cast member Holland’s exit from The CW’s Arrow had been in the works for a while, boss Marc Guggenheim told TVLine. She asked to have her episode count reduced and then to be written out in season six. Her departure just happened to coincide with the return of Thea’s boyfriend, Roy (Colton Haynes), and so they headed off into the sunset together to destroy the dangerous Lazarus Pits that her late father had discovered. 

CBS

Grace Park, Hawaii Five-0

Park, who shot to fame on Battlestar Galactica, left Hawaii Five-0 ahead of its eighth season. She and costar Daniel Dae Kim left after negotiations to reach pay parity with their co-stars failed.

CBS

Daniel Dae Kim, Hawaii Five-0

Kim and his costar Grace Park left the CBS drama in between seasons seven and eight. In a Facebook post, Kim said the choice to leave was difficult, and that he made himself available to come back, but “CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract.”

NBC

Sophia Bush, Chicago PD

Season four of the NBC drama ended with Bush’s character entertaining a job offer in New York with the FBI, taking her out of the titular Windy City. In December 2018, the actress explained that she quit the series after “a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior.”

HBO

T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley

After four seasons on the HBO comedy, Miller departed, calling it an “organic ending.” He told Entertainment Weekly, “Also, in a weird way, it’s interesting to me to leave a show at its height. It’s interesting to me to see how the show will grow and change with the exit of this character.”

CBS

Erinn Hayes, Kevin Can Wait

After just one season on the CBS comedy, there was quite a shakeup afoot. Hayes, who played wife to Kevin James, left as part of a creative shakeup. However, from the sounds of her tweet, it wasn’t a mutual decision. “True, I’ve been let go from the show. Very sad, I had a great experience season 1,” Hayes said on Twitter. “Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans.”

Kevin then moved on, in a way, with former King of Queens costar Leah Remini. CBS then moved on and canceled the show altogether.

ABC

Jennifer Morrison, Once Upon a Time

Emma Swan left Storybrooke early. Jennifer Morrison announced her departure from Once Upon a Time, but then appeared in an episode of the rebooted series in season seven to help say goodbye to her character, who simply went off to have a happy ending in a different universe. She later returned for the series finale to help say goodbye to her show.

ABC

Connie Britton, Nashville

Y’all heard the rumors about Britton’s potential exit from the series once it was revived by CMT, but Britton herself downplayed them…for a time. Britton’s character Rayna died from injuries sustained in a car accident. She took to Instagram to pay tribute to the character and the show after the episode aired. “It has been an honor to be a part of that creation. And as I know she would want it, the show must, and will go on. Long live Rayna Jaymes,” she wrote.

ABC

Stana Katic, Castle

Castle without Beckett? You better believe it. After eight seasons of solving crimes and falling in love, Katic was let go from the long-running series by ABC (along with her co-star Tamala Jones) prior to a potential season nine renewal, leaving Nathan Fillion‘s titular character to handle things on his own, should the series return. Following the surprising announcement, Katic released a statement to E! News, saying, “Rather than distract from what was an amazing experience I would just like to say that I’m very grateful to ABC for giving me the opportunity to be a part of a much beloved show. Thank you to the fans.”

The series did not end up returning.

Tina Rowden/FOX

Nicole Beharie, Sleepy Hollow

Beharie confirmed following the show’s season three finale that her character, Abbie Mills, was really dead. As in not supernaturally coming back somehow should the show be renewed for a fourth season. It lasted one more season without her before being canceled. 

CBS

Michael Weatherly, NCIS

After 13 years with the show, Weatherly, who was with the series from the start, announced he would be leaving NCIS. “He is a valued part of the CBS family, and the immense charm and talent he brings to the screen as ‘Very’ Special Agent Tony DiNozzo has helped make NCIS what it is today—the No. 1 drama in the world,” CBS said in a statement. “We thank Michael for all of his contributions to this successful franchise and look forward to continuing to develop projects with him as part of our ongoing development deal.”

Behind the scenes drama? What do I watch next? Click here to get all the TV scoop straight in your inbox.

Credit by : Sam Waterson's Fate on Law & Order Season 22 Revealed