Sam Waterston Set to Return for Law & Order Season 22

Jack McCoy isn’t going anywhere. After actor Sam Waterston reprised the role from the original Law & Order series for a recent revival, which marked the 21st season of the series, it has been announced that he will also be back for season 22. There had been concerns that Waterston wouldn’t be back for the next season following reports of Anthony Anderson’s exit, but Jack McCoy’s return has been confirmed by Deadline.

It was just recently reported that Anderson was leaving the series, as he had intended to only come back for one season to help Dick Wolf and Co. with getting the revival off the ground. Waterston had similarly signed a one-year deal when he agreed to return for season 21, though he hadn’t quite come on board fully decided that he’d be limiting himself to a single season. It seems that Waterston has taken to reprising his role as Jack McCoy with his decision to stay on board.


“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,” Wolf said in a statement when Waterston’s return was first announced. “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.”

Sam Waterston Was Initially Reluctant to Return to Law & Order

Waterston previously spoke about how he was apprehensive about returning to Law & Order. The actor had long moved on with his life and career when the series ended, and when the offer to come back was first given to him, Waterston felt that reprising a role he’d already played wouldn’t pose many new challenges. But he also realized that, given how much time has passed, the Jack McCoy of today is not the same person he was in the original series.

“I thought at first, ‘Haven’t I done this already?’” Waterston said, via Variety. “I’m so glad I didn’t miss this chance, because you’re racing through your life and you’re in a big hurry all the time. You don’t really get much opportunity to ever look at it or look back at it or look down at it at the height of it. You know, a life is a big deal.”

He added, “It does feel familiar, but we are completely different people. The structure of the show, the names of the characters, they’re there from the past. But I feel like I have to find a new way to live in the show. I think that’s what will make it interesting. We’re going to do that together. It’s the same show but it’s a new day. The new people who Jack will be working with most of the time are going to change McCoy, and the relationships will be different. It’s really the most extraordinary thing, the overlays of past and present.”