Sam Waterston departing Law & Order after playing District Attorney Jack McCoy in over 400 episodes – as Tony Goldwyn joins the cast

Sam Waterston is officially leaving the hit legal drama series Law & Order after appearing in over 400 episodes.

According to People, the 83-year-old actor will step down from his longtime role as District Attorney Jack McCoy after first joining the series 30 years ago. Fans can watch its final episode on February 22.

Tony Goldwyn – best known for his work as President Fitzgerald Grant III in Scandal – will now join the cast.

Goldwyn will portray another district attorney, whose name has not yet been made public.

The actor shared a statement to confirm the news, where he via The Washington Post that ‘the time has come for me to move on and take Jack McCoy with me.’

Sam Waterston is officially leaving the hit legal drama series Law & Order after nearly 30 years;  seen in 2022

Sam Waterston is officially leaving the hit legal drama series Law & Order after nearly 30 years; seen in 2022

The Oscar-nominated figure then stated that while he would miss the show, he was enthusiastic about the next part of his career.

“It’s sad to leave, but I’m just too curious about what’s next. An actor doesn’t want to get too comfortable,” he said.

Waterston made his debut as McCoy during Law & Order’s fifth season, which began in 1994.

The performer went on to reprise his role in several episodes of the spinoff series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The actor remained with Law & Order until its original cancellation, which occurred in 2010.

Waterston returned to the Dick Wolf-created show when it was revived for a 21st season, beginning in 2022.

He was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1997, 1999 and 2000 for his work on the show.

The actor also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 1995.

According to People , the 83-year-old actor will step down from his longtime role as District Attorney Jack McCoy after portraying the character in more than 400 episodes of the show, with his final episode set to air on February 22.

According to People , the 83-year-old actor will step down from his longtime role as District Attorney Jack McCoy after portraying the character in more than 400 episodes of the show, with his final episode set to air on February 22.

The performer - who returned to his old role in 2021 - will be replaced by Tony Goldwyn, best known for his work as President Fitzgerald Grant III in Scandal;  Goldwyn is seen in 2023

The artist – who returned to his old role in 2021 – will be replaced by Tony Goldwyn, best known for his work as President Fitzgerald Grant III in Scandal; Goldwyn is seen in 2023

Waterston made his debut as McCoy during Law & Order's fifth season, which began in 1994.

Waterston made his debut as McCoy during Law & Order’s fifth season, which began in 1994.

The artist talked about working on the show during an interview with NPR, where he said that, if it weren't for his role on Law & Order, he probably would have taken on less fulfilling jobs;  he is seen in 2022

The artist talked about working on the show during an interview with NPR, where he said that, if it weren’t for his role on Law & Order, he probably would have taken on less fulfilling jobs; he is seen in 2022

Waterston won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series in 1998 for his role in the show.

The artist talked about working on the show during an interview with NPRwhere he stated that, if it weren’t for his role in Law & Order, he probably would have taken less fulfilling jobs.

“I might have ended up doing other things I wasn’t so happy to be in — stupid roles or stupid projects,” he admitted.

He added: “Let’s not leave out the fact that (my wife) Lynn and I had four kids who had to go to school and go to college and Law & Order paid for it.”