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Sam Waterston Returning to ‘Law and Order’ for ‘SVU’ Stint

Sam Waterston Law Order SVU Return
NBC

Law & Order will outlive us all, and SVU will cement that with the return of a long-lost fan-favorite. No, not Christopher Meloni, but Sam Waterston picking up the Jack McCoy mantle for the Law & Order spinoff’s 19th (!) season.

NBC confirms that the current Grace and Frankie and upcoming Godless star will return to his role as prosecutor Jack McCoy for an upcoming SVU episode; technically his fourth appearance on the spinoff after some prior crossovers. Waterston joined the original Law & Order in Season 5, sticking with the series for sixteen seasons until NBC canceled it in 2010.

It isn’t clear what precisely brings McCoy back into the SVU world, though we do know that Law & Order’s abrupt cancellation precluded any closure for the character’s ongoing storylines. During his original tenure, Waterson earned a Screen Actors Guild award for the performance, as well as three Emmy nominations.

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Waterston was also interested in returning to the character once NBC began kicking around a Law & Order revival, though the project was ultimately shelved (creator Dick Wolf has mostly moved his spinoff empire to Chicago). The cancellation also cost Law & Order the Gunsmoke record for longest-running primetime drama.

We’ll hear more of Waterston’s return in the coming weeks, as Law & Order: SVU Season 19 kicks off September 27.

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