Sam Waterston bids goodbye in Law & Order Season 23, Episode 5

It's the end of an era as Sam Waterston bids goodbye to his role as Jack McCoy. Find out how he exits here.

LAW & ORDER -- "Unintended Consequences" Episode 23003 -- Pictured: Sam Waterston as DA Jack McCoy -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
LAW & ORDER -- "Unintended Consequences" Episode 23003 -- Pictured: Sam Waterston as DA Jack McCoy -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) /

This week’s Law & Order is the end of an era. Watch a preview of Sam Waterston’s final episode as Jack McCoy!

For many fans, Law & Order without Jack McCoy is impossible to imagine. While Sam Waterston didn’t start on the series in 1990, when he joined in Season 5, the show truly took off with McCoy as a major focus as the ADA did whatever it took to win a case.

Fans kept tuning in over the years as McCoy eventually became DA himself and tried to handle the politics of the office. It was no surprise when NBC revived Law & Order in 2021 that Waterston would return as McCoy, still in charge.

McCoy’s time on screen has been limited due to Waterston’s age, only appearing for a few minutes every episode. Yet this week looks to be the grand sendoff as after over 400 episodes, Waterston finally leaves the show. So, how will McCoy depart?

Law & Order 23x05 promo

The promo showcases McCoy's long time with the show and the hint he's choosing to go out on his own terms. The following episode will introduce Tony Goldwyn as his replacement.

It's a great sequence that reminds you how Waterston has been playing this role on and off for 30 years and his departure closes a major chapter for the show. It looks like NBC is going to do right by Waterston with a grand farewell.

Law & Order 23x05 synopsis

The case appears to showcase a tough murder investigation and the hint McCoy has to sacrifice his career to see justice done.

With a grand send-off befitting this iconic character, this week’s Law & Order bids farewell to one of its most beloved characters to make it a must-watch episode. 

"When a woman is found murdered in Central Park, evidence points to two frequent park-goers - a street vendor and tech billionaire. In the face of extreme political pressure, McCoy takes drastic action to make the case."

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Law & Order Season 23 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC and streams the following day on Peacock.