Sam Waterston's Final 'Law & Order' Farewell and His Last 'Bull Kill'

Iconic Actor Bids Farewell in Riveting Courtroom Drama.

by Nouman Rasool
Sam Waterston's Final 'Law & Order' Farewell and His Last 'Bull Kill'
© Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

In an epoch-defining farewell, Sam Waterston, the venerated actor and longest-serving cast member of the original "Law & Order" series, made his final bow in Thursday's gripping episode. Waterston, portraying the steadfast prosecutor-turned-District Attorney Jack McCoy for an astounding 19 seasons over 405 episodes, marked his departure in a courtroom drama that resonated with the essence of his character's journey.

The episode, fittingly titled "Last Dance" and masterfully penned by showrunner Rick Eid, centers around a high-stakes murder case against Scott Kelton (played by Rob Benedict), a billionaire entangled in a deadly scandal.

The victim, Veronica Knight (portrayed by Shay Guthrie), was on the verge of revealing a past assault by Kelton. In this intense legal showdown, McCoy, played with consummate skill by Waterston, grapples with political undercurrents, ethical dilemmas, and personal convictions.

McCoy's Final Stand

Waterston's final act as McCoy is steeped in the complex dynamics of New York's legal and political landscape. The narrative propels McCoy to confront a compromising plea deal, political threats from the mayor (Bruce Altman), and the subsequent moral quandaries.

In a poignant turn of events, McCoy reclaims his place in the courtroom, replacing prosecutor Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) to uphold the ideals he has cherished throughout his tenure. Reflecting on his departure, Waterston revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter how his initial ideas for McCoy's exit were transcended by Eid's script, leading to a more graceful and heroic conclusion.

This narrative culmination encapsulates McCoy's unwavering dedication to justice, as he urges the jury to uphold their duty with integrity and fairness. As the episode reaches its climax, the jury delivers a verdict of guilt, and McCoy, in a moment of introspection, resigns, paving the way for a new district attorney (to be portrayed by Tony Goldwyn).

His parting words, "It's been a hell of a ride," resonate as he takes a final, reflective glance at the courthouse, symbolizing the end of an era. Waterston's exit from "Law & Order" not only marks the conclusion of a legendary character but also signifies a transformative moment in television history.

His portrayal of Jack McCoy has been a cornerstone of the series, embodying the relentless pursuit of justice amidst the complexities of law and morality.