Sam Waterston is leaving 'Law & Order,' with his final episode set to air this month

Sam Waterston is leaving “Law & Order” after 30 years and 400 episodes with the franchise, Wolf Entertainment announced Friday.

The 83-year-old joined the drama series in its fifth season in 1994, stayed on until it stopped running in 2010 and returned for the 2022 reboot. He has earned a SAG award and Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his role as Jack McCoy, a brilliant albeit hot-tempered prosecutor who bows to no one but Lady Justice.

The last episode for Waterston’s McCoy will be Feb. 22, NBC said Friday. Tony Goldwyn, best known for his role as President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant in ABC’s “Scandal,” has been cast as the new district attorney.

Waterston said goodbye to fans of the show in a heartfelt statement posted to Wolf Entertainment’s website Friday.

“There’s sadness in leaving, but I’m just too curious about what’s next. An actor doesn’t want to let himself get too comfortable,” Waterston said. “I’m more grateful to you than I can say. L&O’s continuing and amazing long run, along with its astounding come-back, is all thanks to you and to Dick Wolf, but for whose vision, patience, perseverance, and unique combination of creative and business talents, none of this would have happened. I feel very blessed.”

He ended his statement by saying, “I hope to see you all on the flip side.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.