S. Epatha Merkerson latest in Law & Order cast sea change
By April MacIntyre Apr 2, 2010, 20:41 GMT
03/05/2010 - S. Epatha Merkerson - 25th Film Indepdendent Spirit Awards - Arrivals - L.A. Live Event Deck - Los Angeles, CA USA © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" franchises are seeing major cast changes this year.
The recent announcement of S. Epatha Merkerson leaving "Law & Order" comes not long after "Law & Order: CI" announced three of their leads departing this season. Vincent D'Onofrio, who portrayed Det. Bobby Goren; Kathryn Erbe, who played his partner Alexandra Eames; and Eric Bogosian, who is leaving his role as Capt. Danny Ross were replaced with Saffron Burrows, Jeff Goldblum and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Merkerson asked producers to be released after the current 20th season.
Variety reports that Merkerson made her request before the series was to enter production on the last episode of the season so her character could be given a proper send-off.
Merkerson is an Emmy winning actress (HBO's "Lackawanna Blues)," has been in her role of supervisor Lt. Anita Van Buren longer than any player on the cast.
TNT, the cabler which carries the "Law & Order" reruns, reportedly has no obligation to pick up more seasons beyond Season 20. NBC has been looking to the TNT license fee to offset the cost of production in order to renew "L&O" for a record-setting 21st campaign.
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