Anthony Anderson explains his Law & Order exit

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson departs from Law & Order. Pic credit: NBC

Anthony Anderson is opening up on his Law & Order exit. 

The actor who played Kevin Bernard on the iconic NBC series is finally sharing why he left the revival after only one season. 

This seems to set up a new direction for Anderson’s career even as it shakes up the coming Season 22. 

Kevin Bernard’s brief return to Law & Order

While Law & Order has seen several detectives in its long run, Kevin Bernard did stand out well. 

Introduced in Season 18, Bernard was a former Internal Affairs officer who briefly investigated Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) when he was accused of murder. While Green was proven innocent, he decided to leave the NYPD.

That left Bernard to step in as the new top detective with Cyrus Lupo (Jeremey Sisto). The pair were the last detectives of the series when NBC unexpectedly canceled it at the end of Season 20 in 2010. 

Anderson went on to create the acclaimed ABC sitcom Black-ish but still had a soft spot for Bernard. That was why fans were ecstatic when it was announced Anderson would reprise the role for the Season 21 revival.

Bernard had been at the job for over a decade, now partnered with Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan), who he generally got along well with. However, the pair did have a few clashes over issues of race and police conduct.

The last time Bernard was seen was the Season 21 finale, where he had to play referee in an argument between Cosgrove and ADA Price (Hugh Dancy) over a cop’s murder. 

Little did fans know that would be the last scene for Bernard and Anderson on Law & Order.

Why did Anthony Anderson leave Law & Order?

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson could possibly return to Law & Order role of Kevin Bernard. Pic credit: NBC

Days after the Season 21 finale, Anderson surprised fans by revealing he was leaving the series. The actor had only signed a one-year deal for the show and decided not to renew it. 

This wasn’t the only big change for Anderson’s career. At the same time Law & Order Season 21 was beginning, the final episodes of Black-ish aired, meaning Anderson had two network shows at the same time. 

There had been questions as to why Anderson would only return for one year. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight at the American Century Celebrity Championship golf tournament, Anderson explained he wanted to focus on more personal projects than a regular network show.

“I wanted to go off and create more shows like Black-ish, create things that I have ownership in, and do something a little bit different. We’re going out and pitching another drama called Miraculous, which I’m excited about, so looking forward to what that’s going to do.”

It remains unsure if Anderson will cameo in the Season 22 premiere to write off Bernard or if the character will already be gone. It’s also unclear what Bernard’s final fate will be. 

Mehcad Brooks has already been cast as Anderson’s replacement for Season 22, with production set to begin in a few weeks.

While Law & Order fans may be disappointed that Bernard’s return was so short-lived, Anderson makes it clear he enjoyed his brief comeback but determined to carve out his own career path.

Law & Order Season 22 premieres Thursday September 22 at 8/7c on NBC.

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