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How will Law & Order address Anthony Anderson’s exit?

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson departs Law & Order before Season 22. Pic credit: NBC

Law & Order fans will get an answer to the departure of Detective Kevin Bernard.

Showrunner Rick Eid has revealed the upcoming Season 22 premiere will explain why Anthony Anderson’s detective is no longer on the iconic series.

It will come amid the now-confirmed three-part crossover with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime

The episode will also have the debut of Mehcad Brooks as the now-named Detective Jalen Shaw. While Brooks had been filming the series for some time, this is the first reveal of his character’s name. 

This comes after months of questions about how the series would handle Bernard’s unexpected absence and address his reasons for leaving. 

While it won’t be dealt with long, at least fans will get an answer to the unexpected departure of this famous cop. 

How Law & Order will handle Bernard’s departure

Law & Order fans are no strangers to the show suddenly having characters depart without warning. 

Since the early days, the series has become used to detectives or prosecutors coming and going almost every other season. While some characters like Jack McCoy or Anita Van Buren hung around for years, others were shorter-lived. 

Some, such as Jerry Orbach’s iconic Lennie Briscoe, got a big send-off, while others were simply noted as having moved on in between seasons and a new cop or prosecutor entering. 

This will be the case for Season 22, as Detective Kevin Bernard has unexpectedly left the show. Anthony Anderson had only agreed to return to his role as the cop (who he played for the series’ last three seasons) on a one-year deal for the Season 21 revival.

Speaking to TV Line for the upcoming season, showrunner Rick Eid stated that Bernard’s departure would be explained, in classic Law & Order tradition, with a quick mention before moving on. 

“It’s a little mention. It’s in the time-honored tradition of Law & Order where it’s very brief and it’s like, ‘Moving on. Here we go. We’ve got to solve the case.'”

While some fans might have wished for a better send-off for the character, it wasn’t to be given Anderson made the decision to leave following the Season 21 finale. 

What comes next on Law & Order?

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

The Season 22 premiere will be part of a major three-part crossover with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime.

While rumors of such a crossover have been going around, this is confirmation it will happen, although no details as of yet as to what case brings the three squads together. 

The crossover will also introduce new detective Jalen Shaw, played by Supergirl alum Mehcad Brooks. He and Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) will work together on the case, and in Episode 2, Shaw will transfer to become Cosgrove’s new partner. 

“You get the idea that Cosgrove liked working with him, and then we find out that the character Anthony [Anderson] played has moved on,” Eid explained. 

Brooks shared an emotional post on how it felt joining the series and bringing a new intensity to the show. The same episode will also close out Bernard’s storyline. 

While some fans may have wished Anderson had made a bigger exit for Bernard, they can at least be assured his exit from Law & Order is answered. 

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