Sam Waterston discusses his return as Jack McCoy for Law & Order revival

Sam Waterston
Sam Waterston returns as Jack McCoy on Law & Order Season 21. Pic credit: NBC

It’s been 12 years, but Jack McCoy is back on the job like no time has passed. 

Sam Waterston is opening up about returning to his role as the iconic District Attorney for the upcoming Season 21 revival of Law & Order coming to NBC. 

As the series films in preparation for its February 24 debut, the stars and producers opened up about what fans can expect from the show’s return.

The return of Jack McCoy

While he only joined the original Law & Order in Season 4, Jack McCoy quickly became the face of the franchise. 

Veteran actor Sam Waterston found his most famous role as the tough-talking Assistant District Attorney who was willing to bend a rule here and there, but was dedicated to finding justice, no matter the cost.

McCoy worked with a succession of assistants and bosses over the years before becoming the D.A. himself in Season 18. He remained in that role when the original Law & Order series was canceled in 2010. 

Waterston made a few appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but McCoy eventually left the role of D.A. However, it was finally confirmed that he will be back on the job when the show returns. 

Waterston spoke to TV Insider about returning to the part after so long and is happy as fans to be back. 

“I wasn’t at all expecting to be bowled over, and I was. I was amazed at how great—and strange—it felt to step onto what looked exactly like the old sets, all brand-new, with dear old friends and cool new people.”

Waterston added that the timing seems right for a return of the iconic show, especially in today’s world. “It couldn’t be more timely, and its storytelling is rock-solid as ever. Voices you can trust to tell all sides are always scarce. If we get it right, people will be back throwing their shoes at their TVs and loving it!”

What else is happening on the Law & Order Season 21 revival?

Sam Waterston
Sam Waterston returns as Jack McCoy for the Law & Order revival. Pic credit: NBC

McCoy will be supervising senior assistant Nathan Price (Hugh Dancy) and junior ADA Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi), continuing the tradition of two male attorneys and a female assistant.

Not much is known yet about Price, but showrunner Rick Eid describes Samantha, a Lebanese American, as someone “who has endured racism and tragedy and is passionate about getting justice for victims.”

Eid added the series wouldn’t break from the classic formula. “The first half is still a murder mystery and the second half a moral mystery.” It will also keep to the classic “ripped from the headlines” storylines but address the changes to society and the police in the last decade. 

“It’s essentially the same show in a slightly different world, exploring modern issues and topics,” Eid clarifies. “The way people police, the way prosecutors try cases, has changed.”

On the police side, Anthony Anderson will reprise his role as Kevin Bernard, joined by Jeffrey Donovan as his partner. Emmy-award winner Camryn Manheim will play their boss, Kate Bishop. 

Eid states that “one of Kate’s biggest challenges is to mend fences while keeping [her unit’s] morale up.” According to Manheim, “She is tough—she’s an alpha and they respect her—but fair.”

With filming underway and the series set to debut after the Winter Olympics, Eid sums up the high hopes cast and crew has. 

“We’re trying hard to continue the legacy. I’d love for this to last another 20 years.”

Many fans will agree with that assessment. 

Law & Order Season 21 premieres Thursday February 24 at 8/7c on NBC.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments