Sam Waterston hints a former Law & Order actress returning for the revival

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

Jack McCoy is returning to Law & Order…and he may not be alone.

In a new interview, Sam Waterston talked about how it feels to return to the iconic franchise for its upcoming Season 21 revival in a few weeks.

He also dropped the intriguing hint that a big surprise guest star is coming, which may be tied to the franchise’s past. 

Waterston on returning as Jack McCoy

While he debuted in Season 4 of the original Law & Order, Jack McCoy quickly became one of the franchise’s most recognizable faces.

Sam Waterston imbued the Assistant District Attorney with some strength and was not afraid to bend a few rules to put a felon behind bars. That earned him numerous contempt citations but far more victories. 

McCoy was made the interim District Attorney in Season 18, with it becoming permanent the next season. He still remained on the job when Law & Order was unexpectedly canceled at the end of Season 20 in 2010. 

While McCoy made a few appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, it was hinted he was no longer D.A. Now, he’ll be returning and Waterston talked to Variety on how it felt to return to the role. 

“It was totally surreal. Unbelievable. It’s a step back in time. They built the sets in every detail down to the books on the shelves to the linoleum on the floor. You know perfectly well that it wasn’t all being done for you, but you can’t escape the feeling that you’re being given this opportunity to step back in time in your own life.”

McCoy will be working with Assistant District Attorneys Nathan Price (Hugh Dancy) and Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi). But Waterston hinted there might be another familiar face coming to the series. 

“One of the wonderful things about doing a television show in New York like this with really juicy parts for visitors is that there’s this extraordinary pool of talent of New York actors. So, the hope and expectation is that there will be a wonderful surprise every week. There is a person coming back in the first show, one of my favorite people on Earth. I’m not allowed to tell who that is, but you’ll be glad when you see her.”

Showrunner Rick Eid added, “I’m sure we could have done the show without them, but we didn’t want to.”

Who could be returning to Law & Order?

Anita van Buren
S. Epatha Merkerson as Anita van Buren in Law & Order Pic credit: NBC

Waterston’s words are intriguing as several former Law & Order actresses could be returning for this revival.

The top name would have to be Anita Van Buren. S. Epatha Merkerson played the tough cop in 390 episodes, the longest-tenured character of the franchise. The character was last seen recovering from cancer.

While Merkerson has been busy with her role on Chicago Med, she might be open to a return appearance to bring Anita’s story to a close.

There are also scores of actresses who played some of the female ADAs on the series. Alana de la Garza was the final one of the series as Connie Rubirosa. The actress is currently on FBI but might be able to make a cameo.

Other faces include Elisabeth Rohm as Serena Southerlyn and Angie Harmon as Abbie Carmichael. 

There’s a chance that it’s not an ADA at all, but a defense attorney. A popular foe for McCoy in the courtroom was defense attorney Danielle Melnick, played by New York theater veteran Tovah Feldshuh. The short-lived Chicago Justice series revealed Melnick was now a judge in Chicago but could make a return to pester McCoy again.

As it stands, the producers are mum on who this past face might be, but Waterston’s words indicate a fun reunion is in store to make the return of Law & Order even more epic.

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

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