Sam Waterston returns as Jack McCoy for Law & Order revival

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

It’s official: Jack McCoy is back on the job.

After months of rumors, Sam Waterston is confirmed as returning to his role as the District Attorney for the Season 21 revival of Law & Order.

This completes the primary casting for the series, which is set for its debut early next year to continue the famous franchise.

Jack McCoy’s history

Whenever Law & Order is mentioned, Jack McCoy is usually one of the first names fans think of.

The original main Assistant District Attorney on Law & Order when it premiered in 1990 was Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty).

When Stone left at the end of Season 4, he was replaced by McCoy, a veteran of the New York prosecutor’s office. McCoy soon became known for his impassioned speeches in court, taking down a guilty suspect and not above bending a few rules to get a conviction.

Of course, McCoy’s personal issues were important as his temper had him held in contempt 80 times and he was revealed to have had an affair with a past female ADA (with hints he and Jill Hennessy’s Claire Kincaid were also together).

In Season 17, McCoy was promoted to interim District Attorney, which became permanent in Season 20. That had him in the ironic position of becoming upset over Michael Cutter’s (Linus Roache’s) moves just as the former D.A. had chewed out McCoy.

McCoy would pop up in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, although some conversations in later seasons indicated he was no longer District Attorney. However, it seems he’s once again back on the job.

McCoy’s return to Law & Order

Sam Waterson
Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy in Law & Order. Pic credit: NBC

Ever since the word came of NBC reviving Law & Order for a 21st season, there have been rumors of Waterston returning as McCoy. At last, the actor and Wolf Entertainment have confirmed McCoy is back and is still District Attorney.

Executive producer Dick Wolf put out the statement welcoming back Waterston and how his tenure is influenced by a real-life long-serving New York District Attorney.

“Very few casting announcements have ever given me this much pleasure. Since day one, Sam has had perfect pitch when it comes to Jack McCoy as a character who both reflects and expands our ability to understand the law. He is the ultimate conscience of the show and I look forward to him emulating the career of New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who served until he was 90. With both Sam and Anthony [Anderson] returning, it shows that the 21st season is merely a continuation of where we left off.”

Waterston’s return finalizes the cast for Season 21. McCoy will oversee Hugh Dancy’s unnamed Assistant District Attorney, while Odelya Halevi will play his aide, Samantha Maroun.

On the police side, Anthony Anderson reprises his role as Detective Kevin Bernard, with Jeffrey Donovan as his unnamed partner. Camryn Manheim plays Lt. Kate Dixon. 

With filming underway for its February premiere, the return of Waterston as McCoy ensures this is no reboot but a natural continuation of the mothership series and McCoy right back to work like no time has passed.

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

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