‘Law & Order’ Reboot: Sam Waterston Reveals the Real Reasons For the Show’s Return


  • Law & Order is getting a reboot after getting abruptly canceled 12 years ago.
  • Sam Waterston will reprise his role as District Attorney Jack McCoy for season 21.
  • Waterston recently revealed creator Dick Wolf had been plotting the show’s return for years, but that is not the only reason for the Law & Order reboot.
Law & Order reboot star Sam Waterston as D.A. Jack McCoy in an image Season 21 Episode 1
Sam Waterston | Michael Greenberg/NBC

Law & Order is coming back to NBC nearly 12 years after the network abruptly canceled the long-running series. Dick Wolf’s Emmy-winning drama will return for season 21. With both Sam Waterston and Anthony Anderson reprising their roles from the original series — D.A. Jack McCoy and Detective Kevin Bernard.

According to Waterston, Wolf has been plotting the return of Law & Order for years. But he’s not the only reason for the reboot.

The ‘Law & Order’ reboot will have new faces

According to Deadline, Waterston and Anderson will be joined by a new cast of characters in the Law & Order reboot. And they include some faces viewers might recognize. The cast additions for season 21 are Burn Notice alum Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim from The Practice, The Path star Hugh Dancy, and newcomer Odelya Halevi.

Waterston says that Wolf has been talking about the return of Law & Order for years, and he doesn’t think he’s ever stopped.

“One of the reasons that we’re back is because of his persistence and determination and his complete conviction that it was a terrible mistake to stop in the first place,” Waterston said at the recent TCA Panel.

Dick Wolf wasn’t the only reason for the ‘Law & Order’ reboot

Even though the original series suddenly left the air in 2010, the franchise has continued to flourish with spin-offs like Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime. Waterston admitted that one of the reasons for the reboot was the fan base.

“The other reason that we’re coming back, I think, is because we stopped making the shows, but the audience never stopped watching them,” Waterston said. “So the audience’s persistent appetite for Law & Order is a major reason why we’re back.”

The new showrunner jumped at the opportunity offered by Dick Wolf

For this latest version of Law & Order, Wolf is working with his frequent collaborator, Rick Eid. Eid says Wolf first approached him about the reboot about a year ago. And it was a project the showrunner/writer couldn’t refuse.

“Dick has been talking to me about, you know, ‘The mothership’s going to come back. Law & Order is going to come back. Are you in?’ And I know he was talking to Sam, and he said, ‘Sam’s in.’,” Eid said. “And then, maybe May or June of [last] year, he called and said, “It’s happening. Do you want to do it?” And I jumped at the opportunity.”

Anthony Anderson volunteered to return

Wolf recruited both Waterston and Eid for the new season of Law & Order. But Anderson says he reached out to Wolf after wrapping his eight-season run on Black-ish to let him know he was interested in returning.

“I called Dick once I found out the show was coming back, and he was excited to hear from me, to hear that I would be interested in doing it,” Anderson said.

“Returning to the streets of New York, returning to our sound stages and that squad room and donning that badge, Badge No. 1901, was just, like, sitting in a well-worn saddle. It gripped you just right and was comfortable.”

More original ‘Law & Order’ cast members could reprise their roles in the reboot

According to Eid, it’s possible that more original Law & Order cast members could be back to reprise their roles in season 21. However, he refused to name names.

“You’ll definitely see some familiar faces along the way. We’re going to keep that, those names quiet right now,” Eid said.


‘Law & Order’ Reboot: Everything We Know So Far About Season 21

“But, yeah, there’s so many great actors who have been involved in the show, and the opportunity for them to come back in some capacity is really exciting. So I think we definitely want to find ways to bring back several of our alumni.”

Law & Order season 21 premieres Thursday, February 24 on NBC.