“Law & Order” star Sam Waterston enjoys being a mascot of sorts for New York City.
In a 2011 interview with The Paley Center for Media, Waterston spoke about the importance of the city to the show and said he has come to feel like an honorary New Yorker.
“It’s an enormous pleasure to be mascots of the city,” Waterston said. “I still remember the first— I was walking down the street in Chelsea, and somebody shouted at me, ‘Hey! Law and order!’ And, you know, and it’s continued ever since. It’s really cool. Because you don’t get a lot of deference, you know? But you do feel like a member of the family.”
Watch Waterston’s comments here:
‘Law & Order’ Star Is Not a Native New Yorker
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Waterston is a New Englander to the core. He went to Yale and raised his family in rural Connecticut. So in some ways, New York City is foreign turf to him.
“I can’t really measure the extent to which Massachusetts had an influence on me,” Waterston told Boston Magazine in 2016. “Until I went to college, I really basically never left Massachusetts. Massachusetts and Rhode Island, those are the two places I spent most of my time. Now I live in Connecticut. I’m a New Englander through and through. That’s the river I’ve been swimming in all my life, so it’s really hard for me to be objective about how it affected me.”
“I love Massachusetts,” he added. “We still go there in the summer, we go to a place on Buzzards Bay that’s been in my mother’s family since right after the Civil War. Our roots go deep there. My children and my grandchildren all feel it too.”
Waterston Feels He’s Made a Difference Playing Jack McCoy
When Waterston got the part of District Attorney Jack McCoy in “Law & Order,” he thought the job would last maybe one season, he told CBS News in 2010.
“And then I thought, ‘Oh, I could do two. Well, maybe three…,’” Waterston recounted.
When he joined the acting profession, Waterston had adopted his father’s somewhat elitist perspective – that theatre was respectable, movies were silly and TV was beneath contempt. But over time, he came to appreciate the range of opportunities available in television and the power of the medium.
And perhaps no TV job has proven that more than his work on “Law & Order.” Waterston said he’s been amazed at the reach of the show and the impact it’s had on people’s lives.
“I can’t tell you the number of people who have come up to me on the street and said, ‘I’m a lawyer because of you,'” Waterston said.