‘Law & Order’ Star Sam Waterston Reveals Why He Was Hesitant to Return

by Anna Dunn

Fans of the Law & Order franchise are thrilled that iconic Jack McCoy actor Sam Waterston is returning to the series for the revival. It’s been over a decade since the show‘s cancellation, yet the McCoy actor decided to jump on board anyway. Of course, it’s a big commitment. Here’s why the actor was hesitant to return to the franchise.

The actor told Variety that he was nervous about joining the show because, well, he’d already given multiple decades of his life to it. He’d done it already. But after having worked on the show again, he’s thrilled he didn’t miss out on this project.

“I’m so glad I didn’t miss this chance because you’re racing through your life and you’re in a big hurry all the time. You don’t really get much opportunity to ever look at it or look back at it or look down at it at the height of it. You know, a life is a big deal,” he said.

A Lot has Changed Since ‘Law & Order’ Aired its Final Episode

Of course, a lot changes in ten years, and while coming back to set feels familiar, it doesn’t really feel exactly like something Waterston has done before. The game has changed. The people have changed. And now, McCoy is starting to change too.

“It does feel familiar, but we are completely different people. The structure of the show, the names of the characters, they’re there from the past. But I feel like I have to find a new way to live in the show,” he explained.

For him, that’s what’s going to make the show interesting. It’s going to be the same show but in a new time. And the people around Jack McCoy are, for the most part, different. They’re also going to change McCoy a bit.

“I don’t think he’s gotten weary. In his heyday, he was a happy warrior, and I think he still is. I don’t know how much he’s changed. Ask me in six or seven episodes,” he continued.

Waterston’s McCoy is what made Law & Order the show it was. And since its premiere, the show has inspired multiple spinoffs and a whole franchise with Producer Dick Wolf at the helm. Many fans of the show, and many people who worked on it, feel like NBC’s 2010 cancellation was unjust.

Now, Law & Order is getting a second chance. The show is also seeing plenty of new people join the cast including Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy.

If you want to watch Law & Order when the revival premieres, Thursday, Feb. 24, at 8/7 central on NBC.