Further details have yet to come, but fans already know enough about Sam Waterston's return to Law & Order: SVU to be excited. Waterston, who was a series regular on the original Law & Order, is confirmed to reprise his role as Jack McCoy at some point in SVU Season 19. The news comes just before the NBC broadcast beast's upcoming season premieres on Sept. 27. The fan-favorite TV prosecutor will be back, but which SVU episode will Waterston be in?
As TV Line reported, the fictional District Attorney (previously Executive Assistant District Attorney), will make his cameo "mid-season or later." According to IMDb, there will be 22 episodes in Season 19, but there are no cast details beyond episode 5. Reports claim that the script including Jack's return has yet to be written and shot.
Still, Waterston is a true L&O vet, and he'll likely fall right back into the fold effortlessly. The original show debuted in 1990 and Waterston joined just a few years later in 1994, remaining on the show until it abruptly ended in 2010. He was the longest-running actor on the show after S. Epatha Merkerson (Lt. Anita Van Buren). But this won't be the actor's first rodeo on SVU.
Since SVU made its debut in 1999, Waterston appeared in three episodes, the last being Season 11's "Torch" in 2010. The numbers do the talking when it comes to how well-received Waterston's role has been through the years. He was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and took home the 1999 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series.
Jack McCoy came hot onto the scene as an unconventional attorney with an often ruthless mentality. His out-of-the-box methods included bending rules, finding loopholes, and frightening people into testifying — all of which got him in contempt of court numerous times. Still, his mission was always to seek justice, and in the process, he delivered epic lines like, "Your grief would be a little more convincing, sir, if you hadn't just admitted you cut off your wife's head."
It's unclear what Jack will be working with when he returns, how long his cameo will be, and how involved with a case he'll be. But it's almost certain that he'll deliver the same cutting, no-B.S. dialogue he gave throughout his run on L&O and even his appearances on Special Victims Unit. And fans are more than ready for Waterston's return, as brief as it may be.
Meanwhile, hope for a Law & Order revival is still going strong because fans are, well, optimistic. Over the summer, L&O creator and mastermind Dick Wolf said plans of a revival were "nowhere" to be found. "It's a nice thing to think about occasionally, I would be very surprised if we went back," he said. In 2015, reports suggested a limited series with original cast members like Waterston and Chris Noth could've been in the works, but obviously, nothing came of it.
But seeing how fans are responding with such excitement and anticipation to Waterston's cameo alone, there's no doubt the return of L&O would be wildly successful. Although there's SVU and Law & Order True Crime, there's just something about the nostalgia of the original crew that keeps fans hanging on. Luckily, the return of the epic Jack McCoy will be here before they know it, and that's more than a dedicated L&O fan could ask for.