|Sam Waterston will keeping the law and order for a few more years. |
The actor has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the producers of Law & Order that will keep him on NBC's Emmy-winning series through at least the 2004-05 television season.
Since joining Law & Order back in 1994, Waterston's tough-talking, but charismatic Assistant D.A. Jack McCoy has become one of the few constants on a show known for cast upheavals.
Angie Harmon, Benjamin Bratt, Paul Sorvino, Jill Hennessy, and Carey Lowell, Diane Wiest and Chris Noth are among those actors to have passed through the Law & Order revolving door over the show's 13 seasons.
The only cast members to serve longer than Waterston are Jerry Orbach, who has been busting bad guys as Detective Lennie Briscoe since 1992, and S. Epatha Merkerson, who's played Lieutenant Anita Van Buren since '93.
Aside from Waterston, Orbach and Merkerson, the rest of the Law roster is currently filled by Elisabeth Rohm, Fred Dalton Thompson and Jesse L. Martin.
Crime has paid off nicely for the Peacock. Law & Order, which premiered in 1990, has been something of an anomaly on the tube, increasing its viewership in recent years as it heads into its 14th season next fall. The Dick Wolf-produced police drama, which mixes ripped-from-the-headline tales and solid performances from its New York-based acting bunch, registered its 300th episode last month and finished the season as TV's 10th most watched show, averaging 17.3 million viewers a week.
It has already spawned two highly rated spinoffs--Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent--and NBC is talking with Wolf about launching a fourth franchise.
During his stint on Law & Order, Waterston has garnered three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor. That matches the three nods he received for NBC's I'll Fly Away in the early '90s.
On the big screen, Waterston is best known for his Oscar-nominated turn as a journalist who escapes genocide in Cambodia in 1984's acclaimed film The Killing Fields. Other feature credits include a trio of Woody Allen films--Interiors, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors--and John Waters' Serial Mom.
Recently, Waterston played the father of hate-crime victim Matthew Shepherd in NBC's TV movie The Matthew Shepherd Story. He's next set to costar with Kate Hudson and Glenn Close in the Merchant-Ivory film Le Divorce.