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Law & Order Season 22 Just Locked Down Its Most Important Star

"Law & Order" Season 22 is looking better and better with each passing day. One of the longest-running shows in television history, "Law & Order" first debuted in 1990 and quickly became a hit for NBC. The series eventually spawned its own spin-offs, with the most popular being "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." One of the world's largest media franchises, "Law & Order" continues to expand its prospects with series creator Dick Wolf still at the helm.

The Emmy-winning procedural series called it curtains in 2010 after 20 years of production, with NBC opting to renew "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and commission "Law & Order: Los Angeles" instead (via The New York Times). Ironically, "Law & Order: Los Angeles" was canceled after one season, while the anchor series was brought back earlier this year for Season 21. The revival series saw the return of fan-favorite characters Detective Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and hotshot District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston). The return was praised by critics, with Season 21 earning a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the series was renewed for Season 22.

As the anchor series continues to find its footing in a television landscape that has largely been dominated by its various spin-offs and sister shows, like Wolf's "One Chicago" franchise, there's some recent casting news that will leave fans excited for the upcoming season.

Sam Waterston is returning as Jack McCoy for Law & Order Season 22

Deadline reports that Sam Waterston has signed a one-year deal to return for Season 22 of "Law & Order." With Waterston's return imminent, this will push the star's series run to 18 seasons, making him the longest-running actor on the series. This news comes shortly after it was reported that the original series lost one of its major stars when Anthony Anderson decided he would not be returning as Kevin Bernard for the upcoming outing. Anderson first joined the series during Season 18 and appeared in over 50 episodes.

Waterston first debuted as the Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy in Season 5 and quickly became a fan favorite, with many dubbing him one of the best characters on "Law & Order." The character is best known for his dedication to the criminal justice system and obsession with the truth. After "Law & Order" wrapped up, Waterston continued to appear as the confident McCoy throughout various spin-offs, most notably on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

With Anderson out, the popular DA McCoy will likely receive extended screen time as he shepherds a new generation of public servants. It remains to be seen if other stars from the original "Law & Order" will make their return.