The original Law & Order made a successful return to television in its season 21 revival this year, and it's already been renewed for season 22. Unfortunately when it returns a popular character from the show will not be making the return journey, and that is Anthony Anderson's Detective Kevin Bernard. Anderson was a favorite during his original run with the show before it was canceled, and he was one of several returning cast members when the show was brought back. According to Deadline Anderson has chosen not to reprise his role for Season 22, and now the search will begin for another lead Detective.
According to sources, Anderson wanted to support Law & Order creator Dick Wolf in the show's relaunch for one season and then always planned on moving on after that, and he only signed a one-year deal when he joined the revival. It will be disappointing for fans of the series, including myself, as Anderson's character was one of the major reasons why the revival worked so well.
Anderson wasn't the only member of the cast to sign a one-year deal, as Law & Order icon Sam Waterston (who plays Jack McCoy) also signed a one-year deal for season 21. It isn't known if he will return for Season 22, but the good news is that he did appear on stage for NBCUniversal's upfront presentation, which promotes all of NBC's big shows for next season, so perhaps he will be in the mix once more.
As for Anderson's character, Bernard wasn't written out of the show in the season finale, which is why it comes as a bit of a surprise that he is exiting the show. We'll have to wait and see how they address his exit in the season premiere, but this is far from the first time a lead actor has departed the series in-between seasons, and perhaps they will leave things open-ended so he can return for some cameos later on if the opportunity arises.
Who should step into Anderson's shoes for season 22? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things Law & Order with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!