Epatha Merkerson: Law & Order Exit

April 4, 2010

Epatha Merkerson, Law & Order star for 16 years, is leaving the show at the end of this season. The show and its affiliates (Criminal Intent, Special Victims Unit) have experienced many casting changes over the years, but the departure of the 16 year vet has put the future of the show in question. Check out the full story, as well as pictures and video below!

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Playing Lieutenant Van Buren for 16 seasons, the 57-year-old actress has decided it’s time to move on. She originally joined the show in the 4th season, taking over the supervisor role from character Captain Doc Cragen, who was dropped from the show. It’s not currently known if the show has found a replacement, as I’m sure they’re more preoccupied with getting signed by NBC right now.

NBC has run the prodigious show for 20 seasons so far, making it the tied for the longest running drama series next to “Gunsmoke.” A green-light this season would give it the lead. But slumping viewership in the past seasons has put this milestone in jeopardy.

As far as the way out for Epatha Merkerson, Law & Order is sure to give her character an exciting exit. She says of her Character Van Buren:

“However they decide to take her out, it’ll be worthy of the character. Either way, it’ll be great for me because I get to act it.”

Van Buren hasn’t been her only pursuit over the past sixteen years. She also acted in HBO’s “Lackawanna Blues,” a series that rated a 71% on the Tomatometer, and earned her an Emmy for her performance.

I’ve been a fan of the NBC series for years and will miss Epatha Merkerson! Law & Order will have to work hard to find a solid replacement if their future can be guaranteed. Who do you think should replace this character in the show? Let me know in the comments section!

Also, check out the pictures and video below!

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Photos: www.wenn.com/FayesVision, Adriana M. Barraza, Flashpoint, Joseph Marzullo

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