'Law & Order: SVU' Reportedly Not Planning Jack McCoy Return in Season 20

Jack McCoy might still be the district attorney in Manhattan, but he is not expected to make another appearance in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the immediate future.

On Monday, TVLine reported that there are "no plans at this time" to bring back Sam Waterston's legendary character for the upcoming season 20. However, the door is "always open" for him to come back.

Back in February, Jack appeared in a special episode of SVU to give A.D.A. Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) some advice. Waterston also had a scene with new SVU castmember Philip Winchester, who is playing his Chicago Justice character Peter Stone.

The scene with Winchester was particularly emotional, as Jack shared his memories of Peter's father, the late Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty).

Waterston's appearance was the first time he played Jack since the main Law & Order ended in 2010 and was only his fourth appearance on SVU. He previously appeared in episodes in 2000, 2007 and 2010. He also played Jack in two episodes of Law & Order: Trial by Jury and two episodes of Homicide: Life on the Streets.

One reason why Waterston was open to returning last season was the chance to work with Michael Chernuchin again. Chernuchin is SVU's showrunner and he previously worked with Waterston on the original L&O.

"I knew him well; I know he's a wonderful writer, and so it was really easy to say yes," Chernuchin told The Hollywood Reporter.

Waterston said he was familiar with members of the SVU team, but it still took him some time to get used to being in a courtroom again.

"At first, for about a half a day it was completely strange and wonderful, like stepping back in time, and then it was just very familiar," Waterston said. "It suddenly became like I'd never left."

Even if Waterston does not stop by the SVU set for season 20, he still could have plenty of more opportunities. In a May interview with TV Guide, Chernuchin said the show might "never end."

"[We're going to continue] until Mariska [Hargitay] says, 'let's end it,' because we're dealing with things that are on the front page in the papers every day. Now, more than ever," he said.

Getting to season 20 means SVU will be tied with Gunsmoke and the original Law & Order as the longest-running primetime scripted dramas in TV history.

While fans would love to see Waterston again, it would mean much more if Christopher Meloni stopped by to play Stabler once again. Meloni is still close friends with Mariska Hargitay, as his occasional appearance on her Instagram page shows. There's no word on a possible Stabler-Benson reunion, but Meloni has said he is open to it.

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SVU returns on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC this fall.

Photo Credit: NBC