'Law & Order' Addresses Jeffrey Donovan's Exit in Season 23 Premiere

Donovan exited last November due to "creative differences."

Law & Order fans finally know what happened to Frank Cosgrove. It was announced in November that Jeffrey Donovan would not be returning as the Senior Detective due to creative reasons. The series swiftly cast Reid Scott as a replacement, playing Junior Detective Vincent Riley. With the Law & Order franchise finally back, the Season 23 premiere has revealed what happened to Cosgrove.

Via Deadline, over halfway through the premiere episode, "Freedom of Expression," Riley wondered what happened with Shaw, revealing that he knew him. Mehcad Brooks' Detective Shaw admitted that his former partner "just got jammed up. Being too honest about things people aren't too honest about these days." That could mean just about anything, as the two didn't get too into the details. However, it is nice to get some information on what happened to him, making it easy to explain why he's not there and perhaps still leaving the door open for a possible return in the future.

Donovan initially joined the Law & Order revival in 2021 and was one of the first new faces announced. Not much is known about the reason why he left the series other than it being for "creative reasons." As of now, the Burn Notice star doesn't have any upcoming projects, and it's hard to tell if he will be welcomed back, if he ever wants to return in the future. However, at least fans know what Frank Cosgrove is up to, which is definitely better than nothing.

Law & Order is not the only show in the franchise that has gone through some casting changes. SVU said goodbye to another detective in the Season 24 finale when Molly Burnett's Detective Grace Muncy was offered a position to join a task force. Meanwhile, Organized Crime has cast two of Stabler's brothers that will more than likely bring some complications for him. Dean Norris will play older brother Randall, while Michael Trotter will play baby brother Joe Jr. Even with the changes, both behind the scenes and on camera, the franchise is still staying strong, and it should be interesting to see how Reid Scott settles in.

Even though Jeffrey Donovan is no longer on Law & Order, the series will still be one to watch every week. It is in its 23rd season, and the cast has changed quite a lot over the years, so it's nothing unusual, even if it does hurt. New episodes of Law & Order air on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.