The Law & Order revival just lost a major star days after the Season 21 finale. Deadline confirmed Thursday that series star Anthony Anderson, who reprised his role as Detective Kevin Bernard, will not return for Season 22 of NBC's revival of the police procedural.
The actor originally appeared in 50 episodes of the hit series during the crime procedural's final seasons from 2008 to 2010 before he returned in the revival. Anderson's character last appeared in the Season 21 finale, which saw his character working with his partner Frank in an investigation into the murder of an off-duty police officer. There was no indication that the episode would mark Anderson's last appearance, and it is unclear how his departure will be addressed in the upcoming season.
Anderson's exit isn't necessarily much of a surprise. Deadline previously reported in November 2021 that the actor only signed a one-year deal. Shortly after the show was picked up for the revived 21st season, Anderson told PEOPLE that after learning of the show's return, he immediately knew he wanted to be involved.
"We were, you know, we were two weeks out from ending our show Black-ish. They made the announcement that Law & Order was coming back. So, I picked up the phone and called Dick Wolf up and said, Hey Dick, is it true?" he recalled. "He said, 'It is.' I was like, 'Well, you know, I'm a free agent as of Nov. 19th,. And [Wolf] was like, 'Anthony, you have no idea how happy this phone call makes me.'"
Anderson starred in the revival alongside new cast members Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim, Hugh Dancy and Odelya Halevi. Fellow original Law & Order star Sam Waterson also had signed a one-year deal for Season 21. Although it remains unclear if he is set to return in Season 22, his future on the series seems hopeful. Waterson, per Deadline, appeared onstage at NBCUniversal's upfront, which showcased programming and talent for the upcoming season.
The new installment of Law & Order, from Dick Wolf and writer-showrunner Rick Eid, was first announced back in September, the 21st season premiering more than a decade after the original series came to an end. Earlier this month, NBC renewed both the Law & Order revival and Law & Order: Organized Crime for the 2022-2023 TV season. NBCU Entertainment and Streaming Scripted Programming President Lisa Katz said in a statement, "the iconic Law & Order brand has long been synonymous with NBC and we couldn't be more excited to bring back all three of these dramas for the 2022-23 season."