Law & Order: Jeffrey Donovan Departs Ahead of Season 23

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With the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in our rear-view mirror, it seems we're getting some big casting news updates about every Dick Wolf series.

The latest involves the original Law & Order, and this one won't go down well with a lot of fans.

TVLine reports that Jeffrey Donovan is stepping away from the NBC procedural.

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While details are being kept under wraps, the outlet states the two sides parted ways due to creative differences.

Donovan, for his part, has not spoken out about the situation.

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He has played the role of Detective Cosgrove for two seasons beginning with Law & Order Season 21, which was the series' first season back after over a decade off the air.

"Frank is a tough-as-nails detective that seeks justice by whatever means necessary. Every legal drama needs a bad cop, and Donovan shines," reads his official character description, according to NBC.

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Since the series returned, fans have complained that the revamped ensemble didn't work.

There's a good chance producers are trying to fine-tune the cast to make the group of detectives more believable.

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Donovan was perfect in the role of Cosgrove, but without knowing what was proposed for the character on Law & Order Season 23, it's hard to get a read on the situation.

It sounds like Donovan won't be returning for a farewell arc, and his character will probably depart between seasons.

If that is the case, it's hard to think of a plausible scenario that will take Cosgrove away from his work and friends, but the Law & Order franchise is a revolving door that keeps spinning.

The expected cast for the upcoming season is Sam Waterston as District Attorney Jack McCoy, Camryn Manheim as Lieutenant Kate Dixon, Hugh Dancy as Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price, and Odelya Halevi as Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun.

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Reports indicate that producers are already casting for a new series regular, which makes sense because production is set to get underway imminently.

Like every other scripted series, Law & Order was unable to film and write new episodes due to the strikes.

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With the strikes resolved, there's a push to get new episodes on the air as soon as possible.

But it's likely this one might be delayed a little bit longer if the search for a new cast member doesn't pan out.

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It's also possible the new face might not appear in the first batch of episodes.

Donovan was a big get for Law & Order when it was revived, having starred as Michael Westen on USA Network's Burn Notice for seven seasons.

Additional TV credits include Fargo and Shut Eye.

The news comes as fellow Dick Wolf series Chicago Fire and Chicago PD are facing some casting changes of their own.

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Taylor Kinney is returning to Chicago Fire after spending some time away to deal with a personal matter.

However, it hasn't been revealed whether he's returning as a guest star or series regular, so we'll need to stay tuned for updates on that one.

We've lost so many people on Chicago Fire, but something tells me it wouldn't survive without Kelly Severide.

Over on Chicago P.D., Tracy Spiridakos is bowing out as Hailey Upton during the upcoming season.

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The good news is that we'll watch this exit play out on-screen.

The trend of writing characters out between seasons has to stop because it doesn't benefit the stories or the fans.

What are your thoughts on Donovan's departure?

Do you think it's the right call?

Hit the comments below.

Law & Order is slated to return in 2024 to NBC.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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Law & Order Quotes

Bernard: We'd like to see the surveillance footage from last night, if that's possible.
Mrs. King: I'm afraid I haven't used them in years.
Donovan: Your husband is the most hated man in America and you don't even turn on the alarm?
Mrs. King: I'm from North Carolina. We don't even lock our front doors.

Every victim deserves our respect, even the ones that raped 40 women.