Cast departures and changes within the 'Law & Order' franchise are are a dime a dozen these days. So much so that most fans tend not to notice when they occur. The exception is when a long-running cast member decides to step down. Fans take notice then because, frankly, there aren't too many more long-running cast members left in the franchise (except the amazingly stable group at 'Special Victims Unit.'
This time the honor goes to S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Lieutenant Van Buren in the original 'Law & Order'. After 16 years, the actress has decided to leave the series at the end of this season.
Merkerson, who plays Lt. Anita Van Buren, told Ausiello, "It's the end of my contract this year, and the storyline has been so perfect. I've given it my best for 16 years. It's time to move on. I'm doing other things and this will be a great way to leave what has been an extraordinary gig."
Merkerson added that she made the decision around midseason "when I realized my contract was up. And I just looked at the things that I've been doing, and the show takes a lot of commitment. And I just feel like I wanted to do some other things."
To read the full interview, click here.
Television has always been good to the ladies. Actresses have flourished in dramatic series, and in the past decade, we've seen some amazing performances. There have been lawyers, cops, a U.S. president, nurses, doctors, judges, mothers, daughters and even a real housewife from New Jersey whose husband was in the waste disposal business.
Many of these women have already been honored with Emmys and Golden Globes... and now they get the recognition of TV Squad.
Here, then, without further vamping, the best dramatic actresses of the past ten years:
The 12th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held tonight. We listed the nominees in television categories earlier this month, and here are the winners:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Paul Newman / Empire Falls
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: S. Epatha Merkerson / Lackawanna Blues
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: Kiefer Sutherland / 24
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Sandra Oh / Grey's Anatomy
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Sean Hayes / Will & Grace
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Felicity Huffman / Desperate Housewives
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Lost
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Desperate Housewives
See the full list (including the winners in movie categories) at TBS.com [Thanks Seth!]
TV Squad Hot Topics
Most Popular Articles
From Our Partners
- Best 'Scandal' Quotes from 'An Innocent Man'
- 'Scandal' Episode 4.8 Photos: Olivia in White
- 'Grey's Anatomy' Episode 11.7 Photos: Amelia's Addiction Causes Problems
- 'Gotham' Episode 8 Photos: Bruce Goes Back to School and Finds a New Friend
- 'Bones' Episode 10.7 Photos: Booth Has More Issues With Aubrey
- More From BuddyTV
- Check Out Jane Fonda as Mr. Burns' New Girlfriend on 'The Simpsons'
- Tori Spelling Breaks Down After Seeing Her Ex-Husband
- Child Services Investigating Honey Boo Boo's Family, Grandmother Says
- Honey Boo Boo's Sister Anna Cardwell Tells ET: 'He's a Child Molester, Mama'
- 'The Talk' Cast Looks Unrecognizable in Their Halloween Costumes
- More From ET