Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ausiello Reports S. Epatha Merkerson To Leave Law & Order

This is not an April Fools joke – EW’s Michael Ausiello reports that S. Epatha Merkerson will be leaving Law & Order at the end of the season. Read his full article and interview with Epatha at the following link:

Michael Ausiello Exclusive: S. Epatha Merkerson exits 'Law & Order'

Such sad news, such a wonderful actress, and she will be missed!







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19 comments:

tripp3235 said...

Awww, that is sad. She's actually been on the show longer than Sam Waterson.

I worry about the show coming back anyway as it's gotten horrible ratings. I wanted it to go back to 9 pm, but since people were used to it on Friday, I was fine with it staying there.

Esaul said...

No matter the ratings, Law and Order will keep coming back. There's no way NBC will pull the plug on the mothership of the franchise. It still has people watching the show, they are still making money, and they are still going to break a record and make history with this show. I agree with Epatha that this show can last...forever. I'm sad to see her go, my heart is broken really. Funny thing is she's been on the show long before I started watching it (I was like 3 when she joined) yet I've seen every episode she's been in. I'll be even sadder the day when Sam leaves us. :(

Shelly said...

I don't want her to leave, but in reading the article, it does sound like she's leaving because she's ready, and that makes me feel a little bit better. I do hope they have Anita decide that, as she recovers from cancer, she'd rather be spending time with her boyfriend and family, and not finding out her cancer is incurable.

I'm apparently much older than Esaul... lol... and I very clearly remember her first season, and a scene she had early on that season with Logan. I believe it was the ep Black Tie but anyway, Logan is grumbling, and she says something to the effect, What you can't handle is my rank in a skirt, but this is neither the time or the place. Way to go Anita!

Assuming L&O comes back next season, it certainly won't be the same without the "Lu." I wish Epatha nothing but the best.

Thanks All Things for the heads up...

Anonymous said...

NBC isn't dropping Law & Order. It's just a negotiation deal by TNT. My guess is it goes well beyond a 21st season, and I wouldn't be shocked if TNT wants the originals after 21.

As for S Epatha, God Bless her. She has been a great part of the show and it will be very interesting to see who the new captain/lu is.

And ditto about moving it to Mondays at 9. It was doing fine on Fridays. Frankly, its the perfect show for Fridays, in my view - loyal audience, you're not getting in the way of another network's big show, etc. I know it sounds weird to advocate for one's favorite show, but NBC would be wise to put it on Friday at 8 p.m. and keep it there.

Anonymous said...

I hope that Van Buren gets great news about her cancer and she goes on sabbatical to travel with her new boyfriend. I'd hate to see her go because she's been given a death sentence. We'll soon find out. Either way, Epatha has been a blessing to this franchise and will be greatly missed. She is style and class.

As for her replacement, well didn't Munch take and pass his test for Captain? Perhaps, they'll move the Munchkin to the mothership. I totally dig this scenrio.

MissKittyFantastico

havers said...

Oh no, S. Epatha is L&O. She is there forever. I'll miss her.

Animelee said...

Sucks that she's leaving, but she wants to, it's not like she's being forced out. :)

I agree, it would be cool to see Munch become Lieutenant of the 27. Bring in someone familiar, not someone new.

Anonymous said...

I heard Jeremy Sisto was set to replace Merkerson's character's position.

Anonymous said...

Sisto wouln't be a good choice. too young.

Bratt would work. Not Munch, however.

Anonymous said...

My opinion on a replacement:

Jeremy Sisto would not work, he's showing some bad traits as a detective and I don't think he has good management skils.

Bratt would be OK but not preferred. I'd rather see him on L&O LA.

My votes: bring back Jamey Sheridan from L&o CI = or - bring over Kathryn Erbe from L&O CI (Alex Eames would make a great boss). While I like D'Onofrio, he just wouldn't work in a management role. I would also love to see Dann Florek leave SVU and come back to his original home as captain of the 2-7 - and then many move Erbe to be in charge of SVU.

All Things Law and Order said...

Somebody posted a comment a few months back somewhere on my blog that Sisto was going to take over Anita's position. I don't think I gave it much credence then and I'm not sure I do now, although anything is possible. I don't think he'd be right for the role because Lupo does seem to have some "control" issues (for lack of a better word). I do like the idea of Eames coming over as Erbe would be great in the role, she seems very confortable with being in a position of authority. Cragen and Deakins would be OK too. With the exception of Eames, I don't think any current detective in the franchise would be good for the role.

Bratt should hold out for LOLA if that's made available to him.

Shelly said...

I realize this it TV and what might happen in "real life" doesn't always apply, but Lupo is only a detective. By may way of thinking, he'd have to take and pass the sergeant's exam, and take and pass the lieutenant's exam, before he could even be considered for the position. Add that to the previously mentioned "control" issues and I doubt we'll see him move into the "lu's" office. Btw, speaking of the control issues, he didn't seem to have those when he first joined the show. It's like it's something they've added this past season, IMHO.

Also, someone please help me with my memory. I know during the show's first season, Greevey (Logan's original partner) was a Detective Sgt., and I believe Phil Cerreta was too. But I don't believe any of the "senior" detectives since then have been... have they?

I had thought of putting Cragen back in his old office, but hadn't thought about Eames. That would be a great fit, if they'd want to go that way. She wouldn't take anymore crap from them than Anita does, and it would keep her on the series...

All Things Law and Order said...

Shelly,you are right, Greevey and Cerreta were both Sargeants, and there haven't been any more sargeants as detectives after Cerreta.

Good point on all those exams, I'd forgotten about that!

Shelly said...

Thanks All Things. Sometimes what I think I remember, and what really happened, aren't the same thing... sigh...

Epatha said in the interview she "just" told Dick Wolf, so they're probably scrambling, trying to re-write scripts that might be done, or close to done, to give her character a "send off." However they end her tenure, I truly hope they don't kill her off. There are plenty of ways they could do something dramatic without doing that.

Ol Cranky said...

I agree with the sense of having Munch take her place. He is the fill in for Cragen when Cragen's been in a bit of trouble.

As for Sisto,I seem to recall reading him say he pushed for his character to be going to law school so he could engage with the DAs office more (translation: he wanted to get more air time in the second half of the show). Taking over for Merkerson would defeat that purpose, plus, the character does not have enough time in to legitimately be considered to replace Van Buren (that would be like Rubirosa suddenly being promoted to DA).

As sad as I am to see Merkerson go, I really hope they move Belzer over. SVU has pretty much become completely focused on Stable & Benson (which is why there is a furor over the any rumor one of those actors will leave the show and the fans scream that they are the show - these shows are supposed to be ensembles) so the other detective characters are rarely put to use.

Plus, can you just imagine the gallows humor dialogue when Munch would interact with Bernard & Lupo or the DA's office? I think that could breathe even more new life into the show.

gahks said...

As a British viewer, this is very sad news, but at least she's leaving on her own terms. I really would have wanted to see her on season 21 and make history with the show, but what will be, will be, I guess. I have been watching the season 20 episodes online (it takes forever for them to arrive across the pond...) and have admired the way Merkerson has taken to her cancer storyline with class and dignity.

Bringing Belzer in as Munch is a fantastic idea. The character is so underused on SVU; a role on the mothership would give the show a wonderful (albeit poss. outrageous) new dynamic and show off Belzer's acting potential a bit more. Rene Balcer, the current showrunner, seems to have experience with the character as he wrote for the SVU/L&O crossover back in 99/00, and was showrunner during the L&O/Homicide crossover years, so I wouldn't see a problem there with continuity etc.

On the other hand, if the producers wanted to keep a female authority figure, Erbe as Eames is another great idea. Obviously, Balcer himself created the character on CI, so again continuity wouldn't be an issue. (I'm so disappointed Balcer is not even contributing to the script for the season 9 CI premiere; at least he should have had a story credit, if not a teleplay or 'written by' credit.)

All that said, I'm looking forward to seeing whom Wolf and co. come up with as replacements. I wouldn't mind whether the character was more mature like Van Buren, or slightly younger. In fact, a fresher and less experienced captain/lieutenant might be even more interesting, as they could be as renegade as McCoy ever was. This could land the DA's office in some very hot water right at the start of season 21!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see Green, Logan, and Fontana make cameos in the final 5 episodes of the year as a send off to Anita!

Shelly said...

Would definitely love to see Green come back at some point, if for no other reason than to find out what he's been up to since he didn't return after Burn Card. As for Fontana, his character didn't leave that much of an impression either way, and I don't believe that Logan and Van Buren were each other's best friends, so while I'd love to see it, I don't see it happening. Wonder if they'd ever consider bringing Benjamin Bratt back for another one ep appearance? Given as close as they seem to be, that would make sense too.

Anonymous said...

We know we won't see Cassidy!