'Law and Order': S. Epatha Merkerson to leave franchise
Though NBC has no comment on the exit, fans are already speculating on the way Van Buren may be written off, especially because the character was diagnosed with cancer this year.
Merkerson's contract comes to an end this season, so it's a natural time for her departure. The fate of "Law & Order" itself hangs in the balance at the moment, as it has yet to be picked up for a 21st season. If renewed, "Law & Order" will break the record currently held by "Gunsmoke" for the longest-running prime-time TV drama.
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Photo Credit: NBC