Law & Order loses main cast member ahead of season 23

The actors strike is over, shows are resuming production, and cast members are getting axed. It’s been a busy off-season for procedural television, despite having a condensed time period in which to make decisions, and TV Line has broken the news that another actor will be leaving a Dick Wolf show in 2024. Law & Order, to be exact.

The actor in question is Jeffrey Donovan, who will be written out of Law & Order in its upcoming season. The outlet reports that Donovan and the producers parted ways over creative differences, and the former will not be appearing in season 23 in an effort to put a bow on his character’s arc. Law & Order will likely explain the absence of the character, Frank Cosgrove, through dialogue.

Jeffrey Donovan will not appear in Law & Order season 23

Donovan’s stint on the show coincided with its revival in season 21. He was brought on board to play Cosgrove as an old-school detective who liked to do things his own way, and often clashed with the approaches of his peers. In the season 22 finale, Cosgrove helped apprehend a waiter who assassinated a U.S. senator.

Donovan is the latest cast change for Dick Wolf Productions in the last month. It was previously announced that Tracy Spiridakos would be leaving Chicago PD in its upcoming season, and Taylor Kinney would be returning to Chicago Fire after an unceremonious exit in season 11.

Donovan is no stranger to brief, memorable stints on TV shows. He’s had recurring roles on crime dramas like CSI: Miami and Crossing Jordan, as well as two appearances on the original incarnation of Law & Order. Donovan is actually one of the few actors who has been in every single version of Law & Order, including the original run, the revival, and its various spin-offs. He’s still best known for his starring role as Michael Westen on Burn Notice, which he played from 2007 to 2013.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 08: Actors Jeffrey Donovan (L) and Anthony Anderson attend the 16th Annual AFI Awards at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 8, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)

The actor was initially drawn to the role of Cosgrove because of his antagonistic qualities, he and wanted to see whether he could win the audience over despite them. This was especially the case when Cosgrove was placed in opposition to Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) in season 21.

“I love being able to have a dynamic relationship with my partner and with the story”, Donovan explained to Entertainment Tonight. “So that we can then start working on having that difficult conversation, which is, ‘I’m a white detective, you’re a Black detective and we’re going to solve these murders.'”

Anderson left the show after one season, and Donovan’s sudden exit confirms that Law & Order will look, feel and sound much different heading into its shortened 2024 season.

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