Detective Kevin Bernard is leaving the police force — again.
People Magazine reported that Anthony Anderson, who reprised his character in the original series of Law & Order, will not be returning for season 22.
Earlier this month, NBC confirmed that the series had been renewed. In February, the 51-year-old actor told the outlet that he initially approached creator Dick Wolf about reprising his role as Detective Bernard after the network announced the revival of the drama sitcom last year.
“We were, you know, we were two weeks out from ending our show Black-ish. They made the announcement that Law & Order was coming back. So, I picked up the phone and called Dick Wolf up and said, Hey Dick, is it true?” Anderson recalled.
“He said, ‘It is.’ I was like, ‘Well, you know, I’m a free agent as of Nov. 19th,'” Anderson added. “And [Wolf] was like, ‘Anthony, you have no idea how happy this phone call makes me,’ ” he noted.
Anderson signed a one-year deal, stating that he wanted to support Wolf with the program’s relaunch for one season. However, he always planned to move on to other projects after his contract ended.
Aside from the Compton native’s character, other familiar faces returned for season 21, including veteran Sam Waterson as District Attorney Jack McCoy. Though Waterson also signed a one-year deal, it’s unclear whether he will be returning next season.
Law & Order first premiered on NBC in 1990, earning more than 50 Emmy nominations before the series was canceled in 2010. In 1999, Wolf expanded the franchise with spinoff Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, an instant fan favorite starring Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, and former rapper Ice-T. That series is also returning for season 24 next year.
Meanwhile, Anderson’s hit sitcom Black-ish ended in April after eight seasons on ABC. The series, which premiered in 2014, followed the Johnson family as they tackled issues regarding racism, sexuality, police brutality, COVID-19, and more.
“That’s what made our show appealing,” Anderson told People Magazine. “And with the worldwide audience, wanting to better ourselves and live the American dream and have the best for all of our family, that’s what it was all about.”