“I’ve given it my best for 16 years,” Merkerson told ew.com’s Michael Ausiello. “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.”
There is no comment from NBC as to how Lt. Van Buren will exit the show, but the character was diagnosed with cancer earlier this season.
Broadway audiences know Merkerson for her Tony-nominated role in the recent Broadway revival of Come Back, Little Sheba. She was also Tony-nominated for her role in The Piano Lesson. Among her other theatre credits are Birdie Blue and Suzan-Lori Parks’ F*cking A. She won Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for her role in the HBO production of “Lackawanna Blues.”
“Law & Order” airs Monday nights on NBC.