S. Epatha Merkerson tells EW’s Michael Ausiello that she’s decided to end her 16-year role as the indomitable Lt. Van Buren on ‘Law & Order" because "I just felt like I wanted to do some other things."
She adds that show creator Dick Wolf didn’t try to talk her out of it when she told him because "he knows it wasn’t something I thought of overnight."
Merkerson says she’s not sure how the writers will end her character’s role. Still, she adds that it seemed like good timing to leave when the character is struggling with cancer.
Responding to a comment that the show itself may not return for another season, Merkerson says, "They say that every other year and the show always comes back."