It looks like actor Dann Florek is following Richard Belzer out the door at the “Law & Order: SVU” station house.
Florek, who plays tough but dedicated Capt. Cragen tweeted his departure from the series on Monday, writing, “Friday was the last day 4 Cragen/Florek. It was a sweet send off! But he’ll live on in syndication land 4 evah!”
Cragen’s departure from the series was not a surprise, as his impending retirement had been discussed earlier in the show’s 15th season, when another long-running character on the show, Det. John Munch, played by Belzer, also retired. At the time, Cragen told Munch his time was coming soon.
While Florek’s character has not had quite as much exposure as Belzer’s, who played Munch across a number of series and networks, he has been part of the series since the very beginning.
Florek appeared on the first three seasons of the original “Law & Order,” which debuted in 1990. Executive producer Dick Wolf was forced to fire him in 1993 at the request of then-NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer. The idea was to make room for more female cast members. Wolf stayed in contact with the actor, who was subsequently offered the same role in the cast of “Law & Order: SVU” in 1999. Ohlmeyer did not work at NBC anymore, so Florek accepted.
To date, Florek has appeared in 394 total episodes of “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU,” along with the “Law & Order” TV movie “Exiled.” By the time his character retires in an episode to be broadcast sometime in January, he will have appeared in close to 400 episodes of the two series.