December 10, 2013 2:28pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Dann Florek to Exit NBC's 'Law & Order: SVU'
Law & Order: SVU will say farewell to its captain this season.
Dann Florek, who plays the dependable Captain Donald Cragen, will exit the NBC procedural this season, the actor announced on Twitter.
"Friday was the last day for Cragen/Florek. It was a sweet send off! But he'll live on in syndication land 4 evah!" he wrote.
Florek has played Cragen for all 15 seasons of Law &Order: SVU and boarded the spinoff after appearing as the character on the original Law & Order from 1990-93. Showrunner Warren Leight also helped to celebrate the actor's final day on the show with a series of tweets saluting the actor.
"Saluting the Captain at the close of his 401st episode -- all respect to @dannflorek," he wrote, posting a photo of the cast and crew presenting a gift to the beloved actor before following it up with an image of what may be Cragen's final shot and calling the scene a "job well done."
Cragen's final episode will likely air in January; NBC and producer Lionsgate Television declined comment.
His upcoming exit should come as little surprise. During the fourth episode of the current 15th season, Florek told Benson (Mariska Hargitay) that after Munch (Richard Belzer) put in his retirement papers, that he, too, was nearing the mandatory retirement age, leaving his time with the SVU numbered.
News of Florek's departure comes after SVU featured the retirement of Belzer's Detective John Munch earlier this season. The actor, like Florek, had played the role since the flagship series (and its predecessor, Homicide: Life on the Street).
Law & Order: SVU airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.