LAW & ORDER star S. EPATHA MERKERSON is bailing out of the hit U.S. crime show, after 16 years.
Merkerson plays Lieutenant Van Buren on the NBC series, but her contract is up and she has no plans to renew after the ongoing season.
She tells EW.com, "It's the end of my contract his year (10), and the story line has been so perfect. I've given it my best for 16 years. 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."