'Law & Order: SVU': Dann Florek, aka Capt. Cragen, Retiring From Show

Image: 'Law & Order: SVU': Dann Florek, aka Capt. Cragen, Retiring From Show

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 04:48 PM

By Ken Mandel

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The "Law & Order: SVU" crew is losing their leader.

Actor Dann Florek, also known as Captain Donald Cragen, will retire from the long-running NBC show later this season.

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Florek has been a mainstay during the show's 15 seasons, and appeared as Cragen on the original "Law & Order" from 1990-1993. He's been in more than 400 episodes. His character's retirement comes from the show trying to stay realistic; the NYPD requires requirement at age 63. In October, showrunner Warren Leight told TV Guide that Cragen would retire sometime this season.

"Cragen knows at some point in the season or by the end of the season, he will have hit mandatory retirement, so he'll have to figure out when that moment is. We're playing that anxiety that the Captain is leaving at some point," Leight said in October.

His departure comes weeks after Richard Belzer's exit from "SVU" as Sgt. John Munch.

The show has seen its share of cast changes over the years. Christopher Meloni left before Season 13 and Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish joined as two new detectives. Raul Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba) was also promoted to a series regular this season.

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Florek, 63, is leaving his most famous role. He also played Mr. Slate in "The Flintstones."

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