Why did Michael Moriarty leave "Law & Order"?

Answer

According to IMDb, Michael Moriarty left "Law & Order" after disagreeing with Janet Reno over television censorship and feeling like he did not have the support of the show's producer, Dick Wolf, and NBC. Depending on who is asked, the story differs on whether he was fired or resigned.

In 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno proposed legislation that regulated violence on television shows. She used "Law & Order" as an example of a show that promoted violence. Michael Moriarty took issue with the proposed legislation and spoke out against it. NBC, the same network that carried "Law & Order," cancelled two of Moriarty's scheduled appearances on the network, and his role on a following episode of "Law & Order" was much smaller than usual. Although Dick Wolf said it was a coincidence, in a 1994 interview, Michael Moriarty told the Los Angeles Times that he was written out of "Law & Order" as a punishment. He also told "Cinema Retro" in a 2011 interview, "My employers, the mainstream press and even Wikipedia like to say that it was (executive producer) Dick Wolf who fired me and not the other way ‘round. People say: ‘Oh, well, no one fires Dick Wolf!’ Well, I did." As of 2014, Moriarty is living in Canada.

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