Having Left Law And Order, Anthony Anderson Explains How Playing Kevin Bernard Again Helped Him Handle Black-ish Ending

Anthony Anderson has had an eventful year on the small screen in 2022, with the end of black-ish on ABC after eight seasons as well as his return to NBC to reprise his role as Detective Kevin Bernard on the Law & Order revival. To the surprise of fans, he ultimately left the revival after just one season, and the actor has opened up about how playing the detective again helped as he processed the end of black-ish.

The final episodes of black-ish actually were still airing when Law & Order returned for Season 21 in February, so Anthony Anderson was still delivering laughs on ABC while investigating crimes as Detective Bernard over on NBC. Now, more than a month after both black-ish and Law & Order Season 21 wrapped on their respective networks, the actor explained his decision to keep busy with more L&O right away, telling Variety:

To embody this character and to be with this family for the past eight years. I didn’t want to sit back wishing and wanting and thinking about how different it could have been if we just did a little bit more. Or ‘Oh, I miss these guys. I wish I could go play with them. And I wish we could go to work right now.’ So I think that that is why I immediately went into another gig, to to help decompress. That would ease me out of being Andre Johnson. I love the people that were a part of that time with me.

Jumping from black-ish to Law & Order wasn’t exactly staying in the same genre, but it did qualify as leaving one longtime character behind and stepping back into the shoes of another character he’d played as a series regular. He’d previously explained why returning to Law & Order was a “no-brainer” for him, and L&O fans can attest to the fact that his performance as Bernard in Season 21 felt like Bernard back in the original run of the series, and he didn’t lose his dramatic edge after eight seasons of comedy.

In fact, it came as a surprise when the news broke that Anderson wasn’t going to return for Season 22. He joined in with celebrating the renewal once NBC announced that it (along with Law & Order: Organized Crime) would be joining SVU in the lineup for the 2022-2023 TV season. His L&O co-star Odelya Halevi has opened up about the experience of working with him in Season 21 as a returning star, but the show must go on.

Sam Waterston has been confirmed to return and make L&O history, while the show has already added Supergirl alum Mehcad Brooks to fill the vacancy left by Anderson. As for black-ish… well, the show closed on an emotional final scene complete with a Stevie Wonder song, which hopefully will help fans as well as the stars move forward. Plus, the grown-ish spinoff is still going strong, with the fifth season set to premiere in the 2022 TV schedule in late July.

You can also revisit black-ish streaming with a Hulu subscription now, and relive Anthony Anderson’s first and only revival season of Law & Order streaming with a Peacock subscription. Only time will tell if and when he'll return to network television, but between black-ish and L&O, he has proved that he can tackle both comedy and drama on television, so hopefully he won't be gone from the airwaves for too long.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).