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What Happened to ADA Peter Stone on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

After Rafael Barba left the show, fans enjoyed this no-nonsense assistant district attorney for two seasons.

By Jessica White

Each nail-biting case the detectives face on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit demands serious legal prowess and a powerhouse attorney ready to navigate the judicial labyrinth. Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone, played by the iconic Philip Winchester, stands confidently within the hall of fame of dynamite SVU lawyers who always accepted the call for justice. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) constantly relies on the D.A.'s office because, no matter what she or her fearless SVU detectives do, it's up to the lawyers to secure prison time for defendants. Nowadays, ADA Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) has taken the reigns but, before that, Stone who had the SVU's back.

RELATED: Look Back at Every District Attorney Who Took on Criminals on Law & Order: SVU

Stone was the most by-the-book lawyer to grace the elite team, so it was a sad day when Stone bid farewell to the squad. Below, check out Stone's backstory on SVU and why he eventually left the precinct. 

Peter Stone in a black trench coat looking off into the distance.

When did Peter Stone join Law & Order: SVU?

ADA Peter Stone was the go-to legal counsel who tackled several intense special victim cases throughout Seasons 19-20 of Law & Order: SVU. Benson and the team met Stone in Season 19, Episode 13 ("The Undiscovered Country"). 

Stone was the son of late Executive ADA Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) from the flagship Law & Order, and was originally introduced in One Chicago universe in Chicago P.D. Season 3, Episode 21 ("Justice"). From there, Stone became the star of Chicago Justice as the Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. He revisited his Chicago P.D. colleagues in Season 4, Episode 7 ("300,000 Likes") and Season 4, Episode 16 ("Emotional Proximity"),  then helped out the doctors of Chicago Med in Season 3, Episode 1 ("Speak Your Truth"). 

RELATED: Where to Watch Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D.

He then moved to New York City following the passing of his father. Stone's introduction was also the last appearance of former ADA Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza): Stone was in charge of prosecuting Barba for his actions in an intense right-to-die case. Barba then left the D.A.'s office after being acquitted. 

From the moment of Stone's first appearance, he established himself as a no-nonsense attorney, ditching any emotions in favor of staying impartial during cases. Benson had some issues adjusting to Stone's frigid demeanor, but eventually, Stone became a pillar of the detectives' success and thawed around his coworkers.

Why did Peter Stone leave Law & Order: SVU?

Stone parted ways with the Manhattan SVU after his deteriorating mental health led him to ditch due process in Season 20, Episode 24 ("End Game").

In that episode, defense attorney Nikki Staines had been assaulted by a man named Rob Miller, and Stone defied his own ethical code by knowingly framing the man for murder. Stone's plan worked and Miller was ultimately arrested — much to Benson's annoyance. Stone, however, had jeopardized his law career with the incredibly out-of-character moment.

RELATED: The Best Law & Order: SVU Episodes Fans Never Forget

Stone revealed the lapse in judgment was caused by the mental stress and heightened stakes of navigating cases for the SVU. Benson and Stone had become quite close, but he confessed that staying at the SVU would further compromise his integrity. 

“I simply lost perspective. This is on me,” Stone told Benson. “You became more important to me than the case I was trying, and that is not me, Liv... I have to move on. I have to go or risk getting blindsided again.”

Why did Philip Winchester leave Law & Order: SVU?

After appearing in several action-packed episodes of Law & Order: SVU, Winchester parted ways with the series after the Season 20 finale. In 2019, Winchester announced via X, formerly known as Twitter, that he wouldn't be returning to SVU for Season 21. 

"I want to congratulate the cast and crew of @nbcsvu for making history today," Winchester posted. "Also to thank everyone for two great seasons. I have learned much and enjoyed being part of an elite unit. Here’s to you all and a historic run!"

"Sadly for me, Peter Stone and his 'the facts don’t care about your feelings' attitude will not be returning," Winchester explained in another post. "A huge tip of the hat to my amazing fans and not so big of fans. You ALL make me work harder. Thank you! See you on the next adventure."

Since starring in Law & Order, Winchester has starred in the 2020 action thriller Rogue and 2021's action flick Endangered Species as Jack Halsey. 

Peter Stone and Odafin Tutuola sitting across from another character and talking.