For Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, there's a new A.D.A. in town.
Chicago Justice veteran Philip Winchester will reprise his role as attorney Peter Stone, taking over as assistant district attorney after Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) quit his job at the end of Wednesday's all new episode.
Esparza confirmed his exit from the long running NBC crime procedural after Wednesday's episode with a tweet.
"Goodbye Barba. Thank you. You changed my life. My squad. And you, you always, my Liv, my friend Mariska. I will always treasure my time with all of you," the actor tweeted.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Winchester has been promoted to series regular on SVU for the remainder of season 19 and beyond.
Winchester also took to Twitter to send Esparza a sweet message after the announcement.
@RaulEEsparza Thank you for welcoming me with open arms, for having such integrity and for showing me the ropes.— Philip Winchester (@philipwinchestr) February 8, 2018
Esparza's exit comes after an emotional episode that saw the return of Law & Order mothership veteran Sam Waterston to SVU. When Esparza's ADA Rafael Barba became embroiled in a family's right-to-die case, he was charged with a crime. Although he was acquitted of the charges against him, he ended up leaving his post as lead prosecutor.
Winchester's character, Peter Stone — the son of original Law & Order prosecutor Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) — will now join SVU as an ADA.
Winchester is the second Chicago Justice character to move to another series, with Jon Seda's Antonio Dawson returning to Chicago P.D. after working as Stone's investigator in the one-season spinoff.
"It has truly been an honor writing for Raul. The power, sensitivity and morality he brought to the character of Rafael Barba never failed to elevate our scripts," showrunner Michael Chernuchin said in a statement. "Raul is family and we look forward to seeing his talent shine in new projects. As for Barba, SVU fans may see him again soon."
SVU will return with all new episodes Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.