Are you still shedding tears over the latest Law & Order: Special Victims Unit exit?
The long running NBC crime procedural shocked viewers during its Feb. 7 episode, "The Undiscovered Country," when ADA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) quit his job after facing murder charges, and later being found not guilty.
As SVU goes through a Winter Olympics hiatus, NBC released two deleted scenes to honor the departed Barba.
In the first deleted scene, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Barba are sitting at a restaurant discussing the merits of his defense attorney.
The second is a throwback deleted scene from the episode "Genius," with Benson welcoming back Barba from vacation with some candy and a serial killer case.
Esparza confirmed his exit from the series with a tweet following the episode.
"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, Esparza has played the role of Barba since season 14. The exit will move for Chicago Justice alum Philip Winchester, who played Chicago-based ASA Peter Stone, to join SVU as an ADA. Winchester made his debut during the episode and has been promoted to series regular for season 19 and beyond.
"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."
Hargitay shared some kind words about her departing co-star following the episode.3comments
"One of the great honors of my life is to have shared the screen with the incredible scene partner, beautiful friend, giant heart, brilliant artist, kindest of men [Raul Esparza]. [SVU] has been graced and great with you in it. Family always gets to come home... come home soon," the actress tweeted.
SVU returns with all new episodes Wednesday Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.