The past caught up to A.D.A. Peter Stone in this week's episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In a dramatic scene, Lt. Olivia Benson had to arrest Stone after he was accused of sexual assault.
At the start of "Mea Culpa," Stone (Philip Winchester) arrived at a bar with a woman. While there, a woman named Sarah (guest star Alexandra Breckenridge) confronts Stone during his date and accuses him of sexual assault.
The next morning, Stone woke up in Fin's (Ice-T) apartment and explained to Fin his history with this woman. Stone said he met Sarah several years ago while he was still playing baseball. After a game, he met Sarah and had a one-night fling. The next morning, Stone woke up and the woman was gone. He called her back, but Sarah told him she would call the police if he ever tried to contact her again.
Stone asked Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to investigate the allegations. During the investigation, Benson interviewed Sarah at her home. Gary (Kevin Kane) arrived while Benson was there, and Benson had to tell Gary about the allegations. Sarah did not want to press charges, but Gary insisted she do.
At the precinct, Sarah told Benson that the alleged rape happened while she was going through a rough patch with her husband. She remembered kissing Stone at a hotel room, but he later became "different." This raised Benson's eyebrows. Sarah could not remember what exactly happened, but she just knew she woke up naked and Stone was on the bed. She knew she had sex, and she did not want it. She told Benson she was raped.
Stone insisted he was telling the truth, but Benson (Mariska Hargitay) had to arrest him by the book after her interview with Sarah proving that even members of her own inner circle cannot avoid the hands of justice.
In the end, the team discovered that Stone's friend, Reggie Griggs (Austin Peck) raped Sarah, not Stone.
"Mea Culpa" is the second consecutive SVU episode to center on sexual assault allegations against powerful people. In last week's "Hell's Kitchen," a celebrity chef was accused of sexual assault and rape in a case that mirrored the real-life allegations against Mario Bitalli and the owners of the Spotted Pig restaurant in New York City.
The fictional celebrity chef's friend was a prosecutor who told the public he was a crusader for women, but had strangely not prosecuted his friend. A woman accused the prosecutor of sexually assaulting her when she was 15, similar to the real-life allegations Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced during his confirmation hearings.
This season is Stone's first full year as the Assistant District Attorney working with the SVU team. He was first introduced in Chicago P.D. in 2016 and also appeared on Chicago Med. Stone was also a main character on Chicago Justice. However, when that show was cancelled after one season last year, executive producer Dick Wolf brought him to SVU. Stone is also the son of Benjamin Stone (Michael Moriarty), the original Executive Assistant District Attorney during the first four seasons of Law & Order.
Ironically, Stone first came into the SVU orbit to prosecute A.D.A. Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) and now he finds himself in trouble.
"The search for truth is always the biggest thing, and there’s always two sides to a coin," Winchester told Fansided when asked of the challenges of "Mea Culpa." "We have systems in place in the United States. We have due process. We are innocent until proven guilty despite Twitter and despite the noise from the media. And I think that it’s really, really important that we stick to those guns. That’s what makes us different from every other country. That’s what makes us a great country, and we have to remember that."
New episodes of SVU air on NBC Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: NBC