The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 20 finale marked the last appearance of Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone.
In "End Game," Stone took drastic steps to get Benson's (Mariska Hargitay) nemesis, Rob Miller (Titus Welliver) behind bars. He directed other members of the SVU team behind Benson's back to create evidence.
While the scheme worked, it took a toll on Stone's personal values. He believed he let his emotions and feelings for Benson cloud his judgement and he could no longer work with her.
"I have to look at a case through clear eyes. I have to go or risk getting blinded again," Stone said. "Take care of yourself, Liv."
He then walked away, leaving a stunned Benson behind.
"Sadly for me, Peter Stone and his 'the facts don’t care about your feelings' attitude will not be returning," the actor tweeted. "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."
He continued, "I want to congratulate the cast and crew of [SVU] for making history today. 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."
Throughout Season 20, the "order" side of Law & Order has been mostly sidelined to focus on criminal investigations that take a full episode or personal stories involving Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Winchester only had a few moments to shine throughout the season, particularly in "Dear Ben," when the SVU searched for a serial rapist obsessed with his father. Stone was also at the center of "Mea Culpa," in which he was accused of sexual assault and Benson was forced to arrest him before being cleared.
Winchester was first introduced in the Dick Wolf universe in the 2016 episode of Chicago P.D. "Justice." He then became one of the lead characters on Chicago Justice, which lasted only one season. Wolf then brought him to New York for two seasons of SVU.
The SVU and Chicago writing teams also gave Stone an important familial connection to Law & Order history. He was written as the son of Benjamin Stone (Michael Moriarty), the first A.D.A. on the original Law & Order.
SVU was renewed for a 21st season in March. It broke the 20-season tie it had with Gunsmoke and Law & Order for the most seasons of a primetime drama.
“I’m deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today,” Mariska Hargitay said at the time. “The longevity and continued success of SVU is a testament not only to the show’s powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them.”
SVU will be back in Fall 2019.
Photo credit: NBC