Philip Winchester’s birthday: Why we love SVU’s Peter Stone

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- Season 19 -- Pictured: Philip Winchester as Peter Stone -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- Season 19 -- Pictured: Philip Winchester as Peter Stone -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) /

Today we’re wishing Chicago Justice and SVU star Philip Winchester a happy birthday by looking at why we love his character Peter Stone.

Former Chicago Justice and current Law & Order: SVU star Philip Winchester celebrates his birthday on Saturday, so we’re marking the day by shining a spotlight on him and his character Peter Stone.

From his introduction during Chicago PD season 3 almost two years ago (yep, it’s been that long!) we knew Peter wasn’t going to be like any other One Chicago character.

After all, if this was the guy who was able to put Hank Voight behind bars, then he clearly was worth paying attention to and obviously wasn’t to be messed with.

But through the first, and only, season of Chicago Justice we discovered that there was a truly engaging person behind the prosecutor. He was the attorney we wanted on our case, but he was also the guy we’d want to have a drink with.

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Beyond that Peter established himself as one of the most thought-provoking characters that One Chicago has ever seen. He spoke up for his opinions, often raising concerns that we hadn’t thought about and standing by his beliefs even if they proved to be unpopular.

In that sense, Peter Stone was more than a TV character. He was someone through whom we were prompted to engage, to think, to aspire. He pushed us, and made us want to push back.

And he was just damn fun to watch—something that he’s carried through into his second life as the latest Assistant District Attorney on Law & Order: SVU.

Who do we have to thank for that? Philip Winchester, because nobody else could’ve pulled it off.

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Peter Stone had to be played by somebody who was just going to go for it. Somebody who had the heart that he did, someone who wouldn’t be intimidated by playing a character with that surname, somebody who could hang tough in the face of everything but the kitchen sink. Philip did that, and it’s important to remember he did it never having played a lawyer before.

What’s crazy about it is that he’s only getting better. Since making the move to SVU, he’s found a bunch more things to do with the character, and his transition from Chicago Justice to the Law & Order world has been seamless.

I’m going to get up on my personal soapbox for a moment, because there’s something else that ought to be said today. I’ve had the honor of knowing Philip Winchester for years now, and he’s not only a brilliant actor but the best person I’ve ever worked alongside. He’s a class act in every respect, and I’m a better person for having worked with him and also being lucky enough to call him a friend.

As much as we talk about the One Chicago fandom being a family and the quality of people we have, it’s worth saying that he’s one of the best. But even if I didn’t know him personally, I’d still be in awe of what he’s able to do every week.

There are certain actors that only come around once in a while. Philip Winchester is one of those actors, where he just has a spark that nobody else can duplicate. And Peter Stone wound up being the perfect role for him—one that we didn’t see coming but that fit him perfectly. Whether he’s in Chicago or New York, he’ll always be part of the family.

Next: 5 reasons Peter Stone is a badass

Join us in wishing Philip Winchester a happy birthday in the comments! Don’t miss him in new episodes of Law & Order: SVU every Wednesday on NBC.