Philip Winchester not returning for Law and Order SVU season 21

Philip Winchester is leaving Law and Order: SVU. The actor revealed Friday that Peter Stone will not be returning for SVU season 21.

Though Law & Order: SVU was renewed for its 21st season on Friday, Philip Winchester won’t be part of it.

Winchester, who plays Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone on the Dick Wolf series, revealed on Twitter that he’s not coming back next season.

There’s been no official statement from NBC regarding his exit; in fact, he was still listed as a cast member in the press release they sent out Friday announcing the renewal. So it’s not clear why he is leaving the show—though it sounds like a creative decision.

“Sadly for me, Peter Stone and his ‘the facts don’t care about [your] feelings’ attitude will not be returning,” Winchester tweeted, after congratulating his now former show on its historic pickup.

Here’s his Twitter statement in full:

What is known for sure is that SVU is losing a tremendous player. While everyone is celebrating Law & Order: Special Victims Unit making TV history, what’s getting lost in the shuffle is that it’s also saying goodbye to someone who was a positive part of that history.

Philip Winchester originated the part of Peter Stone in the One Chicago franchise, first appearing on Chicago PD as a backdoor pilot for the fourth One Chicago series Chicago Justice.

After Chicago Justice was axed by NBC due to a lack of schedule space, he was brought over to the Law & Order franchise as a successfor for Raul Esparza—who’d decided to leave SVU in order to pursue other projects.

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It’s rare for an actor to carry a character from one show to another, but Winchester was able to do that, and he did it in a way that most actors don’t—not just transferring the character over but he pushed Peter Stone in a new direction. Though his role changed in the current season, he was still a shot in the arm for this venerable show, and it’s a shame he won’t be included in this milestone run it’s about to make.

He’ll have spent two seasons on Special Victims Unit, and three portraying Peter Stone. His last episode is presumably the season 20 finale, which is expected to air on May 16.

For the latest SVU season 21 spoilers and news, plus more on all of Dick Wolf’s other series, follow the Dick Wolf category at One Chicago Center.