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Benjamin Stone (Law & Order character)

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Benjamin "Ben" Stone is a fictional character portrayed by Michael Moriarty in the TV drama Law & Order. He was the Executive Assistant District Attorney for New York County until his resignation at the end of season four. He appeared in 88 episodes.

Ben Stone
Law & Order character
First appearance"Prescription for Death"
Last appearance"Old Friends"
Portrayed byMichael Moriarty
FamilyPeter (son)
Pamela (daughter; deceased)
Seasons1, 2, 3, 4


Character overviewEdit

Stone works in the Manhattan District Attorney's office under Alfred Wentworth (in the pilot episode) and Adam Schiff. He was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He was raised mostly by his Irish grandmother,[1] his father having been an alcoholic.[2] Stone is divorced and has a son, Peter Stone, who was the Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau in Chicago and is now the Chief ADA of the Sex Crimes Bureau in New York,[3] and a daughter, Pamela.[4]

Stone's prosecutorial methods are portrayed as being grounded in moral principles stemming from his Catholic faith. He is shown to be pro-life[5] and opposed to the death penalty.[6] He also is a strong advocate of social justice, having marched in the civil rights movement.[7] It is implied that Stone, like actor Moriarty, is a Dartmouth College alumnus, with references to "fraternity row" and New Hampshire.

Career within the showEdit

Stone became Executive Assistant DA in 1985 after convicting con artist and murderer Philip Swann, who years later enters a civil suit against Stone when the validity of the conviction is called into question. (Swann is ultimately found guilty, however, and sent back to prison.)[8] Stone's assistants have been Paul Robinette and Claire Kincaid.

A strict, unyielding boss, Stone can be very difficult to work with; in the pilot episode, Sergeant Max Greevey and Detective Mike Logan intimate that Stone "eats ADAs for lunch."[9] Nevertheless, Stone is usually rather soft-spoken, and is fond of using harmless words like "sir" to convey his contempt for the people he prosecutes.

Stone makes his last appearance in the show in the episode "Old Friends," the final episode of season four. The episode portrays a racketeering case in which the main witness Ann Madsen, whose testimony Stone had secured by threatening to send her to prison, is murdered by the Russian Mafia. He feels responsible for her death and resigns from the DA's office.[10] He is succeeded by Jack McCoy as Executive ADA.


Stone is mentioned in the 1996 episode "Custody" as a possible witness against a judge. When his former assistant Paul Robinette, now a defense attorney, wants a judge to recuse himself for past comments showing bias against drug addicts and support for forced sterilization, Robinette threatens to subpoena Stone to testify about the comments, which both he and Stone heard the judge make. Upon hearing of the threat, Schiff informs McCoy that Stone "is traveling in Europe, not available to testify at any hearing." However, the judge by this time has already declared himself "unavailable" to hear the case.

The opening scene of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "The Undiscovered Country" (aired in 2018) reveals that Stone has died. His successor, Jack McCoy, gives the eulogy at the funeral.

The SVU episode "Dear Ben" mentions Stone several times. The plot of the episode revolves around the cold case of a serial rapist whom Stone repeatedly attempted to track down and prosecute, to no avail. His son Peter later takes up the case brings the rapist to justice.


Stone's son is Peter Stone, formerly a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney and lead character on Chicago Justice.[11] Peter first appears on the Chicago P.D. episode "Justice", which is the backdoor pilot for Chicago Justice. Peter also appears in season 19 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and eventually becomes the titular sex crimes bureau's ADA.[12] In several episodes, Peter describes Ben as a distant father who neglected his family in favor of work.

Stone also had a daughter, Pamela, who is introduced in the SVU episode "Send in the Clowns". Pamela has paranoid schizophrenia, and has been hospitalized for most of her life. According to Peter, their father would visit Pamela once a week, and Peter has continued the visits since their father's death. She is murdered by sex traffickers in "Remember Me Too".

Reason for departureEdit

Stone's departure from the series stemmed from actor Michael Moriarty's dispute with the network and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who in 1993 began promoting legislation to limit portrayals of violence on television. Moriarty, who was outspoken against Reno and what he felt was government censorship, was scheduled to appear on NBC shows Today and Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric, but both ended up canceled. Moriarty had already taped his segment for Now; for his Today show appearance, during which he was scheduled to debate Senator Kent Conrad, he was replaced by FCC chairman Reed Hundt. Both appearances were scheduled to air on January 26, 1994. Moriarty submitted his resignation to producer Dick Wolf on January 25, 1994, and his departure was written into the series.[13][14]


  1. ^ "The Troubles". Law & Order. Season 1. Episode 20. November 26, 1991. NBC.
  2. ^ "Prescription For Death". Law & Order. Season 1. Episode 1. September 13, 1990. NBC.
  3. ^ "Breaking News - NBC's New Comedies Earn Key Timeslots with Strong Support While Powerful Sunday Lineup Launches March 5 as #1 Network Sets Midseason Slate -".
  4. ^ "Night and Fog". Law & Order. Season 3. Episode 13. February 3, 1993. NBC.
  5. ^ "Life Choice". Law & Order. Season 1. Episode 12. January 8, 1991. NBC.
  6. ^ "Vengeance". Law & Order. Season 2. Episode 16. February 18, 1992. NBC.
  7. ^ "Sanctuary". Law & Order. Season 4. Episode 19. April 13, 1994. NBC.
  8. ^ "American Dream". Law & Order. Season 4. Episode 8. November 9, 1993. NBC.
  9. ^ "Everybody's Favorite Bagman". Law & Order. Season 1. Episode 6. October 30, 1990. NBC.
  10. ^ "Old Friends". Law & Order. Season 4. Episode 22. May 25, 1994. NBC.
  11. ^ Stanhope, Kate (January 18, 2017). "'Chicago Justice': Dick Wolf Talks 3-Show Crossover, 'Law & Order' Comparisons". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  12. ^ Kimberly Roots (August 8, 2017). "Law & Order SVU: Philip Winchester to Bring Chicago Justice Role to NY". TVLine. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Brozan, Nadine (February 1, 1994). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Weber, Bruce (March 4, 1994). "On Stage, and Off". The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2017.