Benjamin Stone (character)

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For other characters of this name, see Benjamin Stone (disambiguation).
Ben Stone
Law & Order character
First appearance "Prescription for Death"
Last appearance "Old Friends"
Portrayed by Michael Moriarty
Time on show 1990–1994
Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4
Credited appearances 88 episodes (total)
Succeeded by Jack McCoy

Benjamin "Ben" Stone is a fictional character portrayed by Michael Moriarty in the TV drama Law & Order. He appeared in 88 episodes.

Character overview[edit]

Stone works in the Manhattan District Attorney's office under Alfred Wentworth (in the pilot episode) and Adam Schiff. He is closest to Schiff, treating him as a kind of surrogate father — his own father having been an overbearing alcoholic.[1] Stone's prosecutorial methods are portrayed as being grounded in moral principles stemming from his Catholic faith. He is shown to be pro-life[2] and opposed to the death penalty. He also is a strong advocate of social justice, having marched in the civil rights movement, although his sympathy for those at a disadvantage in society does not extend to criminals. The second season episode "Heaven" implies that Stone, like actor Moriarty, is a Dartmouth College alumnus, with references to "fraternity row" and New Hampshire. Occasionally, it is suggested that he is a bachelor, and in the third season episode "Night and Fog", Stone makes passing mention of a daughter.

Career within the show[edit]

Stone became Executive Assistant DA in 1985 after convicting con artist and murderer Philip Swann (who, in the 1993 episode "American Dream", enters a civil suit against Stone when the validity of the conviction is called into question). 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, Detectives Max Greevey and Mike Logan, intimate that Stone "eats ADAs for lunch." 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.

The 1991 episode "The Troubles" establishes that Stone is a Catholic who was mostly raised by his Irish grandmother. He is divorced with one daughter, who is never seen on the show, except by way of a photograph kept on a shelf in his office. (The child in the actual photograph used on the set was Moriarty's own son, Matthew.)

Stone makes his last appearance in the show in the episode "Old Friends". The episode portrays a racketeering case in which the main witness, whose safety Stone had personally guaranteed, is murdered by the Russian Mafia. Wracked with guilt, he resigns. He is succeeded by Jack McCoy as Executive ADA.

Post departure[edit]

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 travelling in Europe, not available to testify at any hearing." However, the judge by this time has already declared himself "unavailable" to hear the case.