Law & Order: SVU Vet Richard Belzer Switches to Recurring Status, As Munch Retires

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SVU Richard Belzer Drops to RecurringOriginal Law & Order: SVU cast member Richard Belzer reportedly will no longer be a series regular on the NBC procedural, now that Sgt. John Munch is turning in his badge.

Munch — a character Belzer has portrayed on 10 different TV series, including (but not limited to!) Law & Order: Original Flavor, The Wire, The X Files, Homicide: Life on the Streets and even Arrested Development and 30 Rock — announced his retirement plans in this Wednesday’s episode. And per the synopsis for next week’s installment, titled “Wonderland Story,” “The SVU comes together to say goodbye to the retiring Sergeant Munch.”

But that may not be the last SVU (or any other show, for that matter) sees of Munch. A source tells The Huffington Post that Belzer is expected to make recurring appearances. An NBC spokesperson did not immediately respond to TVLIne’s request for comment.

Across SVU‘s 14-plus-year run, Munch has appeared in all but 65 episodes (per Wikipedia).

Comments (30)

  • Glad it’s not the last time we see him.

    Comment by Esaul – October 10, 2013 07:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m glad Mr. Mitovich put the Wire in his credits. Most people miss that.

      Comment by Eurisko – October 10, 2013 10:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Munch has been basically been at recurring status since season nine. I’ve been waiting to say goodbye for a while. I guess this just makes it official.

    Comment by JJM – October 10, 2013 07:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Surely, Munch HAS to eventually guest-star on ‘Bosch’.

    Comment by John Mosby – October 10, 2013 07:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Belzer has been seemingly recurring for awhile now. It seemed like the last few years he was only in a third of the episodes per season. I guess the writers and producers get tired of being asked “why isn’t Munch on anymore.” This just makes it official.

    Comment by Matt Pelc – October 10, 2013 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If the in show explanation is that he’s retiring, how exactly is he going to recur.

    Comment by Chris Leonardi – October 10, 2013 07:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They’ll probably make him an investigator for the District Attorney’s office like they were planning to do to Jerry Orbach’s character on the original L&O (though he was so ill by that time he only appeared in a couple more episodes of one of the spinoffs)

      Comment by David – October 10, 2013 08:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am sad to see that Munch is retiring, he added so much to the team. So glad that he will still reoccur though, the original crew will still be there. I hope he finally gets the bar he wanted to open during his retiring :P

    Comment by sarah – October 10, 2013 08:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Didn’t you hear, Munch is now the new lead investigator on The Bridge!

    Comment by Ryan – October 10, 2013 08:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Plus he’s going to reign in the arsonist on Chicago Fire.

    Comment by Ryan – October 10, 2013 08:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I want Mulaney to explain this to Ice-T.

    Comment by ES – October 10, 2013 08:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Best comment. Ever.

      Comment by wolfpup233 – October 10, 2013 11:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Munch has been one of my favorite characters since Homicide Life on the Streets. He’ll be missed. :(

    Comment by Linderella – October 10, 2013 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I loved L&O and L&O ci, the best episodes of SVU have been the Munch/Tutuola and Cragen centric ones. Glad I haven’t watch the show in that last few years.

      Comment by wjrxyz – October 10, 2013 11:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He will certainly be missed.

    Comment by Jill – October 10, 2013 09:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That sucks………munch and ice-t sometimes crack me up ! being on the show for so long i guess it’s time pack up and go. So long john munch.

    Comment by RAE – October 10, 2013 10:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Will miss him, SVU needs all the help it can get. I think the newer people are better than Olivia, her storylines are too out there. She’s such a miserable victim all the time.

    Comment by Jeri – October 10, 2013 12:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • For a stand up comic, Belzer certainly has had quite a career in drama. Also, remember that he is 69.

    Comment by HAP – October 10, 2013 01:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If Munch doesn’t retire, Olivia can’t get promoted working in the same squad.

    Will miss Belzer. May be he will do more touring with his live shows.

    Comment by Izzy – October 10, 2013 03:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nooooo. I mean, I knew it had to happen sooner or later, but I adore Munch. Sad to see him retire, but I’m glad we will still get to see him occasionally.

    Comment by Mikaylah Roggasch (@mkroggasch) – October 10, 2013 03:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sad to see Munch leave but at least he will be seen again in a recurring role. Wait, isnt this what he has been in for the past several seasons???

    Comment by Ethel – October 10, 2013 04:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • He needs to visit London and make it 11 shows.

    Comment by Marc – October 10, 2013 05:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am happy that I will be still seeing Munch on occasion.he will be truly missed as a regular though.Like Benson and Stabler,Munch and Fin is a great team who in my mind just fit.I love how he interacted with the team,especially the original svu crew,his conspiracy theories were amazing!Love ya Munch!Good luck,and Gods speed.

    Comment by cinderella 126 – October 12, 2013 06:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Richard Belzer is 69 so I am sure it probably is time for him to cut back. I will miss Munch, especially his conspiracy theories, but he has been cutting back his episode arcs over the past 3 yrs. I remember when Lenny Briscoe retired on Law and Order and was scheduled to appear on a spinoff show the next year but it turns out in real life he had been dealing with cancer and as I watch the later shows I notice his coloring isn’t good despite the make-up. I guess if I can handle Lenny Briscoe retiring I can handle Munch. At 69 he does deserve to really slow down. Also Kragen said his mandatory retirement will be in 6 months. I looked up Dann Floreck’s age and he’s in his mid to late 60′s too. He’s been involved with the Law and Order series since it’s inception in that he was the captain on the original Law and Order when it first started.

    Comment by kimski – October 12, 2013 11:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Richard Belzar was a great comedian, and we got a kick out pf Munch factoids, that he spouted in great moments. It wont be long he willbe back somewhere, like most a list people he wont be able to sit still long! !!!!!!

    Comment by Diane Schaefer – October 16, 2013 10:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One thing to remember is that the longer a show is on TV the more the actors get paid. So who’s been with SVU the longest? Mariska Hargitay, Dann Florek, and Richard Belzer. Mariska is the star so she’s safe but Belzer and Florek are also making good $$. So as the show gets more expensive it sheds long-time stars. Bye-bye Munch.

    Comment by Jiohn McIntosh – October 17, 2013 04:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I dislike that he won’t be on and was wondering why he wasn’t on as much. I liked his character’s humor.

    Comment by Heather – October 17, 2013 05:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • On behalf of all of my friends,love ones and all the dedicated svu followers this side of paradise!We would like to thank you John Munch for the fantastic ride you give us on the show,not only as a great cop on TV but the excellent actor that you are who will continue to wear the king of conspiracy theories crown forever!Thank you so much for the lovely send off on the show,we certainly enjoyed the presentation,especially the part when you said to Brian and Benson that they can do better than each other!You are so right John!All one hundred and fifty of my guest made a toast in your honor for that last crack you made!Olivia can certainly do better than Brian Cassidy!It was a bit weird to hear at first since it was YOUR party,but we get it!Only the great John Munch had the “NUTS’to call it as he saw it through the years!Maybe now that you are retired you can join us here in the tropics!And please,bring sexy Stabler with you,we will take him any time of day!Maybe he can work with you for the DEA,that would be so cool!John Munch,we love you and will certainly miss you.God speed my friend.

    Comment by cinderella 126 – October 18, 2013 09:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So sad. i never dreamend that munch would leave the suv. soory to see him leave. happy retirement

    Comment by debbie reed – October 18, 2013 06:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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