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

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).

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  1. Esaul says:

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

  2. JJM says:

    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.

  3. John Mosby says:

    Surely, Munch HAS to eventually guest-star on ‘Bosch’.

  4. Matt Pelc says:

    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.

  5. Chris Leonardi says:

    If the in show explanation is that he’s retiring, how exactly is he going to recur.

    • David says:

      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)

  6. sarah says:

    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

  7. Ryan says:

    Didn’t you hear, Munch is now the new lead investigator on The Bridge!

  8. Ryan says:

    Plus he’s going to reign in the arsonist on Chicago Fire.

  9. ES says:

    I want Mulaney to explain this to Ice-T.

  10. Linderella says:

    Munch has been one of my favorite characters since Homicide Life on the Streets. He’ll be missed. :(

  11. Jill says:

    He will certainly be missed.

  12. RAE says:

    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.

  13. Jeri says:

    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.

  14. HAP says:

    For a stand up comic, Belzer certainly has had quite a career in drama. Also, remember that he is 69.

  15. Izzy says:

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. Ethel says:

    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???

  18. Marc says:

    He needs to visit London and make it 11 shows.

  19. 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.

  20. kimski says:

    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.

  21. 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! !!!!!!

  22. Jiohn McIntosh says:

    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.

  23. Heather says:

    I dislike that he won’t be on and was wondering why he wasn’t on as much. I liked his character’s humor.

  24. 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.

  25. debbie reed says:

    So sad. i never dreamend that munch would leave the suv. soory to see him leave. happy retirement

  26. Ronni says:

    Munch looks very thin and rather I’ll.

    • Person Of Interest says:

      I’ve been searching online ever since watching the show this evening (5/4/16). Richard Belzer indeed looks very ill and quite emaciated. My guess would be he’s fighting some kind of cancer again in his life (I read he had testicular cancer back in 1984); but I have nothing to base it on, other than his appearance. Something is or has been wrong with his health; of that, unfortunately, I have little doubt. Does anyone else know anything about what could be wrong with Richard?