For a character to have lasted on television for over 20 years is remarkable. Mashal Dillon of ‘Gunsmoke’ lasted 20 seasons, as did Frasier Crane over the course of ‘Cheers’ and ‘Frasier.’
Richard Belzer retired John Munch on Wednesday’s ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ in an episode that included him wearing a white tuxedo—a stark contrast to his normally dark attire.
Belzer’s role as John Munch began after producer Barry Levinson heard Belzer on the ‘Howard Stern Show.’ After an audition, Belzer got the role of Munch on ‘Homicide: Life On The Street,’ not knowing that he would be playing the same role for over two decades.
The character has appeared in numerous shows. In fact, there are so many that the TV world begins to collapse on itself. On ‘Luther,’ Inspector John Luther, played by Idris Elba, says, "Send the details to Detective Munch in Special Victims Unit, New York." But Munch also appeared in an episode of ‘The Wire,’ the show where Elba played Stringer Bell. At least the Munch appearance was in the final season when Stringer was no longer around.
Other notable appearances by Munch include ‘The X Files,’ ‘Arrested Development,’ ’30 Rock,’ and an episode of ‘Sesame Street’ where there was a muppet version of Munch for a very appropriate ‘Law & Order: SLU’ (Special Letters Unit).
Wednesday’s episode bid farewell to Munch with him walking out of the office carrying a cardboard box of his belongings—all that work, all those years.
But Munch may not be gone for good. Belzer told NBC’s TODAY, "If Sherlock Holmes can survive the Reichenbach Falls, then surely we have not seen the last of Det. Sgt. Munch!"
Will you miss John Munch on ‘Law & Order: SVU’? Do you hope to see the character elsewhere?