Over 20 years and on 10 different shows, Det. John Munch has solved crimes and put away countless bad guys. But on Wednesday night's "Law & Order: SVU," the wise-cracking detective hung up his badge.
In a touching retirement ceremony, Munch (played by Richard Belzer) bid farewell to colleagues from New York and Baltimore. The now-sergeant started out in the latter city on the NBC drama "Homicide" before joining the sex crimes unit on "SVU." He also teamed up with officers on "Law & Order: Trial By Jury" as well as "The Wire."
His partner, Det. Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), roasted Munch's love of conspiracy theories, then presented him with a shadowbox of his police shields.
"I did underestimate you at first, but over time I realized that Detective Munch was not only a brilliant detective, but a very, very soulful man," said Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) in tribute. "I will miss you very much, John Munch."
Fans will, too. #FarewellMunch trended on Twitter Wednesday night:
His send-off featured some special touches, acknowledging Munch's background on "Homicide." His old partner, Det. Meldrick Lewis (Clark Johnson), made a cameo at the party and even hooted, "We ran his butt out of Baltimore."
And at the end of the episode, as Munch prepared to depart from the precinct, a flashback showed the detective (then black-haired) sitting at his old "Homicide" desk. Back in the present, the phone rang and Munch accidentally answered, "Homicide." He corrected himself to say "SVU."
Watch the scene:
Some fans complained that the tribute wasn't long enough for such an iconic character. The opening scene lasted under five minutes, before his colleagues had to run off to tackle another crime.
The show's writers, though, posted a longer, uncut version of Munch's farewell roast:
While Munch will no longer be a weekly presence on "SVU," he may pop up every now and then in the future. It was revealed that he will be working as a special investigator in the district attorney's office.
For Belzer, Munch's retirement was "bittersweet," as he wrote in a column on the Huffington Post.
"I am truly blessed to have been in the company of so many remarkable people for such a long time!" he wrote, adding, "After 21 years, smart money is on Munch not totally disappearing from the face of the earth. If Sherlock Holmes can survive the Reichenbach Falls then surely we have not seen the last of Detective Sergeant John Munch."
We'll bet on that, too!
- Arts & Entertainment
- John Munch
- Richard Belzer