On Wednesday night's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Detective John Munch, played by Richard Belzer, retired. And in a fitting send-off the fictional cops of New York's 16th precinct threw him a roast.
Belzer's time playing the perpetually sunglasses-wearing detective is unique in broadcast television, in that he's played the same character on 10 TV shows across five channels and 20 years.
While Belzer's run ties with
Belzer was known primarily as a stand-up comedian when he was cast as a detective in the highly acclaimed
He joined the cast of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 1999 after "Homicide" ended and has played Munch there for 15 seasons, rising from senior detective to sergeant and finally on to DA special investigator in his final episode.
But in addition to being a regular on those series, he's also made guest appearances as Munch on
While Belzer is indeed leaving the show, a spokesperson for NBC indicated that the door was open for the Munch character to work with the SVU squad in the future.
To commemorate Munch's retirement, NBC has released the extended version of the Munch roast. Fans of the character's long history should keep a special eye out for a cameo from