Richard Belzer Is Getting An Enormous Tribute From Law And Order

In honor of Richard Belzer, USA will host a "Munch-A-Thon" of his signature character's standout performances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

By Mark McKee | Updated

richard belzer

There are characters that stand the test of time, running for so long that they become staples on TV, including Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) from Gunsmoke or Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) from Cheers and its spin-off, Frasier. However, beating out both of those characters in staying power is the over two-decade run for Detective John Munch from Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. According to Deadline, due to the unfortunate passing of actor Richard Belzer, who played Munch for the entirety of those twenty-plus-years, USA Network will play ten back-to-back episodes they consider Munch’s best, a marathon in memoriam. 

According to the announcement, the Law & Order: SVU episodes included in the marathon are “Remorse,” “Legacy,” “Manhunt,” “Parts,” “Uncle,” “Unorthodox,” “True Believers,” “Wonderland Story,” “Spring Awakening,” and “Fashionable Crimes.” The aptly titled “Munch-a-thon” will begin at 4 pm on Sunday, Feb 26, and run until 1 am; each installment will include a special dedication card to honor the actor. The event is a fitting way for fans to say goodbye to a beloved actor and character they have known for decades. 

Richard Belzer first brought Detective John Munch to life in the NBC crime drama, Homicide: Life on the Street. The series was based on the true crime novel of a similar name, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, published by author David Simon in 1991. The series ran from 1993 to 1999, where Belzer portrayed him from beginning to end, including the 2000 film, Homicide: The Movie, which served as the series finale. 

Surprisingly, the character of Detective John Munch wasn’t finished with Richard Belzer, as he was picked up by Dick Wolf for his Law & Order spin-off, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The role was one that Belzer portrayed continuously for 14 seasons before he was written out of the series in the way of retirement. In his time on SVU, Munch found himself partnered with Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters), followed by Monique Jeffries (Michelle Hurd), and Fin Tutuola (Ice-T). 

richard belzer

While he also spent time as a sergeant and occasional supervisor, he was a detective at heart and solved crimes continuously for twenty-plus years. After solving a cold case in a Season 14 episode, he is reassigned to the Cold Case Unit. Outside of solving crimes for both Baltimore and New York, Detective Munch was also a cynical man and a firm believer in conspiracy theories, which Richard Belzer parlayed into other appearances. 

The actor holds the prestigious record of being the only performer to play the same character across 11 different tv series. While he obviously appeared in the big runs of Homicide and SVU, he also appeared in Law & OrderTrial by JuryThe WireLutherAmerican Dad, and The Beat; and also one very fitting appearance by the conspiracy theorist on the supernatural conspiracy based, X-Files. While fans are still undoubtedly heartbroken over Richard Belzer’s passing, USA Network is giving them a fitting opportunity to celebrate his contributions and say their goodbyes.