The beloved detective will still be cracking wise on your favorite prime-time crime drama, just not as often.
Fans of SVU already saw Sergeant John Munch turn in his retirement papers during last week’s episode, but now it’s official: Richard Belzer’s character will no longer continue on Law & Order: SVU as a series regular, according to Entertainment Weekly.
However, though Belzer will no longer be considered a series regular beginning with next week’s episode, the comedian and actor is still expected to appear periodically in future episodes of the series, as his character will reportedly be “appointed as a special investigator for the District Attorney’s office” in the wake of his retirement from the Special Victims Unit.
Next week’s episode, titled “Wonderland Story,” is expected to be the show’s goodbye to Sergeant Munch. A gallery of photos of scenes from the episode via NBC.com, indicate that “Wonderland” will feature a retirement party of sorts for Munch, in addition to a case that the cast must solve.
The character itself has been on the air for 20 years and has spanned multiple television shows and genres. Viewers first saw Munch in 1993’s Homicide: Life On the Street, got to know him on SVU and enjoyed his appearances on various, often critically acclaimed shows like Arrested Development and The Wire.
Belzer’s last episode as a series regular airs next week on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 9:00 pm EST.