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'Law & Order: SVU': Munch is retiring

'Law & Order: SVU': Munch is retiring © AP / Richard Belzer 'Law & Order: SVU': Munch is retiring

Entertainment Tonight.

After 15 years on "Law & Order: SVU" and six years on "Homicide: Life on the Street," Richard Belzer will be retiring his now-iconic character, John Munch, on next Wednesday's episode of "SVU."

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The news was a bit of a shock to fans, and Olivia Benson, as Captain Cragen revealed Munch put in his retirement papers after being unable to shake a particularly grisly case.

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Belzer has played John Munch on a variety of television shows for the last 20 years. In addition to "Homicide" and "SVU," the character has appeared on "Arrested Development," "The X-Files," "The Wire," "30 Rock," "Mad About You" and more. Along the way, Belzer made TV history as the only actor to play the same character on ten different television shows.

Richard Belzer's final episode of "Law & Order: SVU" airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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